Tuesday, April 20, 2010

put the plug in

Optimism: Thinking that somehow 3 boats that average 35 years of age would be almost ready to go in the water in the spring without much work.

Reality: Oh yeah, we have to do that this year, and that, and that, oh, and don't forget about that!

Lucky it is so warm today I don't have to wear long underwear. These days could last forever!

Then it went from flat calm and about 75 degrees to whitecaps everywhere and 45 degrees in about 15 minutes. That Lake breeze must have been bottled up all day, because it looked like a swarm of bees on top of the calm water racing toward us. I was just about to go up the mast when we saw the dark blue of wind. Within two minutes, everything we had lying about was blowing away and the wind was lifting the sand into the air. The Lake was just a froth.

The power of this Lake is fantastic.

There was one funny site today. We are on the outer breakwall, working on the boats, which are sitting high and dry. Our vantage point is perfect to see the public boat landing and watch the Lake, out toward Madeline and Long Islands. We see people going out in small boats--picture a 14' Lund with a tiller outboard--all the time. This time of year they return bundled up heavily. Today one returned very shortly at full throttle all the way into the marina, creating a big wake for the boats in their slips. Several of us got up to holler that they were going too fast, but when they didn't slow down until they were beached on the boat ramp, we figured there was something wrong. The driver frantically leaned over the stern and got wet up to his shoulders, scrambling to put the plug in! It was worth a laugh and he was forgiven for making a wake.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Covers off Boats!

We took the covers off all three boats today! I am not sure what is better, taking them off or putting them back on in the fall. Each one is great, although a different excitement. I can't imagine why I was so ready last fall to cover them, only that I was. Now I can't wait to get them in the water.

That first smell of the boats when you go down in the cabin, a mixture of old wood, maybe a little motor oil, a hint of bilge and some mildew! Not a bad smell, but a unique one. It brings back all the fun that we have had in the boat over the years. It reminds me of exploring boats as a kid. The smell is always the same and the memories perfect.

This year, the water has been open for a month already, so it has warmed to the usual level of about June 1st! That means by June, it may be swim-able this year. It takes a long time to get to 40 degrees, which it is already, but then goes up fast with all the sun and warmer weather. We are aiming for May 15th for having at least 1 boat ready, and probably earlier with a little luck. Early June may be prime water temps already for nice comfortable sailing!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

spring excitement in Bayfield

How life changes while you are gone! There is a buzz in town about all the new things going on this season. New shops, coffee shop expanding, babies on the way, fresh faces in town, new controversies. It seems like when we left three weeks ago, a season was at its end. Now a new one has began.

And our thoughts turn to boats. We have been talking a lot lately about how kayaking has taken off in popularity, which is really cool. We just spent a fair amount of time on the kayak in Florida and while it it great, I kept thinking I would rather be on a sailboat! In a future blog, I want to get into why sailing is not increasing in popularity as fast as it should. Maybe readers can share their opionions.

Usually boating is all I think about this time of year. This year, we have a new shop to finish and move into. This will be our fourth season of having an office in Bayfield. Last year, we were on Rittenhouse Ave (the main street), but the building sold. This year, we are creating a new space just around the corner on First Street, across the street from the Bayfield Inn. It is going to be our sailing/dogsledding office as well as a retail outlet for the Wolfsong Wear that we make here in Bayfield. Last season was our first year as a retail store and we sold a ton of Wolfsong Wear. This year we are talking about what other products might compliment our business if we wanted to increase our retail sales.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Coming Home

As we drove north through Wisconsin on the way back from our yearly end of the dog sled season break, we remembered why we choose to live here. The texture of the woods became ours again, with familiar plants as we got further north. When we got up on the overlook on US 2 between Hurley and Ashland, Lake Superior appeared, showing Oak Island, Bayfield, Stockton, Madeline and Outer Island sticking above the blue water. The air is so clear that they look to be just across a valley. That blue water radiates this time of year, lit from within and contrasting with the leafless islands. Another half hour and we come into our hometown, Bayfield. Of all the small towns that we have driving through recently on our way back from two weeks in Florida, this is the most charming. All that beautiful Gulf coastline with birds, sea and beach, is hazy in our memory as the strong pull from Lake Superior has recoiled us back again for another season. When we left, there was mostly ice and the feeling of a long winter. Now the channels are clear and the water is calling to us to come out and explore. I wish we had a boat in so we could get right out there.

Easter was the next day and it is almost as warm as Flroida here. Memorial Park is almost empty, the harbor has just the working fishing boats that have been parked there all winter--all of the summer pleasure boats are still on the hard--and the entire Lake that we can see between Bayfield and Madeline and Basswood Islands is glass calm. It seems like we stole a day and have it all to ourselves.

Coming home is the best part of a good vacation. All the dogs are healthy and bark an enthusiastic greeting, the one hen has lain a couple eggs, and the cats are even happy to see us. Winter is gone and the bugs are not out yet. The driveway is dry and clear, the mud and ice are all gone, and there are even buds on the red maples. It is going to be an early spring, and it feels like a gift.