Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Rough Day - and Night - in Petoskey

We're hanging around Petoskey waiting for a weather window. We're tucked away (spiderwebbed, actually) in the harbor while the winds blow. And boy, have they started blowing. Here are some pictures as the weather changed.

Monday September 10, 7:00pm. They were calling for 20-30 knot winds on Tuesday, with gusts to 40 knots, but Monday ended with a gorgeous sunset.

Tuesday, September 11, 7:00am. The day started calm, but you could see fog rolling in. Here's a sailboat that's been anchored east of the protective breakwater in Petoskey.

Tuesday, September 11, 7:30am. For a brief spell, the sun was out illuminating the fog that was rising over Little Traverse Bay. Lots of clouds were moving in though.

Tuesday, September 11, 2:00pm. Earlier during the day, when the weather was still calm, the Roma Lisa (that other Chris Craft) left the harbor. At the time, we thought they were just tired of being in Petoskey so they went across the bay to Harbor Springs. Looking back, we realized they were seeking the protection of a better harbor.

As the winds picked up from the northwest, whitecaps - and then waves - started building in the bay and breaking over the harbor's breakwater.

Tuesday, September 11, 4:00pm. By now, the wind is over 20 knots and smaller waves are starting to roll into the harbor. These are the sailboats across the channel from us, being pushed towards the finger piers.

Tuesday, September 11, 5:00pm. By late afternoon, the waves are really crashing over the breakwater.

Tuesday, September 11, 6:00pm. Although it's windy and rough in the harbor, the sky is beautiful. We put extra lines on Meridian and, since she's on the side of the dock where the waves push her away from the dock, we aren't worried about banging against the pier. It's actually pretty entertaining to watch.

Meridian is jumping around in the slip as though she's excited. It's almost like she wants to go out onto the lake and take on those ten foot waves. We won't let her though, and are pretty sure she doesn't mind. It's similar to those little dogs you see, tugging on their leash in order to "attack" a much larger dog, knowing fully well that their owner won't really let go of the leash.

At one point, we saw a sailboarder come flying into the harbor. REALLY FAST. It was a surreal image, because he was going so fast we only saw him for a second or two before he disappeared behind the gas dock. When we looked to see where he ws headed, he was nowhere to be seen. That's kind of hard to understand, because he was coming into the harbor! Maybe he jumped the breakwall and kept going!

Phil keeps checking and adjusting the lines.

Tuesday, September 11, 6:30pm. Looking to the east, a rainbow starts to break out. Unfortunately, that does not spell the end of the weather.

Tuesday, September 11, 7:00pm. By now, the winds are in the 30+ knot range and we're understanding why the Roma Lisa went to Harbor Springs. It's pretty rough in the harbor here, and as it gets dark it's not quite so entertaining anymore. All the boats are bouncing around, and a few that are unattended (where are those owners?) are banging against the finger piers.

The 45 foot Bayliner that's beside us (providing a little protection from the waves) is taking a beating. It's lines are pretty loose and it doesn't have any fenders. It's getting pushed violently against our finger pier. Phil noticed the aft port corner banging against the dock, so he jumped onboard and adjusted one of the lines, then added one of our spare fenders. That stopped the banging, but the rubrail already took some pretty ugly damage and is separating from the boat.

A little later, he noticed that one of the dock cleats (for the Bayliner) was pulling out from the dock. A few more pulls and it would completely detach. Now that boat was really moving around in a violent manner. He added one of our spare lines, reattached the existing one to a piling, then tightened up the bow lines. That put it in better shape, but it's already received some damage. And, of course, we're worried about it affecting our boat (Phil had visions of a cleat attached to a line swinging around all over the place, like those flopper-stoppers in A Perfect Storm).

Tuesday, September 11, 7:00pm. The waves are crashing over the breakwater pretty consistently and sending rough water into the harbor. Looks like it's gonna be a long night.

Wednesday 5am: We made it through the night - without a lot of sleep - and the wind is finally starting to calm down. Unfortunately, the weather forecast isn't improving all that much, so we may be here a few more days.

Boy, do we wish we'd followed the Roma Lisa into Harbor Springs!

Here's what happens when you leave your boat unattended and not very well secured during gale winds in Petoskey. It hurts to even look at that. This owner probably won't be very happy upon returning. We feel kind of bad that we didn't get there in time to stop the damage.

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