August 27, 2015 – Thursday – Saint Joseph to Chicago – 61.4 statute miles traveled

As previously arranged we left the marina at 0650 right behind Time Out. They were heading to Hammond Marina so they would be poised to go the Cal-Sag route that meets the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) route at mile 303. They will start at mile 333 about 12 miles south of where we will start the CSSC route at mile 327.

We both set courses for our destinations and while we were traveling at similar speeds we slowly parted ways as they were on a more southerly heading than us. We eventually lost each other over the horizon.

This day was forecast to be a good travel day with the swell having settled and the wind light and variable. There was still some swell for the first couple of hours and that continued to settle so most of the eight hour run was very comfortable and we were glad we had decided to make the run strait across the lake instead of coasting for a couple more days.

In the middle of Lake Michigan.

In the middle of Lake Michigan.

We were out of sight of land for the middle 25 miles but amazingly the skyscrapers of Chicago started appearing above the horizon at about 30 miles out. It was hazy so the outlines were not clear but they were distinct with the binoculars. We couldn’t see the land they were sitting on but just the tops of buildings floating above the horizon.

Chicago skyline as we approached from about six miles out.  Welcome sight!

Chicago skyline as we approached from about six miles out. Welcome sight!

We had been trying to make reservations at DuSable Marina in downtown Chicago for the past three days. With responses all the way from “call back after noon” to “I’ll take your information and then the person responsible for scheduling will get back to you” yesterday afternoon I finally got ahold of the person who can assign slips. She informed me that they were full. I asked “as of when” and she responded “we just made our last reservation a few minutes ago”. I told her I had been trying to make a reservation for a couple of days so that hardly seemed right that due to their lack of response others would get a reservation before me. She said she did not know I had been trying (even though others had supposedly left messages for her) so she would find me a spot and get back to me in the next two hours. This never happened so now, today, we were traveling to DuSable with no reservation.

After passing the Harbor Breakwater and then the inner breakwater at Monroe Harbor I got on the telephone to DuSable and asked for a slip. She asked where we were and I replied we were just outside the marina and staring at the entrance and that I had been trying for three days to get a reservation. Without delay she told us we could moor in either D11 or D12. We took D12 as it would give us a bow in starboard tie.

After the long day on the high seas we registered with the marina and then relaxed on board. Before long a boat came along to take the D11 spot and it turned out they were loopers from Bobcageon, Ontario aboard “One Bay At A Time”. Steve and Janice had come directly across the lake from South Haven.

While we were getting acquainted with Steve and Janice, Jim and Jo Ann McFall, aboard “Namaste” came down the dock to greet us. Jim and Jo Ann were the friends of Ron and Marilyn Steiner from Synchronicity whom we were originally going to be traveling with at this point. We had been corresponding with McFalls via text, email and cell phone off and on for a couple of months but this was our first opportunity to meet them. Namaste is a sailboat and they had just arrived from the Cal-Sag area where they had taken their mast down to be shipped to Mobile, Alabama for their use in Florida. The bridge heights along the way prohibit sailboats leaving their masts up.

There are about 40 bridges in the first five miles of the CSSC, the lowest being 17’. We will have to take the mast down on Sea To See to get below this height. With the mast down and the antennas lowered our air draft is 15’ 10” so we expect to clear in the center of the bridge spans without a problem. We will go very slow under the 17’ bridges but there are only two with this elevation and four more between 17 and 18’. From below and looking up it always looks like we are going to hit the low bridges.

Soon after the Namaste crew arrived Al and Kay from Knot Home appeared so it was a party on the dock and cockpit of Sea To See! Eventually we went to a restaurant with Al and Kay for dinner and then turned in for the night.

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