Days 58-60, total of 393 miles traveled
We woke very early on Monday morning as we had contracted with Skyway Yacht Works (a more glamorous name than the reality of the place) to take our masts down today. Jim spent hours on Sunday getting the rigging prepared and everything ship-shape.
Knowing that we would have high winds we tried to prepare ourselves for what we knew would be a tough day and were anxious about our first real commercial river experience. We motored across from Hammond to the mouth of the Calumet River where we found a momentarily serene entrance and a relief from the wind and waves. However, within the one mile we needed to travel upbound to Skyway, we came across three lift bridges and three tugs pushing barges. We realized we had little idea of how to hail the bridge tenders (guys who lift the bridges) given all of the commercial radio traffic in what sounded to us like a foreign language. Our only experience had been with the very friendly lift bridge in Charlevoix dealing only with vacationing pleasure craft who had the right-of-way. After 3 trains on one bridge and 3 workmen fixing stuff on another, we were successful in standing-off and finally making it through in their good time. In the process of dealing with the bridges we managed to navigate around the tugs (one snarly) and barges (enormous) all in the 20-30 mph winds. It was an incredible relief to see the sign for Skyway and a friendly worker there to catch our lines.
It took more hard work on Jim’s part to ready everything for the guys to come in with the crane and lift both masts onto cradles where they will be packaged for shipping along with four huge sail bags to Mobile. They were a competent and friendly group so after much contemplation we had picked the right company. Are you wondering what Jo Ann was doing during all of this? Well, in addition to photo documentation, entertaining Sammy with walks in what was a most industrial marina right under the Chicago Skyway Bridge with traffic roaring over our heads and again 20-30 mph winds. It was a long day! The Namaste seems naked to us but we will get used to her new look. We motored back to Hammond nine hours later, exhausted but pleased with our new accomplishments and learning. Applause to Captain Jim!
Yesterday was another work-day. Jim (with the help of Roger in Racine) designed and built a 9’ temporary mast to hold our radio antenna and provide stability for instruments in the cockpit. It looks great and seems to be exactly what we needed but surely not her dress clothes! When back at the marina while Jim was designing and building, JoAnn began to ready us all for our much anticipated family visit in Chicago this weekend. Tasks included cleaning the entire cabin, organizing cupboards and deciding what to send back home; giving Sammy a bath and Jim a haircut; wrestling with three loads of laundry (which is almost everything washable we have onboard). In the late afternoon we celebrated with a huge ice cream cone. We are ready for the next phase of our journey. Love to all!
Boat Name: “Pier Pleasure”
Bad Boat Name: “Lost at Sea”