July 1st came and it was time to say goodbye to Bayfield. We had to be out of our slip to make room for the racers coming for Bayfield’s “Race Week” so that gave us the push that we needed to hit the road. We filled the fuel tanks and the jerry cans with diesel, filled up with water, and pumped the holding tanks before leaving.
The plan was to head to the nearby islands and wait for a good weather window to make the open water crossing to Isle Royal. We left with no wind and motored the 10 miles or so to Julian Bay on Stockton Island. This is a beautiful anchorage with a long sand beach.
We had planned to stay at Stockton for a couple of days but the weather forecast for the next couple of days seemed perfect for our crossing so that’s we decided to do. After a morning of sleeping in, followed by a walk on the beach, we made final preparations for our 80 mile crossing to Isle Royal. We would leave about 8:00 pm and planned to arrive at Windigo on Isle Royal at about noon the next day.
We set off as planned with no wind in sight and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands.
We eventually got some wind but it was directly behind us which makes for difficult sailing so we motored through the night. Our VHF radio has AIS built in which alleviated some of the drama as we passed through the shipping lanes. At one point we had the AIS alarm go off as we were to pass within least than 0.5nm of the freighter American Spirit. Fortunately we had nearly an hour warning so we could adjust course to pass a safe 3nm behind the freighter. It was a star filled night and calm enough to see their reflections on the water. We actually had very little total darkness as there was light on the horizon until nearly midnight and it came back before 4:00. We took turns at the helm and each had a little time below to catch a small bit of sleep. Around 9:00 we go our first glimpse of Rock of Ages Light marking the SW end of Isle Royal.
We made our way into Grace Harbor and through a narrow pass into Washington Harbor where Windigo Ranger Station is located, getting a closer look at Rock of Ages in the process.
We made it in to the Windigo Ranger Station about 11:30 and got checked into the park for the next week or so. After that we got Noodin anchored just north of Beaver Island. We made it!