We are up and off at 4am for our final run home to Port Dover. A strong north-west wind has risen the lake and the waves are significant, but fortunately with the wind on the beam we are riding mostly parallel to the waves, which is a whole lot better than smashing into them head on. Ana sits with me in the cockpit for a while then lies down there with some blankets and gets some sleep. As usual, the kids are kipping wildly down below in the aft cabin and won’t be up for hours.
The final ride home is always a time for me to reflect on the trip. In retrospect, the unanticipated side trip to Erie at the start of the trip was a very good thing. If the engine had crapped out in Dover it would have taken a lot longer to fix and probably would have cost much more. Plus, we really enjoyed our days in Erie. It did mean that my original hope of sailing all the way to Toledo didn’t work out because of the lost days, but that was really no big deal.
This lake is certainly a second home to us and we have explored so much of it that there is really only one area remaining - Buffalo and the loop around Grand Island. The reason we haven’t done that part yet is that it’s quite close to home and we probably only need a week for it, and since we usually take two weeks we like to go venture further. But perhaps next year we will make it happen.
The kids seem to have had a pretty good time, and this is something that both Ana and I were a little worried about as they are getting older and we felt they might be running out of patience for sailing. But they did great, and kept themselves entertained without driving us too crazy. The one thing I’ve done a terrible job at is teaching these kids about sailing. They are happy to come along for the ride, but show very little interest in learning much about piloting the boat. Stella, in truth, has shown some interest, but Magnus absolutely none, although he has really enjoyed ripping around in the dingy, so perhaps that’s a start. Or maybe they are both destined to be powerboaters, which would be okay too as we also love powerboats - just not as much as sailboats, because sailboats can take you much further on a much lower budget and we’re all about the miles.
The ride across the lake is long and the waves get very large - some up to four or five feet, but they push us along nicely and we don’t even need the motor for most of the trip as we’re doing over six knots on sail power alone which is a fast run. As we approach the lighthouse at the end of Long Point, Cabin Fever appears on our stern and we have a quick chat on the radio - excellent timing! Tony and Angela head for Turkey Point, which is west of Port Dover about 10 miles or so, and we sail the remaining couple of hours back home, making the 99 miles in under 15 hours. Much of our dock family is there and help us into our slip - it is nice to see them all, looking tanned and happy that the summer heat has finally arrived. It seems like we have been gone for a very long time and we are pleasantly pleased to be back. We have a quick visit with our buds, then pack up the van, tie up Bella Blue and head for home.