Around & About


In Sturgeon Bay, there are many detours on the way to the Island, including the "tall" bridge. Sister Bay also has issues. Our trip had an "around and about" manner to it. The route we took was fairly out of the way.


Among other things, our route to the Island included a trip through the Panama Canal. If I had a Bucket List, this trip would have been on it. I am not one for cruises but this was one vacation on which Lew and I could agree. It turns out cruises aren't so bad.

Gatun Locks

Gatun Locks

The idea of making a full transit appealed to me. I grew up in Alton, Illinois which is on the Mississippi River. At the time, Lock and Dam No. 26 was right there around river mile 202.5. Its largest lock was 600 feet long. It was demolished in 1990 and replaced by the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, which is also known as Lock and Dam number 26. I didn't go through that lock very often (maybe once?) but I watched a lot of traffic make that passage.

Pedro Miguel Locks

Pedro Miguel Locks

Those of you who know me are aware I am not a morning person. Well, I found watching the transit as well as other days on the water did treat me to a few sun rises. Maybe it was all the sunlight. I always did get up earlier when we were our sailboat, Valentine.

Miraflores Locks

Miraflores Locks

At the end of the day we passed through the last set of locks into the Pacific Ocean. I kept watching the birds. Different ones than those on the Island but some of them found just as interesting places to perch as the birds in Lake Michigan.  The (I believe) Ibis here seemed at ease resting quite a while in the same place.

Being around boats all my life, I found it was interesting to see what life on a larger vessel was like. Having previous experience helped. A tour of the Bridge allowed for questions and comparisons. One of the first things Captain Max pointed out was this was a ship not a boat. 

Having known 100 foot ore carriers as boats this was a bit of an adjustment for me. However, a Captain is in charge no matter what type of vessel and he had the final word. Sounds familiar. Given the knowledge and awareness of this Captain as well as the other Officers we met, it wasn't hard feeling secure with the management of the cruise.

I was surprised to see that paper charts are used in the planning process. Actually, I liked it. Oh, there was plenty of electronics but it was interesting to hear that celestial navigation is still part of the repertoire of those on the Bridge.

As the cruise continued, we found there were other means of transportation for us. Tenders were used as several ports did not have dockage for us in their respective harbors. The boats were quite stable and it was a fun ride. Lew had a comment or two on the process (something about a spring line, I think. I don't think one could ever have too many spring lines as far as Lew is concerned.) Soon, I think Lew was itching to get back to the Island to get Mockingbird ready for launch. I guess we were both ready to return.

As I finished the winding road, I saw (through the bug splattered windshield) that something had changed. The crew was  busy this past Winter building a new ticket booth. Initially, it has a wider appearance. It was planned that way to attract visitors to those two front windows so they have a place to ask their questions. It has several doors, too and looks so organized. Take a look!

My favorite sight? What a lovely treat to see such fields of forget me nots this year! I am used to finding trillium but this flower show on Green Bay Road was special.. 

Lew's favorite sight? Butch Jess pulling up in his truck to give Mockingbird the once over for another season on the water. 

This Weekend:

Memorial Day is upon us. The signs on Main Road tell me so. There are closets to be cleared and switched out. There are storage spaces to be attacked. There is a place to drop off the results of these labors. Starting Wednesday, the Community Center will be open for your donations for the Chicago-Madison Fundraiser this Saturday. They take everything - well, practically - even clothes. Come and check it out this Saturday. Meet your neighbors and get that car washed.

Don't forget to stop in at the Media Sale at the Art and Nature Center Saturday as well!

The TPAC's season begins!

What else is happening this weekend? Why the opening of the 40th season of the Albatross. Come see the new paint job AND the new sign!!! Open Friday-Monday 11-6.

For more information on Memorial Day Happenings be sure to check the Island Mettle Facebook Page.

It sure is good to be back on the Island.

till next time...