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Captain's Log – A Change in Command and the Feats of Strength

Date: August 24, 2016

It’s a little odd writing a log entry from a library one thousand miles away from the ship. I have gone home for a bit, and the next time I will see Pride, she will be home too. Captain Jan Miles has taken over for me (we split the time as close to down the middle as we could, rotating on and off every two months or so, circumstances permitting) and will retrace the steps we made through the Great Lakes and back to salt water, and thence home to Baltimore. The way it worked out was satisfying, geographically – I took over in the Great Lakes, and my mission was to keep going west until there was no more lake (Duluth, MN) and then go home.

To get to Duluth from Green Bay involved some of the most entertaining sailing of the trip. We had a good fast sail across Lake Michigan and then, due to confined space, motored up the St. Mary’s River to the Soo Locks in Sault St. Marie, which lift you the 20 feet or so required to enter Lake Superior.

Lake Superior is the most northerly, the deepest, the coldest, and the biggest of the lakes. They call her “Mother Superior” up there, with all the forbidding, Catholic school, whack-you-with-a-ruler associations the nickname implies. Though it was calm when we entered the lake, the wind soon built to over 20 knots and the waves along with it, fortunately from astern. Pride had an engagement in Madeline Island and we had to slow down to avoid getting tangled up in the Apostle Islands in the middle of the night; our speed made us early.

After a night in Bayfield and a day anchored off Madeline Island, we had a R&R day anchored off one of the outer islands of the Apostles. Then, we motored the last 45 miles or so to Superior, Wisconsin, in a flat calm, to stay for a couple of days with our friends at Loon’s Foot Marina. The marina is a repurposed ore dock with a huge concrete structure running a good quarter mile along it – it was formerly used by trains to load lake freighters. Now, its interior is a repository for all kinds of interesting stuff, marine and otherwise, in varying stages of disassembly. I love places like that.

After that, it was off to Duluth, the essence of which Captain Miles has covered in his recent log entry. But, I do have one story that wasn’t covered there. Throughout the ports we have visited, each ship has hosted a party for the other ships. Most of the parties have a theme, and most of the themes are inside jokes. This time, Pride hosted, and the theme was one that many people will get: Festivus in August. If you know it, great. If you don’t, Google it. One of the Festivus traditions is “the feats of strength.” I chose, much on the spur of the moment, to have the feat of strength be to pin me to the deck in a wrestling match. Then I forgot about it. Our second mate, Becca Rusk, did not forget about it.

Another pop culture reference is apt, here: in the first Jurassic Park movie, the Big Game Hunter creeps into the velociraptor paddock to tranquilize one. He’s using all his big game hunter skills, and thinks he has it totally wired. He hears a noise, looks off to one side, and sees, far too late, that he was the prey, not the predator. He has about enough time to say, resignedly and admiringly, “……..clever girl…..” before he is pounced on and eaten.

This was like that. I was in the middle of a conversation about an hour later, and six of them tackled me. It took them at least 10 minutes to finish the job, though. Thus ended my first tour of duty on Pride of Baltimore II. Majesty and pageantry and adventure don’t exist without foolishness, I find.


Captain Jordan Smith