Riding the Waves with Piper

The best first mate, to date, is our beloved former Belmont Shore neighbor, Piper Jackson. 

Born and raised in Long Beach, CA, Piper has been on the water most of her life.

Thanks, Piper, for making Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies.


The quaint little town of Frankfort was full of delightful surprises, well worth the stop!

Frankfort Mineral Spring Water.
Historic Frankfort
Monarch photo by Bill from Oregon
Photo by Bill, from Ohio.

We reunited with Gypsy for a delicious impromptu barbeque.  The best kind.

Decadent potluck, fresh Michigan corn and caramel s’mores.

Another delightful surprise, a nice small world moment – Hello Carrie!


At the local grocery store, Rick realized he knew the lovely woman in front of him. Carrie Hessler-Radelet and her husband (Rick and Carrie met in California, of course), live in small town Frankfort during the summer.  Carrie’s father and two wonderful Michigan friends joined us on board Exhale for a relaxing glass of wine.


The public docks are under renovation, after an aggressive storm surge. The marina building was spectacular, and the staff was delightful.



Downtown Manistee.

Crew Change – Introducing Matt & Piper

Matt and Piper Jackson joined us on Exhale in Manistee. By the way, we definitely missed you, Michele.


Piper and Maddie grew up together in California, and are very similar in age (Piper is 10).  Piper swims competitively, sails (solo) better than most men, and is a trained youth lifeguard.


Matt, Piper, Capt. Rick and Maddie ran the boat from Manistee to Ludington (roughly 3.5 hours) while I got to drive Matt’s rental car along the country roads of Michigan.  Matt and Piper did a GREAT job without me on board 🙂


Ludington is home to S.S. Badger, the last coal-fired passenger steamship in operation in the United States.  If you want to learn more click here. 



It’s also home to Brenda’s Harbor Cafe. Adnerb, is this part of your retirement plan?

This is for Brenda Marlow.


Well versed in nautical lingo, from Ludington to Pentwater (roughly 2 hours) Piper adeptly set the lines, handled the fenders, and kept the captain well informed as we were docking.



Pentwater Yacht Club

Piper made herself very comfortable, hanging out at the yacht club.



Piper was the first to spot the familiar Long Beach Yacht Club burgee (Jacksons and grandparents Barry and Kathy May are longtime members).

Exhale crew, Matt and Piper Jackson.

And it was our first Burgee Exchange (Southwest Florida Yacht Club and PYC).  We miss you, Commodore Ron Austin!


Burgee Exchange

Thanks for visiting, Matt and Piper

It was sad to see Matt and Piper drive away.  We heard she played the ukulele – pretty much nonstop – on their 4-hour drive to Chicago :-).  It turns out Piper is a VERY talented actress and musician, with an uncanny ability to recite LONG excerpts from Hamilton. It was very impressive.  We hope you come back again soon. Next time, bring mom and the grandparents!  

Pentwater to Grandhaven

After closely monitoring the weather for days, it appeared there was a break in the storm. Only after Peter and Rick rode out into the swells in a dinghy to check on the sea conditions, we agreed to leave the dock with Peter and Jeannie on Tortuga, with an expectation that the water could be a little rough, but knowing it would be worse the following day.

calm waters

Departing Pentwater at 12:30 pm, unusually late for us, once we got away from the shore we had 42 miles of 2-3 foot following seas (think of it as a gentle push).  What a pleasant surprise.  Inspired by our discovery of calm waters, Gypsy and Miss Hattie braved the journey as well.  We arrived in Grand Haven around 7 pm, enough time to enjoy the sunset and a delightful evening cocktail with Lenore and Bob from Miss Hattie.

Grand Haven to Holland – No Photos, Please.

Let’s just get it out there, I wasn’t mad, I was just plain scared.  For me, the run from Grand Haven to Holland was my all-time worst 2 and a half hours on the water this yearRick said the waters might be a little rough, but we also knew it was a relatively short trip (only 12 miles). And, based on the previous day, I thought the waters would calm down, more or less. I was wrong. 

When the beam seas (water aggressively slamming you from the side of the boat) kicked in, the boat rocked enough that I put on a life jacket.  My mind was racing with fear, imagining how we might capsize.  When Rick realized the dog was shaking, and saw that tears were rolling down my face, he offered to go back.  Fear is irrational and hard to shake, but I trust Rick, and I knew the best answer was to proceed.  Of course, we all made it safe and sound, albeit a little rattled.


It was really exciting to visit De Zwaan – Dutch for the swan. The last windmill to leave the Netherlands, it’s still an active grain mill, grinding roughly 12,000 pounds of locally grown corn and wheat every year.  To learn more click here.  The miller is Ms. Alisa Crawford.

De Zwaan, Holland, MI


Amsterdam street organ, a thank you gift after World War II.

We enjoyed walking the grounds of Windmill Island Gardens, Holland MI.




We left Exhale docked in Holland and took a short vespa ride (~ 8 miles) to reunite with Bruce and Beverly Peck, Sea Trek (they said hi, Craig!)

B and B enjoying a lemon drop martini.


Vespa Ride

We don’t use the Vespa often enough.  Even in a light rain, what a great way to visit nearby communities, especially when there is no Uber or Lyft nearby!


Happy Birthday Alisha, Happy Anniversary Danielle and Sandra


Next Stops: Southeast Lake Michigan

Following the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, we are slowly headed to the Illinois River. So far, in Michigan, we have stopped in DeTour Village, Mackinac Island, St. Ignace, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Leland, Frankfort, Manistee, Ludington, Pentwater, Grand Haven, and Holland (with a side trip to Saugatuck on the Vespa).  Next up: South Haven, or thereabouts.


Next Guests – Not sure 🙂

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 126, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

U.S (March 1- June 10). Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont. (August 10 – tbd): Michigan

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario.

Side trips (via auto or plane):

Los Angeles (MS [2 – April and May], Rick [3 – May, June and July] & Maddie [May], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April])

Author: Exhale49

North Pacific Trawler euro style

4 thoughts on “Riding the Waves with Piper”

  1. As usual, loved the photos and reading of your adventures. With regards to my retirement plan, I think instead of Brenda’s Harbor Cafe, I would prefer Marlow’s Bar in Florida. I don’t remember where in Florida it was but it was along the coast and Claud and Kristy Jones visited it and sent photos. 😜

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: