JULY--Beaver Island (45.7N/85.6W) to Trinidad (10.61N/61.38W)

Arrived in Beaver Island on June 26. I made a commitment in last month's log to cover some of the Beaver Island's history in this month's log so here we go! Beaver Island is the largest island in Lake Michigan. The island is thirteen miles long, three to six miles wide and lies approximately 32 miles from Charlevoix on the mainland. The island can only be reached by air or boat. Beaver Island is also known as the "Emerald Isle"----many of its residents are of Irish descent and fly the Irish flag from their homes. Carl and I last visited Beaver Island on July 14-16, 2005 back when we started our sailing adventure.

At one time Beaver Island was a Mormon kingdom.  After the death of Joseph Smith, most Mormons considered Brigham Young to be Smith's successor but many others Mormons followed James J. Strang. Strang founded the Strangite group, claiming it to be the sole legitimate continuation of the church "restored" by Joseph Smith. Strang's group initially settled in Voree, Wisconsin. He moved his group to Beaver Island in 1848--perhaps he selected Beaver Island because it provided a buffer from persecution and  isolation to increase his control over the group. The Strangites flourished becoming a political power in the region. They founded the town of St. James--named it after Strang and built a road called the "King's Highway" into the island's interior which is still the main thoroughfare on the island. The Strangites cleared land, built cabins, farms and other improvements, and sought to establish themselves as a permanent presence on Beaver Island.

Strang was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives. He founded the first newspaper in Northern Michigan, the Northern Islander. Once established on Beaver Island, Strang became a polygamist---a practice which he had previously opposed. He had five wives and fathered a total of fourteen children--his first wife left him when he took the second wife.

In 1850 Strang proclaimed himself king---actually over his church, not over the island. Strang was crowned on July 8 inside a large log "tabernacle" built by his followers, in an elaborate ceremony that featured a crown, a red royal robe, a shield, breastplate and wooden scepter. The Strangite tabernacle and Strang's house are gone, as are the royal regalia. The print shop built by his disciples remains to this day--now a museum dedicated to the island's history.

The Strangites often clashed with their non-Strangites neighbors on Beaver Island and adjacent areas. Strang tended to exert authority over non-Strangites on the island and was accused of seizing their property and of physically assaulting them--the hostility resulted in violence. The Strangites held a monopoly on local government, crossing the line between church and state. Strang dictated the type of clothing Strangite women must wear. Two women refused to comply with Strang's dress code so Strang had their husbands flogged, a task made easier after one of them was caught in the act of adultery with the wife of Strang's business partner. While recovering from their injuries, the husbands began plotting with non-Strangites to get rid of Strang. On June 16, 1856 the United States Naval gunboat USS Michigan pulled into the harbor at St. James and invited Strang aboard. The two men shot him from behind as Strang walked down the dock. Strang died from the gunshot wounds. The two men who shot Strang ran to the ship, it pulled out of the harbor and dropped them off at Mackinac Island. Neither man was arrest or ever convicted of their crimes. After Strang's death, mobs came from Mackinac Island and nearby St. Helena Island to drive the Strangites off Beaver Island ending the Mormon chapter in Beaver Island's history.

Irish fishermen from Gull Island, Mackinac Island, various port cities on the mainland, and County Donegal in Ireland quickly replaced the Strangites on Beaver Island. Their community developed a unique identity that was enhanced by the island's isolation from the mainland. Church services and even ordinary conversations were conducted in Gaelic for many years. By the mid 1880's, Beaver was supplying most of the fresh-water fish consumed in the U.S., but overfishing and changes in technology brought the bonanza to an end by 1900. More about the history of the Irish later in this log entry.

Pam and I attended The Beaver Island Community Center Grand Opening on July 1. The ceremony began with a review of the project and then the Center was open for tours.  The front of the building houses the Welcome Center where visitors can pick up information on the island.  The Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce will have offices here. The Welcome Center has concessions, café-style seating and wireless Internet access. Behind the concession stand is a full commercial kitchen. On the main floor at the back of the building is an auditorium/activity center which seats 150 people with good acoustics, stage and screen visibility for theatrical events. Behind the stage are two separate dressing rooms. On the second floor is the Youth & Senior Center called the “Hangout” with computers, billiards, board games, cards, books, DVD player, flat screen, stereo system and a fabulous view of the harbor.  The Center is available for community events such as weddings and dances. The Community Center is very nice---a long awaited addition to Beaver Island.

On Thursday,  Al Forte, Tom Kelly, Pam & Brian McLenithan, Carl and I went to the Chenille Sisters concert. In 1985, Cheryl Dawdy, Connie Huber and Grace Morand formed the Chenille Sisters in Ann Arbor, Michigan. If you listen to National Public Radio you may have heard the trio on "All Things Considered" and Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion". Their performance moves from humorous to bittersweet in the blink of an eye. The Sisters had the audience rolling in laughter with "Help! I'm Turning Into My Parents - I Like My Folks But Don't Want to Be 'Em," and "Blowin' in the Wind - A Female Perspective" ("How many roads must a man drive down, before he admits he is lost?").  In a blink of the eye we were moved to tears with their new song "May I Suggest".  Carl and I stopped to talk with Connie Huber who grew up in Valley City, North Dakota--had to check out those common North Dakota roots. Purchased the Chenille Sisters' latest CD. Thursday night we attended Roger Summer's retirement party---Roger taught with Brian and Tom in the Lansing, Michigan area. Roger's wife, Nancy, pulled together a great barbeque dinner. The party broke up early (especially for this crowd) because it was unbearably cold once the sun went down. Laurie and Jamie Forte arrived on Beaver Island via a flight on Fresh Air around 8:30 PM so the gang sat around on IRISH EYES visiting with them until late in the evening.

Friday was Independence Day----what a wonderful place to celebrate this holiday in the unique Beaver Island style. The day started with live patriotic music in front of the new Beaver Island Community Center followed by the 4th of July Parade down Main Street. You can see each parade entry twice because the parade goes down Main Street, around the block, then returns up Main Street! In past years, the parade has always contain an element of political incorrectness but I didn't see it this year. We attended two evening dinner events--"eating light at both places (ha ha ha). Next activity was the Boat Parade--Tom Kelly, Pam McLenithan and I had the honor of judging the Boat Parade entries! Independence Day came to a close with a display of Fireworks over the harbor.

Pictures from Beaver Island 4th of July Celebration. First picture is of Pam, Brian, Carl and I standing on the bow of a decorated IRISH EYES. The second picture is of the gang sitting in chairs waiting for the parade to start.


The next 5 pictures were taken during the 4th of July Parade. First picture is the Flyover by Welke Airline. The next 4 pictures are parade entries or floats.

Saturday early afternoon, Pam and I went to visit Protar's home and grave. The Protar Lady, Antje Price, was at Protar's home giving tours and telling about his life on Beaver Island. Antje wanted to dispel the myth surrounding Protar that was established by two previous authors who presented "an idealized legend of the nobleman/doctor based on half truths and many conjectures and assumptions!" Protar arrived on Beaver Island in 1893. Protar purchased a homestead on Beaver Island, did some gardening and limited animal husbandry but left the grain farming of the homestead to his neighbor. Protar acted as a veterinarian for his own animals before he entered the "Island Doctor" phase of his life. Antje Price says Protar never took on any medical case that he wasn't qualified to handle as a lay practioner. Protar died in 1925. He asked that his body be slipped into Lake Michigan without any kind of ceremony. This wishes were not followed. His neighbors took up a collection for a memorial--a fieldstone enclosure with a wood gate was built around his grave. The back wall has a plaque with the words ""To our Heaven-Sent Friend from his people of Beaver Island."

The first picture below is a shot of Protar's house. Picture two and three were taken at his grave.

Pam and I had to hurry from our visit to Protar's grave so we could make it back in time for the Irish Presentation at the Community Center. First we watched an outstanding video where we learned about Beaver Island's connection to Arranmore Island. Once the Mormons were gone,  Beaver Island was colonized by the Irish--particularly the people from Arranmore Island who left during the Great Famine. Arranmore Island (official name: Árainn Mhór) is an island off the coast of Donegal. As the demand for the limited amount of agricultural land on the island increased---more land of inferior value was put into use.  Small plots of arable ground were subdivided to provide an allotment for a son or daughter on marriage. In time, these sons and daughters subdivided their allotments to provide for their own children. In the period leading up to the Great Famine,  a population of over 2,000 people held very small pieces of arable land along the coastline and shared the rest of the island with their neighbors as a commonage---where they grazed their cattle and sheep. These family-farms were so small, so irregular and so infertile that they could never produce enough food to sustain a growing family. When the spring crops were planted all able-bodied men and boys went off to Scotland to work while the women remained behind to tend their patches of potatoes which would help to ward off starvation in the winter.

To add to the islanders' distress, in 1847, a new landlord appeared on the scene---Walter Chorley of Belfast. Chorley was a callous land speculators. Chorley along with other land speculators bought up, at a bargain basement prices, estates which were in debt because of the famine. Chorley requested special consideration from the government because of the numbers of destitute tenants that he now had assumed responsibility for was costing him dearly. Essentially, Chorley was given full management of the island by the British government. From Chorley's perspective, Arranmore was seriously overpopulated which place too heavy of a burden on himself since he was responsible for the poor tenants' upkeep. He decided to cut the population by half immediately---only the families of those who could show title to their land as rent payers were allowed to remain on the island. Tenants on subdivided land had to go! He consolidated the farms of those able to show that they paid rent and he ordered the rest to leave the island. As a gesture of goodwill towards those he ordered to leave, he promised to hire a ship to bring them to America or they could enter the overcrowded workhouses that were filled with inmates that were half-starved and in worse condition than those he was ordering to leave.

The evicted tenants strong enough to withstand the American journey left Arranmore for good in the winter of 1847. They set off on foot for Donegal town where the promised a ship would be waiting. When they arrived in Donegal town no ship awaited them. If not for the charitable inhabitants of Donegal town, these poor Arranmore islanders would have perished of sickness and starvation. Eventually they made away to America in one of the infamous coffin-ships. Those who survived the long voyage made their way to the shores of the Great Lakes where the skills they had brought with them from their island home helped them survive. The Irish from Arranmore were attracted to Beaver Island because it was near some of the best fishing grounds in the world. Also, Beaver Island is remote and isolated without a strong government presence which was fine for the Irish who were treated so poorly by their own government.

After the video, we listened to some Irish music and watched two women perform the Irish Step. Next, one of the Irish islanders asked for volunteers to help her demonstrate another Irish dance. No one in the audience was jumping forward to volunteer so I did. The dance was confusing--mostly because we were pressed for time and only a few of the volunteers knew how to dance. I did enjoy myself!

Irish Dances--the first picture below is of two young women who need how to perform the Irish Step. The second picture is of me learning an Irish dance with a bunch of other brave volunteers---just call me Braveheart.

When the Irish program was over, Pam and I joined Brian, Al, Laurie, Jamie, Tom and Carl for an early dinner at the Shamrock. We had a good time talking about the Irish video, music and dance while eating. After dinner we returned to the Community Center for a "dance". It turned out to be more of a concert--a nine piece band that played Irish tunes while NO ONE danced.

The following picture was taken at the Shamrock where the gang stopped for burgers and the best, richest chocolate cake dessert you will even taste--made with Guinness Beer!

Sunday, it was time to pack our bags and catch the ferry, the Emerald Isle, to Charlevoix. It was a windy day, the seas were pretty big but you did not even notice it on this big ferry with stabilizers. Bahama Cruising friends, Dave and Carol on PASSPORT, met us at the ferry dock. We went to their house in the woods for drinks, appetizers and conversation. Carol showed me her wood carving projects. Carol started to collect sea glass this year so she was sorting her collection by size and color. Carl showed Dave where he could order a good antennae for picking up wireless signals. All of us caught up on last year's travels and the whereabouts of common cruising friends. Thanks Dave and Carol for spending time with us.

The next four pictures pictures were taken on the ferry ride back to Charlevoix and in Charlevoix. The first picture is taken from the deck of the Emerald Isle. The next picture is of the channel into Charlevoix. The third picture is one of the "Hobbit Houses" in Charlevoix and the last picture is Dave, Carol and me!

Sunday night we rode with Jamie and Laurie Forte back to Grand Rapids. Monday, I drove Laurie to work so we could have her car for errands. Met friends, Kris and Craig (TILT) for lunch at Red Robin (great burgers). Picked up various spare parts then returned to the Forte's to pack. Laurie picked up pizza and salad for dinner which we ate on the deck. Went to bed early because our flight left Grand Rapids at 7:00 AM. Laurie woke us up early to drive us to the airport. Thanks Laurie!

Our flight to Trinidad was uneventful--a good thing. Ours was the first of three flights arriving within 15 minutes of each other. We were seated toward the front of the plane so we made it to the line before most of the other arriving passengers. It took us 45 minutes to clear Immigration--some passengers waited over 2 hours. Collected our baggage and headed for Customs. When we cleared Customs, found our taxi driver anxiously waiting for us at the exit to the terminal---he was worried that we weren't coming!  Next stop--Customs at the marina in Chaguaramus where they processed the airport paperwork, stamped our forms, collected fees and sent us on our way. Arrived at the boatyard around 11:30 PM too keyed up to sleep so we turned the air conditioner down to cool the room while we went for a walk. In the morning, off to clear Immigration at Chaguaramus. Walked to Crews Inn where Immigration is located--on the way there we bumped into Peter and Wendy on KEESJE II (traveled with them from Georgetown, Bahamas to Salinas, Puerto Rico). In the Immigration office , we bumped into Jake and Carol from OFF-LINE (traveled with them from Georgetown, Bahamas to Luperon, Dominican Republic). After finishing our business at the Immigration office, stopped by the coffee shop at Crews Inn where Dave & Donna (MAGIC) and Jake & Carol were enjoying a cup of coffee. It is fun to meet up with fellow cruisers to catch up on their adventures. Jake and Carol were flying back to the US that evening so we were lucky to see them before they left.

Several projects are underway. Repainting the mast and boom is at the top of the list. When we returned from Michigan, the painting was completed--it looks fabulous!. Carl hired a rigger from Budget Rigging to help put all the hardware back on the mast and boom which was time consuming and performed in the hot sun. The mast was finally ready "to step" on July 21. As soon as the mast was up in the air ready to be stepped---the rain started pouring down ! The riggers worked off and on for the rest of the week until Friday when the job was complete. Of course, Carl would have preferred they worked "on" our rigging until it was done but that isn't the way things are done. All that is left is for Carl to go up the mast in the bosum chair to install the blocks for the flag halyard.

The following pictures captures the biggest project--repainting the mast and boom. In the first picture, Carl is out in the hot sun putting hardware back on the mast  Mast stepping day arrived and it did not look like it was going to happen as scheduled. In fact, we were told it would happen the next day. All of a sudden, it is ready to go. I took the second picture to show how anxious Carl was and this pictures shows him giving a sigh of relief! If you could read Carl's mind in the third picture he would be saying "Don't you guys dare scratch that mast." I named the fourth picture--"Hang Em High". In the last picture, the mast is finally over the top of DISCOVERY.

Another project started in June--designing, building and installing a seat for the nav station. Carl spends a lot of time sitting at the nav station. All he had to sit on was the end of the settee cushion with no back support which was uncomfortable and hard on his back. The seat is completed and installed. I am working with an upholsterer for an estimate and looking at fabric. The question is......"Do we re-do the entire main salon cushions or cut cushions and use the existing fabric"? Having our dining table moved forward about a foot to give us more room around the nav station. "Same Crew" who has been doing our carpentry work will take the table out of the boat the end of this month (today) and return it the first part of August.

The next picture is the nav station chair before it was covered with cherry veneer.

Had plans with Peter, Wendy, Dave and Donna for an overnight trip to the Asa Wright Nature Center and then on to the Caroni Swamp the following day. Postponed the trip due to weather---Inves 94.  The National Hurricane Center dispatched a Hurricane Hunter aircraft to look at Inves 94--a weather formation just east of Trinidad to see if there was any indication of cyclonic development. All of us agreed that sitting up in the rainforest, which is where Asa Wright Nature Center is located, not knowing what is happening to your boat is not any one's definition of "a good time". This system did dump buckets of rain on Trinidad as it passed by on its way to the western Caribbean where it later developed into Tropical Storm and Hurricane Dolly.

More cruisers are arriving in Trinidad to either do work or lay the boat up for hurricane season. Tom and Rose on SOJOURN are here to complete a few projects (install water maker and solar panels) and then head to the western Caribbean. Lee and  Cindy on TRAQUILITY are also here also for boat projects and then they plan is to go to Aruba in late September. As friends arrive, we get together to share adventures and future plans. Currently  waiting for Bob and Margo on IVORY STAR to arrive. Well, I was out in the cockpit on Tuesday (7/29) putting some things away, turned around and there was Bob and Margo standing on the boat behind us. IVORY STAR is on the hard in Grenada--Bob and Margo are visiting Trinidad for 3 days before flying back to Colorado. Invited them on board to catch up with their travels.

Have ventured into Port of Spain with Dave, Donna, Rose and Tom. When we arrived at the terminal, our maxi taxi driver warned us to stay in the "safe areas" and to be careful. We stopped in several stores, purchased some DVD movies and looked at fabric. Port of Spain is a large city and as it is in any large city--there are places you should not venture into. The problem here is the  edges of the so called "safe areas" are being encroached upon!

In our spare time we have been reading and watching movies on our DVD Player. Attended several potlucks and cocktail parties. Celebrated the THIRD anniversary of Carl and Marilyn's Sailing Adventure here in Trinidad. Left Pentwater, Michigan on July 13, 2005 sailing 11,663 nautical miles (one nautical mile is 15% longer than a statute mile). It has been a good time so we decided to continue the adventure for another couple of years.

The next three pictures were taken at a Coral Cove Potluck organized by SOJOUR and MAGIC. Dave, Donna (MAGIC) and Nancy (Delusions) are in the first picture. Next is Jillian and Graham on KATHLEEN LOVE and finally the last picture is Tom and Rose on SOJOURN.

Attended the Pan and Kaiso In the Village--part of the week long celebration of Emancipation. The performance was at Hasely Crawford Stadium. The Pan is a musical instrument and a form of music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago. Kaiso is a type of music popular in Trinidad, which originated in West Africa, and later evolved into Calypso. Kaiso songs are narrative in form and often have a cleverly concealed political subtext. We were told that you must read the newspapers in Trinidad and Tobago to understand Kaiso. The show opened with an outstanding drum and dance group--the best entertainment of the evening. We listened to three Pan Bands before heading back to the boat.

The four pictures below were taken at the Pan and Kaiso celebration. The first two pictures are of the Drum and Dance Group we saw perform. The last two pictures are Pan Bands.

One last tidbit of information. Have you wondered where the name hurricane originated? Hurican is the carib god of evil. It should be noted that the Carib god 'Hurican' was derived from the Mayan god 'Hurakan', one of their creator gods, who blew his breath across the Chaotic water and brought forth dry land and later destroyed the men of wood with a great storm and flood

Submitted by:
Marilyn Thoreson
August 1, 2008