Thunderbolts & Lightning

We rode out a thunderstorm last night while anchored at buoy 55, a wide spot in the Portage Canal on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. When we dropped anchor in 11 feet of water mid afternoon, we faced South. Anticipating weather, I put out 75 feet of chain with the snubber clipped at about 65 feet.

Things started w/thunder and lightning to the WNW about 7:30. By 8:00 lightning was crashing all around and the rain started. About 15 minutes later the winds came. Hard. From calm to 20 knots, then building to 30 knots with gusts above 40 knots. From my perch at the helm to monitor things I saw 44+ knots twice.

Meanwhile the rain was torrential. In the gathering dusk it looked like film footage from an advancing hurricane. Besides watching our holding pattern on our Raymarine chart plotter, my only reference points were lights from houses along the west shore and channel buoy lights 1/4 mile south. At times the lights disappeared in the driving rain. My only orientation was often our ship’s compass and the chart plotter as we swung wildly on the anchor chain. This went on for a couple of hours. Although it likely rolled with the major wind shift, our trusty Mantus anchor held us in place thru the storm and our mast was ignored by the lightning.

The winds finally passed after a couple hours of this, but the rain continued well into the night.
Today we head on into Houghton to tie up to the city wall.

August 28, 2018 Keweenaw Waterway-Buoy 55     46°52.185’N   89°19.254’W   1031.96 Nautical Miles

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