The Mystery of Danny Dodge

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here catching you up to date on the travels of Still Waters II.

Click on the Travel Map above or this link to see the day-by-day travel log.

The crew completed their two week cruise of the Georgian Bay when they arrived in Little Current on Friday.  The scenery was spectacular and the crew loved these cruising grounds.  They have now started into the North Channel with their first stop in Kagowong.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

The crew has continued to travel with LyreLynn and Perfect Day through the Georgian Bay.  Today, LyreLynn took the lead position on the way to Bad River.  But before arrival at Bad River the three boat flotilla would have to pass through two very narrow and shallow passages.

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Bone funny nautical humor

The first passage was through Cunninghams Channel.  The channel is only about one mile long; however, the water just outside the channel is only 1-4 feet deep.  As the boats safely exited the passage they all noticed a skeleton sunbathing on a float in the water.  A little humor is always good after a tense passage.

 

 

 

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Port prop damage

Next up was Rogers Cut.  This is another one mile narrow passage.  At the narrowest point there were markers to help guide the skipper through.  LyreLynn safely made the run and radioed back that he saw 6 foot depth all the way thru the cut.  The skipper went next and just as he was exiting the cut he hit a rock with the port prop.  The margin of success was pretty slim here.

 

Once the hit occurred the Admiral went below decks to make sure there was no water entering from a unwelcome hole in the boat.  The search showed that the hull was still intact.  Later the skipper dived down to look at the props and verified that the only problem was the port prop.

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Devil Door Rapids

Perfect Day was successful in making it through the cut with no issues so the flotilla continued on to Bad River to anchor for a few days.  After everyone got anchored the crews dropped dinghy’s and kayaks in the water to go exploring.  There were several small rapids and rivers flowing through the area that made this one of the best stops ever on the loop.

 

Then a guy came over and offered the crew some fresh caught fish.  The skipper filleted the fish and Lynn cooked them.  All three couples came aboard Still Waters II for supper and a friendly game of Joker.

Monday, August, 15, 2016

74 Collins Inlet
LyreLynn at anchor in Bad River

The crew awoke to an unexpected weather change.  The weather was supposed to be good all week with low winds.  However, Wayne informed the crews that a storm was headed their direction that would be packing gale force winds (>40 mph).  The skippers all agreed it was probably best to pull anchor and head to a safe harbor.

 

With one eye on the route ahead and one eye on the surrounding weather, the flotilla made way to Killarney.  About half way to Killarney, Wayne and Bill noticed that the weather report had changed again.  Now the report was calling for calmer winds in the area.  Seems a large storm was brewing south of the boats and had decided to turn east rather than come up into the Georgian Bay.

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Beaverstone Bay

Such it is when you try to base decision making on the unpredictable weather.  All was not lost though.  The clouds cleared and the flotilla had clear blue skies as they passed thru the 14 mile long Beaverstone Bay and Collins Inlet.  The pink granite had changed to more of a white granite in this area.  It made it look like snow on the nearby mountains.

 

 

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Cruising Collins Inlet

As they passed through Collins Inlet, the skipper noticed that there were many hunting camps along the water.  This got the skippers hopes up that they might see some wildlife.  About halfway through the Inlet the skipper noticed a hunting lodge high up on a point.  The lodge had a painting of a deer on a large rock.

 

The skipper radioed back to the other boats and announced that he had seen a deer up on the starboard side bank about halfway up the point.

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Beautiful Day in Collins Inlet

The Admiral pointed out that she did not think that was very funny.  So after letting the other boats pass the point, the skipper called back and told the other boats that the Admiral did not think his little joke was funny so he was apologizing.

 

Wayne announced that Lynn had nearly punched him to death trying to get him to locate the deer when they finally saw the painting.  Yes, now that is funny.

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Night shot of Sportsman’s Mountain Lodge

The flotilla arrived at the Killarney Sportsman’s Lodge to find a very nice town and community.  Everything that a small town should have to make the passing boaters happy, fish-n-chips and ice cream.

 

After walking around town and getting the obligatory ice cream to stimulate the economy, the crew tried the heated swimming pool.  Upon entry into the water it was clear that someone had forgotten to turn on the heat.  After a few minutes though the water became tolerable and the crew enjoyed a good swim.

95After the swim, it was time to try some of the towns world famous fish-n-chips.  The fish-n-chips were some of the best that the crew has sampled.  The crew ordered three pieces of fish but ended up with six pieces of fish for the price of three.  This is the kind of place the skipper and Admiral really like.  After finishing all the fish, the Admiral was ready for seconds.  The skipper informed her that she already had seconds, and thirds, and it was time to move on.

The crew found the other two couples in the boater’s lounge, so our crew joined them for an entertaining night of conversation and music.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The crew started the day off with a challenging exit from the dock.  The boat was boxed in the fairway so one boat had to be moved to allow the crew to exit.  Then the wind was going to be a factor blowing the boat up against the dock while the skipper would try to get around the boat directly in front of Still Waters II.  A few people came over to help the crew out of these tight quarters.  The skipper threw a couple of lines across the open fairway onto the next dock over.  The dock help pulled these lines tight and then pulled the boat over to that pier.  This allowed the skipper then to pull around the boat in front and make a clean exit.

97
The skippers best shot from moving boat

The crew was headed to Little Current for a 1500 appointment to get hauled out for a prop swap.  This was the first marina that had a travel lift large enough to haul Still Waters II out of the water.  The crew left in the rain, but took a short side trip out of the way to see an Indian Head that God made in the granite rock over at Portage Cove.

 

Upon arrival in the area of the Indian rock, the skipper had to find the right angle for the best view.  The crew turned around about three times to get lined up to see the rock formation.  The skipper tried to get a good picture but with the rain it was not as good as some other pics he had seen.

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The pro shot

After viewing the Indian head several times, it was off to Little Current.  The crew arrived about 1300.  The marina hauled Still Waters II at 1400 and had her back in the water at 1600 after replacing both props.

 

The crew then motored over to the town dock to spend the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The crew shoved off from the Town Dock so that they could make the 1000 Swing Bridge opening and be off on their way to Baie Fine.  There was congestion at the bridge with a couple of sailboats and a large tour boat.

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Anchored in The Pool

After clearing the bridge, Still Waters II crisscrossed paths with the tour boat all the way to the anchor location in ‘The Pool’.  A storm was chasing the two boats all the way to ‘The Pool’.  The good news was that the boats were just on the north edge of the storm.  However, other boaters were not so fortunate.

 

There was significant radio chatter as the storm passed.  Two boats were discussing how the wind had turned them sideways (90 degrees) from there travel path.  Other boaters were talking about safe harbor locations to duck into to get out of the wind.

Just prior to anchoring, the tour boat captain hailed the skipper and told him that a funnel cloud had passed over Little Current.  He did not have any damage assessment but had been told that the funnel cloud was spotted near town. After entering Baie Fine, the crew lost cell coverage due to the remoteness and high white granite cliffs on both sides of the channel. Wayne, captain of LyreLynn, kept the skipper informed of the storm movements as the crew made way to the anchorage by use of his weather radar.

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White Granite and Quartz surrounding The Pool

 

Just as the crew arrived the storm let up and the Admiral did not get soaked to the bone as she dropped anchor.  But then again, the anchor did not drop either.  After a few minutes of troubleshooting the skipper found the wire to the anchor power switch loose.  He tightened the connection and the anchor was back in business.

The skipper finds it interesting that he talked to Jeff, another looper on the hard at Boyd Marine, and learned that he and his brother “lost” one of their rudders off of their catamaran.  Probably due to vibration loosening the setscrews and gravity pulling the rudder from the boat.  The skipper also talked with the captain of ‘Bright Angel’ who lost a rudder while under way.

Then this morning’s Active Captain mail was about vibration induced problems with the electrical panels.  The Active Captain mail suggested routinely checking electrical screws for tightness.  The skipper will add this to his ever growing to do list, but he did go and check his rudder setscrews before setting sail today.

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Trail to Lake Topaz

The crew was invited to dinghy over to shore and take a hike up to Topaz Lake.  The hike was only about 30 minutes, but the crew met a very interesting young couple.  The family has four kids, 8 ,6 , 4, and six months.  They were initially spotted in one canoe on their way to dock at the trail head.

 

When the crew arrived at the trail head the canoe and family were missing.  About halfway to Lake Topaz the crew caught the young family on the trail, without the canoe.  This begged the question, “What did you do with the canoe?”

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Lake Topaz

Turns out they are in the area on a four day canoe camping trip.  They are portaging the canoe and gear from lake-to-lake.  They had carried the canoe over to Artist Lake, about a mile away, and now were hiking back to Topaz Lake to see the pretty water.  The family said they did this kind of thing every year and that the kids all had started hiking when they were 18 months old.  Until then, dad also portages the infant.

 

116 Bill, Lori, Lynn, Wayne.JPG
After Lake Topaz – back row – Bill, Lori, Wayne, skipper, front row – Lynn, Claudia

 

 

 

 

Thursday, August, 18, 2016

127The crew stayed another day at Baie Fine and went on another hike to a second lake.  When they arrived at the lake they found two backpacks but no people.  In a little while another young couple showed up to claim their packs.  They had just completed portaging their canoe over to Artist Lake, but said the trail was too step to carry their gear and the canoe so they were making two trips.

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Looking out over Lake

 

After the hiking adventure, the crew of Perfect Day came over to share in grilled burgers on the sundeck.  Another delightful evening on Still Waters II.

Friday, August, 19, 2016

After two wonderful days in ‘The Pool’, the crew moved back to Little Current.  The 25 mile hop back to little Current marks the official end of the Georgian Bay Tour.  The crew spent two weeks in these waters and barely scratched the surface of places to see and things to do.  Also the crew has now cruised 5,735 miles on the Great Loop.

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Leaving Baie Fine

 

This also officially marks the beginning of the North Channel.

03One interesting thing about this area is the Little Current Cruisers’ Net.  The Net is broadcast each morning starting at 0900 on channel 71.  The Net is able to cover about a 25 mile radius from around Little Current.  The host starts each program asking if any boaters need assistance.  If no boats require help, then the host provides a short news broadcast including the weather.  Then the fun part starts.  The host then asks boaters to radio in and provide their boat name and location.  By listening and participating, the crew could learn where other friends were anchored and headed.

On even number days the host works east to west calling out favorite anchor spots and requesting boaters in that area to radio in.  On odd number days, the host works west to east.  Sometimes the ship radio cannot reach all the way back to Little Current so other boaters relay the boat name and location.

The record number of boats participating in the roll call is 192.  Still Waters II has been participating in the daily roll call since first arriving in Little Current.  Only 70-80 boaters have participated in the broadcast due to the dwindling number of boaters at the end of the cruising season up in Canada.

05Next to the town dock there was a young artist actively painting and showing his work.  Two motorcycles had ridden into town and commissioned him to paint their cycles.  The artist came over and asked the skipper if he would watch the ‘store’ while the artist went to grab a bite to eat.  The skipper was reading the book “the Boys and the Boat” so he moved up to the curb side showroom to read.  A couple of potential customers roamed by but the skipper was unable to close a sale.  Working the showroom floor is not at the top of jobs the skipper would make a good living at, in fact, he might starve if he had to depend on his sales.

06

Fun Facts:

  • Little Current is located on the island of Manitoulin.
  • The island is the largest freshwater lake island in the world covering 1,068 square miles.
  • The name is the English version of the French Manidoowaaling, which means ‘Cave of the Spirit’
  • This name was for an underwater cave where a powerful spirit was said to live

 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

13 Bridal Veil FallsThe crew made the quick jump over to Kagawong.  The town’s claim to fame is the Bridal Veil Falls that are just a half mile out of town.  ‘Perfect Day’ cruised over with our crew and Lori walked to the falls with the Admiral and skipper.  After a refreshing swim the three wandered back towards the boats via the Mill Museum.  The museum had two interesting and unique exhibits.

The first was a family collection of wedding dresses.  The first dress dated back to a wedding in 1929.  The dress was on display along with a wedding portrait of the newlyweds.  The latest dress was from a wedding in 2006.  There were about two dozen dresses and portraits on display with an explanation of family genealogy back to the original couple.

The second exhibit was about Daniel Dodge.  He was an heir to the Dodge Brother fame and fortune.  His dad, John, and uncle, Horace, both died of the flu pandemic in the early 1920’s.  There widows sold the Dodge Corporation for 146 million.  Daniel Dodge had a hunting lodge here on Manitoulin Island and met a local island girl he wished to marry.

His widowed mother was none too happy that her son was marrying below his standard and tried to prevent the marriage to the local ‘gold digger’ who worked as the phone operator.

However, in 1938, Daniel convinced his mother that all was well and the wedding took place back at the family mansion in Michigan on August 2.  The newlyweds showed up at the hunting lodge on the island a few days later.

Daniel George Danny Dodge
Danny on the left

On August 15, the Cinderella story took a sharp turn towards disaster.  While playing with dynamite in his garage with a couple of the lodge staff, Danny tried to throw a stick of dynamite out the window.  The stick hit the window frame, bounced back in the garage and exploded.  With wood splinters and metal flying everywhere four people were injured.  One person was near death so they decided to take the boat to Little Current for medical assistance.

 

The young bride took the wheel of the speedboat and headed towards Little Current for what should have been about a 40 minute ride in smooth water.  However, there were four foot waves that seriously slowed the speedboat down.  After two hours on the water, with another hour to go, the young bride was too tired to continue piloting the boat.  As the wounded shuffled around to allow another pilot at the wheel, Daniel fell overboard.

The boat turned around and attempted a rescue but were unable to locate Daniel.  After about a ten minute search, it was agreed to continue to Little Current to save the life of the seriously wounded.   A $1,500 reward was posted for anyone who could find the body.  After three weeks the search was halted.  Then 23 days later, two fisherman found the body and claimed the reward.

Danny Dodge in The Mac.
Danny at the wheel of his speed boat

 

Speculation started immediately that something was fishy in Denmark, well maybe Kagawong.  Some locals believed that the bride took advantage of the situation and pushed Daniel overboard to collect his 9 million dollar fortune.  Others believe that Daniel stepped overboard into the cool waters to stop the burning pain of his injuries.  Or just maybe he actually slipped as the passengers were moving around in the boat while being tossed around by 4 foot seas.

The bride had to go to court to claim her portion of the estate, and finally won about 2 million of the 9 million bounty.  Not bad for a 13 day marriage.

And in case you think this case cannot get any stranger, the skipper found this little bit of info from a local ……There is a story in my family lore that is part of the Dodge story as well. In addition to the reward money, Dodge’s family paid men $20 per day to search for Danny. This was good money back in the day. My grandfather (one of the fishermen who found the body) told us he actually found him on the first day but since he was already dead, they might as well earn a few extra dollars and keep “searching” for a few more days. Horrible, I know, but if you knew my grandpa, it was not done out of malice. He just knew how to squeeze a nickel out of a penny.

After the quick tour of the museum, the crew of Perfect Day headed towards Gore Bay for the night.  Perfect Day is only about 180 miles from crossing her wake in Michigan.

 

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Waving bye to Perfect Day

 

Tune in next week to see the progress of the crew as they continue thru the North Channel.  The winds are predicted to raise to 25 knots on Sunday and may be above 15 knots most of the week.  The crew will have to monitor the weather closely next week to find weather windows to safely travel the North Channel.

The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

 

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