Land Life…for a summer

We made our latest move in May.. from the stable weather in the Caribbean, leaving Lost Loon to fend for herself in Grenada, to the Land of the Loons on Lake Vermilion, MN in early May. This move requires us to disassemble  and reassemble our lives and living quarters in both places. …and so weve become pretty good living as gypsies in between.

After making our way out of the Leewards, through the Windward Islands of the Caribbean we arrived back in the familiar waters of Grenada. It seemed like home again. We had been away for nearly 2 years due to the constraints of Covid. We actually arrived the day Grenada authorities eliminated the testing requirement to enter the country.

Once we found an good anchor spot in Prickly Bay we had nearly 3 weeks to decomission our Caliber sailboat for hurricane season. We successfully completed 3 full pages of detailed tasks. From cleaning the bilge to polishing the stainless ( oxymoron…it rusts, and too fast!) changing the oil and varnishing exposed teak.  Most days we worked 7 to noon,  rest during the hottest part of the day, and then resume our work from 2 until dusk, feeling accomplished as we check off completed tasks.

Afternoons were spent resting below out if the sun or rain or walking to the nearest marine or hardware store to obtain a missing part or needed provision. Saturdays we treated ourselves to a long bus ride to the HASH location.

We did some incredible HASH hikes. We were also blessed to meet some friends who escorted us to a sweet remote seaside hike followed by a post-hike reward to a remote pizza kitchen. This place is called Pizza (appropriately) and is on the east side of Grenada over a river and up a hill near the playing field. It is only open on only certain days of the week, and we were treated to very best handmade pizza in all of the Caribbean. 

Nat’s place is great. The seating is very tropical and outdoors, so if there’s rain, well other than a couple of umbrellas, you get wet. The menu is written on a large piece of brown paper every night he is open. You write down your order at the counter on another piece of paper with your name, clip it to the round order thing and wait for your name to be called.

Being that it was Holy Week, the menu reflected such. Pizzas such as, the Betrayl, Ressurection, Last Meal and Easter. His ingredients include the standards of tomato mozarella, and basil but also capers, carmelized onions, mango chutney, pancetta, jalapeno, and chorizo. Ok, my mouth is watering just writing this. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun. We visited with Nat for some time that evening. He shared his new establishment sign with us. (I wonder if he ever got it up). It was truly an experience.

We decided to return to the US in early May this year, so as to get in on some early summer fishing on Lake Vermilion.

After making our family visits through IL, WI, and parts of MN, we found our way back to our other home. Little did we know Mother Nature decided to put off summer for a few weeks upon our arrival. The first few weeks we had nights in the 40s and afternoons in the 50s and some 60s. this was quite the change from the warm temps of Grenada. We found everything as we left it, which is always a good thing.

Other than the  early summer storms where we were without power for several days, it has been thankfully uneventful. We have caught some fish, played countless hours of pickleball, and have managed to get in the cool Lake Vermilion water a few times. Oh ..wait PICKLEBALL! We have joined the Ely Pickleball Club. To our surprise, this is a very active PB club. We play M-W-F’s for 2-3 hours with a variety of experienced players and now good friends.

We get in as much as we can this summer because we know we cant find pickleball in the Caribbean …yet.

Boating…Of course we bought another boat. (Isnt this a yearly event for us?) To replace the small aluminum fishing boat and for trips into the boundary waters, Mike found a 16 ft. Lund with a 25 hp outboard which is allowed on a few of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area lakes. The process is to buy a permit for a weeks time period , then pick one day in that week to fish. Mike and our lake neighbor Charlie ventured out in early June to Basswood Lake, and were successful in finding some  nice spring walleyes. So a few weeks later we took our “new” boat and joined Charlie and his kids on Trout Lake, just a portage away from Vermilion. It was a chilly morning at 0630 when we pushed off our dock in hoodies and long pants and took a 20 minute ride to the portage.

Here we were picked up by a boat trailer pulled by an ATV and transported 3/4 of a mile and dumped into Trout Lake, without having to leave our boat seats. The lake was crystal and flat and we only saw 3 or 4 other boats on this 2000 acre lake.

We fished several spots trying to find the fish. We fought off the chill of the morning, as the sun crept overhead. We finally located the motherload and hauled in 5 very nice walleye.

Then the worst happened. Mike was pulling up the stringer (a relic from the previous owners of the cabin..40 yrs?) and the rope broke! We watched on horror through the brightly lit, clear water as these beautiful 18-21 inch fish swam away together in slow motion deeper and deeper. Mike nearly jumped in after them!! Following a few expletives, we regained our composure and over the next hour or so managed to pull in 1 take-home fish. We completed the day with a  2-mile hike along a portage to another small lake off Trout and then returned to the machanical portage and Lake Vermilion with a pretty crazy fish story.

Sailing…we have only had a handfull of days where there has been the right wind and no rain to head out on our little DC. She sails very well when not taking on water. (more to this story when its published, yay!!!!).

As the days begin to get shorter here in the beginning of September,  and nights just a bit cooler, we have begun to make our “escape-from-Vermilion” plans and migrate the other direction. So far, all is well in Grenada, however we watch the Atlantic for developing storms and look forward to warm days and warm nights, sailing friends, and some of the best sailing we’ve been lucky to experience!

Want to thank all my friends who continue to read this and encourage me to continue writing!!