Shared Passion for Sailing Brings Four Men to Navigate Across the Great Lakes; Trip Pictures and Video

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The trip is over. It took just under 7 days to cross from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan, making 600 miles. Eight months later the trip pictures and video are posted on their blog http://megabluewave.com/blog . (original summary: After four months of preparation, the journey begins as four men set sail from Detroit's Lake St. Clair to Milwaukee's McKinley Marina.)

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I was trying to figure out how can we post to our blog while we are on the water. Thanks to the great technology we have today we'll use my RAZR cell phone to post updates to our blog assuming there is cell phone coverage in the areas we will be.

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The trip is over about 9 months ago. The four Milwaukee area sailors made the 600 miles trip in less than 7 days. They left Detroit, MI on Saturday April 29, 2006 at noon and arrived in Milwaukee, WI on Friday May 5th, 2006 at 8:15 am. They made 2 overnight stops, one on Lake Huron and the second in Sturgeon Bay, WI. There was a third stop which they made after crossing Lake Michigan in a thick fog. At about 2 am near Baileys Harbor they anchored what appeared to be close to the shore judging by the GPS location. Visibility was zero. After waking up in the morning the fog was already lifted. They were greeted by the sunny day safely anchored inside Baileys Harbor.

The trip went very well, without any major incident. The weather was cooperating as well with the exception of the thick fog while crossing Lake Michigan. During that time all 4 of them were very attentive, watching for ships because they were crossing 3 busy shipping lanes.

When they arrived in Sturgeon Bay WI, Door County they felt their 15 minutes of fame when a diesel pump attendant asked Scott if you were the guys sailing from Detroit and heading to Milwaukee. Someone on his staff was following the trip progress on the Big Sail Blog.

They took about 1,400 pictures and some video footage. Selected pictures were are posted on their blog and can be seen at Big Sail Photos and Big Sail Videos.

After the trip the four still remain friends.

[The original news release:]

Milwaukee, WI (PRWEB) April 24, 2006 -- Departing on April 29th aboard the Dawn Treader, a 1983 O'Day 34 with an overall length of 34 feet and beam of 11 feet, 3 inches, John, Mike, Scott, and Marek will sail from the shallows of Lake St. Clair, into the North Channel and up the St. Clair River to Lake Huron. From Lake Huron to the Straits of Mackinac, they will cross the top of Michigan, and using Ludington or Muskegon as a stopover, cross to the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan between Sheboygan and Milwaukee as they head for this destination of McKinley Marina in Milwaukee. If all goes well, they hope to complete the 600-mile journey in six days.

Early planning for the trip included classes on heavy weather sailing, coastal navigation, sail management, and boating safety. Final preparations include a thorough checkout of the Dawn Treader, two gps receivers with all course waypoints stored, and contacting every harbor along the course to determine which ones are open should fuel run low or a place to moor be needed in the event of bad weather.

Safety precautions for the men include using jacklines to minimize the risk of an overboard situation, carrying a waterproof strobe or led light, whistle and a knife at all times on deck to be prepared if the unthinkable should happen.

Back-up plans include a Loran receiver in case of gps failure, and paper charts and chart books on which their course has been plotted, and on which they will plot hourly position fixes for the entire trip.

The four friends have been sailing for most of their lives and share a love for the water and a passion for sailing, an escape to a simpler life. "There is just something special about the full sail, the wind, the water, the waves and the feeling of peacefulness and quiet all around, while you are under the sail, sailing," says Marek. "I was 13 years old when I went to sailing school, and each year I went to a sailing camp. My passion for sailing grew every year and I was blessed with many sailing opportunities."

Yet, technology binds them to the present even as they sail across the Great Lakes. Marek explains, "I was trying to figure out how can we post to our blog while we are on the water. Thanks to the great technology we have today we'll use my RAZR cell phone to post updates to our blog assuming there is cell phone coverage in the areas we will be."

With a cautious and respectful view of the lakes and placing their destiny in God's hands, the four men set off on their sailing adventure.

Follow their journey on The Big Sail Blog, http://megabluewave.com/blog .

Article provided by Susan A. Palmer, a writer and novelist who lives in Los Angeles, CA. She keeps in touch with her Midwest roots through family and colleagues. Visit her web site at http://www.susanapalmer.com to learn more.

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Marek Wawrzyniak

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