Monday, February 20, 2012

WISSA 2012: The Road To St. Igmace, Opeming Ceremony

My perhaps dangerously overladen Forester performed magnificently on the long drive here, 20 hours all told with the planned overnight stop in Cleveland. Morning found us back on the highway and we gobbled up the miles, did the RuShip and I, the way a hungry Pac-Man chomps down the ghosts. The highlight of the trip was crossing the Mackinac Strait on the six-mile long bridge. Mighty Mac, they call it, and combined with the view toward Lakes Huron and Michigan it was simply the most awe-inspiring sight I have seen in many long years. Upon completing the crossing, you find yourself in St.Ignace where the local folk are pulling out all the stops to welcome us here.

During the opening ceremony at St.Ignace Middle School, we were treated to performances of Ojibway drumming and dancing by members of the area's Native community. The performances were im part to welcome us, and in part to "honor in loving memory, a quiet hero", Senior Chief Petty Officer Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson who gave his life in Afghanistan in service to this nation. Are not all true heroes thus? A moment of silence, if you will, and perhaps prayers for his family. We were invited to join in the Friendship Dance, to dance in a full circle around the drum they called the Grandfather, because all grandfathers enjoy seeing their children and grandchildren around them dance and be happy.

Another of the Ojibway performed a hoop dance with such agile footwork I wish to see him on skates with a wing. Then he would intertwine the hoops along his arms and spread them as though they were eagle's wings. Which was exactly his intention as another of his nation who was sitting near me said. When I told him I had seen eagles on my trip here, he said it was a sign of a good day. And so it has been. Dinner after the ceremony was hearty and filling, and we spent a little time afterward looking at all the young children's drawings about WISSA with their impressions of ice and snow sailing.

Regrettably, ice here has been as fickle as back home. We can neither sail on Moran Bay, just across the street from where most of us are staying at the Driftwood Motel, nor on the strait beside Mighty Mac, but on a small inland lake close by. Chain Lake has plenty of ice and we will make it work. The Show Will Go On.

Skipper's meeting tomorrow at 9:30, and then off to the race. I will try to post again tomorrow, maybe around mid-day.

Reporting from St. Ignace, your Humble Correspondent, Rick

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