The next morning, after a walk to the post office with a fresh stack of postcards, we set out with Little Blue T. Tracy seemed very comfortable driving and docking their boat, as she took the lead the next morning from the flybridge. They headed to Mackinac Island and we followed behind and peeled off as we neared Les Cheneaux islands on our way to Hessel. We really connected with Tracy and Darryl and hope to travel with them again.

We found Hessel to be a lovely fishing town with lots of Loopers! We found Volare and Rambler in the marina for the two nights that we would be there. We enjoyed dock tales the first night with everyone and then dinner aboard Volare. Mary made us a delicious porkchop dinner and Gary made delicious old fashions.

The next day we celebrated Tony's birthday. Tony woke up early to see the start of the Slammin Salmon Derby being hosted at the marina. We'd befriended one of the competitors and our neighbor at the dock, Karl. Karl also shared his truck with us while he was out fishing. The flare gun went off at 6:30 and the race was one to catch salmon, steelhead and lake trout. Then our looper friends Mary and Gary from Volare arrived at the boat singing happy birthday with a plate of cupcakes for Tony around 9am. Then we left for breakfast with them in Karl's truck. We went to Cedarville for breakfast and Tony had his favorite, biscuits and gravy. We returned to the marina in time to see the fisherman come in for the weigh-in of their fish. Karl and his team were the big winners that day! We went to the Islander restaurant where the fisherman were drinking and celebrating with awards for the day's catch. We met Mary and Gary at the Les Cheneaux Culinary School restaurant to celebrate Tony's birthday. He had a steak. I had fish. We tried to find ice cream after dinner, but it had already closed. We set off to find the fisherman again. They'd offered to share some fillets with us. We found them gathered in the courtyard of the cottage where they would spend the night. They were drinking and frying up some of their fish and celebrating the day's catch. They'd already dropped off fillets in our refrigerator on the back on the boat. We headed back to Volare to enjoy birthday cupcakes. And we shared fish fillets with Mary and Gary too. Rambler joined us aboard Volare and Gary poured little beers for everyone. We went back to the boat to call home and share fishing stories with Keith and Danny.