Back on the Water

We left Drummond Island with low expectations for weather and wind, and we were not disappointed.  Friday we motored to Detour Harbor, a run of about 10 miles.  It was just to make sure everything was working as it should, and the weather was supposed to be good on Saturday to cross the top of Lake Huron, headed for Mackinac City.
It was cold and dreary, and about 15 miles short of our destination; there was a big black area on the radar that wasn’t supposed to be there.  It was a thunderstorm, and we motored through it, so we had the opportunity to see if our stanchion re-bedding did the trick and stopped the leaks.  It appeared that it did.

We stopped at Mackinac Island (about 5 miles short of Mackinac City, and its pronounced Mackinaw), where there is the famous Fort Mackinac.

On July 18, 1812 (some accounts say July 17) British forces attacked the fort after the US declared war and invaded upper and lower Canada, and after firing only one shot, US forces surrendered.  They mounted a force in 1814 to try and retake the fort, and this attack failed as well.

In 1815 Mackinac Island was given back to the US under treaty.  We watched the cannon fire display, and when they found out we were Canadian, they wanted to know the location of our vessel.  We declined to tell them.

Nowhere in the fort could I find the account of what happened.  The soldier stationed there did, however, let me hold his gun for a picture. (That was before he knew I was Canadian).

We were told in the cruising guides that we would not be able to get transient boat space on the island, and would have to take a ferry ride from Mackinac City to tour the island.  Whether because we are moving late, or because the boating is down this year, we had no problem getting a slip.  Mackinac Island is a very touristy place, where they sell a lot of t-shirts, sweats, and fudge.  There are no motorized vehicles allowed, so taxis are by horse and carriage, and renting bicycles is a huge business.

From Mackinac we went to Charlevoix, finally putting us in Lake Michigan.  The wind was on our nose in the Straits of Mackinac, after we turned south we were able to sail.  It stayed cold, with rainstorms all around us, when we saw a funnel cloud forming.  I was able to get a picture of it, when I called the coast guard to give them the location; they simply said they were aware of the situation, before I even gave them the location.  They must have been very busy, is the only explanation I can think of.

We entered Charlevoix Marina, the first port of refuge on Lake Michigan heading south, and it is wonderful.  Very small entrance leading to a small lake, where we chose to rent a slip ($1.15 per foot), brand new marina, power, washrooms, shower, and right in town.  Very protected, and it turned out to be a good thing.  Huge thunderstorm with a lot of wind and rain last night, the stanchions are not as waterproof as I had hoped.  Oh well, they have washers and dryers here as well.

Michigan is very boater friendly, with their harbors of refuge, at a low price, every twenty miles, with services and supplies.  Everything closes after Labor Day, however, and we are being offered two for one at every stop until Manistee, they have had a slow year here as well as everyone else.

We have been able to sail a lot of Lake Michigan so far, although Thursday was a short day due to head on winds, high waves, and a lot of slogging.  Friday and Saturday’s weather looks better.  We are looking forward to getting to Grand Haven and spending a couple days resting, and visiting with Cousin Eugene.

The trip south on Lake Michigan was like moving backwards from the fall to the summer.  After we came by Manistee the air started getting warm again, the flies were out, and we had our first real sail in fog.  We were socked in, so we hooked up our radar and it performed like a champion.  We could see boats, and their courses, and even the occasional bird showed up.  We had a long day Friday, and reached Muskegon, about 10 miles short of Grand Haven.  We anchored for the night in Lake Muskegon, amongst hundreds of boats salmon fishing.

There was a call to the Coast Guard, telling the CG that they were lost, and couldn’t find their way home.  This is after dark, and the fog was so thick you couldn’t see the front of the boat.  CG was asking them what they could see around them, nothing but fog is the answer.  Towboat US had to go out and find them.

The story for Lake Michigan is storms (we missed most of them, but could see them), sand dunes (we are proud of ours in Cavendish, they have 300 miles of them on the coast) and salmon fishing.  Going into Manistee and Muskegon was what downtown Chicago must be like on Labor Day weekend.  The channel is just full of boats going 2 knots, with the occasional person roaring through at 20 knots.

We are in Grand Haven, where it’s warm again, and like summer, and the marinas are full.  We’ll sit here a couple days, meet with my cousin Eugene, and keep an eye on Ike.  Hopefully, Chicago soon!!

Love to all,
Joe & Mary Beth
S/V “Pot ‘O’ Gold”

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2 Responses to “Back on the Water”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Arrr mate”es!!!! Glad to hear you”ve had sooth sailing A little fog in yer way but nothing the CAMPION can’t handle. Peg is right on top of everything at home charting your loop. When we left today at 13:30 they were on their way up to Borden for the HOBO WEEKEND with Uncle L and Aunt A. We arrived home at 18:00 Hamilton and then another 2 hour drive from there. Todd had a beer with Blue and then it was lights out for him. We will keep up with the blog because Todd’s E Mails don’t work for some reason. He’ll check again. Lucas and Adam say they wish they were there!!, and that they “pray” for you both every night for good weather and smooth sailing I’ll be calling Peg early next week so she will up date me further I’m sure. Ate sooooo much lobster “eyeryday” and “mussles” that I have my share of brain food for a while. Thats a good thing keep eating that good food and we’ll all live to be 120yers. I must sign off now We have a whole crowd coming over tomorow. Thinking of you always!!!! BE CAREFUL!! BE FREE!! AND ENJOY THE RIDE !! Love Aim Luc Adam and Toad. xxxxxxxxxxxxxoooooooooooooooo

  2. Anonymous Says:

    i hope you get my new mesage lucas on sept 29 love yaaaaaaaaaaa!

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