Monday, August 2, 2010
We had a delayed departure due to heavy fog. The good news is that with fog there is no wind so the water is smoother. It stayed very overcast and in the distance we could see a very black sky. We went through couple of 2 to 3 mile bands of very heavy rain but no storms. About half way to our destination we entered the USA, so now we have completed the Canadian portion of our travel. Our travel for the last few days has been through the wide open waters of the North Channel along the northern shore of Manitoulin Island. The scenery is beautiful but except for the occasional port there is very little habitation. As the afternoon progressed and as we got closer to our destination, our visibility deteriorated. We were glad when we finally arrived at Drummond Island Yacht Haven. After we got settled into our slip, a US customs officer boarded and we cleared customs without any delay or problem. Art & Kathy (loopers on Fortuity) arrived a little later.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
We were up early ready to depart at 7 a.m. but it was very overcast and looked foggy in the distance; we could not see the far shore. We decided to wait until 8 a.m. to see if it would be better. It was worse, and after speaking with Bill & Nancie who were where we planned to go, we decided not to travel today as they said it was extremely foggy there. Fortuity did leave and reported back that the water was calm but visibility was less than a mile and it was not fun. We watched boats come and go for customs clearance. This marina is a major port for clearing customs to get back into the USA. There were many locals at the dock fishing for perch. Some of them fished most of the day. In mid afternoon Jane & Pete (Somerset II) arrived. We have seen them at various ports along the way. After that, Don & Patty (Seabourne) arrived. We last saw them in Kingston Ontario and the plan was to meet in Georgian Bay somewhere but we never could work that out. So, it was a very pleasant surprise to see them again. We all had potluck on Tellico Lady tonight.
Wednesday, August 4,
It seemed a little foggy at our planned departure of 7 a.m. but it also seemed to be lifting fairly quickly with the breeze. Because we knew tomorrow would not be a good travel day, we decided to go. It turned out to be a good decision. The water was a bit lumpy and choppy as we were travelling for the most of the day through the open waters of northern Lake Huron and thus exposed. We could see the outline of Mackinac Island and 2 piers of the Mackinac Strait bridge from 18 miles out. There was very little to see except some shoreline way off in the distance on the starboard side and wide open Lake Huron on the port side. Once we got past the open water, the water was more calm and we passed by Mackinac Island and headed to our marina which was about 7 miles to the northwest. There were many ferries crossing back and forth between St. Ignace and Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island. We encountered more rough water from their wakes then we did from our open water travel. Tonight we, Cheryl & Hal (Mas Bueno) and Kathy & Art (Fortuity) went to a Chinese/Thai restaurant, which was excellent.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The wind has blown all day and quite strongly at times. We explored the downtown area which is quite small with some restaurants, gift shops, grocery store, hardware store, bookstore, and 2 ferry terminals. Also located on a side street is the St. Anthony Rock. It is know as a "sea stack". 'It is made of Mackinac breccia, a type of stone formed 350 million years ago when the roofs of deep caves collapsed into stacks of fragmented rock.' When the glaciers scoured this area and melted, wave action in the resulting lakes eroded the soft stone, leaving the 'sea stacks' exposed. While downtown, Ken discovered a Radio Shack/Marine Store which was having a 50% sale on all items, as it was closing. He managed to relieve them of a good bit of their inventory. The remainder of the day was spent washing windows, cleaning gnats off the outside of the boat, and doing laundry. Tonight there was a steel drum band performance on the waterfront at the marina, which we watched for a while. It was a high school band; they were very good, playing a variety of music including Jimmy Buffet and Michael Flatley. Tomorrow Ben and Sharon Birdwell from Knoxville will arrive and we will go to Mackinac Island together. They plan to do Lake Michigan with us. We may not update our website for a few days.
Ben & Sharon Birdwell arrived today by car from Knoxville. They are going to travel on Lake Michigan with us. Since Brenda wants a break from boating, she will move their car from port to port. After dinner on board Tellico Lady, we walked into town and along the scenic boardwalk.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Ken & Brenda and Ben & Sharon took the ferry over to Mackinac Island. No motor vehicles (except for 1 ambulance and 1 fire engine) are allowed on the island so all travel is by foot, horse, or bicycle. We took a horse and carriage tour of the island. Our tour started by taking us through the waterfront village which is very much geared to tourists with the usual restaurants, gift shops, fudge shops, and souvenir shops. Of course there are pedestrians, many bicycles, and horse-drawn carriages on the main street. Our tour then passed through areas off main street where we saw the Grand Hotel and colonial homes before going through the more forested central part of the island. There were many wild flowers along our route and we learned that there are very stiff fines for picking any flowers, even a dandelion. We stopped at the much photographed Arch Rock, a natural limestone formation with a 30-foot wide hole gouged in it over time by waves and glaciers. We also saw Fort Mackinac which overlooks the Straits of Mackinac. This fort was once a British outpost until the island was captured by American troops 20 years after the American Revolution. Mackinac Island was once a commercial depot for the fur trading business. Many of the downtown buildings have been designated as National Historic Landmarks. The island is also known for its fudge, particularly the Murdick Fudge Company. We purchased some and it really is some of the best fudge we have ever had.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
We decided to stay another day as the weather forecast was for winds and seas that would not be comfortable for our planned long run to Charlevoix. We drove around the area surrounding St. Ignace and stopped at a beach at one of the state parks. Observing the white caps and waves crashing on shore, we were glad we made the decision to stay in port another day. This section of Michigan is not heavily populated but it is very scenic.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Ken & Ben travelled by boat to Charlevoix while Brenda & Sharon drove. Travel on the water involved some periods of rain but the water was calm. The drive to Charlevoix by car was only 1-1/2 hours so Brenda and Sharon arrived in plenty of time to scout the town and to secure a mooring for Tellico Lady. The municipal marinas in Michigan will not take reservations over the phone; boaters are supposed to call a central reservation call center to make reservations but it is a most unsatisfactory system. So what boaters do is call the marina the morning of travel and have your name put on a waiting list. The marinas operate on a first-come, first-served basis. We assured them that Tellico Lady and Mas Bueno were enroute to the marina so we got on the waiting list and within 2 hours we were told they could accommodate us. A very large yacht (90-foot) by the name of Cracker Bay was scheduled to depart at 1:30 and we would both be placed at his spot which would be perfect as that is when Tellico Lady and Mas Bueno would arrive. However, Cracker Bay did not depart until 3 p.m. so Tellico Lady and Mas Bueno had to loiter in the harbour. This is a beautiful modern marina right downtown. The downtown is was very busy with both vehicles and pedestrians. It has many restaurants, gift shops, and boutiques which Sharon and Brenda checked out. In the evening we all took our own walking tour to view the "mushroom houses" in Boulder Park, a residential area. These homes resemble 'storybook fantasies of whimsical, irregular stone houses with wave-like roof lines. Each house was designed to fit the site it occupies. Their whimsical unique style have made them the subject of many newspaper and magazine articles, as well as a tourist attraction. The homes were built and designed in the early 1900s by Earl Young. Loopers, Barb & John, aboard Scoperta arrived at this marina today.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Once again, Ben & Ken travelled by boat while Sharon and Brenda travelled by car. Again, we had to add our names to a waiting list. When we arrived by car there was no transient space available but as the morning progressed, boats left and space became available for Tellico Lady, Mas Bueno, and Scoperta. Today's water travel was much like yesterday's with some rain but very little wind, so smooth water. The village of Leland has done an excellent job of maintaining and preserving its rustic shanties and docks reminiscent of life and commercial fishing 100 years ago while at the same time modernizing the marina and its adjacent shopping area. Galleries and unique shops occupy the shanties. Leland is a 'walking around' town with all the downtown amenities within walking distance of the marina. This historic area is known as "Fish Town". Dinner was aboard Mas Bueno with Hal & Cheryl, Ken & Brenda and Sharon & Ben (Tellico Lady), and Barb & John (Scoperta). Before the sun began to set we all strolled to a nearby beach to search for Petosky stones which are a fossilized stone with a distinct hexagon pattern on the surface. We collected some stones but now it is necessary to set them in some water to see if the pattern emerges. The beach was beautiful; the sand is very soft and deep and you sink to above your ankles when you walk in it.
Wednesday, August 11,
Ben, Ken, & Sharon travelled by boat to Frankfort while Brenda travelled by car. The boaters had another calm day on the water and saw sand dunes along the shore. The sky became black and storms threatened near Frankfort but thankfully did not materialize. Frankfort is located on Lake Betsie. The marinas on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan are all entered through a protected causeway leading to a protected basin. We were able to get a reservation at the Municipal Marina without delay. When Brenda called to say the 3 boats were on their way, they immedidately were given slip assignments. Frankfort was once a thriving commercial fishing community and now tries to fill the gap with tourism. The downtown streets are lined with stores and shops offering gifts, jewelry, fine clothing, antiques, artworks, etc. Back in 1855 a man by the name of Frank Miller built a home and for some unknown reason surrounded it with a large stockade. Locals referred to it as Frank's Fort and apparently that is how Frankfort got its name.
Thursday, August 12,
Travel was calm on the water with foggy conditions during the middle third of the trip. The Manistee River runs through the middle of the town of Manistee so all points of interest are along the river. Downtown Manistee has historic buildings, a theater, eclectic shops, retail shops, and restaurants. We walked through downtown and then along the Riverwalk which winds along the river. It is a very scenic riverside town. All of downtown Manistee is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In its heyday, it was a thriving lumber town. To celebrate Hal's birthday, we all ate at the Boat House restaurant which overlooks the Manistee River. This was followed by a further celebration at the park adjoining the marina where we had a birthday cherry/peach pie which was locally baked using local fruit.
Friday, August 13 and
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Another good travel day on the water. This is a very large, clean, and modern marina and it is within walking distance of downtown and the beach. We immediately explored the town and then walked to the beach. Michigan has some of the most beautiful beaches we have seen. We have been very impressed with Michigan, thus far. There are beautiful flowers everywhere and the boulevards in each town are lined with a gorgeous display of petunias. We have also been impressed with the many parks in each town and with the cleanliness of each town. Right next to our marina is the terminal for the S.S. Badger which is a coal-fired steam-power carferry that provides service between Ludington, Mi and Manitowoc, WI. It arrives at Ludington each day at 6 a.m. and again at 6 p.m. and departs at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. It is the last of the carferry fleet and the largest one to sail the Great Lakes. We had front row seats watching the Badger come and go. It is a huge ferry and the unmistakable sound of the ship's whistle signalled her arrival and departure and all other boats promptly got out of her way. On Saturday there was a very large arts and crafts market in the beautiful park adjacent to the beach, so of course we had to check that out.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Ken & Ben got an early start. The water was relatively smooth for the first half of the trip but bit by bit the seas got rougher. Because they were beginning to get beaten up they decided to stop at Whitehall instead of going to Muskegon, the planned destination. They sure were glad to get out of the rough beam seas and into the calm harbor. Lake Michigan showed her ugly side today. The town of Whitehall, while small, is a very pleasant, quiet, and quaint town. Just over the bridge from Whitehall is the town of Montague. We explored the town after settling in. Today is our 40th wedding anniversary and Sharon & Ben treated us royally with a special dinner they prepared complete with champagne. It was a pleasure to share our anniversary with them. When we began the loop we wondered where we would be on our anniversary.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Due to the winds from the northwest and predicted seas of 5 to 6 feet, we stayed in port today. Our friends, Jim and Sharon Angel (Blue Angel) who are visiting their hometown of Grand Haven, MI drove over to visit with us today. We all went to Pekadil's for lunch and had a wonderful visit with them. It was great to see them again.
Tuesday, August 17 and
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Sitting at the marina on protected White Lake, it is hard to imagine that Lake Michigan is still rough. The problem is that the winds are from the west and are over 10 knots. The waves are 3 to 4 feet in height but the interval is only about 3 seconds so that makes for sharp peaks and a rough ride so the decision was made to stay put. Brenda & Sharon went on a long walk that took them along the water, through residential areas, and then downtown where they checked out the stores. Tonight we all drove out to the channel leading into Lake Michigan to observe the wave activity. They had calmed down a little so we thought maybe there was a chance we could travel tomorrow.
The forecast on Wednesday was for SW winds of 10 to 15 knots so were somewhat wary about departing. Ben & Ken drove down to the channel early and sure enough it was rough so the decision was made to stay in port. Ben & Sharon had planned to drive home on Thursday but since today was not a water travel day, they decided to drive home today. Ken & Brenda walked across the bridge to the town of Montague. There are very boats at this marina, maybe because no one is travelling due to the rough water. Sam & Denny, aboard Iron Jenny were here when we arrived and like us they are staying in port waiting for a weather window, which we hope will be on Friday.
Thursday, August 19,
Here we sit at Whitehall waiting for Lake Michigan to settle down. Predictions for good seas tomorrow are in the forecast so we are still hoping we can depart. Today we walked over to Montague, approximately 1 mile away. We poked around the rather small and quaint town and stopped at a bookstore and clothing store. There is a weather vane in the downtown which is purported to be the world's largest. Although Whitehall and Montague are small towns and not too lively, they are very well maintained and clean with beautiful parks, gardens, and walkways.
Friday, August 20, 2010
We were up early and as soon as we could see daylight, we departed. The wind prediction was for winds higher than we like but since they were from the E and SE we decided to try it. Our plan was that at each port we would assess the situation and decide whether to go in or move on. We thought we could at least get to Grand Haven. When we arrived there the seas were still good so we pushed on. About 1 hour before arriving at Holland the wind picked up to about 17 mph from the S with gusts to 20 mph and the water was getting a little choppy but still okay. Since we were travelling only about 1-1/2 miles from the shoreline we could easily see the beautiful sandy beaches and sand dunes. As we got closer to Holland we saw many more homes and wooded hillsides above the beaches. Today being Brenda's birthday we celebrated at Piper's, a restaurant at the marina which has an award winning menu, and we loved it.
Saturday, August 21,
We weren't confident enough about the weather forecast for the weekend so have decided to stay here until Monday morning. As it turned out we could have travelled today. Since this marina is strictly a boating neighborhood we are not within walking distance to anything so we decided to rent a car to explore the area. We drove to Saugatuck which is about 10 miles south of here. Saugatuck is known as Michigan's Art Coast. It is a bustling tourist spot on the Kalamazoo River. It has many art ships, ice cream shops, restaurants, specialty shops, and boutiques. We have heard it described as Michigan's Key West but more upscale and we would agree.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Because there were small craft warnings for Lake Michigan, we stayed in port. This morning we visited Windmill Island Gardens. Here we saw America's only authentic working Dutch windmill. It was imported from the Netherlands and restored at these grounds. The blades reach as high as a 12-story building and are turned by the wind. During our tour of the windmill we learned that it is still used to grind grain into flour on an average of 3 times a month. After the tour was over, we were treated to Dutch dancing complete with dancers in Dutch costume and wearing wooden shoes. Other attractions at the gardens included Little Netherlands which was a miniature creation of a Dutch countryside, a Dutch street organ, an antique children's carousel which was imported from Holland, manicured flower gardens, and dikes. We then went into downtown Holland to the main street where we had lunch at an Irish Pub called Curragh's. We could not find any Dutch restaurant that was open. Being Sunday, almost all businesses in the downtown were closed. Our next stop was at the Holland Museum in the downtown. Over 150 years ago, Dutch settlers began the settlement of what was then a wilderness. The museum presents the history of Holland from "settlement to city". The museum is located in the former post office built in 1914. In addition to artifacts that focus on early Dutch settlement, it also houses artifacts illustrating the diverse ethnicity of present day Holland. This includes local history, Indonesian, Hispanic, Southeast Asian, and Native American. There is also a display devoted to the Slikkers family and their boat building activity in the area. This was truly an excellent museum. We then returned our rental car and took a taxi back to the boat. There was a huge flotilla of boats in the harbor near our marina when we returned. A local radio station was hosting some type of fund raiser which included music and the locals were out in full force enjoying a nice day on the water.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Today's scenery was much like what we saw on the way to Holland but with fewer sand dunes and more trees on the hilly shoreline. Travel on the water was good with waves of about 1 foot. We caught up with Bill and Nancie (Watauga) at this marina as they have been here a few days visiting with family. Also arriving at this marina today were Steve and Carolyn (Here & Now). So once again, we have a TN flotilla of 3 boats in one marina.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Tellico Lady, Watauga, Here & Now, and Iron Jenny all departed for Chicago each with a different destination. Today's travel was mostly in open water with no shore in sight for many hours. The water was cooperative with mostly large swells with a very slight wave on top. Because it was overcast and hazy we did not get a good view of the Chicago skyline until we were about 8 miles out. At one point, 23 miles away and with the use of binoculars we could faintly see the outline of buildings but then they quickly disappeared in the haze. We were glad to arrive at our marina as this signified the end of Lake Michigan travels.
Wednesday, August 25,
Burnham Harbor is a large, beautiful marina. However, this marina does not provide any information package at all for the city. However, it is within walking distance of many attractions. We spent the morning at the Adler Planetarium and the afternoon at the Field Museum of Natural History, both of which we thoroughly enjoyed. We then took a taxi to Maggiano's Restaurant where we met Bill & Nancie for dinner. Then we all walked along Michigan Avenue over to the Chicago Canal and then to the John Hancock Building. We went up to the lounge on the 96th floor where we enjoyed a drink while overlooking the city lights of Chicago, a magnificent sight. We could also see the fireworks at Navy Pier. This week has been a celebration of the tall ships which are currently in Chicago, so each night there has been a fireworks display at Navy Pier.
Thursday, August 26,
Today we walked to the downtown area. Chicago is a beautiful city with many gardens and parks. There are walkways and bicycle paths for miles along the Chicago waterfront and they are well used as we constantly saw cyclists, runners, and walkers. We walked past Navy Pier but did not explore it. Instead we walked over to Millenium Park which is a 24.5 acre park in the downtown area. We saw the "bean" as it has been nicknamed, due its shape. Its official name is the Cloud Gate. It is 33 feet high and has a 12-foot arched opening that you can walk through. In in addition to its unique shape, it has a mirror-like surface which reflects the city's skyline, the sky, and pedestrians. Another prominent feature of the park is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a gigantic and sophisticated outdoor concert pavilion. We also saw the Crown Fountain. There was an international event being held inside an enormous tent-like structure. Inside there were several booths, each featuring a different county, some with food, and most with items made in the particular country. We watched a couple perform a Czechoslovakian dance (complete with costumes) on the center stage. This was very entertaining event. Interspersed throughout the park are beautiful, well maintained gardens. After walking several more blocks along Michigan Avenue, we had lunch and then made our way back to the boat. We have been very impressed with all of the sections of Chicago that we have seen. Tomorrow we will leave Lake Michigan behind and begin the Illinois Waterway.
NOTE: THIS WILL END THIS SEGMENT OF THE TRIP. FROM HERE ON, REFER TO THE ILLINOIS RIVER SECTION
Copyright(c) 2008 Ken Bloomfield, All rights reserved.