Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grand Haven, MI

 We left Ludington at 830AM bound for Grand Haven about 70 miles south.  It was overcast and misting but the good news was the lake was flat.  The GPS worked again bringing us to the harbor entrance.
Of course it started drizzling harder as we approached the marina. Debbie models my foul weather gear well.
 The municipal marina was full due to "Coast Guard Week: festival.  We stayed across the river at North Shore Marina a working boatyard.  It was a 13 mile cab or bike ride each way to Grand Haven so we put the dinghy in and in 10 minutes we were in town.  Note the new electric 3hp Torqeedo electric motor.
 The admiral as my bow ornament.
 Grand Haven fancies itself as the Coast Guard City.  I was warned we may get boarded here by overzealous public servants but I think they were to busy with the festivities.  
 The celebration reminded me of a large festival complete with rides but no beer booths.  Not in Cincinnati!
 Several large CG vessels were in port for the festivities, including one from the Canadian CG.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ludington, MI

After two extra days due to high winds and waves we departed Frankfort for Ludington, MI, a 51 mile trip.  Winds finally settled down to 5-10 SW with 1-2 foot waves.  We made good time arriving at the marina by noon.
 Saw this vessel as we walked around town.  Airboat/hovercraft cross?  There is a lawnmower engine mounted in the bow.
 I have reason to believe road salt is used a great deal in the winter.
 Murals were prevalent in the downtown area.  
Twice a day in the summer the SS Badger departs Ludington for Manitowoc, WI directly across the lake.  She still burns coal.  and she carries both cars and passengers.  When she comes in she drops her anchor and then spins 180 degrees on it to line up with the dock.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Frankfort, MI

We departed Leland after a weather delay of one day,  for Frankfort. The 40 mile run was a 2 hour trip.  We programmed the Chartplotter for the entrance channel (breakwater)  off of Lake Michigan and viola, there it was.  
Nice municipal marina with competent deckhands to help us in.  We backed in a slip and powered up.  most of the boaters bow in which for us makes it difficult to hook up our shore power.  The strong westerly winds caused quite a surge in the area, rocking Island Hopper all night one night.

 A nice town that had a sidewalk sale and farmer's market when we arrived. We found a great restaurant that just opened, Cru Cellars which has a sister restaurant  in Tampa, have to check it out this winter.  
The marinas are well maintained complete with flowers.  We had to stay two extra nights due to high winds so we caught up on laundry and boat chores.  No one moved.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Leland, MI

 We departed at 8:30PM for our 48 mile run to Leland, MI.   Debbie enjoys holding Bryce the Welsh Terrier on her lap.  WE ended up staying two nights due to high seas and wind.  A cold front passed through.  Seas building to 8 feet so the Captain has elected as everyone else in the marina, to stay in port.  

 Like many cities bordering Lake Michigan, the city has built a great transient marina complete with offices, lounge, showers and rest rooms.  Wonderful dock hands as well.  The breakwater protects us from the weather on Lake Michigan.  Note IH on the left with the dinghy on the stern.
Leland is a quaint fishing village complete with shopping and restaurants.  The boat here is a commercial fishing vessel for Lake MI!
I loved the windvane.
This is an  area called "Fishtown" that is quite old.  Instead of commercial fishing houses they now house boutiques and restaurants.    

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bay Harbor, MI

We departed Petoskey after two days due to weather for Bay Harbor, only 6 miles to the west so an easy run.  It is a private development built around a lake that is 80 feet deep from its use as an aggregate pit in the early 1900s.   Beautiful floating docks and marina. 
 The homes remind me of Port Royal in Naples but for the summer.  Check the boat house on these huge homes.
 The "town" consists of high end shops and 5 restaurants. The locals use golf carts for transport.

 I could not catch the SUV as it rounded the corner. Retro at best.
 Another gorgeous home. I love the boathouse on the right.

We did see two boats from our home port of Longboat Key moored in the marina.
A view from the dock towards the town.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Petoskey, MI

 We departed St. Ignace at the top of Michigan, on Lake Huron for Petoskey, MI our first stop on Lake Michigan.  WE departed at 8:20AM and arrived at noon for our 55 mile run.  Seas started out 2-3 feet and settled down as we entered Little Traverse Bay to 1 foot.
 We passed under the Mackinac bridge entering Lake Michigan for the first time.  Wind was 15 knots from the west right on the bow.
 We tied up at the Municipal Marina.  Like most towns in MI the city owns and operates a large marina for locals but also provides many slips for transients like us.  This one had an adjacent park and bike path that connects to Charlevoix and Harbor Springs.  
 Petoskey is a small resort town with shops, ice cream and of course fudge.  
 You may have heard about problems with lowering lake levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron.  The level has dropped 4 feet since 1999.  You can see the effect here of a dock near Petoskey.  
We stayed for two nights due to high winds that gusted to 38 MPH on Tuesday.  I bicycled to Harbor Springs, 20 mile round trip, with much effort with the headwind.  En route I saw the U of MI solar powered vehicle.  It had an entourage of 5 vehicles including a huge SUV with trailer to haul the car.  So much for environmentally friendly.
Enlarge the picture to see the whitecaps and 5 foot waves passing the marina.  It was lumpy in the marina as well all day, finally subsiding in the evening.
Another shot showing the flags! WE enjoyed our extra time in Petoskey. We found two good restaurants, Palette Cafe and Twisted Olive.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

St Ignace, MI

 We wanted to stay this night at Mackinac Island but we were waitlisted for a slip.  Problem was the Port Huron to Mac sailboat race was finishing.  The dockmaster thought the boats were delayed by weather but the report in the morning was they were close by, so we had to vacate.  Note the ferry rooster tail!

 We decided to stay until checkout so we could bicycle and take a final tour so we chose a close by marina at St Ignace one of the cities from which the ferries for Mac depart.  Nice municipal marina about 30% full. Only 6 miles away.  
We will leave early tomorrow AM and pass under the Mackinac Bridge en route to Petoskey, MI about  65 miles. 
Can't pass up a picture of a lighthouse, this one at the entrance to the marina.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mackinac Island

 We were lucky to secure reservations for two nights dockage at this busy port.  The Port Huron to Mac yacht race was to arrive on Sunday so everyone had to leave by noon. That still gave us two full days.  We left Detour Village at 1030AM after a line of storms passed.  What did we do before radar and internet.

We traveled the 40 miles in 2 1/2 hours even though the wind picked up to 15-20 knots and we found out when we arrived, gusts to 30 right on our bow. We were glad to enter the protected harbor, but now we had to dock and back in a slip in a tight marina. 

With my able crew we looked like pros.
 Note how high the docks are.  They were installed in the 80s when the lake was 4-5 feet higher.  Many marinas have retrofitted with floating docks but not this state owned one.  
We had a nice view of main street homes.
 A small cruise ship was tied up to the public wharf. 

 A view of Lake Huron from the fort.

We decided to have a private horse drawn carriage tour of the island.  Very nice guide called Aaron, who has been at it 10 years.  Everything moves on the island by horse or person power, even UPS and Fed Ex!
 From the fort one could see the Mackinac Bridge in the distance.
 Debbie enjoyed seeing the Victorian homes and especially the flower gardens.  Many are private residences and some have been converted to Inns.  Typically built in the 1880's.

 I enjoyed the fort tour and the musket demonstrations.
 Of course bicycles are everywhere.  Check out this 1870's model, called a high wheel.  I didn't try that one. Thousands of tourists are disgorged from the ferries daily.  Many rent bikes others shop and buy fudge at the many stores.   

 If you stay at the Grand Hotel you are picked up in this rig by a driver in a tux.  Quite stylish.  Also after 6PM gentlemen must wear a coat and tie, ugh,  not on Island Hopper.  
 We walked up to the hotel and paid $10 each to go inside and wander around.  Very nice and formal but not my style.  There are many beautiful Inns I would prefer if not on our boat.  The porch is over 600 feet long, two football fields.
 This was the view of the Grand Hotel from the water as we passed, leaving Mackinac on Sunday  
 Many homes were built on the ridges and are still in use today.  

 We celebrated Debbie's birthday at the restaurant called the Carriage House at  the Iroquois Inn on the water a great spot and a wonderful evening.