Monday, September 28, 2015

August 15 - August 30, 2015 ::: Mackinac Island to Chicago

Due to a small weather window we traveled from Drummond to  Mackinaw City Marina to avoid bad weather at sea.  In Mackinaw City we were most pleasantly greeted by the Harbor Hosts, Mary and John Leatherman.  We last met Mary and John at the end of our 2nd Loop when we stopped at the Visitor's Center on the Dismal Swamp before arriving back in Portsmouth.  They live some miles away, but keep their boat, MARY FRANCIS IV, at Mackinaw City. 

Surprises not ending, when we arrived in Mackinac Island two days later, we were greeted by fellow travelers we had first met on our DownEast Loop in 2009.  Mike and Janice Skjelmose aboard SENSATION I were on their way home in Thornbury, Ontario.  What a small beautiful world we live in.

To conclude our first day on Mackinac Island ... we, yes, Charlie and Bonnie, completed a bicycle ride around the Island from the marina going west, north, east, south, then west ... it was a long trip and darkness was closing in ... we made it and felt good about our accomplishment.

Our second day on Mackinac Island was filled with the excitement and anticipation of the arrival of Anne Bristow flying in to ride with us from Mackinac Island to Chicago.  Bonnie waited close down on the Shepler's Ferry Dock for Anne's arrival. We were all pleased she had a good trip to join us and off we went from the Ferry Docks to SONATA.

Anne and Bonnie walked and shopped, Charlie shopped at Doud's Market, then we all met at the Grand Hotel to sit on the porch and go to the tower for an afternoon view of the straits and surrounding area.

On our first LOOP we sat on the porch in 2007;

On the porch a second time in 2011, the Second LOOP; and,

now again on our Third Loop, 2015.

Anne, our photographer for the 2015 on the porch picture allowed us to include her in the porch pictures, the front entrance to the Grand Hotel and the grounds.

Then up to the top of the Grand for refreshments and pictures ... a "Laker" passing in the strait; great views out the top windows.

Down through the Hotel for a few more pictures, memories of the movie, "Somewhere in Time", made on Grand Hotel grounds, and more about  a hotel that was built in 180 days.


The water under SONATA at Mackinac Island is very clear, so clear that you can see to the bottom some16-20 feet down.

The fort at Mackinac Island is positioned behind, across the street, from the marina and sounds "colors" in the morning and evening ... followed by taps.

Early morning departure gives us a cloudy sky and one sailboat on a Yacht Club mooring ball.



Out of the harbor and past the Mackinac Island Straits light we pass in front of the Grand Hotel for the first leg down the Lake Michigan East coast.

After clearing the Mackinac Island breakwater we went under the Mackinac Strait Bridge.  The water was a little lumpy until we turned south and then east on our way to Harbor Springs where we remained for one night.

When you enter Charlevoix you must time your entrance so as to arrive at the bridge on the "half-hour" when it opens.  Sometimes the water before the bridge is rough due to a west wind, or from other boats crowding to be first.....  Once inside the bridge it is a right turn into the slip that is assigned by the marina.

Charlevoix has a quaint attraction, the "mushroom-houses".  We were bound in Charlevoix for four days due to the strong winds and high seas just outside the previously mentioned bridge.  A few boats decided to brave the waves ... but returned a few hours later.  We waited for better weather.

We had "promised" Anne we would have calm seas ... so we waited.  Nonetheless, we finally departed Charlevoix with the burgee wrapped tight and set our course toward Leland.  The water was rough and it seems that only Charlie was on the bridge . . . steering like he was on a sailboat.  First this tack then another, all searching for the kindest seas.  We made Leland, spent one evening (lost the coffee-pot in the trip) and we were up the next day and off to Manistee (could not survive without a coffee maker).  The seas continued to be rough and waves broke across the bow.

First efforts in Manistee were to secure the new coffee pot.  Second we went to the "laundry" and third we found a great place to eat.  At the end of the meal a "Laker" went past the window.  Charlie quickly got his bike and went to SONATA to get pictures of the "Laker" passing our stern.  Bonnie and Anne arrived a few minutes later.

Departed Manistee on our way to Pentwater.

Pentwater is a safe haven, a stop we always enjoy .... especially the homemade cinnamon rolls.

Saugatuck, our next stop, put us in a yacht club that allowed non-club members to dock.  We saw the town, stayed an extra day due to weather again, and then departed in the early AM.  We had a pretty moon, calm water, a sun rise, some fog, and Anne at the wheel.  "Old Glory" there behind us crossing Lake Michigan, beautiful blue waters . . . our last.

Next Chicago skyline.