Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ludington, MI to Grand Haven, MI

Miles Traveled 68.2
Total Miles Traveled 6147
Day 351

We enjoyed our stay at Ludington, were able to get caught up on laundry, changed the engine oil, and had a great time with loopers Kevin and Jill on “Chasing 80”. 

The wind finally calmed down and we continued our way south to Grand Haven, Michigan.  We passed the Little Sable Light.  The design used 109, 1 foot diameter wood pilings driven into the sand, capped by 12 feet of stone as a stout base for the brick tower.  The light, originally constructed in 1874, stands 107 feet tall using a flashing white light flashing every 6 seconds.

The entrance to Grand Haven

Grand Haven is known for its musical Fountain, a synchronized display of water and lights performed every evening at dusk.

On the way to Grand Haven, we received a phone call from Gold Loopers Randy and Sherri from "Priorities".  We met at Green Turtle Bay in 2013 when we were "wana be loopers" and they were just starting the loop.  We have stayed in touch, and met them at Marathon, Fl last February.  They are originally from Holland Michigan, saw we were in the area from our blog, and met us at Grand Haven.  What a great surprise and visit.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ludington, MI Day 2

Miles Traveled 0
Total Miles Traveled 6079
Day 349

We spent another day at Ludington, tied to a secure dock protected from the south west wind blowing across Lake Michigan.  It is amazing the affect a 10 to 15 mph wind has blowing across 60 miles of water.

I watched the SS Badger pull away from port this morning.  The SS Badger is a passenger and vehicle ferry that has been in service on Lake Michigan since 1953 and shuttles between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  It is the last coal fired passenger vessel operating on the Great Lakes.  The steamship makes the 60 mile cruise in about 4 hours using two four cylinder steam engines driving two cast steel, 4 blade props weighing 13,800 pounds each.  The steamships average speed is 18 mph, pretty impressive for a 410 foot long ship, 7 stories tall weighing 6650 tons.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Frankfort, MI to Ludington, MI

Miles Traveled 52.1
Total Miles Traveled 6079
Day 348

We left the marina at daybreak this morning to avoid the afternoon winds. 

Another looper boat “Chasing 80” passing Big Sable Light, before reaching the inlet at Ludington.

We have been cruising within a few miles of shore and still see some pretty deep water. Some areas of Lake Michigan reach depths of over 800 feet.

We will probably hold up here for a couple of days as the winds over Lake Michigan are predicted to be 15-20 mph.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Frankfort, MI Day 3

Miles Traveled 0
Total Miles Traveled 6027
Day 346

The weather is keeping us here at Frankfort, a storm front started moving through around 11:00, which gave us time this morning to go to the local farmers market and craft show.

We have been sooo lucky on the severe weather since we started the loop.  Today’s weather reminded us of a storm that blew up while we were anchored on the Gulf side in Florida; a tornado hit Cape Coral Florida during the storm.  We watched the weather on that storm, and the severe weather split and went around us.  Today’s storm did the same thing; the band of severe weather broke and went above and below us.  We are the small dot in the middle of the storm front.

We had strong winds, then heavy rain most of the afternoon.

This unoccupied sailboat broke loose from its anchorage and was drifting toward the marina.  Three boaters from our marina took a dinghy out and were able to start the boat and move it away from the dock, then reset the anchor.

We had a couple of breaks in the rain, but the wind continued to blow, I zoomed in on the break wall at the inlet and you can see the waves crashing ashore. 

We even had a rainbow.

If the weather predictions hold true, we will stay here tomorrow, then head about 50 miles south to another marina.  We may be there for several days as the winds are supposed to be 15-20 mph next Tuesday through Friday. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Charlevoix, MI to Frankfort, MI

Miles Traveled 74.7
Total Miles Traveled 6027
Day 344

Before we could leave Charlevoix we had to wait for the bridge to open, it opens every hour and half hour if a boat is waiting to pass. 

As we left the inlet, Lake Michigan was calm compared to our arrival the previous day.

Charlevoix was a great stop, we met several new loopers, and “Miss My Money” that we have been meeting at different stops since Charleston, South Carolina.  We didn’t have much time to visit, by the time we had dinner and went to the grocery we crashed, and then left early this morning.

A couple of fast cruisers passed us early……maybe they knew something we didn’t.

Another weather system is heading our way, and that it 90% of our planning process.  We originally planned to travel about 35 miles and either anchor at South Manitou Island, or stop at Leland, Michigan. 

The lake had 1-2 foot waves as we reached the island (which is our limit) and we were hitting them at a good angle, so we decided to continue on to Frankfort Michigan.  As we continued south, and the day progressed, so did the waves.  At one point we hit a big roller and the spray from the wave hitting the bow came through the front window on the flybridge………I wasn’t due for a shower until next week.

One of the biggest changes that we have observed in this part of Michigan is the mountains of sand dunes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Beaver Island, MI to Charlevoix, MI

Miles Traveled 33.0
Total Miles Traveled 5952
Day 343

We had planned to leave the marina early this morning but were greeted with a thunderstorm warning; it finally passed through around 11 a.m. so we were on our way.

We had to cross 31 miles of Lake Michigan to get to the mainland and the marina at Charlevoix.  It was a little more “rock & roll” than we prefer as the wind shifted more from the west giving us the waves more on the beam than the bow. 

The water is a lot deeper than we normally see too.  I wish we had about 10 feet of it through Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. 

We arrived at Charlevoix Michigan at the City Marina, and were immediately greeted by a fellow looper that we haven’t met yet, “Next Adventure”.  Then as were securing the boat, “Miss My Money” arrived at the marina, we haven’t seen them since Killarney, ON.  While connecting our boats power, another looper “Last Dance” came to welcome us, this was the first time we have met them also.

This was a busy stop for us, since we had a late start we didn’t arrive at the marina until late afternoon and we needed a ton of groceries.  We were lucky to find a grocery store less than a block from the marina.  We used their cart to bring all of our groceries back to the boat, and then returned the cart.

While walking to the store we passed these flowers, Moni says she hasn’t seen black petunias before.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mackinac Island, MI to Beaver Island, MI

Miles Traveled 46.2
Total Miles Traveled 5919
Day 342

We left Mackinac Island and Lake Huron through the Straits of Mackinac and under the Mackinac Bridge into Lake Michigan.  It was cloudy and overcast as we passed buoy 2 and approached the bridge.

The ferries don’t waste any time crossing from the mainland to the islands.

We were fortunate to have the weather in our favor as we cruised through the crystal clear open waters of Lake Michigan.

The abandon lighthouse at Waugashance was the first light built in the Great lakes that was totally surrounded by water.  Waugashance is at the northern end of the long fetch of “south-wester” waves on Lake Michigan; the wave action is amplified as they build upon the shoal.  Its walls were incased in steel, and are 5 ½ feet thick at the bottom.  The Waugashance Light operated from 1851 until its deactivation in 1912.

The Grays Reef Light, marking Grays Reef Passage, a narrow channel in the northeasterly end of Lake Michigan and runs between Grays Reef on the west and Vienna Shoal on the east and is the only navigable opening for deep draft vessels between the Straits of Mackinac and the waters east of Beaver Island and the Manitou Islands.

Beaver Island is the largest island in Lake Michigan and lies approximately 32 miles from the mainland city of Charlevoix and can only be reached by air or boat.

After walking around town this afternoon, we stopped at the Shamrock for pizza, then watched a pool shark clean the table.