Welcome to the blog of Fred and Julaine as we chronicle our adventures traveling the "Great Loop" on Boreas, our Carver 405.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 428 – East Tawas, MI to Bay Harbor Marina, Bay City, MI - September 6, 2012

As we pulled into the slip at Bay Harbor Marina this afternoon, we now feel that we are officially done with our Loop adventure.  We may have crossed our wake in St. Ignace, MI, but we didn’t really feel “done” until we arrived back in Bay City.

We left from East Tawas this morning after doing our usual morning weather check.  The winds were predicted to be light with almost no chance of any rain.  There was a very light chop and a little wind when we first departed, but both the wind and the waves quickly disappeared.  For the majority of the trip it was sunny and warm. 

Just to keep everything up to date, the final statistics for the trip were – 5820.4 nautical miles in 428 days using 3271gallons of diesel fuel.  Passing through (or under) 661 bridges and traversing 115 locks (including two lift locks and one marine railway).  Our travel has taken us through sixteen states and one Canadian Providence.  This has been a fantastic journey – not just the amazing places we have seen but also the amazing people we have met and had the honor of traveling with.

It is difficult to believe that when we get up tomorrow we will not be thinking about our next destination or what the weather has in store for us.  Although we are excited about being back in Midland and seeing friends and family and having a chance to get started on Fred’s “things to do in retirement list”, we are also sad that this adventure has come to an end.  The most important thing we agreed on as we were traveling today was that we will start another adventure this spring – Boreas will get launched, we will load on all the necessary supplies and we will pull away from the dock headed toward ________ (this blank will be filled in during the coming months as we dream about and plan our next adventure on Boreas).

            Miles: 38.0      Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

Gravelly Shoal Lighthouse near the mouth
of Saginaw Bay

the Bay City Yacht Club - our home yacht club

abandon lighthouse on the Saginaw River between our yacht club
and the marina where we store Boreas

Bay Harbor Marina in Bay City, MI where we started (and ended)
this amazing adventure
the picture on the left was taken about eighty miles north of Saginaw Bay,
the one on the right, just before entering the Saginaw River -
it is not difficult to see why we will quickly work our way out of the Bay next spring

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 427 – Harrisville, MI to East Tawas State Dock, East Tawas, MI - September 5, 2012

It was foggy this morning when we left Harrisville, but we wanted to get moving to get at least to East Tawas before the predicted thunderstorms got to Saginaw Bay.  Our plan is to check the weather again as we get to Tawas Bay and decide if we are stopping there or going on to Bay City.

Other than the fog, the conditions weren’t too bad – there was some light chop, but it was mainly on the bow which is a relatively comfortable ride.  The fog finally lifted, but it remained cloudy.  When we made our weather check as we got to Tawas Bay we decided to stop.  There were definitely storm cells building that had the potential to hit the bay.

It was a good decision to stop in East Tawas as early afternoon brought a very large thunderstorm with hail to the bay – if we had continued on to Bay City we would have been right in the middle of the storm.  East Tawas saw very little of the afternoon storms – one passed to the north and one to the south.  We still have a chance for some rain tonight, but things should clear up and be good for travel tomorrow.

            Miles: 32.9      Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

the Gold Looper flag flying on Boreas

Tawas Point Lighthouse

Day 426 – Rogers City, MI to Harrisville City Marina, Harrisville, MI - September 4, 2012

Although we traveled a fairly long way today, it was an easy trip with great weather (light wind, no waves and beautiful sun) almost the entire way.  We continue to remark on how beautiful the water is here in the Great Lakes.  We know it will change once we get into our home waters of Saginaw Bay, so we are enjoying every moment of the amazing blue water. 

One of the neat things you get to see when you travel along the coast of Michigan is lots of lighthouses.  The pictures from yesterday’s blog show lighthouses from northern Lake Michigan and northern Lake Huron and the pictures for today will show the lighthouses we passed as we continued south down the coast.

Note on Dad’s condition – my Dad is doing great.  The partial hip replacement went well and he was up and walking today as well as sitting in a chair to eat.  Hopefully he will get the sign-off from all his doctors within the next few days so he can head to a rehab facility in preparation for going back to his home in Beulah.

            Miles: 62.3      Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

Presque Isle Lighthouse (this is the new lighthouse)

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse

Middle Island Lighthouse

Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse

Sturgeon Point Lighthouse

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 425 – Charlevoix, MI to Rogers City Marina, Rogers City, MI - September 3, 2012

We were off the dock and at the bascule bridge for the 7:00am opening.  The winds are supposed to be relatively light today for the entire length of our planned trip.  We will set our sights on getting to Cheboygan with an option of continuing on to Rogers City if the wind and waves (and the energy of the crew) makes that seem like a good option.

It is beautifully calm when we first depart, but the wind picks up as we begin to cross Little Traverse Bay.  Fortunately it is from behind us and is not a problem.  As we clear Grey’s Reef, the winds lighten up again and our trip through the Straits is wonderful.  Today is the annual Mackinaw Bridge walk and the Coast Guard has set up a safety zone around the bridge.  Therefore, we need to have a Coast Guard escort as we travel under the bridge.  The Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary have their escort system set up very well and we don’t even have to slow our speed as we go under the bridge.

Shortly after clearing the bridge, the wind begins to pick up again.  We are getting more waves as well, but much of the chop in the water is related to the fact that we are getting over a knot of push from the current (which is against the wind).  It is before 2:00pm as we pass the turnoff to Cheboygan and we decide to continue on, hoping to keep the assist from the current, but lose some of the wind. 

The rest of the trip is OK.  The waves are bigger than we would like, but not unmanageable.  They are basically straight on the bow, so the side to side rocking is minimal.  We pull into Rogers City before 6:00pm and take on fuel and get the holding tanks pumped out.  We still have two long days ahead of us (if the weather cooperates) so we relax on the boat and have dinner on board.

            Miles: 92.2      Bridges: 2        Locks: 0

the sunrise over Little Traverse Bay
Skillagalee Light on a tiny island just south of Grays Reef in Lake Michigan

Grays Reef Lighthouse
abandon lighthouse south of Rose Shoal - this is lighthouse
is at the western end of the Straits of Mackinaw

St. Helena Lighthouse on St. Helena Island which is just off the
coast of the Upper Penninsula about eight miles west of St. Ignace
the Mackinaw Bridge, our escort from the Coast Guard Auxiliary
and another U.S. Coast Guard boat (in the distance)

there are still a few walkers on the bridge - the yellow school bus is
helping transport walkers to St. Ignace where the walk begins or back
to their cars if they parked in the Upper Penninsula

Poe Reef Lighthouse in northern Lake Huron
Forty Mile Point Lighthouse north of Rogers City

Days 423 and 424 – at Charlevoix Municipal Marina, Charlevoix, MI - September 1-2, 2012

In two days we have made two trips to Traverse City to be with my dad while he waits for approval from his heart specialist to have the hip replacement surgery.  As most everyone knows, a hospital does things at their own pace, so it is Sunday evening before all the approvals come through and the surgery is finally scheduled for Monday morning. 

My sister is will be coming up to be with dad on Monday and Fred and I will be putting in some long days getting Boreas back to Bay City while we have a good weather window.  That will give us a chance to get back to Traverse City later in the week.

            Miles: 0           Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

Days 421 and 422 – at Charlevoix Municipal Marina, Charlevoix, MI - August 30-31, 2012

We enjoyed another two days in Charlevoix.  We spent time shopping at the Thursday morning farmer’s market and exploring all the shops on Bridge Street.  We also walked out to the end of the south pier in hopes of seeing some really big Lake Michigan waves – unfortunately the wind direction wasn’t right to make any really awesome waves, but the walk was great.

We often talk about the fact that all travel plans are subject to change.  Most of the time plans change because of weather, Friday night however, weather was not involved at all.  On Friday evening I got a call from my sister that my dad had fallen and broken his hip.  He was at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City waiting for the go-ahead for a partial hip replacement.  Fred and I spent the evening working through the various options we had available to get ourselves to Traverse City.  So, Boreas will be staying in Charlevoix for a few days and we will be commuting back and forth to Traverse City.

            Miles: 0           Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

the South Pier Light at the Charlevoix breakwater

there was a "blue moon" on August 31 - this is what it looked like
from the Charlevoix City Marina
the "blue moon"

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 420 – Harbor Springs, MI to Charlevoix Municipal Marina, Charlevoix, MI - August 29, 2012

We had a leisurely trip to Charlevoix today.  First we traveled across Little Traverse Bay and did a “drive by” of the Bay Harbor Lake Marina site.  This is a planned community with beautiful homes and condos and an amazing marina.  If everything goes as planned, we will stop here for a night on our way back to Bay City.

Then it was on to Charlevoix.  Charlevoix is definitely one of our favorite stops on Lake Michigan.  The harbor has great facilities (both their docks and their on shore buildings) and the town is fun to walk through and explore. 

            Miles: 22.3      Bridges: 1        Locks: 0

looking back at the marina in Harbor Springs
one of the many beautiful (and very large) homes around Bay Harbor Lake
another one of those amazing homes
many of these homes have water access on two sides - one side faces
Bay Harbor Lake, the other Lake Michigan

one more amazing home - check out the "lighthouse room"
One September waiting out in Lake Michigan for the bridge to open
so that we can make our way into Round Lake

Jim's Joy II waits in Lake Michigan
South Pierhead Light on the way into Charlevoix