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

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

Day 418 and 419 – Mackinaw City, MI to Harbor Springs Municipal Marina, Harbor Springs, MI - August 27-28, 2012

We were up early this morning and off the dock at 6:45am to take advantage of the lighter winds predicted for this morning.  The plan is to be safely in our slip in Harbor Springs before the wind kicks up in the afternoon.  We decided on Harbor Springs for two reasons – both One September and Jim’s Joy are headed there and in spite of all the times we’ve cruised in Lake Michigan, we have never stayed at the marina there.  Harbor Springs is a very popular cruising destination and there have never been any slips available when we’ve been in this area on previous trips.

Our travel was easy with waves less than one foot and coming from a good direction for most of the trip.  It was quite hazy, so it was hard to take good pictures of all the lighthouses we passed and for much of the time it was difficult to even get clear pictures of the shore.

It is easy to see why so many people enjoy this harbor.  The setting is beautiful and the town of Harbor Springs has lots of shops to explore.  Along with spending time walking around town checking out the shops, we also climbed the big hill that overlooks town so we could check out the harbor from a better vantage point.

We thought about moving harbors, but we have enjoyed it so much here in Harbor Springs that we decided to stay a second day.  We spent more time wandering through the shops and Fred and Mark did some boat washing and waxing.

The current weather forecast indicates that tomorrow should be a good travel day, so we plan to head south to Charlevoix.  There may be some windy weather starting tomorrow night, so we will probably stay for a few days.  Charlevoix is probably as far south as we will go before heading back to Bay City.

            Miles: 46.9      Bridges: 1        Locks: 0

White Shoal Lighthouse
abandon lighthouse near Rose Shoal

Grays Reef Lighthouse
Little Traverse Lighthouse

looking at Harbor Point from up the hill in Harbor Springs

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Days 415 to 417 – at Straits State Harbor, Mackinaw City, MI - August 24-26, 2012

Mark and Fred III arrived this morning with a mail delivery that included our gold flag.  We replaced our white flag with the gold one right way – how different the bow of the boat looks now.

Mark will be traveling with us for the next week – a short vacation before beginning his senior year in high school.  Fred III stayed around for most of the day and we did some of the typical Mackinaw City tourist stuff – buying fudge, shopping for t-shirts…

On Saturday we took the ferry to Mackinac Island and did some sightseeing.  We rode bikes around the island (which we haven’t done in a very long time), had lunch overlooking the water and did some shopping.  It was a really great day.

We have decided we’d like to visit a few harbors in Lake Michigan before we head back to Bay City, so Fred has been watching the weather to see when we can move that direction.  The problem is that amongst the weather sites and apps he uses, there has not been consensus about what the weather will bring.  We got up Sunday thinking it might be a good day to travel, but were deterred by a rainy forecast with possibly two to four foot waves.  As we hung out in Mackinaw City and watched the actual buoy data it was clear that today would have been a fine day to travel – the wind was not too strong and the waves were under two feet.

Just because we are now flying a gold flag, we are still carefully watching the weather and trying to travel only when conditions are good.

            Miles: 0           Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

the last moment of the white flag flying on Boreas
getting the gold flag ready to fly

the gold flag is just about on

Boreas flying the gold flag!

on the way to Mackinac Island, our ferry took us under the Mackinaw Bridge

one of my favorite views of the Mackinaw Bridge

Arch Rock on Mackinac Island
Round Island Lighthouse

Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 414 – Detour, MI to Straits State Harbor, Mackinaw City, MI - August 23, 2012

Today is a significant day in the Adventures of Boreas.  Today we will cross our wake and become Gold Loopers!  This will happen when we arrive at the St. Ignace Marina to stop and take on fuel.  We were last in St. Ignace on the fifth day of our Loop on July 11, 2011. After we take on fuel, we will cross the Straits of Mackinaw and stay in Mackinaw City for a few days.

We left Detour just before 8:00am to take advantage of the light winds.  The forecast is for an increase in the wind in the afternoon, so we want to be in our dock in Mackinaw City before the wind gets too strong.  The beginning of the trip was very easy with almost no waves at all, in fact much of the time the surface of the water was glassy.  It is very strange to be traveling in the open waters of the Great Lakes again.  The North Channel felt familiar, but the wide open spaces of Lake Huron feel like home.  I was surprised at how slow our usual speed of 9+ mph felt when we hit the open water.  There is so much to see when you are traveling the rivers and the intercoastal that our usual speed feels just fine.  I can certainly understand why most boaters who can run fast usually do when they run the Great Lakes. 

We decided to go south of Mackinac Island on our way to St. Ignace, so that we could check out the harbor and take pictures of Round Island Lighthouse and the Grand Hotel. The winds remained calm and after our fuel stop our trip across the straits was easy. Soon after we were docked, John and Mary from Passport and Mary (minus John who was on a run back to their home in Shepard) from Mary Francis stopped by. They both completed their Loops earlier this month, so we made plans to celebrate our three completed Loops tonight at John and Mary’s cottage. Bob and Ivy from Karma joined our celebration. We drank lots of champagne and reminisced about our travels. It was the first Gold Looper celebration Bob and Ivy have experienced, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

We will hang our gold flag tomorrow when it arrives with the rest of our mail when Fred III and Mark get here from Bay City. Mark will be traveling with us for the next week. We’re not sure where we are going but we aren’t ready to head back to Bay City yet.

            Miles: 45.1      Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

Detour Reef Lighthouse

we startled this loon as he was swimming in front of the boat and
he flew to get away from us

Martin Reef Lighthouse

the southeast side of Mackinac Island

one of the many beautiful private homes on Mackinac Island

Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island - the municipal harbor is in the foreground

the Passage Lighthouse and one of the Shepler's ferry boats

Round Island Lighthouse

the Grand Hotel and a Shepler's ferry boat

another one of the beautiful private homes on Mackinac Island

Mackinaw Bridge

Old Mackinaw Point Lighthouse

Day 413 – Thessalon, Ontario to Detour Harbor Marina, Detour, MI - August 22, 2012

The weather (and wind) was perfect for our run to Drummond Island this morning.  The wind was on the nose with waves around one foot, but no rocking and rolling.  We docked at the Drummond Island Yacht Haven and the customs agents came immediately to the boat.  After asking about firearms, alcohol and cash and checking our passports and Boreas’ customs decal we were welcomed back into the US and sent on our way.  Karma cleared customs just as quickly and we set off for Detour.

The wind had been increasing all morning and the ride from Drummond Island to Detour was a bit rougher with waves approaching two feet.  Fortunately it’s a short trip.  We made a quick trip to the grocery store and picked up a few things we haven’t had since we were last in the U.S. in early July.  Although it means we are closer to home, we are both happy to be back in Michigan.

            Miles: 24.7      Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

our first view of the US in over six weeks

navigating around the islands north of Durmmond Island as we
head toward the US Customs check-in location

Day 412 – anchorage in Beardrop Harbor to Thessalon Marina, Thessalon, Ontario - August 21, 2012

The weather said to head west, so head west we did.  Karma and Boreas headed to Thessalon on the mainland (almost directly north of Drummond Island) and One September and Jim’s Joy headed southwest to Meldrum Bay on the far west end of Manitoulin Island.  Just after leaving Beardrop we saw fog hanging over the North Channel – our route was not complicated and so we turned on the radar and kept moving.  We spent an hour or more in VERY thick fog, but with our AIS and radar going and Karma right behind us with their AIS and radar going we were not concerned.  Fortunately the fog lifted before we got to Thessalon, so our entry into the harbor was easy.

As many times as we have cruised the North Channel, we have never been to Thessalon.  Although it is a very small town, it has all the amenities – a hardware store, a grocery, a drug store and a couple of shops and restaurants.  You can also check through Canadian Customs here, so this may be a stop next time we head up to the North Channel.

We had dinner at a local restaurant with Bob and Ivy (where we celebrated Ivy’s birthday) and then headed back to the boat for a relaxing evening.  Weather permitting we will be back to the U.S. tomorrow after checking through customs at Drummond Island.

            Miles: 41.2      Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

Beardrop Harbor in the morning before departure

leaving Beardrop Harbor

the fog

the fog added drops of moisture to the spider webs on the boat
and made them look like works of art

the night sky in Thessalon

Day 411 – anchorage in Oak Bay to anchorage in Beardrop Harbor (near Spanish, Ontario) - August 20, 2012

A four boat flotilla of Loopers departed from the anchorage in Oak Bay just after 8:00am heading for another one of our favorite anchorages – Beardrop Harbor.  It was a short trip and all four boats were settled in before 11:00am.  We were thrilled to see our friends David and Jacque on Outport were also anchored in the harbor – we will definitely stop by to catch up on what they’ve been up to. 

We had a leisurely lunch on board and then headed out in the dinghy so we could climb the rocks south of the harbor.  We stopped by Karma and picked up Ivy to go climbing with us.  What fun to show someone new the beauty of the granite rocks that make up this part of the North Channel!

After we returned to the boat we got a visit from Outport and they invited us over for cocktails and snacks.  We had a great time catching up on their travels (and of course telling them about ours).  I certainly hope we cross paths with them again someday as they are a very fun couple to spend time with.

            Miles: 19.1      Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

heading through Litte Detroit - this channel used to make me very
uncomfortable because it is so narrow - after all the places we've been
on the Loop, it still feels narrow, but not nearly so scary

the trip to Beardrop Harbor took us past some beautiful islands

in the Whalesback Channel on the way to Beardrop Harbor

climbing on the rocks south of Beardrop Harbor and looking out
into the Whalesback Channel
things look so different depending on if you are seeing them from the
bridge of Boreas or from the dinghy (as in this picture)


Day 410 – anchorage in Oak Bay - August 19, 2012

We have decided to spend a second night in Oak Bay (yes, it’s that good).  In the mid-morning we heard from One September and Jim’s Joy and they have decided to join us here.  Fred took the dinghy to the entrance of Oak Bay and served as a guide to get them safely into the anchorage (there are a few tricky rocks that you have to navigate around to safely enter the harbor). 

We did some dinghy exploring in the afternoon and then with Karma and Jim’s Joy we had cocktails and snacks on One September.  Two other boat crews from the next anchorage over also joined us.  Both of those couples spend the summer on their boat in the Great Lakes and then the winter in a warmer place (Florida and Arizona).  Both couples were very interested in hearing about our adventures on the Loop, although neither one is ready to start their own Loop.

            Miles: 0           Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

we have seen loons here in Oak Bay on previous trips to the North
Channel and this trip was no exception

what a beautiful bird

not all granite looks alike, some is very rough like this

the beautiful scenery just outside our anchorage

we caught this picture of a loon while we were out on the
dinghy exploring Oak Bay

Boreas at anchor in Oak Bay
(photo thanks to Ivy from Karma)