September 5 – 10
Our first port on Lake Michigan was the cute little town of Harbor Springs, MI, one that we had driven through by car in the past. While here we noticed a familiar boat and spoke with the captain of a yacht that had been docked across the ICW from us while in Delray Beach last winter; they had come up North and docked here for the last three months. It’s so interesting when this happens, when you unexpectedly meet again boaters whose paths you crossed in some distant locale. Next port was Charlevois, another town we had visited in the past. Until now we had no problem getting dock space wherever we wanted in Michigan since it was out-of-season, but the city marina here was full on this warm, sunny Saturday. Another out-of-season perk is the cheaper rates we’ve encountered; there’s a discount everywhere after Labor Day. The bad part is that we missed all the hullabaloo of the summer season. We crossed Little Traverse Bay to get here and were very surprised that it was so rough. This was just a precursor for things to come; this bay is in Lake Michigan after all, that dreaded body of water about which we had heard so many nasty comments. Went to Irish Marina for one night; nice, but out of the way. While here, First Mate found the Captain stretched out on his belly on the dock next to the boat, fishing for something in the water between our boat and the dock. When she asked if he lost something, she was startled at his reply, “Yes, a bike.” Of course, it was HER bike! In the process of unfolding our bikes so we could ride to town, the wind kicked up and knocked one into the water. The Captain and a friendly boater at a nearby dock rigged up a hooked pole long enough to pull it out. Thankfully, we were still in that wonderful, clear water. The next day we were able to get a slip in town at the city docks, so we could leave the bikes on the boat! After two days we left this cozy little town and ventured out into mighty Lake Michigan, where we saw this bird-covered lighthouse, and then on to Leland, where we were welcomed by their lighthouse and some nearby fishermen. This area is also the northern part of the famous sand dunes along the western Michigan shoreline. The city marina, just inside the breakwater, is very near a uniquely preserved section of town called Fishtown, which consists of old fishing shanties converted into shops. The wine & cheese shop left nothing to be desired. (Note: Beginning with the picture leaving Charlevois the time/date stamp on the camera is obviously incorrect for a while.) We left Leland the next day, back out into “the lake.” We had heard that the coastal town of Frankfort was worth a stop, so we decided to tie up at a marina, walk into town for lunch, and then continue on down the coast. Upon docking and conversing with the dockhand, a knowledgeable older man who had been boating in the area most of his life, we were strongly advised to make our lake crossing today or we could wait days or even weeks for another good crossing day. His actual words were, “What are you doing here? Your crossing day is today!” So, First Mate walked the few short blocks to town, looked around briefly, got back on the boat, and we left to cross mighty Lake Michigan, leaving the sand dunes behind and having lunch on board while moving, as usual. We had a good crossing with a sunny sky above and fairly calm water below. First Mate was amazed to record a depth of 730’ about 12 miles off the Michigan coast.