Archive for July, 2010

July 20-24 On to Leland, Ludington, Whitehall & Saugatuck for the summer

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010


We left Charlevoix & cruised on a smooth Lake Michigan for the 4 hour trip to Leland & historic old Fishtown.  We stayed in the township marina for 2 nights.  Fishtown is a wonderfully preserved original old fishing village.  It almost fell prey to a wrecking ball & developers but was saved thanks to some very generous people.  The 2nd day our friends Jon & Mark came to join us for dinner on board & to be with us for the final leg of our journey.  The next day we cruised past Sleeping Bear Dunes, the 2nd largest sand dunes in the world to Ludington.  We docked right downtown & had our Key West friends Carole & Jerry with their daughter Taylor & a friend of theirs on board for cocktails & then went to their Lake Michigan cottage for dinner.  The next day we cruised in rough seas to Whitehall & the White Lake Yacht Club, a great club largely unchanged in 50 years.  We had our Tryon friends David & Izzy with a large part of their family for cocktails & then went to their 1920’s cottage boasting views of both Lake Michigan & White Lake.  We had a fun dinner & enjoyed their wonderful family.  We left the White Lake Yacht Club, through the channel with a great lighthouse & again cruised into an angry Lake Michigan.  The 2 roughest days of our entre trip so far proved to be on Lake Michigan.  We cruised into familiar waters past Saugatuck dunes & beach & safely docked downtown at Tower Marine overlooking the historic ship, The Keewatin,  for the rest of the summer.  The 6 of us had a champagne toast as we idled down the Kalamazoo River.  We found our cottage with the Casa Blanca lilies in full bloom & the gardens a welcome site.  It will be nice to have land legs for a couple months & enjoy Tally-Ho with our friends.

July 15-19 From Mackinac Island to Harbor Springs to Charlevoix, MI

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010


We left Drummond Island & cruised through the upper part of Lake Huron to historic Mackinac Island (which marked the 1/2 way point of our “Great Loop Trip – 2800 miles) where we were fortunate to dock just below the old fort & right next to downtown.  The fudge smell wafted down the hill.  It really is a special island with only horse drawn vehicles, horses being ridden, bicycles & people walking through old town.  The first night we dined at the Grand Hotel, the largest summer hotel in the US with the longest porch in the world.  First time for a coat & tie since Lyford Cay in the Bahamas.  Friends Bruce & Brian joined us the next few days & we all enjoyed the island together.  From Mackinac Island we cruised under the Mackinaw Bridge into Lake Michigan.  We had calm seas & cruised into Harbor Springs, known as the “Palm Beach” of the north.  In the glory days of the Michigan auto industry, it is said that “70% of the wealth in America summered in Harbor Springs and the summer “cottages” are still there to prove it.  The next day we went on to Charlevoix, MI (actually Alan’s birthplace), one of our favorite Michigan summer resorts.  It has a great harbor with all the shops, parks, restaurants & pubs within a few blocks.  The seas have been calm & the weather perfect.  Actually we talked about the fact that, in 3 months of this journey, we had 1 day that we decided to stay put in port & went on again the next day.   We feel so fortunate!

July 11-14 Canada’s “North Channel”

Thursday, July 15th, 2010


One book on the “Great Loop” referred to the North Channel as “arguably the most spectacular cruising grounds in North America”.   After our 4 days we decided it is certainly one of the most spectacular, if not the most!!  We left Tobermory on July 11 with a bit of trepidation.  One of our friends with a lot of boating experience had emailed us that after a winter with frost that goes very deep, some of the boulders that are 20′ below the surface on the charts are now 2′ deep. We had purchased the latest electronic charts and felt fairly comfortable…  When in doubt we posted a watch (or 2 or 3) on the bow.  The last day we actually had to stop, back up & go around the side of exactly such a boulder.  A little disconcerting. Thank goodness for a fast reacting Captain!  The first stop was Killarney, the beginning of the North Channel & we stayed at the Sportsmen’s Inn.  We had “fish & chips” at the Red Bus which was a “must” according to the locals & several friends with North Channel experience who had emailed recommendations.  The next day we cruised into Baie Fine, one of the highlights of the area.  It looks more like a fiord than a bay.  Unbelievable rock outcroppings.  We took the tender (named “Little-Ho” by a clever friend) further in where the water was shallow & hiked with the dogs.  That night we spent in Little Current, a cute fishing village.  The next day & night we moored out in an idyllic cove in the Benjamin Islands; with our own private beach and no other soul in sight.  We took the tender & brought the pups to shore for some welcome relief and swimming.  Later that evening we packed a cookout with our crew, Steve & Summer, & went back to shore for a nice fire with brats & vegetables cooking on top.  The sunset over Tally-Ho was beautiful.  The next morning we cruised past the “northernmost” point on our Great Loop trip{Coordinates-46-09,645N–82-45,758W;just N of Bassett Island} & ended up on Drummond Island, MI, back in the USA where we cleared customs.  Awesome scenery the entire voyage… Onward to Mackinac Island… 

July 7-10 Cruising the coast of Ontario on Lake Huron

Saturday, July 10th, 2010


We left Detroit & headed north across Lake St. Clair & up the St. Clair River past The Old Club and Algonac once again for a first night’s stopover in Sarnia, ON, right by the Port Huron Bridge.  The next afternoon we ended up in Bayfield, ON, a really quaint village on a bluff overlooking the harbor & beach. Some beach sun and a few “brews” at The Black Dog Pub followed by a delicious dinner onboard by Summer completed a perfect day.  The next day was on to Port Elgin, ON where we had an old friend & a new one, Graeme & Brian onboard for drinks & then dinner (followed by a walk along the beach with a beautiful sunset and Lighthouse view) at their home in Southampton, 5 miles away.  They divide their time between Southampton & Toronto.  We hadn’t seen Graeme in 15 years.  It was wonderful catching up as we have done with so many old friends on this voyage! The following afternoon found us in Tobermory, ON.  We once again docked right “downtown” with quite the “peanut gallery” of spectators.  This will be our jumping off point for the top of the Georgian Bay & the whole North Channel which we have been told by many will be a major highpoint!! 

June 24-26 A stopover in Put-In-Bay & on to Detroit while we spend a week in Saugatuck

Thursday, July 8th, 2010


It was an easy day crossing a smooth Lake Erie & tying up right in the middle of Put-In-Bay, Ohio, one of the big summer party towns in the midwest and boasting the” Oliver Hazzard Perry” Monument-3rd tallest in the USA.  The next day we cruised acrossed  Lake Erie & up the Detroit River passed beautiful lighthouses and the GM  City of Detroit where we docked for 1 1/2 weeks at the Harbor Hill Marina.  That night we had dinner with old friends Jon & Mark who spent the night onboard.  The next day the 4 of us drove to Algonac, MI & attended the annual antique & classic boat show there.  Algonac is really the home of Chris Craft boats since it was where the first plant was built.  We went to brunch on Jon’s wonderfully restored Chris Craft, Josephine, a 1948 Custom 22′ Sedan at “The Old Club” on Harsen’s Island & later that day drove across Michigan to Saugatuck for a big 4th of July weekend.  We had a picnic at an outdoor concert, entertained house guests, Michael, Stephen & Jonathon & watched the parade from our front porch.  On the holiday weekend we had a small group for a cookout & the last night we sat on Oval Beach, ate dinner & watched the sunset.  Great to be back in beautiful western Michigan for a while.  On Tuesday we drove back to Detroit, provisioning along the way & reboarded for our trip into Canada.  That night 2 new friends, Zach & Mike, stopped by for a boat tour & took us to dinner in downtown Detroit & a tour of the city.  The next morning we shoved off & headed north.