We have been cruising up the West Coast of Michigan. We are now in St Ignace Michigan in the upper penninsula and prepairing to head into the “North Channel”. We left our home port of Grand Haven and with good weather and seas we about doubled our time out for the day and traveled to Manistee, Michigan.
Manistee’s municipal marina is almost new and the facilities are clean and comfortable. In the boaters lounge there is a “put and take” library. Bring in a book and take one of their’s. I found a book, however, after a couple of pages realized that I already read it. I’ll save this for the next “put and take”
Day two found us travelling in good weather with a southwest wind. Our boat handles well in a following sea. Plus, if waves build we can surf down the backs and gain some speed. We have found that our most economical speed is at about 75% of the power of the engines. That’s about 1950 Rpms witch gives us a speed of around 12mph. Yep, I’m and “airconditioned gypsy”. “Bright Angel” is a power boat and uses diesal fuel. Lots of it. We get use about a gallon per mile at economy and if we power up to make time or run in bigger waves it triples. We try to make the best economy we can but when the waves build I do what I think is necessary to get to a port of refuge as soon as possible.
We passed through the Manitou Passage on day two. The Manitous are islands off Sleeping Bear dunes, last years Goodmorning America’s most beautiful view. The wind and waves funnel through this passage and make it exciting to pass through. Like I said our boat handles a following sea pretty well so it wasn’t a bad ride but after 4 hours it gets old. We opted to travel to Northport Michigan on the Leelanau Penninsula. (I talked about this in an earlier post so if your new look it up. There are not that many.)
We stayed in Northport over the weekend and then headed out to test the waters so to speak. We found them “rough” and discovered the best way to deal with rough conditions in our boat is to power up and attack the waves instead of letting them push us around. I’m glad for the extra power on our trip to Charlevoix we passed trawlers moving at 6-7 knots and really taking a beating.
Chalevoix, Michigan is a beautiful spot and the Municipal Marina is very pretty and the accomadating, when there is room. See everyone else thinks the same and it’s mostly full most of the time. I prefer to go day to day rather than schedule a time and date to be in a certain destination. With no room at the inn we had a break from the waves in Round Lake and then made the 10:00A.M. bridge opening and headed out into “Little Traverse Bay” and Petosky, MI
Only 1.5 hours at full speed Petosky was open to all and we were tied up before noon. The dock attendants were helpful and gave us a lot of information before we were even fully tied up. Like the numbers to the bathrooms. Boy does that make sence, because sometimes it’s nice just to take a leak and relax after a push and rough water. They had bikes available for use and we found beautiful skys and great weather for the afternoon.
Fuel prices in Petosky seemed higher than normal. Could be because we are getting farther north in Michigan. I had enough to get to Beaver Island or St. Ignace but decided not to chance with low fuel. Almost 300 gallons later and the head pumped we headed toward Beaver Island. Outside Little Traverse Bay winds picked up and waves only 1-2 feet. But, Lake Michigan has a phenomenon we call “Rollers”. I guess on the ocean they would be swells. Waves that come from who knowes where and add to the wave conditions. So we get waves of 1 to 2 feet but they are on “rollers” that can be 3-4 feet and out of a different direction. I try to set cource to make for the easiest ride. This day did not mean Beaver Island but more north toward the Straights of Mackinac. Once around the top of Michigan we were in the lee of the land and water smoothed out and made the last 3 hours ride very nice. Dearest posted a video to Facebook as we got close to the Mackinac Bridge. Funny the wind switched again and came right into our faces. No waves though so a smooth ride.
We arrived to St. Ignace, Michigan and tied up. St. Ignace is right next to Mackinac Island where most people try to go. Like Charlevoix it’s beautiful and a destination. St. Ignace Municipal Marina is large and newer. The facilities are clean and up to date, and less than half full. My feelings is if you want to boat to Mackinac do it once for the experiance then go to St. Ignace with its resturants and groceries and parts stores and if you still want to go to Mackinac Island take a ferry. Arnold’s classic (slow) boat trip is $15.00 for adults round trip.
We are here until storms pass then it on toward DeTour Village, Michigan about 45miles away and the entrance to the North Channel.
The North Channel has me apprehensive. Never been there and instead of sand it’s granite. We have been giving lots of advice from other boates and will proceed slowly. Will fill you in more as we go.