Days on cruise: 142
Distance traveled: 91.2 miles
Travel time: 9 hours, 44 minutes
Total trip odometer: 3,087 statute miles
After 4 nights in Manistee, we got a good weather window and headed south. This was our second longest travel day, exceeded only by our trip down Delaware Bay and up to Atlantic City, New Jersey @ 102 miles. Both were driven by “weather windows”. Today’s run afforded an opportunity after being frustrated by conditions that held us in place longer than we wanted.
It was 48 degrees when we got up in the morning, but sunny and with no wind. We hope summer isn’t over yet! As we traveled back to the mouth of Manistee Harbor at 7:30 am there were literally 100 or more fishing boats blocking the way! They were all trolling in circles at 2mph with fishing lines trailing behind, making the trick of threading through them into a significant obstacle course.
Despite the lack of waves, there was a good swell all day, and for an hour Cathryn actually felt seasick for the first time on this Loop. This was primarily brought on by spending too much time reading the cruising guide while we tried to figure out where we were going to end our day.
We note we’ve now passed the 3,000-mile mark in our journey, so must be approximately half-way. That’s hard to believe! Time is flying, though it’s been almost 5 months.
We’d planned to stop in Pentwater 35 miles south of Manistee, but the weather forecast suggested we might get stuck 3-5 days, and it’s too small a town for another lengthy layover. Grand Haven is much larger, we have friends there, and it’s close to a cross-lake ferry at Muskegon; more on that later.
At 5:30 pm we pulled into the harbor at Grand Haven under a low-lying but dense layer of fog that arose during the last 5 miles of the journey. Lots of boats showed on our radar, but we couldn’t see them, or the harbor entrance, with our eyes until we were right upon it. Gotta love that radar and electronic chartplotter with its’ large, colorful, high-def monitor to guide us in!
We tied up at the Free Town Wall in Grand Haven and discovered to our surprise that we were parked behind Time and Tide, Canadian Loopers Gary and Christelle who we met in the North Channel. We invited them to join us on our boat for pizza, Christelle brought a salad, and our reunion began. Half an hour later, a knock on our hull revealed that our Platinum (two-time) Looper friends Jim and Sharon from Blue Angel who we met in Marathon (Florida Keys) last winter received our message that we were in town, so walked over from the house where they’re spending this summer. The six of us had a delightful evening on our sundeck! Jim marked favorite anchorages on Gary’s charts, and Sharon insisted they would take us to the ferry Tuesday.
At 9:30 pm after our visitors left, the Grand Haven Musical Fountain, immediately across the river from where we’re parked, sprung into action! Built in 1962, it’s a synchronized display of water and lights set to music in a 20-30 minute sequence, and operates every night from Memorial Day to Labor Day. We sat on the bow of our boat to watch and listen to the remarkable sound quality and visual treat, along with hundreds of onlookers on benches and grass along the river shore. We’re surprised we’d never before heard of this fantastic feature!