Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Welcome to Lake Michigan!

Days on cruise:  131

Distance traveled:  55.3 miles

Travel time:  6 hrs, 1 minute

Total trip odometer:  2,889 statute miles

Latitude:  45.30651
Longitude:   85.24631

Today was another day calling for flexibility. When we went to bed last night, our plan for today was to travel west about 40 miles, entering Lake Michigan and going to Beaver Island out in the middle of the northern portion of Lake Michigan. When we woke at 6am and checked with NOAA, we found the weather would be suitable for the trip today, but we’d probably be stuck on Beaver Island for 3-5 days because of high winds and big waves. Nope, we don’t want to do that.


So we changed the plan and headed for Charlevoix, Michigan instead, a more distant destination, but a place with more to do if we get stuck for awhile.

So we passed under the Mackinaw Bridge that divides Lake Huron from Lake Michigan . . .


. . . and continued out into the big waters of Lake Michigan where we’ll spend our next 400-500 miles and hopefully 4 weeks. We’ve been told to figure 1 out of every 3 days as a layover day because of weather. And we have one friend, Paula Sue, also a Looper, who spent ELEVEN days stuck in Leland, MI last year waiting for the weather to calm.

water spout

And last week there was a big storm near Holland, Michigan that produced two magnificent water spouts (above).  So we think the word to the wise is:  “Get ready for anything on Lake Michigan!”


We passed at least 4 lighthouses today, including the one below which is now abandoned, but still serves as a marker to designate a large offshore shoal.


Five and a half hours after we left Mackinaw, we approached the entrance to Pine River and Round Lake which lead into Lake Charlevoix.


We passed lots of busy boat traffic in the channel entry,


and had to wait 10 minutes for a 16-foot bridge to open for us and a following sailboat.


The photo below shows Lake Michigan on the left, Round Lake in the middle, and Lake Charlevoix on the right. We’re at a marina on Lake Charlevoix where we plan to spend two nights so we can see the town and get some shopping done. We’re running low on food, booze, and various boating supplies.


The current weather forecast suggests we MIGHT be here longer than two nights.  We’ll see.

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