Left Rogers City Saturday morning, September 22. Hard to believe just a few hours ago the wind was gusting to over 40 mph. Now, there was hardly any wind and Lake Huron was calm (no fog either). I motored along the coast headed north to Mackinac City- a forty-nine nautical miles cruise. I passed two ports of refuge- Hammond Bay, and Cheboygan. These were my goto ports if the weather turned unfavorable before I reached Mackinac CIty. For some very strange reason the boat was making 7.2 knots at the same engine speed as 6.2 knots that I normally see on calm waters. I figured it was the magnetic pole at the Arctic circle pulling me closer the farther north I traveled. Ten miles from Mackinac City, I could begin to see the Mackinac Bridge (nick name the Mighty Mac) and Mackinac Island (Mackinac is pronounced, “Mackinaw” which means Great Turtle). I was pretty excited to see the bridge because it marked the end of my journey on Lake Huron and the start of traveling south on Lake Michigan to warmer weather (I hope). Well, wouldn’t you know, after having perfect weather while cruising on Lake Huron, the last ten miles turned ugly. The wind picked up against me and the waves and swells started pounding on Katrina all the way in to the harbor where Mackinac City Marina was located. I tied up at a slip, secured the boat, and checked in at the Marina office. The City of Mackinac has taken great pride in maintaining a first class public marina. It has all the amenities boaters want. The marina is next to to Shepler’s Ferry service to Mackinac Island. It’s a family owned business for seventy-three years. They carry tourists and supplies out and back to Mackinac Island and St. Ignace, Michigan. You can read all about them at http://www.sheplersferry.com. Leaving the marina, you discover a wide boulevard lined with tourist shops for about a half mile on each side. Lots and lots of small shops selling gifts, clothing, and souvenirs. There is no shortage of restaurants, either. I did a lot of people watching for a few hours until the wind caused me to retreat back to Katrina in the comfort of my little space heater. Again, I had to add a few extra lines to hold the boat to the dock due to the wind just howling all night long.
Sunday, September 23, 2018: Boarded the Miss Margy ferry at Shepler’s ferry dock. The ferry is a high speed craft and took us under the Mackinac Bridge (Lake Michigan) and then over to Mackinac Island (Lake Huron). The Mackinac Bridge is still the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere and the seventeenth longest suspension bridge in the world. You can see live web cams of the bridge here as well as the history of it: https://www.mackinacbridge.org/history/history-of-the-bridge/. It was a quick ride across the Mackinac Island and you could easily spot the Grand Hotel as we approached the harbor. WHen you depart the ferry, it looks like an airport runway with all the luggage carts waiting to be loaded on to the ferry leaving the island. The Main Street is lined with tourist shops. There are no cars or vehicles allowed on the island since the late 1800’s. You either ride in a horse drawn carriage, ride a bicycle, or walk. I rented a bicycle and rode around the shoreline of the entire island ( eight miles) in under 3 hours- stopping along the way at to admire the view or visit some of the historical sites. The good thing is the paved road around the shoreline is flat except when you go uphill to see the Grand Hotel. It’s quite an experience as you approach the Grand Hotel. The beautiful horse and carriages are a sight to see with their driver dressed in days gone by attire. I enjoyed being able to sit in a rocking chair on the world’s longest porch and rock to the views of Lake Huron and the Mackinac Bridge. Strolling through the hotel’s eloquence has to be seen to be understood. The movie, “Somewhere In Time”, starring Christopher Reed and Jane Seymour, was filmed on site. The derby he wore in the movie is displayed in a glass case on the wall along with few photographs during the film be made. Photographs of famous people that have stayed at the hotel are displayed on various walls of the hotel. Information about Mackinac Island can be found here: https://www.mackinacisland.org/
Monday September 24, 2108. I was hoping to start heading south today on Lake Michigan- not happening. The waves were crashing over the break wall as the winds howled and the flags on the flagpole were stretched straight out. Spent the day fixing the bathroom sink (again). Turns out there was a hairline crack where the drain pipe exited through the hull. A quick trip to to the nearby marine store for caulk fixed that issued. Took care of some laundry. Wandered around the tourist shops and did a little Christmas shopping. Looks like I will be able to leave for Harbor Springs, Michigan or Charlevoix, MI on Tuesday.