September 29 – October 3, 2018 Leland, MI, Frankfort, and Ludington, MI on Lake Michigan

Left Harbor Springs, MI, Saturday morning, with very little wind or waves. Destination was Leland, Michigan – thirty-five nautical miles south of Harbor Springs. The lake was fairly calm and the journey uneventful. Arrived in Leland after seven hours and 30 minutes of motoring. Again, not enough wind to sail and reach port before dark. Leland is an old fishing village that is now lined with fishing shanties filled with arts, crafts, clothing, galleries, gifts shops, and restaurants. The waterfront has a nice city marina and provides easy access to the harbor. There are lots of tourists roaming around the town. Leland is also called “Fishtown”. There are many plaques around town describing the history and its local characters that lived and worked there.

Leland, MI “Fishtown” shops along the waterfront.
Leland, MI “Fishtown” shops along the waterfront.
Local boat builder in Leland, MI “Fishtown”.
Fishing boat “Janice Sue” Leland, MI “Fishtown”.
Fishing Boat “Janice Sue” launched in Leland, MI October 1958
Leland, MI “Fishtown” river flowing into the harbor.
More shops and fishing boats along the pier. Leland, MI “Fishtown”.
AMC Rambler. Looks right at home in Leland, MI.
ATM Leland, MI
Local bank Leland, MI.
More shops along the main Street in Leland, MI.

October 1, 2018 Frankfort, MI. Lake Michigan.

Left Leland, MI early in the morning (no fog) with calm waters and motored  thirty-six nautical miles to Frankfort, MI. It was a cloudy and cold day. I had quite a few layers on to keep warm while steering for six hours (really need to install an autopilot).  Arrived in port early afternoon. The fuel dock was closed. I called the number in the window and the attendant said he would come at 8am the next morning to dispense some diesel fuel.  I spent the afternoon and evening visiting with friends of our family. They have a camp on Crystal Lake and summer here. Mary was my wife’s neighbor and friend growing up in Morrisville, VT.  We had a great time swapping stories and watching a fourteen month old toddler zip around the camp. Riding back to the boat after dinner, the rain was coming down in buckets and the wind was blowing at thirty knots. I added extra lines between the boat and the dock in the dark. The dinghy kept banging up against the hull of Katrina so I decided to haul it up on to the dock. The torrential rain and waves ended up swamping the dinghy as I lifted it out of the water. A hundred pound dinghy weighs a lot more when its filled with water. I did manage to wrestle it on to the dock and secure it for the night.The next morning, I topped off the fuel and departed for Ludington, MI.

October 2, 2018 Ludington, MI

As you leave Frankfort, MI harbor, you will see the famous sand dunes known as the “Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes” and its two cubs, North Manitou Island and South Manitou Island. My mistake was waiting to get closer to take a picture of the sand dunes. By then, you don’t see the outline of the sleeping bear. 

This is the Sleeping Bear Dunes. It looked more like a sleeping bear about 5 miles back before I got too close to the sand dunes.
South Manitou Island is in the forefront (Internet image) and can be used for a port of refuge if the wind is not blowing from the east. North Manitou Island is in the back ground. Both islands are the “cubs” to the Sleeping Bear Sand dunes according to local lore.

I arrived late afternoon at the harbor of Ludington, MI and tied up at the city marina. The harbor has a beautifully developed waterfront that accommodates a car ferry service, marinas, walkways along the shoreline, and breakwaters. A park with bronze sculptures and playground equipment is nearby. The city marina provides all the services a boater could want. As luck would have it, gale warnings were up for Wednesday and Thursday. It’s an automatic four days in port for me, and most small boats, when a gale comes through. Six to nine foot seas are forecasted with thirty-five knot winds. Once the boat was secured for the pending storm I heated up another one of those Plath’s smoked pork chops and organized a few things on the boat before going to bed. I plan to walk around town in the morning before the wind and rain arrives.

Plath’s Meats Smoked Pork Chops They ship anywhere in the U.S.

Next morning, I went for a walk. The ship S.S. Spartan is one of the largest car ferries on the Great Lakes built in 1952. It’s sister ship S.S. Badger (built in 1953) was in port last night, all lit up. You can read about the car ferry service from Ludington. MI  to Manitowoc, Wisconsin on their web site at

Passenger fare is $129 round trip per passenger. Add another $138 if you decide to bring your car with you.  Ludington got its start as a logging industry for the first forty years. The early ferries carried railroad cars from Ludington to Chicago and other ports on the Great Lakes. Hence, the name “car” ferry.

S.S. Spartan. Ludington, MI.
S.S. Badger car ferry Ludington, MI. The ship drops it’s anchor in the harbor and then swings around on the anchor to back into the pier.

Bronze sculptures at the waterfront park Ludington, MI

The sculptures you see here were created by George Lundeen. He created the Ernest Hemingway sculpture in Harbor Springs, MI. There are quite a few sculptures in the park commemorating the history of Ludington by various sculptors.

Downtown Ludington, MI
Downtown Ludington, MI
Near the lake shore Ludington, MI
Harbor entrance to Ludington, MI
Ever wonder where the seagulls hangout when gale warnings are posted?
City of Flint, MI life boat # 32. At least that is what the plaque indicated.
Notice the buoyancy tanks under the seats. Image 30 thirty people sitting in this boat, in heavy seas, waiting to be rescued. It’s designed to save a life not comfort.

I did make a few videos but the internet connection kept timing out. I will try to upload them at the next port which will be Muskegon, Michigan as soon as fair winds and waves return on Saturday October 6, 2018.

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