Sunday, September 4, 2016


      When we docked in Petoskey, we were officially heading south as far as I was concerned. It was nice when we made the left turn at the Straits of Mackinaw going down the east shore of Lake Michigan. But when we got to Petoskey, we were farther south than that morning when we started. It felt like we were starting to get back on schedule from our late departure and alternator failure.
      Petoskey turns out to be a nice little town. In the morning drizzle, we walk the 1/2mi to West Marine to buy charts for Lake Michigan and blocks to help bring the dinghy on board. We try the dinghy with the new block, and it is now easier with two pulleys. I think that we are going to order a couple of double blocks to manage pulling the dinghy aboard without hurting one of us. Barbara does laundry after lunch, and  I do some minor chores on SummerTime. I attach some of the wires on the starboard stringer at the midships that were taken off during some maintenance a few years ago. And I replace the hose from the hot water heater to the tee splitting hot water to the galley and head. It was leaking at the heater fitting, and is an original hose and kind of soft from years of hot water. The water in the heater probably gets to 170F or more when the engine is running as the engine provides water from the cooling system to heat the domestic water via an heat exchanger.



      In the evening we walk up the hill to find dinner. We were going to eat at the City Cafe where Hemingway hung out, but the wait is 45minutes. We go back a couple of blocks to Palette Bistro. We are lucky in that they have an opening. They appear to be reservations only  as the couple that walked in behind us have to sit at the bar even though there appear to be empty tables. Service is superb, what you expect in a restaurant of this caliber. And we have a table by the window overlooking the bay. The food is excellent. Small portions, but not expensive as we had been lead to believe. We had some good deserts also. And walked back to SummerTime. We got up Sunday morning and dressed for church. We walked back up the hill to Parr Memorial (First)  Baptist Church. It is a large brick building outside, and a grand old building inside. Big stained glass windows let light  inside, and a shallow dome with bright guilding is centered over the sanctuary, with pipes from an organ in the loft behind the pulpit. We go back to the boat, have lunch, and prepare to depart. As I am taking up power cords, a young couple asks a couple of "newbie" boating questions. I offer them a tour of SummerTime. This is the second tour in two days. We have to be away before the check-out time of 1pm, so we kind of hustle them off to get underway. As we leave the protection of the harbor breakwater, we can see that our ride is going to be lumpy. Oh well, we are only going a short distance to Charlevoix. We are hoping we can find an anchorage there and avoid another night of dockage fees.



      We can see a large group of structures before we ever get to Charlevoix. We later discover this industrial complex with one ship at its dock, and another ship waiting to dock is a cement plant. We are about 2 hours getting to the harbor entrance to Charlevoix from Petoskey. It is listed as a destination resort, for winter as well as summer activities, in the guide book. As you enter the harbor, there are lots of boat houses. The harbor is called "Round Lake", and is supposed to have anchorages. It looks too busy for us so we continue on through the short channel to Lake Charlevoix. Impressive, a large body of water with wooded hills on each side. We motor slowly along the south shore, and turn into the south arm, where there are supposed to be 2 anchorages. There is a small cable ferry we have to slow to let cross.

The couple of hundred yards on this ferry probably saves about a 26 mile drive for someone. There are more homes along the shore. And more boat houses. We pass one that looks like a modern interpretation of some of the grand old boat houses from the roaring 20s you see in the Thousand Islands area of the St. Lawrence Seaway.


One anchorage turns out to be inhabited, with lots of docks. The second is smaller, and is already filled with other boats. Barbara checks the guide book again. We have turned around as we had seen potential in one of the bays off of the main body of the Lake. I decide to push across the lake to Oyster Bay listed in the guide book. It is bigger, has room for us and a few more. and is not densely populated. We drop the hook, and encounter a problem. After the 30ft of chain is out, the rope quits paying out. The winch can not move the rode up or down. The anchor has hit bottom and is holding as the water is only 10ft deep. We can not stay the night like this. Barbara takes the helm, and I go crawl up on the berth to access the anchor locker. I look up in it, and can see that there are several loops of nylon rope caught in the hole below the winch. I tug to not much avail, so I crawl out and retrieve a pry bar. A little picking, and I am soon able to get the rope freed. We complete our anchoring task. We are ready for the night. It is a peaceful night, and the wind shifts so that we swing in the night and wake up facing a different direction. And there is fog outside. There will be no early departure this morning for us, though we do see two other boats depart with the fog still hanging around. We finally get underway, and join up to two others in Round Lake and make the bridge opening at 10.


We have a long ways to our next stop, Frankfort, MI. We are now passing large sand dunes on our port side. The guide book says that some of them are 400ft high. I can believe it. We also pass to the east of the Manitou Islands, part of the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore Park. Both islands are run by the park service, and facilities on them are non existent. They are wilderness hiking and camping areas apparently. A ferry, which we cross behind, does take people to N Manitou Island. The large dunes on the mainland are impressive, covered with trees in some areas, and bare in others. It will be like this for another 2 hours. But the ride today is not bad.



        Frankfort has beaches outside the harbor at the breakwater, and inside the breakwater. Kids are jumping in off the breakwater and swimming to a ladder to do it all over again. There are some people lying in the sun on the beach, but not too many swimming. We pass through the narrow channel to what is called Betsie Lake.



There are towns on both sides of Betsie Lake, but a huge hill hides Elberta on the south side. There are two resort marinas and a municipal marina on the Frankfort side as you enter, but we motor on by to find an anchorage. We anchor just east of the public boat ramps, and before a privately run marina. We know the weather is going to be bad for sure on Tuesday and Wednesday, so this is going to be where we wait to cross Lake Michigan. As darkness nears, all kinds of small boats return to the ramps and the two marinas east of us on both shores of Betsie Lake. Tuesday morning, before it is ever light, I hear boats going by our anchorage headed to the main Lake. Fisherman I am sure. When I get up there is a little fog again. I see a couple of  "non-fishing" boats leave the Municipal marina to travel another day. I am thinking the wind is more than we want to deal with, and there are thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon. Barbara reads, and I work on trying to find a grounding problem in the upper helm instrument panel. I clean terminals, wires, and get the horn to blow a few times. We crank the genset to cook for the evening and charge our house batteries. It runs all of two minutes and slowly dies. I have to change the fuel filter in the primary filter off of the tank. It does not look plugged, but afterwards the genset purrs contentedly and we get dinner cooked, albeit late.  The thunderstorm comes after dark. The wind shifted to the north, and picked up speed. and all of sudden there were lots of rain drops hitting the windshield. We both scurry to close hatches and the side windows. We get up on Wednesday morning and move to the municipal marina. One of the new hose fittings had started to leak under the heat and we lost some water before I re-tightened the clamp on Tuesday. Our water tank gauge is reading empty. We also wish to fuel before we cross. We have an indicated half tank, and while we should be able to cross on less than an eighth of a tank, I think the better part is to cross with full tanks. We take on 58 gallons. I let the dock person put the fuel in, and after it burped twice out the fill nozzle he thinks has it full. When we get to our assigned dock, and the gauge settles down, we are only a little over 3/4 full. I resolve to top the tanks myself for the rest of our journey. This is twice the dock person has not filled the tank to capacity. The hose from the nozzle to the tank requires patience as it will not take fuel fast. Barb and I secure our lines and string out the power cord before we decide to go check out the local grocery store and pick up a few basic items we are out of: mainly bread and milk. We meet another "Looper" on the sidewalk who is returning from "Family Fare". We talk a few minutes, and she tells us it is a nice, well stocked grocery store. We get the two blocks to it, and are impressed when we walk inside. This little private chain is much better stocked than the "Sav-a-Lot" was in Alpena. We buy more than we thought going over. We have four bags each when we leave. I am thinking we should have bought the wagon along with the canvas bags. Another thunderstorm tonight, and the wind does get up out of the north as predicted. it is good we took the dock slip. On Thursday, we go into Frankfort. We have lunch at "Dinghy's" Grill. Barb has their recipe of pulled pork BBQ sandwich. It is good, and it is hard to please an old tar heel like Barbara when it comes to BBQ. I have a chicken wrap with dried cherries and their custom garlic mayo.  And we had an appetizer of bacon wrapped andouille sausage that is flash fried. Dipped in that custom garlic mayo, it is superb. Our lunches are too much, we leave stuffed. We walk west down Main Street to the beaches. They are much nicer up close than when viewed from a boat a half mile away. There are swings, volley ball nets, sidewalks, and benches for the visitor to these nice sandy beaches. We wander back through town and are amazed at what a gem this town is. As there is a nice public laundry across the street from the marina, Barb goes over to do laundry. I work on wiring the engine shutdown to the automatic fire extinguisher until interrupted by another "Looper". There are apparently 5 "Looper" boats at the harbor. And a 6th couple paddle up on their kayaks. This is the first time we have had contact with other "Looper" boats since meeting the couple just completing their loop in Port Huron. in the evening we walk back into town to "SCOOPS" ice cream parlor and on to the beach for the sunset.



        Friday morning the weather is as predicted. Winds light from the east, and sunny. I am a little cautious, and decide I want to change out the primary fuel filter on the Perkins main engine before we cross. Tanks not full can stir up trash on the bottom if fuel gets to sloshing in seas. We are under way by 9:25, the last "Looper" boat out of the harbor. We are the only boat crossing west to Sturgeon Bay. One other is crossing to Kewaunee, Wi. The other three are headed south on the east shore of the lake. I see one boat in the distance heading southwest on the lake at a fast rate of speed. Probably trying to make Chicago before the end of the day. We see a tug and seagoing barge also headed south in the distance. I am trying to calculate if we are going to cross paths at the same time. He is moving much faster than I think, and as we get close, I change course to pass astern of him.

His prop wash moves us around even though we are several hundred feet behind him. We do not see another boat in the 51 miles to cross to the Sturgeon Bay light. There are a few fishing boats around when we get to Sturgeon Bay, and that is it.


On the way in, I see this huge white bird in the distance that I think is a swan. As I pass, I get a glimpse of its beak, and realize it is not a swan. It has a beak like a pelican, but I have never seen a white one before.


I will check the Audubon Field Guide on Saturday, and find out that there are white pelicans. Bigger than brown pelicans, and living in the Midwest to Pacific, migrating to the Gulf Coast in winter. We get to the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Harbor marina about 3:30. We are thinking that we barely made their 4pm arrival time. We forget that coming across the lake we have crossed time zones. It is only 2:30 pm CDST, or local time. Our plans are to rest and tour here in Sturgeon Bay through the weekend, and leave out on Labor Day.


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