Sunday: Sea Life, the Journey and Kailani decide that a 10am departure is not necessary for the anticipated fog and we’ll be able to shove off closer to 9am because skies appear to be clear. In reality, we end up closer to 9:30 am but it’s all still good. Sea Life and the Journey get off the docks rather quickly, but we take a bit longer because we have to say our goodbyes to the Strasels. This is no problem because Larry cruises at 7 knots and we can easily catch up to them.
Actually, by the time Sea Life is turning into the DeTour Channel to head out into Lake Huron proper, we’ve already been behind them for ten minutes, and the Journey has already left us in his wake. Soon Sea Life and Kailani are turning south in the channel to make the rundown DeTour Channel into Lake Huron. This was scary but we took no pictures- too busy radioing and phoning and shouting. -tc After about an hour of total cruising, Sea Life radios us to ask if we smell any smoke and we let them know that we do not smell or see any smoke anywhere. Then just as suddenly, Sea Life’s entire cabin is full of smoke and Larry is shutting down the engine and checking the engine room to see what he can find. We stop adjacent to them and stand ready to assist as necessary. Larry is on the radio with Carol who’s sitting up at the helm and Larry says he thinks the issue is behind the circuit panel, so he works to check that out. Meanwhile, Sea Life is drifting close to shore. As the smoke starts dying down, Larry sets the anchor and holds Sea Life off the shore in eight feet of water and calls BoatUS for a tow. He finally determines that he’s found the problem. Yesterday he cleaned out his raw water intake strainer but forgot to re-open the thru hull intake, so the engine ran today for an hour without any raw water cooling the engine block! That would do it, but as we’re waiting for BoatUS to arrive, He begins to believe that an engine coolant hose ruptured and the smoke was the coolant burning off the hot engine block.
As we wait for the tow, Carol makes arrangements for the vessel to be towed to DeTour Marina which is literally 2 miles away, just across the channel from us. So we make an arrangement to have slip space held for us as we will go wherever the Olsens go and stay with them until they’re back on the water again. Then Tracy calls the Mackinaw City Municipal Marina to cancel our reservation and they tell her that because its within 24 hours of the arrival, they have to keep the entire amount paid and collect another ten dollars for the late cancellation fee. That’s ridiculous and we tell them not to cancel the reservation. Meanwhile the BoatUS guy shows up and it’s the marina manager form Drummond Island Marina. After hooking up Sea Life to the tow line, he tells Larry to consider him towing Sea Life all the way back to their marina because there, he can get more parts, and keep an eye on the repair(s). So Larry decides to return the hour back to yesterday’s marina and he tells me when asked that he doesn’t need us to follow them all the way back and that we should continue to move forward as planned.
So we turn Kailani around and at approx. 12:30pm we’re heading toward Mackinaw City Municipal Marina with an ETA of 4:30 pm. Seas are extremely calm in the middle of Lake Huron, and there is literally nobody out today including commercial traffic. Still, its a long cruise and we finally arrive at the marina by 4:50pm. We have difficulty with the electric on the tower, but Zach the Dock Manager comes out with a different dock circuit board and plug and after re-installing the older version panel circuitry, Kailani immediately powers up as expected.
After that’s all taken care of, we take a walk into town for some home cooked restaurant food and we end up with three boxes of left-overs for tomorrow. We have meat loaf, mashed potatoes and half a cinnamon bun that was delicious.
On our way walking back to the boat, we video chat with Vic, Stephanie and the kids after they spent the day on Candlewood Lake with their boat. And after getting back aboard Kailani, we call Nick on FaceTime to say good night to Natalie and Brianna, so today was all in all a good day.
Oh, and we find out that Larry was correct with his synopsis of the problems on Sea Life and he’ll be waiting til Tuesday for the repair parts, before he can get back under way. But overall, with a cabin full of smoke, it could have been a lot worse. I’ll just have to wait a little longer for that banana nut bread that Carol baked for me.
Monday: Today is touring day. We make arrangements for online purchase of tickets for the Shepler Ferry to Mackinac Island with Mackinac Island Carriage Tours fee included all in one pass. Then we purchase the Family Heritage pass which is good for both of us to all the historic sites on both Mackinac Island and throughout Mackinaw City.
By the way, just for clarification, both spellings are correct. Originally Mackinac Island was named by the French and Native Americans to mean ‘great turtle’ derived from its appearance rising out of the lake. Then after the Revolutionary War, Mackinaw City was named for the mainland side using the traditional English spelling. Bothare pronounced ‘mack-in-naw’.
Anyway, the weather is spectacular for the high speed ferry ride across the channel into the Mackinac Island Harbor and Shepler’s docks. Soon after de-boarding, we’re at the Carriage Tour location boarding our horse-drawn carriage for the tour around the island. Mackinac Island offers the following choices for mode of transportation: feet, bicycle or horse. The only motorized vehicles allowed on the island are airplanes and the emergency services vehicles (fire, ambulance). The tour takes us past all of the downtown locations, the Grand Hotel, Surrey Hill with livery stables and butterfly conservancy, Arch Rock and then to Fort Mackinac.
At Fort Mackinac, we get off the horse drawn carriage and enter the fort using our Heritage Pass. The fort was originally built by the English to protect their blossoming fur trade business with the natives but was ceded to the United States after the Revolutionary War. So the displays show the operation of the fort and life on the fort for both soldiers and families.
Then I stick around for the cannon firing exhibition and that’s fairly loud, so Tracy sits that one out. Then we walk back into town and stroll past the thousands of bike rental concessions and fudge bakeries lining Water Street. Our ferry ride back is just as quick as the morning trip and soon, we’re back in Mackinaw City and aboard Kailani. For dinner tonight we decide to try the new restaurant right next to the marina called ‘Hook’ because they have prime rib. The meal is okay and we later learn that the restaurant is operating under a ‘soft opening’ arrangement so they will get better as time goes on.
On the walk back to Kailani, I spot a familiar vessel on the hard in Shepler Marina’s yard. It’s the Careb and we haven’t seen him since our day through the Peterborough Lift Lock. I notice he’s up on the boat and call up to Tom and he comes out and we catch up. He’s having transmission work done and he’ll be laid up for a few more days, so we’ll be able to stay in touch. In fact I learn that he has his golf clubs on board, so it an opportunity presents itself, well go knock around the little white ball together.
Tuesday: After walking Frankie this morning, I just don’t feel like making breakfast, and neither does Tracy, so we treat ourselves to breakfast at the Pancake Chef. It’s a quick four minute walk from the marina and the food always tastes good when someone else does the cooking for us. After breakfast, we decide to walk it off by checking out the tourist shops and the local grocery store. Mackinaw City has 850 permanent residents and 1 to 2 million visitors a year! So there are plenty of tourist shops available for tee shirts, fudge and souvenirs. We window shop, but do not succumb to vacationer-type purchases.
Back aboard Kailani, we take the opportunity to do some long planned deep cleaning of the master stateroom. It needed it as dust can really build up if not maintained. Again this evening, we go to bed in the middle of a very close thunderstorm. In fact there is one lightning strike that comes at the same time as the thunder and right after that, our marina-provided internet service is knocked out! That must be our signal to go to sleep. I do a final check on the lines and we turn in for the night.
Wednesday: Last evening’s thunderstorm knocks out the internet at this marina, however the power is still good. So we do a quick inspection of the on-board electronics and everything’s good except the radar which we already knew about and I will trouble shoot later today. But first, the morning ritual of walking Frankie and letting the office know we’ll be staying another day here in Mackinaw City. But remember I said the internet was out? Well they don’t have a way to charge me the fee because they can’t access their computers or the card swiping machine. So I let them know I’ll check back with them later in the day.
Mid afternoon I take a walk over to the United States Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw which is docked as a museum. This was the grand old lady of Great Lakes icebreaking. She was a three propellor design with two propellors at the stern and one ‘pod-drive’ propellor at the bow used for crushing ice as the ship travelled. Her other tool was that she was equipped with four ballast holding tanks capable of holding 115,000 gallons of water. The pumps aboard were capable of moving the entire 115,000 gallons of water in ninety seconds from tank to tank! So they would fill the two stern tanks with water to raise the bow of the ship out of the water, then drive her forward onto the ice while pumping the water forward and in ninety seconds the bow would come crushing down on up to 36″ thick ice and smash it to pieces allowing the Mackinaw to proceed. While on my tour, I met Bill who was retired form serving aboard the Mackinaw. He told me that they also used to use the water transfer pumps for another job. They would pump all the ballast water over to either the port or starboard tanks and that would tilt the entire vessel enough for the crew to don bos’n chairs and hang off the high side and re-paint the hull, one side at a time. He also described that these times when painting or ice crushing were underway that it took a long time to get used to the tips if you happen to be on your sleep shift!
Back aboard Kailani I start looking at the problem with the radar not turning on and after chasing wires under the helm, I find a busted tube fuse for the 12 cold DC power to the radar unit. I replace the 5 amp fuse with a new one and ‘voila’ the radar comes on. Now we’ll be safe if we encounter any fog or poor visibility along the way. After that’s complete, I take a walk back down East Central Street to the end for some groceries in the supermarket. We need to replenish our fresh drinking water and some other supplies. While I’m taking the walk to the grocery store with our utility wagon, Tracy stays behind and cleans out the refrigerator and freezer compartments so we’ll have ample room when I return.
We get word from Sea Cottage that they decided to stay in port at Drummond Island today and won’t cross to Mackinaw City until tomorrow for better sea conditions. So we need to make a decision whether or not we want to wait another day here, or press on tomorrow and let them catch up farther down the lake. We’ll also be in touch with Dale and Merna aboard Journey today and we both may decide to leave tomorrow, so either way, we’ll have a buddy boat for the cruise.
Thursday: We’ll set off today with Journey as Sea Life, Sea Cottage and Rejoice all plan to arrive in Mackinaw City before the end of the day. We agree to aim for an 8:30am departure and I let Dale know that I’ll be out of our marina right behind the 8:30am Shepler Ferry to Mackinac Island. As we are pulling out of the marina, we see Journey up ahead nearly in the channel for the Mackinac Bridge, however, he’s slowing a bit to allow an eastbound commercial vessel pass thru the bridge first.
That gives Kailani a chance to catch up and as we both pass under the Mackinac Bridge we’re able to witness the splendor and engineering that went into one of the greatest suspension bridges in the country and world. It’s a spectacular sight and it’s quite amazing that this adventure gives us opportunities like this to experience something that very few people have experienced.
Once we are completely thru the bridge, we are officially complete with Lake Huron and we are now on Lake Michigan, however, Lake Michigan is thankfully tame today and our cruise is a very pleasant one. After about two hours of cruising, we turn the vessels from a westerly heading to a due south heading. It has been a long time since we were headed south on this great loop adventure. In fact, since Savannah, Georgia we have been traveling north and northwest for the entire time with the exception of the Delaware River from the C & D Canal down to Cape May, NJ.and that was on May 14th, nearly three and one half months ago!
So it feels good to be ‘turning another corner’ as we head down Lake Michigan and start another leg of this adventure. Our cruise today is completely un-eventful as far as vessel traffic and weather are concerned, however, right at the point where we turned to port to head south, the Discovery Channel crew and the submarine from the parking lot that we saw yesterday are in the water and shooting some underwater film in the area that we are in so we give them a wide berth to stay out of their way and any potential underwater activity.
Four plus hours into the cruise, we’re turning into Little Traverse Bay and headed towards Petrosky Marina, another municipal marina on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) facility. We are met at the docks and Journey eases into slip C10 and we pull in right beside in slip C11. It’s 2:10pm so we’ve been cruising for five hours and forty minutes and completed forty six nautical miles today for an average cruise speed of 8.11 knots per hour.
As we’re tying up, I step off Kailani onto the dock while holding the two 30amp shore power cords and my back gives out and I fall to the deck. Lucky I didn’t fall in the water and lucky there were no injuries, however, Tracy set me up with an icepack on my back while she and Dale completed the setup and registration with the marina office. After icing my back for a while, I felt much better and when I walked out onto the dock, Dale was talking with the harbour master about a local marine electrician so I mentioned that if we could get him here, we might be able to have him look at our electrical system also in regards to the low voltage readings on our voltmeters while we’re underway. So Dale calls the phone number and Tim answers. He says he’s almost finished with another job about two miles away and he should be able to stop by this afternoon to check out both boats. Well, about fifteen minutes later, here comes Tim walking down the dock towards our slips.
First he comes aboard Kailani and after some trouble-shooting/diagnostics he determines that the motors are definitely putting out the electrical power to charge the batteries when underway, but the regulators are not sending the power to the battery banks, so while underway, the starting batteries and the house batteries are not getting re-charged. Both are basically only re-charging when Kailani is hooked up to shore power or when the generator is running. This repair is less than a day, but in total it will have to be done when we’re in one location for about four days, because the alternators need to come out, sent to a shop, new regulators installed, then alternators are re-installed onto the motors. So for now, we know what the issue is, and we can manage it with shore power or generator, so we’ll just wait until a right time and place to get this work done. Dale finds out almost the same thing in the sense that the issue is not harming any of the electrical system and he can wait for the appropriate time and place to get his long term repairs completed. All in all Tim was a great guy in spite of not fully repairing either vessel, at least he was able to explain the situations to us and re-assure us both that there are no emergency situations and our respective electrical systems just need to be monitored and managed until we have the time to get them properly worked on. We’ve been cruising full time since last October and we’ve only had one instance where a starting battery didn’t have enough power to start it’s engine and that was after a night at anchor and the following day was going thru locks and in the second lock of the day the starboard engine would not start. So I think we’re okay for now.
Dale and I review the weather forecast for tomorrow and currently it looks like we might be here for a few extra days waiting for a weather window to cruise farther south on the lake.
Late afternoon calls for a walk into town here in Petosky. We head out aiming for the tunnel that takes pedestrians from the marina area under busy Route 31 and comes out in the downtown area with quaint shops, restaurants, etc. But alas, as soon as we are walking off the dock with the tunnel entrance off to our left, we hear some loud noises coming from our right, so we look over and right where the Bear River empties out into Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan, there’s a guy using a fly fishing rod who’s fighting a seemingly large salmon that he’s hooked. So we change our direction and start heading towards the fly fisherman so Tracy can glean some local knowledge pointers about the fishing here. It seems like this guy is fighting for a good ten plus minutes without making any headway on bringing this salmon to shore when suddenly his line snaps and the salmon wins this particular battle. But we meander thru all the fisherman going after salmon this afternoon and even though nobody has landed one, they are all hopeful that soon they’ll get their bite and reel one in. So we move on into the downtown area and now it’s nearly 8pm so most of the stores have closed for the day, but we walk four or so blocks before we find ‘Flour Girl Pizza’ and walk in for some pizza. It’s a small family owned pizza, salad, sandwich stop with all the pies handmade on the premises. The mother/owner and her son are working tonight and soon we have our ordered pizza and Caesar salad in front of us. We are the only customers in the store at this time, so we start talking with the son and telling him about living aboard Kailani and touring the US and Canadian waters. He says that if we need to get anywhere tomorrow, just walk back over to their restaurant and one of them will take us wherever we need to go, no problems! The generosity and friendliness of people continues to abound on this adventure and is almost now gone from being unbelievable to being ordinary. We are almost not astounded anymore at people’s willingness to help us out no matter what the case may be. We return to Kailani with a few pieces of leftover pizza and turn in for the night knowing we are not cruising tomorrow as we wait for safer weather forecast(s).
A Petoskey stone is a rock and a fossil, often pebble-shaped, that is composed of a fossilized rugose coral, Hexagonariapercarinata. Such stones were formed as a result of glaciation, in which sheets of ice plucked stones from the bedrock, grinding off their rough edges and depositing them in the northwestern (and some in the northeastern) portion of Michigan‘s lower peninsula. In those same areas of Michigan, complete fossilized coral colony heads can be found in the source rocks for the Petoskey stones.Petoskey stones are found in the Gravel Point Formation of the Traverse Group. They are fragments of a coral reef that was originally deposited during the Devonian period. When dry, the stone resembles ordinary limestone but when wet or polished using lapidary techniques, the distinctive mottled pattern of the six-sided coral fossils emerges. It is sometimes made into decorative objects. Other forms of fossilized coral are also found in the same location.In 1965, it was named the state stone of Michigan. ‘ We have some! -tc
Friday: We wake up to a cool morning and I give Frankie a brisk walk for his morning business. After returning to Kailani, I make breakfast for us with eggs-over easy, sausage links and toast. Then we plan for a portion of our day to include laundry, and lots of it! Dale meets and chats with another transient boater further down the dock from us and he has a vehicle and he would be happy to take us both shopping if we’d like, in fact, there is also a farmer’s market going on downtown with fresh produce and some meats. So Journey and Kailani crews agree to enjoy a nice grilled steak dinner together tonight with corn on the cob from the farmer’s market. So Mike (the Grand Banks boater) gets his Jeep Cherokee and hauls us downtown, then to the local Walmart to restock our grocery shelves. Dale and I come home with everything we’ll need for our dinner tonight and then some! Also, I finally make contact with AGLCA member Don from Cheboygan who is offering up two electric folding bikes for sale and Dale and I are interested in purchasing them for Merna and Tracy, so he will bring them by later this afternoon for us to check out. He’s only 45 minutes drive away so bringing them to Petrosky is no problem for him and he’s glad to do it.
I spot a guy with his wife and daughter messing with ducklings on a Mainship 390 so I go over to ask if he needs any assistance and he immediately chats up that they’re good for now, he’s just adjusting the lines, but that he intends to start the Great Loop in two weeks with his wife, so he asks if he can come over to Kailani to see how we’ve got her set up for long range cruising and we spend about an hour talking about all things ‘loopie’!
Soon I’m getting called from Don and he’s in the parking lot with the two electric folding bikes, so Dale and Merna, Tracy and I walk over to meet him and check out the bikes. The bikes are nearly brand new in condition even though he’s owned them for almost two years. The batteries have less than 200 hours on them and they turn out to be great deals for both of us and Dale buys one and Tracy buys the other and we are now a biking couple again. The bikes were originally purchased for more than $2,000 each and we are able to buy them for Don’s asking price of $500 which we feel is a good deal , but the part that makes them a great deal is that he’s also brought the pannier bags, the covers, spare tire tubes and helmets and they’re included in the purchase, so we are all very pleased with our ‘new to us’ electric folding bikes. Weeeeeee doggiesssssssss!!- tc
After stowing the bikes, we get our steak dinners ready to grill on the marina provided grill and meet Dale and Merna at the picnic tables for dinner. We have steaks, corn on the cob, russet potatoes and salad, then Dale brings out four peach halves that he soaked in cinnamon and clove spikes, throws them on the grill for a minute or so and we devour them for a dessert. Then we chat for a while about marina’s and tons that we’ve each enjoyed along the way and retire to our ‘homes’ for the evening. It still looks like we’ll be here in Petrosky for another day tomorrow with a possibility of cruising to Leland on Sunday.
Saturday: One more day in Petrosky is in the cards as we watch winds blow by us on the lake while we’re safely tucked in our slips here in Petrosky Municipal Marina. We spend the day doing chores aboard Kailani and meeting & greeting people on the docks. There are really some friendly people here.
Our plan is to cruise to Leland tomorrow on a good weather window and move farther down the Michigan coast, but we’re also trying to allow Sea Cottage an opportunity to catch up to us. So Tracy suggests that we maybe cruise just to Charlevoix tomorrow and then Sea Cottage’s distance will be just as long as the cruise to Petrosky because they would be bypassing the entire Little Traverse Bay that we are in. So we check with the Charlevoix Marina and they say that presently, they have twenty boats leaving tomorrow and just four confirmed reservations, so it’s fairly likely that in the morning, they’ll be able to confirm space for us. We ask them to place us on the waiting list for tomorrow and to call us back if the slips open up as expected. Then we set the plan with Sea Cottage that we will both depart in the morning planning for our original destinations, Kailani to Leland and Sea Cottage to Petrosky. If we get the call that the slips have opened up in Charlevoix, then we’ll both re-adjust our course(s) and cruise to Charlevoix instead, then we’ll be caught up in one cruise day rather than several.
With a sort of firm plan for tomorrow, we turn in early and hope for firmer intel in the morning. Week twenty on the loop has come to an end and we’re really enjoying all that life and this adventure has exposed us to as for new friends, sights to see, restaurants to taste and weather to experience. It’s really been an adventure to enjoy with new sights and experiences around every bend in the water. We are truly fortunate to be experiencing this remarkable adventure.