Dancing Waters Charlevoix, Michigan
Sunday: So this morning turns out to be a ‘coming and going’ type of morning. It starts out very regular with coffee and Frankie’s walk in the park. Then when Frankie and I are back aboard and waiting for the scheduled departure target of 9:30am, phone calls start coming in from Charlevoix Marina that right now it looks like the slip opportunities are not as plentiful as last evening’s call. Plus the weather is looking slightly questionable for a longer run to Leland, so we are now waffling on whether or not to just stay put here in Petoskey for another day. We let Journey and Sea Cottage know that we’re thinking of just riding out another day in Petoskey. Journey is also on the fence about leaving and soon enough, as we are getting used to the idea of staying, Charlevoix Marina calls Journey, then us and says they absolutely can take all three of us today. So we switch back into departure preparation mode and Tracy calls Sea Cottage with the news. They are somewhat leary about making a change to their plan, but they agree and now they will be caught up with us by the end of today.
I set my navionics for the mouth of the Charlevoix channel because there’s a sixteen foot bridge to pass thru that only opens at the top and bottom of the hour, so a good plan is to arrive there with ten to fifteen minutes to spare so as to cut down on the wait time. My navionics shows a one hour and forty one minute cruise, so I tell Dale we’re going to shoot for an eleven o’clock departure and he says he’ll be cruising a bit slower, so he will leave at ten forty five. We want to shoot for the one pm opening because there is a large ferry that uses this bridge on the half hours.
We help Journey off the dock and by 11:05am we’re pulling away from our slip. Once Tracy has all the dock lines cleaned and stowed and the fenders put away, we are out of the harbor and we take Kailani up to cruising speed, 1,100 rpm’s and 9.6 knots. Navionics shows us arriving at the mouth of the Charlevoix channel at 12:49pm so our strategy is spot-on accurate. I have downloaded a new tracking app called NEBO and it tracks our voyages and locates other boats using the same app, so all throughout this cruise, we are able to see Journey just ahead of us and also, we are able to track Sea Life and Rejoice on their way from Mackinaw City to Beaver Island. This is a cool app!
Journey and Kailani reach the mouth of the channel at 12:52pm so rather soon after that, the bridge is opening and the two of us along with four other vessels make our way thru the opening and into Round Lake and the Charlevoix City Marina. Soon we are both all secure on the docks and we just have to wait for Sea Cottage to catch up. And they do arrive after the 3:00pm bridge opening. It’s good to see them again.
Tracy and I are quite hungry now, but Sea Cottage had some sandwiches along the way, so they’re not hungry. Tracy and I walk up to the Villager Restaurant and have great sandwiches. By this point, we’ve decided to stay tomorrow and spend a full day exploring this village as we’ve heard great things about it, so as we walk to the restaurant, we talk about some of the things we’ll try to do tomorrow.
Monday: Today is Labor Day and we’re not leaving the docks today. Neither is Sea Cottage, or the Journey. It’s a good day to relax in a great little town full of shops, restaurants and tourist attractions. First thing we do is go to a restaurant for breakfast. Everyone tells us we should go to ‘Smoke on the Water’ the best breakfast in Charlevoix, so we do. We sit at a sidewalk table so Zach can occupy the end seat and it works out great. The food is better, just as advertised.
Afterwards, Tracy and I get out the bikes and she tries her new electric bike and we go off to see the mushroom houses. The mushroom houses are the brainchild of Mr. Earl Young who built a series of little cottages using local materials. He started in the early 1900’s thru 1970 and designed them to look like they were an extension of the local environment. He constructed 29 structures over his career and 28 of them are still in use today as rental cottages, houses and office buildings.
Later in the day, the throng of ‘Loopers’ in the marina calls for docktails, so we get together on one of the picnic tables and share some stories of adventures on the loop.
Tuesday: More weather keeps everyone tied up today so the day is more of the same with camaraderie, laughter, and another docktails. Rejoice has shown up at the marina also so we get to meet Rick and Deedy and they are another fun couple to share time with while cruising. Tracy hosts a movie night in the Boater’s Lounge and we show ‘City Island’. Attending is Dale & Merna, Rick & Deedy, Erik, Jennifer & Zak along with Tracy and I. Everyone is pleasantly surprised by the movie because they never heard of it and it was entertaining for all. Of course, the four different types of popcorn that Tracy popped for the movie was a nice touch! So now Tracy has started a new tradition, ‘Cine-tails’ for when movies are shown in lieu of docktails!
Wednesday: Another day in port and the only good thing is that the marina has gone to offering two days for one days payment, so as this is our fourth day, we’ve only paid for two days. At least if we can’t be cruising, we’re getting a sort of a deal out of it. Tracy and I take another bike ride over to the beach and enjoy some time wading in the water looking for Petoskey stones. We don’t really find any, but we do find some other stones that will be very pretty in a stone collection. The colors are very bright and all the stones are nicely rounded due to the pounding of the lake waves.
Another ‘Cinetales’ is hosted by Tracy and this time we watch ‘Somewhere in Time’ starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour and the reason that we watch this is because it’s one of only two movies that were filmed at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. We have another fun evening with Rick & Deedy and Zak. The movie is a sorta tear-jerker, so Rick, Zak and I are forced to make our own laughs, which we do a real nice job of handling. Everyone leaves thinking that tomorrow might be a chance to move farther south on Lake Michigan, so we say our good-nights with reserved anticipation.
Thursday: Every summer Thursday in Charlevoix is a farmer’s market right in the park adjacent to the marina, so bright and early I walk up to the market and buy some fresh bagels and some Mike’s Mustard, a local condiment. I see Dale and we’re both thinking today is a getaway day as winds and waves are slated to start dying down near mid-day. So we all agree to plan for a 10:30 am departure to coincide with the bottom of the hour bridge opening.
Journey pulls out from her slip and I follow up right behind him. A sailboat that had been docked in Round Lake all week raises his anchor and falls in line between Journey and Kailani. Meanwhile Dale radios that he will be waiting for the ferry to pass thru the bridge first, then we will follow the ferry. Erik radios me and says he will miss the 10:30am opening, but he will continue to prep for departure and will follow up at the 11:00am opening.
The Bridge Street Bridge starts opening at 10:25 am and soon, the ferry has passed thru and is turning to his starboard to dock the boat with his passengers from Beaver Island. After he safely passes thru and into Round Lake, Journey followed by the sailboat followed by Kailani pass thru the open bridge to heads out to the Lake. As soon as we’re out in the lake, the wind and waves are battering us around a bit A BIT??? as they hit off our starboard stern. Both Dale and I theorize that once we clear the shallow water and turn more southerly towards Leland, we should be in calmer water. Well it does calm down a bit, but not before destroying, once again, our galley and everything that was on the galley dinette table. Tracy had wanted to return to port!!! and I kept saying that all we had to do was get out to where we could turn more southerly and the waves would be hitting us on our stern instead of our quarter. Afterwards, we discuss the situation and Tracy was really strong about wanting to turn back and I really should have, but I wasn’t as clear in understanding her as she thought she was in expressing her desire to turn around. Next time, we’ll have to be better at communication, both vocalizing and listening, so we don’t get into a misunderstanding again.
Anyway, Tracy is able to get word to Sea Cottage to stay in port and not come out into the seas we are in, so we’ll wait for them until tomorrow in Leland for them to catch up again. After half a bumpy ride and half a smoother ride, we are soon in sight of Leland Township Marina and by2:00pm, we’re tied up and hooked up to shore power for at least the next two days. After registering, and straightening up the galley from the cruise, we walk into town to do some exploring.
This is one of the last working fishing communities left on the shores of Lake Michigan. There are only 50 commercial fishing licenses issued in the entire state of Michigan and there are two of them right here in Leland!
We walk into a riverside sandwich shop and order two baguette sandwiches that are out of this world good. Neither of us can finish our entire sandwich, but sitting on a picnic table right next to the river watching the salmon try to jump up the dam is a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon in Leland. I may have to reward myself later with some ice cream!
I bump into Dana, Rick & Deedy in town and I let them know that we are so full from the sandwiches that we won’t be going out for dinner later. I wish that wasn’t the case because they are both talking about heading out tomorrow towards Frankfort and we will be staying here to wait for Sea Cottage to show up. But as with every new turn on the loop, we seem to always run back into boats we’ve met along the way, so I’m sure we’ll see Journey and Rejoice again soon.
Friday: We all stay in port today and look forward to better weather soon. However Sea Cottage shows up from Charlevoix and their ride was much better than our yesterday. Anyway, Tracy & I walk more of the town and check out shops, restaurants, etc. We heard a lot of comments that Leland is a one night stop, but we have different tastes and we could force ourselves spending a few nice days here in this quaint little fishing village.
Amphicar Boat/care driving/cruising.
We say goodbye to Rejoice and the Journey while Sum Escape, Lark and our good friends on Makin’ Memories, the Colemans show up. It’s a nice day in Leland with so many loopers and we thoroughly enjoy the day. I spend quite a bit of time catching up with the Colemans and its a real joy to see them again.
Dinner tonight is with Sea Cottage and we walk up to the BlueBird Restaurant for some prime rib. The dinner is quite filling and we don’t have room for dessert, so back to the vessels we go for the evening.
Saturday: Tracy and I go up to the Early Bird for breakfast and then walk around the stores looking for gifts for family and friends. While we’re in a woman’s clothing store called ‘Haystacks’, Tracy suddenly feels light headed, dizzy and asks for me to assist her in sitting down to re-orient herself. I started staggering in circles as if I was physically drunk but I was NOT dizzy which was the strange part, not did I feel like I was going to faint. All I could think was, “What are you doing walking in circles like this?” My answer to myself was “Of course, you are having a stroke.” It did pass after a few minutes which would make it a TIA (mini-stroke), but I knew enough to know that either mini or major it was a medical emergency and needed to be immediately checked out. – tc The store clerk helps us and soon, Tracy feels better enough to walk back to the marina. As we get to the marina, I tell her that I’l like to go into the main building and use the restroom, she can just wait for me in the boater’s lounge.
When I come out of the lounge a few minutes later, there’s Tracy sitting on a couch in the lounge with two Marina Patrol Sheriffs that had come into the building, attending to her They call an ambulance and soon there are three paramedics working on Tracy’s vitals and recommending a trip to the hospital, which is Munson Medical Hospital in Traverse City. So off we go, no lights and sirens, just a quick pace through country roads to Traverse City.
Upon arrival at the hospital, the ER staff is waiting by an exam table for her and I’m shown to a waiting room. Soon, she’s wheeled into a holding room where more people can check vitals, etc. She is very conscious, painless, and totally coherent, just ‘not right’. Eventually she is transferred into a 23 1/2 hour room for continued observation including a Head CT Scan, MRI, carotid doppler and cardiac ultrasound. Once she’s settled into her room and has ordered a dinner, I go down to the cafeteria and get a meal so we can eat together. Just as I’m opening the elevator door to return to the room, there’s Tracy being wheeled out for her MRI. So we don’t end up eating dinner together, but we both get much needed nourishment. After dinner and Tracy’s feeling much better, I make arrangements with Uber to get a ride back to Leland and Frankie. Everyone back at the marina has been watching him today and we’ve missed tonight’s docktails hosted by the crew on Lark. Oh well, I let everyone know how she’s doing and that she’ll probably be back tomorrow. Frankie and I spend a quiet evening aboard Kailani and hit the sack.