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Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by Doc O Rock, Feb 4, 2018.
That's Elena's boat. Cute, eh?
If you heading north from Frankfort, Leland is another great little harbor with good food and lots of natural beauty. Here are two recent pix taken last summer.
PapaG, I agree 100% on the North Channel and Georgian Bay. In 1964 right after we graduated from high school, a classmate and good friend invited me to go with him and his parents up there on their boat. It was moored at SBYC in Bay City.
We spent 2 weeks on the trip. Two days to get up to northern parts of Lake Huron then across to the North Channel and the majority of the rest of the trip up there and Georgian Bay. Even as a high schooler who previously was only interested in girls in bikinis, that area really impressed me. Crystal clear water, beautiful islands, great harbor towns. What a trip it was and I've never forgotten it.
On a related topic, for those of you GL boaters, I have an Excel spreadsheet that I put together that has mileage distances between many Great Lakes port cities and a few from the Canadian waters.
If anyone wants a copy emailed to them, drop me a PM with your email address and I'll get it out to you tomorrow.
Hope to see you guys in Charlevoix this summer! We might be gone that week but nothing fully decided yet. Stay warm and be careful on the roads!
Going through this thread, i noticed nobody has mentioned Port Sanilac. and yes I've been to Harbor Beach. and we love Port Austin and turnip rock. But Port Sanilac has some great activities scheduled for the summer. Like the Antique Boat Show, And Blues Festival, And Music in the Park. It's a great little town trying hard to get attention. Well worth a stop over. and is usually the best diesel and gas prices on the lake.
I'm a little late to the thread having just returned from Florida but the trip north is almost an annual thing with us. We've been to the Mackinac Island and Charlevoix areas eleven times starting from either Algonac or Sarnia and in the old days, from Georgian Bay. Every port has its charm and one of our new favorites is Port Austin where the harbor has been reconstructed and the staff is among the best. I even wrote to the state and commended their staff last year.
Lexington and East Tawas should be considered too but the latter is "inside" Saginaw Bay a bit and the dicey part about going up or down the lake is always crossing Saginaw Bay. We've been out in eight footers there and it wasn't pleasant for an hour until you tuck into the protection of the land. Harrisville is a fuel stop and Presqu'ille is pretty with its lighthouses, but limited. Rogers City has some of the fastest diesel fuel pumps around and the town is very quiet. (We had to dine at the bowling alley last June because everything else was shut down it seemed.) Once you get into the "Straits" everything brightens up. The Island is very busy in July and that's why we prefer June. Mackinaw City docks are our preference in high water years and the Straits in low water for their floating docks. It's always blowing hard it seems at the City marina in the afternoon but the staff is very good at "catching you". (Back into a starboard tie on the south side when the typical west wind is funnelling through and you will see what I mean. Ask for a port tie or bow in.)
The Island is an amazing place and we have walked around it several times, bicycled it and the girls rollerbladed too (just don't get caught doing that in the town by the local cop.) We prefer "inside the T and bow-in, about the only place we do. You wake up in the morning to the cannon salute off your stern.) Making the turn out towards Lake Michigan's White Shoal is one of the great challenges with a typical building wind. It seems to funnel right up Lake Michigan into the mouth all the way from the windy city. As you run south toward Little Traverse Bay it seems to smooth out. I completely agree with Captain Rusty's assessment because it can beat you up, so choose your days and generally leave Mackinaw (or Mackinac) early. We were beaten back twice in our 28 footer but the 36 finally did it. Much easier in the 46 these days and we've had glass smooth conditions on the last three trips.
In Little Traverse Bay the choices abound. We were in Harbor Springs, Charlevoix and Petosky last June. All are wonderful as is the royal treatment at Bay Harbor Yacht Club. Petosky is more exposed so there's a bit of a bounce all night and Harbor Springs has its snobbishness but is charming. Charlevoix is my choice of the bunch and Hal the former dockmaster is still around as the welcoming committee.
Have fun with the trip because it's a wonderful experience. Might see you up there!
Jaws, thanks for the reply. We have spent many weeks in the Charlevoix, Petoskey, Harbor Springs area for most of our life, but always in a hotel. We are really looking forward to spend our time in the cockpit. I've spent considerable time on Lake Charlevoix in smaller rental boats so I know and love that lake. I'm especially looking forward to spending the night on the hook in Oyster Bay on Lake Charlevoix. A night or two in Boyne City would be nice also.
I'm planning on staying loose, and North Port Leland, and Suttons Bay are on the secondary list.
We've had many an adult beverage at the outside bar a Staffords looking at sight like those.
Good Bloody Marys there.
The trip is almost here! we leave next Friday morning and hope to make Port Austin the first day. I'll post up our experiences and some pictures as we go. Pray for good weather.
Looks like you'll be far better off than on the other side of the mitten. I was hoping to cross from Wisconsin this Friday but with a south wind the forecast is 5'+ waves. Ughh...
Might be a bit of a chop for you. Looks like 2-3's on your side Friday evening.
You should have no problems running in one day from Belle Maer Harbor to Port Austin. I just ran from Bouvier Bridge to Lexington last weekend (crappy weather) and was told to watch out for commercial fishing nets. On the way up, I ran about 4 - 5 miles off shore due to concerns of fishing nets, but didn't see any. When I talked to some others in port, they said the nets were farther north (Around Port Sanilac up to Harbor Beach). I am not sure if the nets are out there but might want to check with someone in the know before heading out.
Thanks for the heads up!
Doc have a safe trip. Looking forward to the pics and story....
We made it back to Lake St Clair on Friday the 20th, what a great trip. If any of you are thinking of a trip like this, get out there and go.
We were planning on leaving on Friday the 6th, but the winds were up, and if you stay at the slip, it never hurts. That's what we said. We left Belle Mare on Saturday the 7th to make Port Austin. Having never made a run of that far, we were reluctant to trust my old gauges, so we stopped at Harbor Beach. What a mistake. There were 5 boats waiting for fuel, so wait we did. As we boaters do, I hung out at the gas dock, chatting with the other boaters and the dock girls. Who shows up in a nice Hinckley picnic boat, but Heraldo Rivera. He was by himself and off to Mackinac to meet his wife. So I helped him tie up and chatted for a while. Finally, we had our chance to fuel up, and off to Port Austin, we went. I needn't have worried about how much fuel I had, and the gauges and software on my Garmin 7212 with the fuel flow sensors were always within 5 gallons for the rest of the trip. Port Austin is a great Marina and we should have spent an extra day, but the forecast was good and we wanted to make some north. We left Sunday and made Presque Ile. By then we were tired and spent 2 nights. There is a beautiful bay to ride the dink around and nice walking trails out to the lighthouses. There is also a very good restaurant serving lunch and dinner. Great fish! And nice people, but not much else, but a little general store and ice cream shop. We left Tuesday for Mackinac Island not knowing if we could get a slip. Well, we had no problem and got 2 great sips right on the wall by the street. We spent 3 nights which was one too many, but the forecast was for storms on Lake Michigan. They never happened. We left the next day and after we made the turn found 2 to 3 footers, after the straight. But around we went and they built to 4 footers from the south south-west. No problem just match the speed of the boat to the conditions. We were going to try and make Charlevoix but when we go down there we found the drawbridge closed and couldn't be opened. So around we went to Petoskey, for fuel and a slip. Fuel wasn't a problem but the slip? I counted 12 open slips that would have been fine for us but was told we couldn't have them. A quick phone call to Bay Harbor found they had slips aplenty for us. Now I know what you're saying " It's too expensive!" It's not that bad, and what a great place and what beautiful scenery. So there we stayed for 3 nights. That's all for now, I'll continue tomorrow, and hopefully with pictures, and some thoughts.
I think there should be word rules on this site.... For every 8 words there should be two pictures that accompany them.
I know I know, I'm working on the pictures.
Enjoying the story so far Doc. Glad you had a great trip. Hopefully we can here it in person if we can figure out another place to meet up.