August 29, 2007 , Suttons Bay , Michigan , USA
We are back in U.S. waters at the top of Lake Michigan . For the past few weeks, we've had a wonderful cruise through the Georgian Bay and the North Channel of Lake Huron .
After leaving Midland, Ontario, we anchored off Beckwith Island, then Snug Harbour and Kitsilano Bay near Pointe au Baril (they supplement the lighthouse with a "baril" on a pole). The whole Georgian Bay is very picturesque, including all the rocks you are supposed to avoid. The channels are at times very shallow and narrow. Your full attention is needed on the charts and the helm. The further you go north, the less boat traffic you encounter. We met a few die-hards like ourselves but everyone told us that, even though it's only mid-August, the "season" is nearly over and there are fewer boats travelling.
We stopped at a marina in Britt, a little town boasting an interesting restaurant in the Little Britt Inn. Olga had elk medallions while I stuck to something they called Chicken-in-a-Bag. Interesting cooking and spices. We had a bit of weather going up from Britt to the Bustard Islands where we anchored very securely in a beautiful cove with several other boats hiding from the wicked winds. Lake Huron and Georgian Bay are shallow inland seas and can whip up a nasty chop in no time. Fortunately, a good Nova Scotia boat will take it well.
From the Bustard Islands, we made our way to Little Current on Manitoulin Island in the North Channel . We were stuck at a nice marina there for 3 days while another weather system clocked through generating up to 40 knots of wind and squalls to match. Little Current is where all boaters entering or exiting the North Channel converge. The pleasure boat traffic is amazing with everything from little 20 foot sailboats to mega-yachts. Since everyone was stuck there due to weather, we met a number of cruisers including JJ's Odyssey from Tennessee and Cakaro from Owen Sound .
After the "blow" we made our way to Gore Bay to finally meet up with Bob and Lynn on Sarah Lynn III . Their boat was launched at Isle Madame, Cape Breton this spring and trucked from there to Green Bay , Wisconsin . She is a beauty and it has been a pleasure to travel with them through the North Channel where we visited Crocker Island, Beardrop Harbour, Thessalon and Drummond Island/Harbour Island together. We rafted several nights in quiet anchorages and Bob and Olga cooked up a storm trying to outdo each other. Amazingly, we did not run out of wine due to the well stocked cellars of Mystic Bond and Sarah Lynn III . Bob and Lynn like to travel in style: several evenings before supper they served excellent California Champagnes and Blanc de Noir. We really got spoiled!
As we approached Lake Michigan we encountered fog for several days and got to practice using our radar again. We also picked up a stowaway, a little brown bat. We're not sure if he was hitching a free ride from Canada to the "land of good and plenty" or if his own bat sonar was down and he figured we knew where we were going. Anyway, the weather gave us a good excuse (as if we needed one!) to stop and visit Mackinac Island, a wonderful place and a step back in time. From there, we followed Sarah Lynn III to Harbor Springs , Michigan and visited the lovely community there for a couple of days before Bob and Lynn left to return home to Wisconsin .
Mystic Bond continued on to Charlevoix and found secure anchorage in the middle of Round Lake, surrounded by gorgeous houses including the famous "mushroom house". We then went on to Traverse City, the "cherry capital of the world" and are now sitting pretty at anchor in Suttons Bay . Lake Michigan is a real joy to cruise. Lots of scenery, crystal clear water, beautiful sand beaches, neat little towns and many good restaurants.
Tonight we will make our way to Northport then on to South Manitou Island in order to cross to the west side of Lake Michigan on Friday. We will be visiting with Bob and Lynn in Green Bay, Wisconsin for the long weekend and from there, will plan our next major move to Chicago and onward.
Olga and Andre on board m/v Mystic Bond