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This is a blog about Peggy and Bob's Great Loop adventure which began in September 2008 in Lake Superior aboard "Baby Grand," their 32' Grand Banks trawler.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Necklace of Islands Summer 9-8-11

As I look back on our summer cruise through northern Lake Michigan and the North Channel of Lake Huron, our GPS track threads through so many islands and forms a beautiful necklace. Grand Traverse Bay and the ports of Lake Michigan form its clasp, and Beaver Island is the starter bead. The grey and pink granite islands of the North Channel form the bulk of the necklace and here’s a picture of our last secluded anchorage in the North Channel—Long Point Cove. We will add to this island necklace every year until we have strung all the islands together.

The last bead in the island necklace is a gem—Mackinac Island. Come by ferry or your own boat and make sure it’s after Labor Day when the tourist season winds down but beautiful early fall weather prevails There are only 20 boats here in this 80 slip marina and at $38 a day, it is a real deal. The island invites you to step back to a time when walking, biking and carriage rides were the norm. There is way more to Mackinac Island than the fort and fudge. 80% of the island is Michigan State land so there is plenty of hiking and biking along the 140 miles of byways and trails and Mollie and I are logging a lot of miles. I finally took off my lucky boat hat for a picture at the Iroquois Hotel patio restaurant where we had a terrific meal at a very reasonable price.

Captain Bob has crunched a few numbers for this boating season (6/7/11 to 9/26/11):

Distance traveled: 640 nautical miles
Miles per gallon: 4.6
Nights at Anchor: 26
Generator Hours: 35
Number of Islands: 15
Number of Ports: 11
Worth of Experience: priceless

We’ve learned so much this season about what we need on board to cruise Lake Michigan and the North Channel. Our wish list will make Christmas and birthday shopping very easy. My list is pretty basic and includes a kayak, digital camera, and fishing gear. Captain Bob’s list needs a bit more explanation: a range finder (laser gizmo that accurately measures distance), portable depth sounder (Bob has been doing soundings with a measured boat pole but you probably knew he would want to upgrade), “rocker stopper” (helps dampen the motion of a boat at anchor), and a new seat for the dinghy. To take on new stuff, we’ve looked at what we don’t need now so the 2nd bike and the portable air conditioner will be offered for sale. Mollie’s list is pretty simple as the girl is crazy about sticks. We loaded up with toys but sticks are her thing to chase on land, retrieve in the water and even to chomp on. Good thing one of us has low cost taste.

We are scheduled for haul-out in Northport on 9-26 so there are lots of boat projects to do before we tuck Baby Grand back into her cocoon. We’ll be going back to the mountains of Colorado and look forward to seeing our family as well as hiking, skiing, volunteer work, city life in Denver and RVing in the West. It is a very balanced life for us divided amongst so many varied activities and people we love. It has been fun to share this blog with you and let’s stay in touch.

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