The Secret of the Secret Garden

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!  If you go to the website and look in the top right hand corner, you will notice a Guestbook has been added.  The crew would love to hear from the virtual crew members and visitors, so go visit the site and leave a reply.

Eric here catching you up to date on the latest travels of Still Waters II.

Click on the Travel Map or this link to see the day-by-day travel log.

IMG_0149The crew made their way off of Lake Superior and headed back to Sault Ste. Marie, MI.  They then cruised south on the St Mary’s  River to De Tour Village.  Then it was on to Mackinac Island a few days before finally venturing into Lake Michigan.

The crew has had to stay on the eastern shore of the lake because the weather has not cooperated to allow a safe passage to the western shore.  They have made stops in the ports of Charlevoix, Leland, and Frankfort so far.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The skipper has noticed several road signs that show:

End of Earth                                   2 miles

Michigan Upper Peninsula         4 miles

The crew has a new appreciation for the road sign based on their experience sleeping Saturday night.    At one point the Admiral got up and looked around and announced that this was the darkest night she had ever seen.  With heavy cloud cover there was no moon nor stars.  She could not even see any lights from the nearby houses.  Yes, it was pitch black and they felt like they were miles beyond the end of the earth on the Upper Peninsula.

The skipper slept with one eye shut keeping the other eye open looking for three fingers Riley, and hoping Riley was not out on a midnight haunt.


After the skipper woke in the morning he checked the weather for wind conditions.  Then he went down and talked to a local fisherman that was on the pier.  The local guy said that the better crossing weather would be today rather than Monday and that he advised that the crew leave as soon as possible before the winds started picking up.

Met this big fella crossing the Bay


The skipper went and talked with the Admiral and she was more than ready to get back to civilization.  The crew readied the boat for the crossing of Whitefish Bay and shoved off by 0830.  With the wind in their backs the ride back to Sault Ste. Marie was calmer then before with only 3 foot swells.



People at Visitor Center watching crew lock thru

The crew came back thru the American Locks because there was no commercial traffic expected for the rest of the day.  Specifically, the MacArthur Lock which was named after General Douglass MacArthur.  After docking, the crew walked back down Historic Water Street to the Locks and Visitor Center.  The walk was full of history and interesting to say the least.  The Visitor Center was also well done.


Fun Facts about Lake Superior and Lake Michigan:

  • Retention time for water in Lake Superior is 191 years.
  • Retention time for water in Lake Michigan is 99 years
  • Submarines had their sea trails on Lake Michigan during WWII
  • Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake completely in the US

Monday, August 29, 2016

The crew left the Soo area and finally headed south.  The destination was down the St Mary’s River to a small town named De Tour Village.  But before shoving off they had one last conversation with a couple from Florida.

Round Island Light on St Mary’s River


This couple may just own the record for being on the loop the longest without ever crossing their wake.  They started from Nashville, TN 11 years ago.  Upon arrival in the Great Lakes they decided to hang in the area for the summers and put the boat in storage for the winters.  They go home to Florida for the winters.  They also mentioned that they have no intentions of heading south in the boat to cross their wake anytime soon.  They prefer to stay in the Great Lakes and just cruise around up here.

On a business in De Tour

Our crew loves this area also, but they are determined to make it back down to Fort Myers, FL by boat, and cross their wake.


On the door of a restaurant that advertises open 7 days a week in De Tour


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Approach to Mackinac Island

The crew got off on a nice cruise over to Mackinac Island.  This is another one of the looper must see spots.  The crew has heard about the island for over two years now.  The island has no automobiles.  Everything is done on bicycles or horse drawn carriage.  The only way to the island is by boat or plane.  Several tour boats ferry people to the island all day.


IMG_0043The trip over to the island was marred by light fog.  The fog stayed with the crew most of the day.  As the fog finally started to lift about 1300 the skipper noticed another boat running parallel with them about a mile further south.  Turns out this boat had left De Tour just a few minutes ahead of Still Waters II.

The skipper had wondered where they were because they had mentioned they were also heading to Mackinac Island today.  The two boats ended up docked side by side.  The crew learned that the couple has spent the last 4 years living in the Bahamas.  They bought their boat back in July on the Chesapeake Bay.  After closing on the vessel, they moved aboard and started the loop.

The streets of Mackinac Island

After arrival to the island, the crew walked around and explored the area.  The first problem encountered was that there was a fudge store and ice cream store on every corner.  With only a two day reservation available this may cause an unfair assessment of the best fudge and ice cream on the island since the skipper probably will not get to sample all the different stores.


However, I have seen this boy in action when it comes to eating sweets.  He might not get to all the stores, but I am sure he will give it a hardy go.


The taxi ride out to the Woods

The crew would like to thank the crew of Tasteful Traveler for a great recommendation for dinner while on the Island.

The skipper trolls a couple of other looper blogs to look for things not to miss.  The Tasteful Traveler mentioned a restaurant called  ‘Woods.’  The skipper decided that our crew would try the Woods to celebrate 6,000 miles on the Loop and completing the Canadian waters.







The Woods

They called for a taxi and were picked up at the marina.  The horse and buggy ride took them through town and then up to the Grand Hotel.  The buggy journey continued through the woods and finally arrived at the restaurant after about a 40 minute ride.










Taxi for return trip to the marina

The food and service at the restaurant were fabulous. After dinner, the crew took the taxi back by the Grand Hotel where the skipper learned that to sit out on the porch a man must be in a tie and jacket.

The skipper thinks he will stick with his shorts and T-shirts on the sundeck and skip the Grand Hotel porch.


The best part of the ride back was the driver.  He was a rather large man and told the crew that the best fudge on the Island was JoAnn’s.  In fact, he said. “take it from a fat man, the best fudge on the Island is JoAnn’s.”  He also mentioned that they had won best fudge on the Island four years in a row.

The crew stopped at JoAnn’s on the way back to sample the fudge.  The crew agrees with the driver, that was some goooood fudge! A great way to top off the night.

Would you like to try a bite of peanut butter and chocolate?



MM MM that was good!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The skipper decided to bike the Island this morning.  The road is practically flat and takes an 8.2 mile course along the shore line.  After the skipper scoped the ride out, the Admiral decided she would ride the course also.  So they made the tour together stopping at each mile marker and taking pics:


IMG_2896The Admiral and skipper spent the afternoon wandering around the island and taking in the sites.  One of the interesting beauties of the island are all of the flower gardens.

The crew came across one garden named the “Secret Garden.”  There were many figurines and statues scattered throughout the garden.

They had a poster of ten of the items and asked that you try and find the items in the garden.

Easier said than done.  After an hour of looking the crew had found 9 of the 10 objects but they could not ever locate the dinosaur.  The skipper thinks the mouse with the big ears probably moved the item out of the garden and the home owners like to see how long frustrated patrons will look for the missing object.  That is the real secret of the Secret Garden.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

A look back at the Grand Hotel
Mackinac Bridge – Opened in 1957 – Longest suspension bridge in western hemisphere

Upon leaving Mackinac Island, the initial plan was to try and make Beaver Island.  However, the wind was out of the north and had the potential to build some nasty waves off of the beam since they would be travelling west.  As the crew passed under the Mackinac Bridge the waves did begin to build to 3-5 foot.  Since the crew was travelling due west, this made for some big rocking action side-to-side.  The decision was made to skip Beaver Island and head south to Charlevoix, MI and get the waves on the stern.


Entry to harbor at Charlevoix

Upon arrival at the marina, the dock master informed the crew that Perfect Day had just completed the Loop on August 28.  You might recall that the crew spent most of the Georgian Bay and the North Channel cruising with Perfect Day.  Great to see another crew complete the Great Loop.  Way to go Bill and Lori!


Overlooking the harbor


Friday, September 2, 2016

Headed back into Lake Michigan from Charlevoix

IMG_0102The winds decided to lay down so the crew made the run to Leland Township Harbor.  The run was enjoyable as the crew took in the sites along the shore.



converted fish shanties into business



After arriving the crew walked around the little town of Leland.  The town once was one of many commercial fisheries along the lake.

Nowadays there are fewer than fifty commercial fisheries on the lake.  The town nickname is “Fishtown” and they take immense pride in their long history as a commercial fishery.




IMG_0118As the crew was touring the town they watched this car drive to the boat ramp and launch itself as a boat.  Then in a few minutes it reappeared and drove out of the water.  Now that was fun to watch!


Saturday, September 3, 2016

The winds were single digit today, but the swells were still 2-3 feet and only seconds apart.  This causes the boat to rock fore and aft as she climbs and surfs down the swells.  The skipper decided to speed up a little bit to minimize the time on the water.

Good example of Michigan sand dune


The cruise south was enjoyable as the crew passed along the famed sand dunes on the Michigan shore.  The dunes are much taller than the skipper ever thought they would be.

The boat to give a little perspective as to size


Point Betsie Light

The crew arrived safely in Frankfort, but the skipper will be studying the weather forecasts for the next few days to make plans on their next move.

Next Week – The weather forecast for the next week is calling for winds 15-20 mph for most of the week.   There may be a window to move further south on Wednesday and then cross the Lake on Friday.  The crew hopes to make it to Manitowoc, Wisconsin by the weekend for the Sputnik Festival.  They hear it is out of this world.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red


One Comment on “The Secret of the Secret Garden

  1. So glad you enjoyed The Woods! We are currently on the Illinois River and then heading up the Mississippi to winter Tasteful Traveler indoors for the winter near home.


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