Magical Mackinac Island

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Welcome Aboard to gotogirlsblog, hope you enjoy the adventure.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

21.3 Grand Hotel

Summary of week:

The crew left Presque Isle on Monday and landed on Mackinac Island  (1) for three days.  They left the Island and anchored in Petoskey Bay (2) on Thursday.  They anchored Friday night also in a cove at South Manitou Island (3).  Then ended the week at Arcadia (4) on Saturday.



Click here to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, a summary of the day’s experience, and a few pics of the route.

One of our virtual crew members, Scott, asked an interesting question last week.  He submitted, Are there tides on the Great Lakes?  Well, per the NOAA website, yes there are tides on the Great Lakes.  However, the tide range is negligible, only about 2 inches.  However, two other phenomenon have a greater impact on water level. The change in water level due to consistent winds blowing in the same direction are actually more noticeable in a harbor.  Atmospheric pressure also may cause the water level to change as the pressure goes from low to high (or high to low) due to the large surface area of the lakes.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows the crew of Still Waters II  take a bike ride around Mackinac Island, then enjoy a taxi ride to the Woods with Al and Ruth for a fun evening of fine dinning.  Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, August 12th

The crew spent a wonderful afternoon bicycling about 10 miles around Presque Isle with the crew of Lucky Loopers, Deena and Jerry L.  The General Store across from the marina offers courtesy bicycles for visitors to explore the Island.   The store also has some good ice cream.

Deena and Jerry started their Loop Adventure just a few days ago from Lake St. Clair, but are waiting on some friends to arrive and complete the Loop before launching their Loop in earnest.  And who are they waiting on to celebrate their Wake Crossing?  Well, that would be the Getting Looped crew who are onboard a 43 foot Viking, and our crew last saw them in Cape May.

Riding around New Presque Lighthouse

25 New Presque Isle Light

Deena and Jerry L.


Monday, August 13th

The crew planned to cruise to a town named Cheboygan just south of Mackinac Island when they shoved off the dock.  However, they were unable to secure a reservation.  Turned out that Cheboygan was sponsoring a boat race and the area marinas were booked solid.

New Presque Light from the water


The skipper called Mackinac Island State Harbor to see if just maybe they could land there.  The marina was booked full by the Michigan Reservation System, but the Island keeps about 20% of the slips out of the reservation system for first-come-first-serve boaters.  The dockmaster said they had a few slips open but could not guarantee a slip would be available upon arrival.

Poe Reef Light just north of Cheboygan

14 Poe Reef Light

The crew was about 18 miles away from the Island, so they decided to roll the dice and see if they could arrive in time to snag a slip.  Two hours later, when they arrived in the harbor, they were informed that the marina was full.  The dockmaster did inform the crew that they would be able to tie up at the ferry dock if they called.  The Admiral made the call to the Ferry Line and secured permission to land on the dock because there was no cruise ship scheduled in.

Mackinac Island Harbor entrance

16 Mackinac Harbor Entrance

While the crew was making way over to the ferry dock, the crew noticed that the crew of Tortuga was at the State Marina.  After landing the boat, the skipper sent Al, the captain of Tortuga, a text message with a pic of their boat saying: “Guess where we are?”

26 Tortuga (2)

Al responded: “I give, where are you?”  The skipper had walked over to the other side of the ferry dock so he could see the back of Tortuga and text back: “I am on the ferry dock, look out the back of your boat and you will see me.”  Al walked out and waved at the skipper.  Al sent another text over inviting the crew for docktails.  The crew walked over and had an enjoyable evening with Ruth and Al.

Al is responsible for the skipper learning about the Great Loop.  It was fun to catch up with them and hear how their adventure has gone.  The two crews had last seen each other in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  

Tuesday, August 14th

The first order of business today was to snag one of the first-come-first-serve slips when boaters began to leave the marina.  While the crew waited for other boaters to vacate their slips, they were entertained by watching the morning deliveries by horse drawn wagons.

19 Delivery Wagon

20 Morning Deliveries

At 0930, the skipper called the marina and secured slip 17.  The crew moved off the ferry dock and headed to their new home.  After getting settled in slip 17, the skipper got the bicycles off the boat and prepared for a ride around the Island.  The crew spent the afternoon bicycling the 8.5 miles around the Island, stopping to enjoy the views and take in the scenery.

The Arch


The clear water


Flowers every where (make sure you read the fine print on the sign)


Later in the day, Al and Ruth joined the crew for a taxi ride out to the Woods where the two couples enjoyed a nice dinner together.  After the taxi left the marina, the skipper turned as white as a sheet.  Ruth noticed the strange look on the skipper’s face and asked him what was wrong.  He was busy checking all his pockets for his wallet when he finally answered that he left his wallet on the boat.  Well it looks like some one will be shoveling horse manure and washing dishes tonight.  Luckily, Al said he would cover the ride out (taxi is cash only) and the Admiral had her credit card to pay for dinner.  On the return trip to the marina, the taxi driver had to stop at an ATM machine so the Admiral could get the cash to pay for the ride back.

Taxi to the Woods


Al and Ruth on the way to the Woods

21 Dinner at the Woods

Approaching the Grand Hotel


Thru the woods to get to the Woods


The after dinner group photo at the Woods


Wednesday, August 15th

Al and Ruth shoved off the dock and headed out this morning.  They plan to go down the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan.  Our crew will stay on the Michigan side this year.  Both crews plan to go up the Upper Mississippi, so they hope to meet up again somewhere south of Chicago.

Our crew continued to take it easy and enjoy the Island.  The skipper got in two laps around the Island on his bicycle while the Admiral went around the homes to admire all the pretty gardens and flowers.  Did I mention two laps around the Island for the skipper, that was so he could devour 1.5 pounds of fudge from Joann’s (best fudge on the Island and the Loop).


The sun sets on another great stay at Mackinac Island


Thursday, August 16th

Leaving Mackinac Island

1 Leaving Mackinac Island State Harbor

The crew set out towards Lake Michigan and their next major goal, Chicago. The skipper has it planned for eight travel days, but with the weather on Lake Michigan, you just do not know how long it will actually take.  In 2016, due to weather delays it took them 15 calendar days to make the eight travel days to Chicago.

The ferries provide for a good wake until you get under the Mackinac Bridge


The weather was good today though, so they cruised under the Mackinac Bridge and entered big Lake Michigan.  They cruised to the Little Traverse Bay and dropped anchor at the end of the Bay.  The water was so clear that you could see the anchor on the sand bottom in ten feet of water.

Mackinac Bridge, now the third largest suspension bridge in the world


Abandoned lighthouse

3 Abandoned Lighthouse

Little Traverse Bay Light

4 Little Traverse Bay Lighthouse

Sand Dunes at end of bay where the crew anchored

5 Sand Dunes at Petoskey State Park

Friday, August 17th

With another good weather day, the crew weighed anchor and headed towards South Manitou Island.  Deena and Jerry recommended the anchorage, so the crew thought they would go check it out.

The cruise did start in fog, but by the time the crew reached the main body of water, the fog had lifted and the sun was trying to break out.  The auto-pilot sure worked good in the fog.  The skipper was usually doing crazy Ivan’s when he was trying to manually steer in the fog.  The auto-pilot stayed right on the heading, which allowed the skipper to better monitor the radar for potential targets (other boats).

6 Morning Fog

Running along the south shore of North Manitou Island



When they arrived at the cove at South Manitou Island there were already five boats anchored.  The first time the crew went to set the anchor it dragged, so the crew raised the anchor to see what the problem might be.  When the anchor came up it was covered in grass.  No wonder it did not set.  The skipper cleaned the anchor and then moved in closer to shore to make sure they dropped the anchor in the sand.  The anchor set and held the boat all night.

Anchor covered in grass


By the time the sun went down there were a dozen boats swinging on the hook.  And swing they did.  The wind was out of the north and the Island provided good protection.  However, the swells were coming from the east and rolled the boat all night.

Cove at South Manitou Island

10 Cove at South Manitou Island

Saturday, August 18th

The crew finds themselves squarely in the middle of the pack of the Looper flotilla.  This has caused some issues with marinas because they are all booked up.  The skipper could not secure dockage at the spots he wanted to stop at today, so he settled on a small little marina in Arcadia that does not see much transient boater action.  Mainly because the four block town has absolutely nothing to see or do.  Scratch that.  The skipper just found an ice cream store a half mile from the marina.  Time to take a break from blog writing and go check out the local creamery.

South Manitou Light


Point Betsie Light

12 Point Betsie Light

The skipper is pretty sure he remembers something about building a house on a solid rock, rather than building a house on a sand foundation.  These folks must not have gotten the word.

13 Sand Dunes

Boat name of the week



Next Week –

The weather looks good to travel both Sunday and Monday so the crew will take advantage of the opportunity to make way and try to arrive at Grand Haven by Monday.  The forecast shows 25-30 mile per hour winds both Tuesday and Wednesday so the crew will stay in Grand Haven to allow the weather to pass.

If the Lake calms down Thursday, the crew will try to move to South Haven, then Michigan City on Friday, and make Chicago Saturday.  However, that is a big IF.  They will watch the weather and see what happens.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

One Comment on “Magical Mackinac Island

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: