2006 Adventure UPDATES


UPDATE #21 08/25/06 thru 08/31/06

  Howdy Everybody,

 UPDATE #21   08/25/06 through 08/31/06.

 The period 4/1 thru 8/24 has been covered in Updates 1 through 20. 

We are very interested in hearing from ya’all.  If you have missed out on any of the previous emails and would like us to re-send them, please let us know.

Please let me know if these emails containing pictures are too large and we will send you a version with text only. 



    The morning weather here in Leland was overcast, very windy, and just the yuckiest.  The strong winds are responsible for the rough conditions out on the Lake Michigan waters.  We have decided that we are quite happy to be here in this quaint little town.  Most of the day was occupied with the catching up on chores and resting.  In between showers, we walked up to Fishtown to enjoy the sights.




  Shopping is on Main Street that is lined with the types of shops you would expect in a small, touristy town.  The local grocery is Leland Mercantile.  We selected one of their “homemade” pans of Lasagna.  It was beautifully done and delicious with lots of meat.

    The lull in the weather was short lived so we had all of our meals on-board today.  It turned out to be a very enjoyable, relaxing day.




     The weather was foggy and drizzling as we prepared to depart.  The eminent threat of more rain and thunderstorms changed our minds.  One cruiser that departed soon came back in to the harbor quite unhappy about his decision to leave.  After all, if you need to be held back by the weather, Leland makes a nice place for that to happen.

     Fellow loopers, Bill and Claire, from “Rangatira”, joined us for cocktails.  They are from Canada’s North Channel.  They have just started out the loop in a 28-foot Carver.  It is small, but they are so happy to be on their way into their dream.  They had heard good reports about a little, local restaurant.  Judy and I decided that we’d try it.  The Blue Bird Restaurant was nicely decorated and had a calm, pleasant atmosphere.  We both selected the “walleye”.  Walleye is the Michigan equivalent to “Pickerel” that is from Canada.  We have tried this variety of fish quite a few times on this trip.  We are thoroughly convinced that this evenings meal was, by far, the best we have had.  Along with a plentiful salad bar, roasted red potatoes, and sautéed veggies, we place this meal high on the list of recommendations. 




     At 7:45 am, we cast off the municipal dock in Leland thus ending our three-day layover.  Everything looked peaceful and calm from the marina slip, however, as we cleared the harbor jetty, we were greeted by some Rock N’ Roll.  Not the music kind.  The huge lake had been subjected to high winds for several days and the seas had not yet quieted themselves.  Making it more uncomfortable, these were “beam seas”.  Beam seas means that the waves are coming from a direction perpendicular to the side of the boat.  This causes the boat to roll, back and forth, in a very uncomfortably manner.  Nothing on the boat wants to stay in place.  Judy’s bridge chair has to be placed flat on the floor, and the portable steps will slide clear across the deck.  The charts and guidebooks refuse to stay in place and frequently end up on the floor.  Now, none of this is dangerous, however, it does make for a rather uncomfortable experience. 

     Fortunately, the weather was quite nice today and we enjoyed the many huge and beautiful sand dunes.






  The most famous is Sleeping Bear Dune that rises 480 feet.  That coastline is a continuous spectacle of huge, flowing dunes.  I had never realized how beautiful the Michigan coast is.  The waters are clear and blue, the towns are lovely and quaint, and the people are wonderful and friendly.  It is a combination that is impossible to beat.

      Our plan was to visit the harbor at Arcadia, Michigan.  As we eased down the coast, the wind and waves became more cooperative and we were enjoying the trip very much.  We decided to alter our destination to make a little more distance south.




  At 4:15 pm, we were docked in slip #5 of the municipal docks in Manistee, Michigan.  We enjoyed a nice walk through the historic district of the town.  Being a Sunday, most of the shops were closed.



     As we sat in the dark quiet of evening , secure in our dock slip, we were startled, even shocked, to see a huge, Great Lakes freighter ship slowly advancing in the river.  The side of this behemoth monster was passing within a 100 feet of our stern.  Traveling at only about one mile per hour, the vessel was being masterfully guided up this very narrow, confined river by her skillful captain.  I honestly don’t know how these guys do it.  How do they become so competent?  Think of it this way, here is this enormous ship, probably a quarter mile long, with only a single propeller, no bow thrusters or stern thrusters, no tug assist, at night, amidst the background lights of the city, several draw bridges barely wider than the beam, and add a twist and turn to the river.  It humbles me greatly to think how much trouble these small boats can be when trying to dock.  I certainly tip my cap to these awesome professionals.


     Tonight we dined peacefully aboard AMARSE.

POSITION: N44 14.857  W086 19.699




     The clock showed 8:55 am as we departed Manistee.  The lighthouse along the jetty gleamed in the morning sunlight.  The channel was full of eager fishermen in their small, recreational boats anxious to hook the big ones.  This area is well renown as one of the most bountiful fishing areas in the great lakes.

     It was only a little after noontime as we tied to our slip in Ludington, Michigan.



  The municipal docks were very nice and the grounds were well manicured.  Most of the boats were small, weekender types specifically set up for fishing.  Their sterns lined with fishing rod holders and downriggers.  Since the water is quite deep, they need to force their lines down low as they troll slowly along the ridgelines.

      This marina has the most spectacular fish cleaning station that I have ever seen.  It consists of four stainless steel tables placed in a “X” pattern.  Above each table is a water hose and nozzle.  In the center is a massive garbage grinder/disposal unit to handle the bones and waste.  Each table has a white, poly cutting board.  The fishermen keep it very clean and nice.  It is so interesting to watch them cleaning these large Coho salmon.  This area is a fisherman’s paradise.



       We enjoyed watching the S.S. Badger come into the harbor.  It is the last of the steam-powered ferryboats plying the lake.  Twice a day, the vessel, loaded with vehicles and passengers, transits the width of the lake from Ludington, MI to Manitowac, Wisconsin. It is about a 4 to 5 hour trip each way.




     We had dinner at “The Grand Restaurant”.  With such a fancy name, I know what you’re thinking, however, the place is really only a bar and grill.  A pitcher of Sam Adams Octoberfest  beer and a huge platter of deluxe nachos filled us up.  Great place.




     At 6:55 am,  AMARSE was backing from her berth in Ludington.  It had rained steadily throughout the night, however, the morning dawned with rapidly clearing skies.  The forecast promised a pleasant day today, but, hinted at some hostile conditions in the upcoming days.  As we dodged the numerous fishing boats already trolling for the dawn “biters”,  the mild conditions of the lake delighted us.  Once again, the sand dunes and beaches of Lake Michigan’s eastern shore shone as a spectacular, scenic treasure.  Contrasted with the crystal blue of the lake water, it could not have been more beautiful.  We decided to check out the White Lake area.  This popular vacation area is entered through a small channel opening up into a broad, open lake.




  The waters were a little choppy with the easterly wind.  We could now see how much the coastal dunes had blocked the east winds out on Lake Michigan this morning.  Our side trip took us 6 or 7 miles into the lake.  Being still quite early, and remembering the forecast for windier conditions tomorrow, we opted to return to our southerly course on Lake Michigan.  If we could make it to Grand Haven this afternoon, we would be in a better position to weather any inclement conditions forecasted.




  At exactly 4 pm, we were tying up at slip #22 at Grand Haven.  It is a good thing too.  Now that so many of the kids have returned to college, the marina staff is so short handed that they close at 4 pm.  How’s that for timing?

     We were delighted to see that Cindy and Dan, from “Triumph” were already snug in their slip.  We shared a tasty dinner of gourmet pizza and several bottles of my favorite Kalamazoo beer, Bell’s Oberon.

     Each and every night, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the city hosts a wonderful show along the waterfront.  The combination of shooting fountains, changing colored lights, and a theme of music are choreographed into a very entertaining combination.  They have prepared over 100 different shows resulting in a unique presentation every night.  From modern bleacher seats, the fountains, located across the river, burst into color as the 8000-watt sound system belts out familiar tunes against the dancing waters.  Tonight’s show at 9:30 pm featured 50’s and 60’s Rock N’ Roll.


POSITION:  N43 04.010 W086 14.041




     Grand Haven is to be our host for the entire week.  We have found it to be a comfortable and convenient place to accomplish our plan and enjoy our visit.

     Each Wednesday and Saturday, the waterfront presents a Farmer’s Market.  The vendors have put together the best of the best.  The selection of fruits and vegetables here are, by far, the nicest we have seen this season.  One vendor was selling the most beautiful Danish pastries that we’ve ever seen.  Judy selected an Almond filled Kringle.  As we enjoyed it with our coffee on the sundeck of AMARSE,  we both agreed that it was the best tasting Danish we’d ever had.

      Departing from the waterfront docks are two tourist trolley buses.  One travels out to the beach and lighthouse to the south side of town.  We enjoyed the trip so much that we decided to eat lunch and take the other one.  It traveled north toward the adjacent towns of Silver Lake and Ferrysburg.  The weather was clear and warm.  We changed into our swimsuits and headed for the Grand Haven State Park beach.  We walked and waded at water’s edge through the 65-degree lake water.  The soft sand was delightfully warm, almost hot, as we walked up and back along the stretch.



  A few folks were swimming and several kids were skimming across the edge on a different kind of flat board.



     At the end of the beach, we climbed up onto the jetty walkway leading out to the lighthouses.  The most enjoyable stroll gave us wonderful views of the brilliant blue lake and of folks enjoying the sun and fishing from the pier.




     Our friends Doug and Leslie, from Happy Clamz, and Bill and Claire, from “Rangatira” joined us for cocktails. 

     At 7 pm, the waterfront stage bristled with dancers of all ages.  They were stepping to the tunes of “The Don Warnaar Band”, a big band concert band well known in these parts.  So many wonderful melodies of an era long past entertained us in such a delightful way.



  The city hosts had put down a granulated rubber compound on the concrete in such a way as to make the surface perfect for the waltz, polka, and jitterbug.



  All to soon, the music had to stop to get ready for the nightly light show.  The stage was closed up, the dance floor swept clean, and the crowd anxiously awaited the start of dancing fountains.  Tonight’s show was another delightful performance.

     We had been so busy that we missed dinner.  At 10:30 pm, we enjoyed the simplicity of Grilled Cheese sandwiches and chips.  A piece of that delicious blueberry pie topped it all off.

     Late showers and then it was bedtime.




     Another almost perfect weather day.  How about some fresh blueberry pancakes and coffee on the sundeck of AMARSE?  OK-Dokey!

     This goofing off is just downright fun.  We strolled around aimlessly and just enjoyed being together.  We walked to the West Marine store and, then, to the Staples office supply where I bought an external hard drive in hopes of backing up all our photos.   We tried a lunch at a Chicago style hotdog stand.  It turned out not so good, however, the fresh cut French fries were quite good.

       Early cocktails aboard “Happy Clamz” started the off the evening.  Ken and Maryann, from “Galapago” and Russ and Duffy, from “Work of Art” were also guests of Doug and Leslie.

      For dinner, we sought the lightness of toasted tuna sandwiches and some wonderful, wonderful, delicious cantaloupe melon that we had gotten at the Farmer’s Market.  Wow!

      Judy had spent most of her life here in the great state of Michigan before coming to Texas.  A couple of her favorite friends drove over to visit with us from Middleville, MI.  Sandy and Dave Van Elst joined us for several delightful hours of reminiscing and joyful conversation.  We really appreciated the opportunity to share this wonderful time.

      The nightly light show entertained us with another spectacle. After the show, Doug, Leslie, Judy, Fred, Ken, and Maryann decided to sample a few pitchers of Bell’s Oberon Beer at the local “Tip-A-Few Tavern”.  They had heard me proclaim the yummy-ness of the flavor and were anxious to see for themselves.  I think they now share in the accolades.

     We restfully concluded the month of August.  We have now traveled over 5000 miles and enjoyed every bit of these last five months aboard AMARSE.



  Well, my friends, we are back in the good ole USA.  My Verizon AirCard that operates my computer internet still operates sporadically.  The coverage areas are not as good as we had hoped.  We will be sending out updates when we can.

     Judy has Cingular Wireless cell phone service again.  It seems to work even better than the Verizon Wireless in these parts of Michigan.  Judy can be reached at 361-550-5353 and Fred can be reached at 210-296-4933.  We can be reached at either number.  Please call us if you like, we’d really like to hear from you.


"AMARSE".  is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".  Our website is:   www.amarse.net   .

Check it out while we will attempt to keep you informed via email

  We would like to hear more about what is happening in your lives.  Let us know as we very interested in what’s going on with our friends and family.  Please DO email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas too.  Thanks

Lot of Love,

Fred Reed and Judy Law