In this Section:
UPDATE #21 08/25/06 thru 08/31/06
#21 08/25/06 through
period 4/1 thru 8/24 has been covered in Updates 1 through 20.
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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
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
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.
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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
It was only a little after noontime as we tied to our slip in
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.
GRAND HAVEN, MICHIGAN
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.
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WEDNESDAY GRAND HAVEN,
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
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,
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
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
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.
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Reed and Judy Law
Fred H. Reed
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