Leaving Mackinac Island we saw what most people visiting the island only see from the ferry. The Grand Hotel sitting amongst the green trees and town to its base. The grandiosity of its time visually evident only by water. With the claim to fame as having the longest verandah in the world and pillars the size of ancient trees it is still an engineering marvel. With predicted 20 knot SSW winds we knew we were in for a bit of a rock. The next engineering endeavour that we see is the Mackinac Bridge. Approximately miles of steel and concrete she is quite the vision from the open water. It was a short time after marveling at the bridge that the winds picked up and we had to slow from 28 mph to 15 mph. Our goal was Leland MI or Frankfort, MI but we only made it to Charlevois, MI. 4 hours later and only 70 miles under our belt.
Charlevois is a beautiful town with magnificant homes and boat garages to hold 70 ft yachts. We have never seen a garage that large for that size boat. The homes and surrounding buildings are reminiscent of the rich and famous . We stopped for diesel with high hopes of leaving in the morning. Instead of staying at the marina in town we decided to anchor out in the SSW corner of Lake Charlevois. Sitting in the open water still hasn’t left our blood. The view may be different but the beauty is there. More statuesque homes and very large yachts are here on the lake.
We stayed onboard the entire afternoon waiting for calmer waters. This little lake is feeling the charge from the high winds on Lake Michigan even though we are sheltered here. The anchor holds well in sand and the winds finally died down after dinner. We made our way into town in the dingy where we were told that Ward’s (our diesel stop) offers their gas dock for free after hours as long as you are gone by 7 AM. There were several boats waiting for the space when we arrived. There is a dingy dock available for shoppers who decide to stay on the hook. The town is a shoppers delight with stores for clothing, fudge, ice cream, restaurants, grocery store, and anything you heart desires available right near the marina.
We walked along the town docks and under the bridge that connects the lands around the inland passage to Round Lake which connects Lake Charlevois to have easy access to Lake Michigan. Walking along the “canal” of sorts we walked to the entrance to Lake Michigan. It was very breezy still with the cold front that has been predicted and causing those big winds just coming in and with it those westerly winds. Heading back to Conductance where we listened to the weather forecast with expected more winds overnight. We made the decision that it would be more advantageous to travel out in the late afternoon instead of morning when the winds were supposed to die down. Crossing our fingers for a last minute change but knowing that it would not happen.
We have to get to Chicago by Friday night so the next couple days are crucial for time. The Illinois River has been closed to recreational boaters for the last month or so due to high water. It has just opened but is presently a no wake zonedue to the high water and floating debris. Therefore the last 300 miles or so could take us awhile. We need any extra time to travel down the Illinois River, the Ohio River, The Mississippi River and finally the Cumberland River.