59 miles to Manitowac

The Cruise to Manitowoc was great, we were infant of about 6 other loop boats.  The weather was cloudy and cool.  Cruising the great lakes is a lot like cruising offshore back on the gulf coast, no intracoastal waters here.  Arriving in Manitowoc was like a mini looper rendezvous.  We had “Inspiration” “Avocet” “SummerTime” “Somewhere In Time” “Leap of Faith” “Still Waters” “Adventure Quest” and one other American Tug I never got the name of.  We all went to dinner and had a great time.

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My friends the Coast Guard stopped me so they could do a safety inspection.  We rafted up in the lake.  They said they didn’t a chance to many inspections and appreciated us having them on board.  Pura Vida passed with flying colors and it was a pleasure having the Coast Guard on board.  I thank all of them for their service to the people and the country.

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The Response Boat – Medium (RB-M) is a 45-foot (14 m) utility boat used by the United States Coast Guard.  The specs are below, very impressive and with the Detroit 60 Series 825hp.   I have driven a few trucks with the 60 series.  The Detroit Diesel Series 60 is an inline-6 4-stroke  diesel engine that was first produced in 1987. It departed from most on-highway engines.  It competed with the later Caterpillar C-series engines, it was cool to see them in their boat looking just like the truck engine.

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Displacement: 16.3 ton
Length: 44 ft 9 in (13.64 m)
Beam: 14 ft 7.75 in (4.4641 m)
Draft: 3 ft 4 in (1.02 m)
Installed power: 2 × MTU Detroit Diesel turbochargedSeries 60 engines, 825 hp (615 kW) total
Propulsion: 2 × Rolls-Royce FF-Series waterjets
Speed:
  • 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) (cruise)
  • 42.5 knots (78.7 km/h; 48.9 mph) (max)
Range: 250 nmi (460 km; 290 mi) at 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Complement: 4
Armament:
  • 2 × M240B general-purpose machine guns
  • M16 rifle
  • Remington 870 shotgun
  • Santa Cruz Gun Lock Universal Gun Lock Systems

We stayed at Manitowoc Marina, 920-682-5117.  This is a great spot to stop on your way north or south on the Wisconsin side.  They have a wonderful shop here and travel lift.  Heated inside and yard storage, fuel and ship/clothing store.  The Marina is located right inside the Manitowoc Harbor, and is conveniently located to many cool businesses.  They have a Maritime museum, art museum, zoo and submarine tour here.

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59 miles crossing Lake Michigan to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

We departed Frankfort at 0800, headed for Sturgeon Bay.  Frankfort to Sturgeon Bay is the narrowest part of Lake Michigan when crossing it.  It was drizzly and windy, Passage Weather predicted the wind to drop and change directions.  It was probably 2.5′ when we started out and hitting us on the port beam made it a rollin ride.  We were crossing Lake Michigan to Sturgeon Bay, the narrowest part of the lake is Frankfort to Sturgeon.  As we suspected the seas laid down after about an hour and once we were 1/2 way across the Lake the sea state changed to completely smooth and it was like a pond.  We expected some rain, all the clouds were out but we never felt or saw any the whole way across.  It’s really rare to have such a great crossing this early in the year, and with all the crazy weather that has been going on.  We got across the bay safely and the Sturgeon Bay cut was very picturesque, and With the Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Station right at the entrance.  The two boats I crossed with were Inspiration, and Leap of Faith.  Leap of Faith was great to see again, the last time Pura Vida and I saw them was back in February in Hawks Channel off of Duck Key.  They saved the day after I hit a crab trap!  We stayed at Skipper Buds Marina, formally Harbor Club Marina 920-743-6934.  My friend George who I met in New York just finished the loop keeps his boat “Quiet Time IV” at this marina.  He drove up from his home and was at the marina when my sister and I arrived.  We got settled and George took us to an excellent dinner at Crate here in Sturgeon Bay.  It’s so great to have friends that share the same passion as you, it is a common thread that is strong.  I am Looking forward to doing tons of boating the next few years.  This trip has been inspiring and all the great people and connections you make on the water make this lifestyle so enjoyable.

The Great Loop is an amazing thing for people to be able to do.  It will get you into an exploring, life inspiring routine that is more and more addictive the further you go.  The great people you meet, the bond you grow with the water and winds.  Mother Nature talks to you through the rhythm of your boats motion.  The greatest thing any human can do is listen to others and learn as much as you can from the other person and teach them what you know as well.  This lifestyle works for me, and I’m so happy to see so many others that have known this secret.  I hope you can get out, explore, and see this beautiful world away from the main roads and cities.

M/V Leap of Faith & M/V Inspiration 

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Picture taken from “Inspiration”  

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Skipper Buds marina from the air

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74 miles to Frankfort

Leaving Round Lake was great, we got the 0900 bridge opening and were out in Lake Michigan pushing water shortly after.  It was a chilly morning, high 50’s and it stayed this way until around 1000.  We crossed the mouth of Grand Traverse Bay.  Then passed sleeping bear dunes and through Manitou Passage, in between the Manitou Islands.  Then finally arriving in Frankfort.

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909′ great lakes freighter, so long you can’t even see the stern 

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Entering Frankfort, Betsie Lake 

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I ran into my old neighbors from PYC Phil and Pam Eastman.  This reminds me of how small a world it is,  they are doing the loop as well and moved from sail to powerboat!  we will probably cross lake Michigan with them Wednesday after the winds lay down.   

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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is located along the northwest coast of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The park covers a 35-mile-long stretch of Lake Michigan’s eastern coastline, as well as North and South Manitou islands. This park has outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations, and ancient glacial phenomena.  Below you can see people going up and down the dunes, must be quite the workout.

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Jacobson Marina is a great establishment.  They have a pool, hot tub, laundry, fuel, pump-out and small store 231-620-0474 Owner John lives on site and will be happy to have you visit!  Jacobson Marina is located right inside the harbour to the port side.  This is a great small town to walk around and lots of shops stores and good eats.  

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cold 12v71 Detroits

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54 miles to Charlevoix

Leaving Mackinaw City was beautiful, great conditions this day.  heading out to the straits we headed west and rounded grays reef passage and taking a south east heading to Charlevoix.  This is a great town!  We had some good times exploring all the little lakes and canals with the Twin Vida.  Charlevoix City Marina 231-547-3272  will take great care of you and Harbour Master Hal, and Dock Master Pat will give you a warm welcome to the town.  They can tell you all the good things to do.  The marina is in great shape and the boaters lounge is very nice.  laundry for only 1$ as well.

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Aerial view of the town of Charlevoix from above Lake Michigan; the small lake in the center is Round Lake and the larger one in the background is Lake Charlevoix.  Charlevoix City Marina is locted just inside round lake to your starboard side. 

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Aboard the USCGC Mackinaw (WAGB-83)  she is a 290-foot vessel specifically designed for ice breaking on the Great Lakes.  She did this well for 62 years,  in 1944 she was commissioned.  She was built as part of the war effort during World War II to meet the heavy demands of war materials and transportation during the winter months.  Mackinaw moved under its own power on 21 June 2006 from the port of its decommissioning to a permanent berth at the SS Chief Wawatam dock at the ship’s namesake port, Mackinaw City, Michigan.  The Mackinaw had two props in the stern and one up front.  The forward prop helped pull water from under the ice and create an air void which helped break the ice and the forward prop also helped flush the ice past the hull.  It held enough fuel to run all season on one fueling.  It has 6 Fairbanks-Morse 10-cylinder diesel engines.  they each run a generator which powers the 3 big electric drive motors.  All you needed was 2 engines to run the whole ships propulsion system.  They rotated them every 4 hours.  They rebuilt the engines once the officers would start to get oil stains on their white shirts from the exhaust stack.  Mackinaw has fore aft and side ballast tanks, these would help the ship break ice.  They could make the ship list 15degrees each direction so they could also rock themselves loose if they ever got stuck.

  • Diesel fuel: 276,000 U.S. gal
  • Ballast water: 121,631 U.S. gal
  • Heel and trim ballast water: 345,828 U.S. gal

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53 miles to Macinak City

Leaving Drummond Island was beautiful, the air was slightly chilly and sky overcast.  The Cocomo Bayflower and Pura Vida all had the same destination today.  We left De Tour Passage which lead us into Lake Huron.  We cruised right through The Straights of Mackinac, its amazing how tall Mackinac island is you can literally start to see it 20 miles away.  After passing between Mackinac Island and Round Island, we headed south-west and arrived in Mackinaw City.  I am staying at Straights State Harbor phone # 231-436-5326.  This is a good marina.  Plenty of room great docks lots of parking, great staff, new facility, laundry and shower, fuel and pump-out.  The Internet is lacking but who needs internet lol (me so I can write these blogs).   There is a huge USCG Ice Breaker that is retired sitting right at the entrance you can see below.  they use these ships to keep a path cut through the straits during winter for the cargo ships to make passage.  This ice breaker works with sheer weight to break the ice, the bow rides up on the solid ice and once the ice can’t hold the weight it breaks through leaving a somewhat clear path.  It’s hard to believe that every year the lake freezes between Mackinaw city and Mackinac island which allows people and animals to walk across to the island!  After christmas they take the old christmas trees and bore a hole for the base and put a line of them across the lake making a path to and from the mainland.  This is over a 6.5 mile walk!

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Restaurant, Pier M33 On The Cheboygan.  Great food and atmosphere (below)

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My dad and I had a great dinner with Wayne and Vicki from Cocomo 

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Mackinac Island, is an island covering 3.8 square miles in land area.  It is located in Lake Huron, at the eastern end of the Straights of Mackinac, between the state’s Upper and lower peninsulas.  Motorized vehicles have been prohibited on the island since 1898, with the exception of snowmobiles during winter and emergency vehicles.  Travel on the island is either by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage.  Bicycles, roller blades, carriages, and saddle horses are available for rent.  My sister and I did the 8-mile road that follows the island’s perimeter which runs along the shoreline.  The island was home to an Odawa Indian settlement before European exploration began in the 17th century. It was the center of commerce for the Great Lakes Fur Trade. This led to the establishment of Fort Mackinac on the island by the British during the American Revolutionary War. The entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

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Going through the Straits in Pura Vida 

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123 miles to Drummond Island, USA

We went from Killarney to Gore Bay which is 51 miles, and is part of the North Channel.  We had a great night in Gore Bay met some gold loopers Steve and Ray on a very cool 36 Katie Krogen Manatee and had dinner with our friends Jeff and Beth from Tom Cat.  Jeff and Beth have cruised the great lakes for many years so getting knowledge from them was great.  Gore Bay Marina was a nice spot, good fuel and ship store on site along with good places to eat.  Gore Bay is a town on Manitoulin Island in Ontario.  Harbour master Lee can be reached at 705-282-2906 for reservations or info.

From Gore Bay we went to Drummond Island which is 72 miles.  It is a island on the north-east side of Michigan, we checked through US customs here at Drummond Island Yacht Haven (800) 543-4743.  This is a nice marina the loopers get a discount here, dockage is only 1$ per foot.  They have a ship-store, haul-out facility, fuel and a fleet of rental vehicles.  Drummond island hosts a very rare environment known as alvar, a grassy limestone plain found only in a few places worldwide, the best example being on Drummond Island. The last 130 miles on the North Channel has been pretty windy and rough, we are happy to stay here for two nights and catch up on some things.  The Bayflower will arrive today, check through customs and hopefully we will be doing some cruising together when we leave!

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Killarney Light 

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62 Nordhavn, great expedition boat single 375hp motor, 8-10knots with bulbous bow 

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Barefoot Shoes gold loopers left and Tom Cat right 

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51 miles to Killarney

The trip across the west side of Georgian Bay was great, had a 1.5′ following sea.  Stopped at Killarney Mountain Lodge 705 698-1497  This place is a resort with all the amenities anyone would want.  Lots of custom 4wheelers on site because that’s what the maintenance crews drive around.  they have fuel, pump out, new docks, coffee shop on the dock.  Pool, sauna, great restaurants, lots of room to relax.  Last night they played the Tragically Hip final concert on the big screen, thats  a very well-known Canadian band.  Another cool thing about this resort is none of the rooms have tv’s, they take pride in this fact.  I’ll for sure come back to this marina and maybe even drive the truck up here for some winter fun, burn some bonfires and what not.

below a video from Tobermory, the shipwrecks in Big Tub Harbour.  Taken from my dingy with the GoPro

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101 miles to Tobermory

Crossing Georgian Bay was awesome, seas were 1′ or less in the morning and laid down to almost glass conditions in the late morning and afternoon.  Georgian Bay water is crystal clear, clear like Gin as my dad would say!  Its like the Caribbean, I never get tired of my prop wash looking like beautiful blues and diamonds.  Tobermory is a small community located at the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula it is 190 miles northwest of Toronto.

The community is known as the “fresh water SCUBA diving capital of the world” because of the numerous shipwrecks that lie in the surrounding waters, especially in Fathom Five National Marine Park. Tobermory and the surrounding areas are popular vacation destinations.  People come for the beaches, the diving, the unspoiled countryside and the relaxed pace of life.  I will say all the tourists from the city make it seem less relaxed compared to the last couple weeks on the Trent Severn.  The town lies north of the Bruce Peninsula National Park.

Tobermory Harbour is a great marina with easy access docks and very protected from wind and waves. Call the Harbour office for availability of slips (519) 596-2731

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beautiful conditions coming across Georgian Bay  IMG_8993

prop wash in different light conditions is so cool 

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beautiful Little Tub Harbour

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Finally found another Florida boat my new friends Diane and JP from St. Pete, on a very cool PDQ Power Cat the “MOONSTRUCK”.  They have spent all summer exploring the Canadian waters and Great Lakes.

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this is a good boat name for a doctor

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18 miles to Midland locks 44 Big Chute & 45

Today are the last two locks we have to do on the Trent system, the next locks will be just south of Chicago.  It’s nice to know were not going to have to do anymore locks for a month or two lol!  we have done over 80 so far.  Big Chute was really a sight to behold, and one of the coolest things I have done with Pura Vida this far!  After Big Chute and lock 45 we arrived at WYE Heritage Marina in Midland Ontario the number here is 1 705-526-0155.  This marina has great private shower facilities that are brand new and you could literally have 10 people in the private shower rooms and not be crowded lol they also have a heated swimming pool, Floating docks for vessels up to 100′, full service repairs, marine chandlery and parts department, indoor and outdoor storage, multi-purpose sports surface, laundry, playground, 24-hour surveillance, social events, dockside amenities, complimentary wifi.  The World famous Henry’s Fish Restaurant is located on-site.  While here I replaced a coolant hose on my STBD engine that was leaking, and refilled the cooling system with CAT-ELC coolant.  With a parts department a short walk from the boat, I could get what I needed.  I met some very awesome Canadians while I was here, they went out of their way to be frendly and make me feel welcomed.  I love the frendlieness of all the people up here, its been so refreshing.

 below is a link to a short youtube video I put together of the Big Chute.

below is a video my dad made on his phone of the boats that went before us

Arial of WYE Heritage Marina, this marina has 1,000 slips which makes it the biggest fresh water marina in Canada.

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35 miles to Big Chute locks 42&43

Another beautiful route, we stayed at Big Chute Marina 1 705-756-2641.  This is a wonderful spot to stop and watch the Big Chute Marine Railway in action.  it is right next to the rail, they have power and there is also a restaurant here at the marina that has very good comfort food.  I’ll add a video of the marine railway in action on my next post.

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These unlucky cruisers missed the channel completely and ramped a few dozen rocks, always know where you are so this doesn’t happen to you 

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Big Chute in the background 

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