Monday, August 18, 2008

Yea!, we're back in the USA!

We had an easy crossing from Canada to Drummond Island, Michigan. The water was almost flat enough to break out the water skis—if we had had any on board! “Phantom”, “Golden Lily”, and “Bella Luna” came out of our marina and in about an hour met up with “Wanderin’ L & M”, “C-Life”, and “Adagio”—all three of them electing to anchor out last night. The six of us looked like little ducks—all lined up in a row—for miles! As we were just about to cross into American waters, “ETC.” joined up—having come from the southern shore. We were a convoy of 7 boats—looking like a proud invasion of Loopers! There is a designated line, on the chart we use for navigation, showing where we actually would come into American waters, and as we passed over it, I quickly headed below for my “Ray Charles Sings America” and John Phillips Sousa CDs! We played 2 songs from both of them for our flotilla, and it was a really great feeling hearing those songs. As much as we hated leaving Canada, I must say we felt an unexpected and overwhelming joy upon returning “back home”! We all raised our yellow quarrantine flags, Custom officials came to all of our boats, and we had an easy transit back into the country. Whew!

We spent the first night in Drummond Island, going to dinner with all of us who had crossed that day—all 14 of us—and we had a great time, in spite of most of us who had left the windows in our boats open, left in 2 cars, drove a few miles away from the marina to a delicious restaurant, and half-way through dinner, looked out to see it pouring rain—ugh! “Welcome Home Everybody”!

Friday, we left for a marina at St. Ignase, Michigan—about 40 miles (?)—and had an easy crossing there too. We walked the streets in the small town, had dinner at an outside café across the street, and saw a beautiful sunset—“red skies at night, sailors delight”—plus a glorious, full, bella luna! The meteor shower had been this week for three nights, but we saw not a single one—the moon was just too bright. Sadness!

Saturday, August 16th, we crossed the lake 8 miles and settled into the Mackinac City Marina—a great spot in a busy town, with lots of shops and restaurants, fudge and ice cream. We are also just across the bay (16 minutes by ferry) from the famous island of Mackinac—pronounced “Mac-a-naw”—home of the Grand Hotel (one of “100 Places to See Before you Die” book and “Somewhere in Time” movie). We spent all of Sunday on the island, taking over there a jet boat ferry (complete with a huge rooster tail!), taking a horse drawn carriage tour of most of the island, having a delicious lunch outside (yea Rudy!) overlooking the bay—at the Fort, and going to the Butterfly House (disappointment—not that many varieties). The island does not allow cars, so the only means of transportation are horses (over 600 in the summer) or bicycles (thousands of them!). We were told that the “pooper scoopers” who go along behind the horses are some of the highest paid workers on the island—they’d have to be—imagine 600 horses—“road apples” are everywhere, but not for long! There are fudge shops almost on every corner, tee shirt shops elsewhere, and people, people, people everywhere—what a “must see” for all the tourists up this way. (Once is enough for us!) But The Grand Hotel is aptly named, painted the whitest of white, sitting high on a hill having a commanding view of the lighthouse and water, possessing almost 400 rooms—all decorated differently, and declaring proudly of having “the longest front porch of any hotel in the world”. The word huge does not adequately describe it—but “so beautiful” does.

I am now sitting in The Bean Counter, a small coffee shop, because our marina does not have wireless. Our marina is right across the street from dozens of these small shops, and we’ve had a great time peeking in and out of them. We had planned to leave this morning, Monday, but the winds are just too high for a comfortable 45+ mile ride to our next destination—we’re told Lake Michigan will likely be this way a lot—so we’ll just have to wait and be ready to run when the winds get down. So, “Bella Luna” got a great 3 hour bath this morning from the water level to her top and we all went out at lunch for pizza at Mama Mia’s—great! The Olympic are—sadly for us—winding down, and we’ll take advantage this evening of good TV reception to watch them. As of this posting, “Phantom of the Aqua”, “Grace Full”, “Etc.”, and “Bella Luna” are waiting in this marina for the winds to die down. “Wanderin’ L & M”, “C-Life”, and “Ithaca” are in the island marina at Mackinac. “Southern Comfort”, “Sunshine”, “Golden Lily”, "Adagio", and “Blue Max” are in the marina at St. Ignase—all 12 boats just a few miles apart. We will all head out as soon as we can, so more later, as we work our way south. We’re still thinking we’ll be in Chicago the week after Labor Day.

1 comment:

Jan said...

Welcome back to the US, Louis and Diane! Sounds like you are still having a marvelous time and I'm so glad! Diane, your writing gets better and better with every post, and I'm loving the pix that Genie is posting. Thanks for keeping up with it - you're doing an awesome job! And so is Louis, keeping you on the right track. Still hope to see you in Paducah - just don't get there while we're in Greece!!