Cruisin' The Loop Aboard Kibon
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Wednesday, August 7, 2002:

We were awakened by the rumble of engines as boats left our harbor.  Pearce had been up after midnight sending off the last Log entries.  5:30 seemed to be rather early, but the docks were alive with captains readying their vessels for an early morning run.  We put the coffee pot on to brew and threw on our clothes.  The lines were untied, the fenders were stowed, and we left the dock in the middle of a procession of boats.  It was rather spectacular to pass underneath the five mile span of the Mackinac Bridge.  It sparkled in the sun that was rising over Mackinac Island.  Kay looked up at the trucks and cars making the early crossing and decided that it felt better to be going underneath.  The wind was out of the east at 5 knots, so the run down the shoreline to the shoals was accomplished with only gentle rocking.  We passed only one tanker coming from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron.  Once we passed the abandoned light house, Pearce turned south and headed down the shore of Michigan.  Kay kept busy down below -- making the bed, making breakfast, and working on a word puzzle (to prove that her happy pill did not make her inoperable.)
Pearce had turned the controls over to Hal, and he (Pearce) would periodically come below to be sure that Kay was coping.  She would hand him something else to eat and would send him back to the bridge to be sure that Hal was operating successfully.  Our original destination was Charlevoix, a port 40 miles from Mackinaw City.  The winds and the seas were so calm  we decided to continue on to Leland, a run of 85 miles.  We think this is the longest run we have made so far.  

Leland is a beautiful little port.  It had originally been a fishing port (and still is), but it was designated to be one of the "safe ports of refuge" established along the Michigan coast.  Once the safe harbor was built, the tourist industry transformed the fishing village into a summer vacation spot.  We ate lunch at a restaurant that overlooked a small (16 foot) falls with a view of the harbor entrance.  Kay had Cajun salmon and Pearce had chicken Caesar salad (he is still compiling the pros and cons of this dish in the restaurants along our way).  We found out later that the owner of The Cove is also a Looper.  We wish we could have had an opportunity to talk to him.
The village of Leland is centered around the harbor and the lake.  There is a section called Fishtown which is the historic part of town, and there are other businesses in the blocks surrounding the port.  It is only a few blocks walk to the other side of the peninsula where there is swimming on the sandy shores of Lake Leelanau.  
We walked along the business sections -- Kay bought another scarf.  We visited the library and looked at the beginning of the lake.  We were looking forward to the sunset over Lake Michigan, but we were disappointed because of a low lying cloud cover.  We have many more days to travel down the Lake and many more sunsets to enjoy.

Thursday, August 8, 2002:
We broke our record today! 88 miles! We didn't want to leave Leland, but the wind was calm, the waves nonexistent and the lake looked like a sheet of glass. We've heard too many stories about stormy days on Lake Michigan when boaters are hung up in port for days and days... on calm days like today, the prudent thing is to make as many tracks as possible. It meant passing up many towns and inlets we would  liked to have seen. We were cruising along at 18 knots and staying a mile or two offshore, so there wasn't much scenery to report. Several lighthouses passed by, one in particular, at Point Betsie, was interesting. It appeared to be a large house several stories tall with a number of outbuildings... much like a large farm. 
Manistee, our first planned destination, is described in the cruising guide as having a "genuine historic beauty and charm" and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The city still looks the same as the lumber barons built it. Unfortunately Manistee will have to wait for our next turn around the loop... the Lake was just too smooth to stop. 
We did stop in Frankfort, however,  where we planned to stay over. A replacement receiver for the DirectTV satellite dish that Pearce had ordered from Mackinaw City was to be delivered to the Frankfort Marina. We thought it would be at least another day, but it was there when we arrived. So, we picked up the package and forged ahead, saying "winters coming, we have to keep heading for those palm trees in South Florida." Anyway, those two big Cats in Kibon's engine room are purring along too well to slow them down. We haven't said much about this boat and it deserves to be said. A few minor glitches aside (which were rapidly fixed), Silverton has really come up with a winner in this 38 Convertible. Inside it's every luxury two people could ever wish for. We've often said, "There's more great stuff in her than we've had in our house." Maybe we've been living in an old house too long... but it's nice to have all these modern luxuries. On the outside Kibon just keeps on running. The jarring short chop that this lake kicks up hardly fazes her, even though Kay doesn't like chop of any variety. Thanks, Silverton, for an outstanding design. Keep this one around for a long time!
We finally came to rest in Luddington, Michigan. This is an excellent deep water port that looks like we might enjoy being holed up her for the next few days... some heavy weather is predicted. Let's see what happens, okay? 

Friday, August 9,2003:
Weather predictions are more art than science. The heavy weather never materialized... seems that this is becoming the norm for weather guessers hereabouts. Sorry, Ludington, we would have liked to stroll your lanes, but a glass-like lake beckoned us. We did try the new DirecTV receiver last night. It didn't work! Seems that they only want one to input the local zip code in order to get aiming directions. Well. we don't often know our zip code-- but we always know our Lat - Lon position (Hal tells us to the thousandth of a second). And Lat-Lon is not one of the possibilities DirecTV allows. Maybe it's something about local marketing or selling Pay TV... A long 'phone conversation with DirecTV convinced all that this receiver is wrong and okay to send back. We're supposed to buy a new one at any electronics store -- they suggested several in Chicago. The new one these shops sell will do the job and probably cost less than the "official" unit from the company, according to the customer service person. Ain't modern marketing wonderful?
We have no pictures for this leg -- we went too fast and far to take snaps. 65 miles to Grand Haven, about fifteen miles south of Muskegon. It's on the Grand River, the same one that goes through Grand Rapids, 20 miles inland. We arrived about two p.m. and found the municipal marina full up. So was the big one across the river; several others as we went upriver said "No." Finally we got to Grand Isle Marina right across from the Holiday Inn. Maybe Grand Isle thinks it's another Holiday... they charged us $85.00 to tie up...and we brought our own house! The gas-dock girl had an attitude, the office people were officious, there was no one available to help tie up -- and when we complained, all the manager, Carl Kaczmarski, had to say was, "If you wanted help to dock, why didn't you ask for it?" Sorry, Carl, we've never yet had to ask... everywhere else we've been, as soon as a dock was assigned helpers were always on hand to take a line without having to ask. Hey, Loopers-- and anyone else -- stay away from Grand Isle Marina in Grand Haven, Michigan!

Other than that... this a pretty nice town. There's a shuttle bus system that, when called, shows up to take you anywhere for a 50-cent fee. It's a taxi-in-a-bus! We went into town where we met Bob Jernstadt, owner of Marine Tech Boat Supply shop who is a Looper and then we wandered through a four block sidewalk sale which was a shoppers' delight. We bought a few things, then called the shuttle bus and rode back to the marina. Cocktails and dinner aboard helped soothe the day's problems. Tomorrow we'll move to the Grand Haven Municipal Marina and see if we can really enjoy this town. It probably deserves another look.

Saturday, August 10, 2002: We called Dave at the Municipal Marina who said, "Come on over!" His place is less than half the cost of last night's fiasco and it is right in the midst of town. The only redeeming thing about Carl's place is that he said he's waiving the outrageous fee. Thanks, Carl. We'll be looking for the credit on our next statement.
Downtown Grand Haven swings! We are parked in a place the guide book says is "unique in that 16 of the area's charter fishing boats are organized and concentrated at Chinook Pier, an area located right in the center of the sprawling municipal dock layout, next door to the local excursion boat mooring. Think of it as one stop fun!"
We're docked right alongside Chinook Pier where the charter boats bring in huge salmon and slice off fillets and steaks where everone can watch. Just to the left, a hundred feet from the fish cleaning station, is a farmers market which is truly a farmer's market. We've tried shopping at too many markets along the waterways which turned out to be more crafts than farm. The market here in Grand Haven, which is open Saturdays and Wednesdays, is so full of fresh produce it could make a vegetarian's head swim. Kay stocked up, and stocked up; then went back and stocked up some more! We'll be eating greens for weeks. Okay!

The sidewalk sale is still on, so we did more walking around town, with two major events... We both got haircuts. We were getting pretty shaggy so it was high time to take it all off! Pearce went to an old-time shop, in business since the 1880's, that looks more like a museum than a barbershop. Kay, armed with several recommendations, went to Studio 206, on Washington Avenue, where she was able to get a rare appointment with "Chad" who is purported to be the best in town! Chad knows his art... Kay is stunning. Her very short, blond hair is now almost white with the sun effect. She's very easy to spot in a crowd. Thanks, Chad!

Just made cell phone contact with John Podmajersky, Adam Koller's friend, who's a member of Chicago Yacht Club and helped us set up our reservation there next week. He's on his new boat, a Pearson True North 38, on his maiden shake-down. He is in Holland, Michigan, tonight, and hopes to come on up the twenty miles or so to Grand Haven tomorrow. We hope he does and we finally get to meet him.  John was the overall winner of this year's Chicago to Mackinac Race... maybe we can learn some new tricks to spring on the Narrasketuck El Toro sailors next year! We'll see.

The day ended with a spectacular sunset and Grand Haven's famous lighted musical fountains where thousands of gallons of water are propelled upward from an array a hundred yards wide on the opposite shore. The interplay between lights, water and sound, although un-photographable, is a delight. The show is put on every night during the summer and draws huge crowds.

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