Lake Michigan is rightly named one of the Great Lakes. It is the second largest and runs north/south for 307 miles. Its widest point is 118 miles. This lake demands huge respect. Four states border the lake: Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, with the Straits of Mackinaw the northern boarder. It is a challenging body of water and one, which once completed, we can ✅ – been there, done that!
The prevailing winds and weather fronts are from the west and as they cross the lake produce frustrating sailing conditions. Winds buffeted at over 20 knots on occasion creating unsettled water with irregular waves and rolling fetch. I learnt very quickly to lay flat the lamp and tower of coffee cups! Brilliant sunny days were spent in port waiting for the waters to calm. Or afternoon thunderstorms rolled in to play havoc with our ongoing beautification of Bushranger.
The colour of the water is ever changing. Around Leland and Sleeping Bear Dunes the neon aqua-coloured water was almost unnatural. Near Chicago the colour is a deep blue similar to the Mediterranean. The pristine quality and cleanliness of the water are noteworthy. The water temperature enticed Mark for a swim and a toe dip for me.
On the eastern shore of Lake Michigan are ‘harbours of refuge’ every 35 miles or so. These are essential for boaters, as even with rigorous checking of weather conditions, squalls or wind changes happen without warning. Each harbour of refuge has its own unique history and vibe. What is common is the theme of wealth from logging of a bygone era. Today, each of these harbours are home to fishermen and vacationers.
On the southward trip, we stayed in towns as well as lake anchorages. Historic downtowns with cobbled streets and old fashioned lamplights, enticed walks to discover eclectic shops, boardwalks and beaches. Our lake anchorages were scenic and restful oases. Each stopover we enjoyed with friends and friends of friends. We had a hoot! It is deeply satisfying to be able to share experiences… even the odd game of Scrabble, allowing English and American spelling!
On the Indiana shores industry takes over from trees and sand dunes. In southern Michigan, power stations dot the skyline, both coal and nuclear.
Also, these waters contain barges and commercial shipping.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the air temperature. I naively assumed Michigan would be cool being so far north, even in summer. We have had some very humid days, but on the whole, the summer weather has been tolerable.
Bugs have not been prolific in the north, but as we head south they have returned in droves. We are constantly amazed at how bugs find us out in the middle of the lake – they seem to hone in.
Mark succumbed and bought a battery operated bug zapper. Sparks do fly!
Sunrises are spectacular in this part of the world.
We have now reached Hammond Marina, on the Indiana/Illinois border, 12 miles south of Chicago. The view of the city skyline is stunning. Adjacent to the marina is the Horseshoe casino. It is a floating casino and we are quite literally in its shadow.
Bushranger will have a three-week sabbatical here, while we head down to Nashville to visit family. The Brandon Road lock on the Illinois River is closed for three weeks to all traffic for maintenance. We will return 2 September to commence the final leg of the loop.
Such is Life!