Tuesday, August 7, 2018

De Tour to Mackinaw City Marina



A gray, misty morning was what we saw when we looked out the windows this morning as the kettle started to whistle.  A look at the weather forecast told us that it would burn off by Noon and the winds would be light and on our bow for the 45 mile cruise from De Tour past Mackinac Island, through the Straits of Mackinac and on to Mackinac City Marina.  At about 0845, Viridian and Dash Away departed De Tour marina with a slight westerly breeze that helped us move away from the dock.  We made the turn to starboard at the breakwater and sailed west to our destination over the horizon on a sea of wrinkled gray water.

This portion of Lake Huron sees heavy commercial shipping traffic.  It is where Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Superior meet.  The Mackinac Bridge is the boundary between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac is where all the traffic funnels as it moves between the lakes.  The navigation maps show three different routes that converge at the bridge and we were taking the northernmost route with an offset to the north to stay out of the path of super tankers using the same line.  We saw only one super tanker and it overtook us about halfway to the Straits.  It was turning about 18 mph to our 8 and soon left us behind.  As it passed about 1/4 of a mile south of us, we could see a stripe painted near the bow.  It was just some pinstriping to dress up the tanker.  That stripe was wider than our boats are long!

We passed a few other pleasure boats along the way but soon saw the Mackinac Bridge and landmarks that served as visual aids for navigation.  As we got closer, we began to see the busy, high speed ferry boats taking people from the mainland to Mackinac Island and back.  These boats are equipped with twin Cummings 12 cylinder turbo diesel engines and can turn over 30 mph carrying over 200 passengers.  They run wide open from dock to dock, all day, every day.  They also keep the waters filled with 2-3 foot wake waves that simulates a bad wind day on the water.  Our last 10 miles was pretty turbulent.

Our first plan was to dock at the marina at Mackinac Island and stage our trips on the island from there.  We were not able to get reservations due to the heavy tourist load this time or year.  However, one of our Looping buddies, Gypsy Spirit, made a random call and got a slip for one night.  They told us not to bother docking there because they were leaving as soon as they could get a refund and go over to Mackinaw City Marina.  The reason was that all the constant ferry traffic in the port kept the water so stirred up that they had a hard time just moving round on their 42 ft Nordic Tug tied in their slip.  Also, at $45 a day and brand new docks, Mackinaw City was a deal too good to resists.

We cruised into the Mackinaw City Marina, stopped at the fuel dock for a pump out, then slid bow first into slip # 59 along the new wooden piers with new power pedestals and water hook ups.  We have been using our 30 amp adaptor to power our boat at marinas since leaving Deltaville MD.  So, we hooked up with that and all was fine, as expected.  We met the crew from Dash Away and Gypsy Spirit and walked into town for a fine meal at the Keyhole Grill with a stop afterwards at the Ice Cream Shop.  

Returning to the boat we found that the power relay had tripped and we were on battery power.  A reset did not fix the problem, it just popped off again.  By now it was about 2100 and all the dock personnel were gone.  I tried a reset about an hour later and it stayed on until about 0200 then kicked off again.  Next morning I walked up to the marina store and explained the problem we were having.  It turns out that there is a new Government Reg that specifies GFI circuits at marinas must be installed in all new construction that are sensitive enough to detect a 0.3 amp current and trip.  That is what was happening to us.  The marina got us working again and all is fine now but it turns out that only the newest boats can pass this requirement and the fix for older boats could be a total rewiring of all the AC circuits in order to have shore power at marinas.   

That's the news and here's the views:

We are here

Today's rouge from De Tour, MI to Mackinaw City Marina, MI

August 6, 2018

The cold front finally moved through ending the rain

Viridian preparing for departure at De Tour Marina, MI

Reef marker on starboard side

Super fast Super Tanker passing to off portside

Mackinac Island in the Straits of Mackinac

A glimpse of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI

Our home for a few nights as we explore the unique and historic Mackinac Island

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