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Author Topic:   Questions on Mackinac Island
Rod Anliker posted 02-27-2005 09:59 PM ET (US)   Profile for Rod Anliker  
My wife and I are planning a little excursion to Northern Michigan (LP) this summer and will be taking our Montauk 170.

Our plan for part of the trip is run over from Mackinac City to Mackinac Island and stay 2 nights in a B&B. We'll keep the boat in a slip in Mackinac Harbor while on the island. I have a slip reservation already. Something tells me our Montauk 170 will be the smallest, least expensive boat in the marina. :-)

A couple questions for folks who may have local knowledge:

1) I would like to launch from Mackinac City Municipal Marina. Will I be able to leave my trailer/truck there for two nights? If not, does anyone know where in Mackinac City I could leave the rig?

2) On the chart, the crossing from Mackinac City to Mackinac Island is short and shows excellent nav aids. But from friends who've sailed the Mac I'm told the strait can get pretty rough. I'll watch the weather and try to catch calmer water early morning/late evening if the forecast is dicey. But for July, what's the likelihood of not being able to make it over? We can always take the ferry, but I can't cancel my harbor reservation.

3) Any other advice for small boats in that area? Any "Don't miss this" suggestions?

I've found this site pretty useful:

And in one of the postings here, someone said you can't miss being on the boat in the evening and watching the sun set behind the Mackinac bridge...hope the weather cooperates for that.

I really appreciate this forum ... thanks for any advice. I'll certainly let folks know how it goes.

- Rod

David Pendleton posted 02-27-2005 11:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
You'd have a lot more fun at Isle Royale...
Rod Anliker posted 02-28-2005 12:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for Rod Anliker    
LOL! Yeah, but not what my wife had in mind!

The Isle Royal trip is one I would take with my boys. But as it stands now, their schedule and mine won't accomodate it this year. But it's high on the list for next year!

Buckda posted 02-28-2005 09:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Rod -

You'll love the island...and you won't be the smallest...well...maybe - but you definitely won't be the least expensive boat in the harbor...but you'll feel like it!

Check with Arnold Transit (ferry service) to see if they'll let you park your rig long-term in their lot. This should not be a problem, as the boy scouts do this every week for camp on the island (Governor's Honor Guard, and assistance at the fort...this was a great camp!).

The straits can be tough weather wise....if you are at all concerned about the conditions, you should consider trailering the boat across to St. Ignace as it is a shorter and more direct/protected run (not really protected, but keeps you out of the actual straits). The cost offset is about 6 bucks round trip in tolls, but worth it if you're concerned.

Generally, you will not have a problem if you cross in the morning, before around 10 AM - the wind is usually calmer at this time...and the evening can kick up a T-storm and steady wind blowing across lake Michigan tunnels under the bridge making it a bit more rough.

July is great weather up there, and you'll likely have low 80's and sunshine with a gentle breeze.


Royboy posted 02-28-2005 10:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Royboy  Send Email to Royboy     
Last year my wife and I spent a week in Cheboygan and the straights ran the gambit from a howling North wind that was kicking up six footers to dead calm. Temps left a lot to be desired; I don't think it got above 60 all week, but this isn't usual. At any rate, as long as you remain flexible in your schedule you will be fine. Dave's recommendation for St. Ignace seems like a good one, it's a much shorter run (2 miles shorter) and you'd be out of the straights proper, although there is still about 14 miles of reach for a North wind.

130 Sport

Royboy posted 02-28-2005 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for Royboy  Send Email to Royboy     
One of the "don't miss" attractions for small craft would definately be the "Inland Waterway", that starts in Cheboygan and ends nearly to Petoskey. It's a great contingent to your straights crossing if it's just too rough. There are hotels and eateries right on the river.


Buckda posted 02-28-2005 10:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Another nearby "don't miss" would be the Les Cheneaux Islands - if you're "blown in" by the weather - it's a short 30 mile drive from Mackinaw City to Hessel - put in in Hessel and take the protected boatride to Cedarville and back...nice cottage country and 36 beautiful islands...mostly protected water...if it's blowing hard, this is the place to do some boating.
dfmcintyre posted 02-28-2005 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
I'll add a personal favorite to the list:

On the northeast side of Round Island (it's the one you see when looking out across the harbor when your at Mackinac Island) there is a great sand beach, and shallow water for spending a few hours, or a day at. There are no sand beaches on M/I.

Ditto about the Cheneaux Islands, and the Waterway. If you do the waterway, you'll even go through a lock in Cheyboygan. Have lunch at hte Hack-Ma-Tack lodge, at the very southern end of the Cheyboygan River.

Best - Don

Rod Anliker posted 02-28-2005 07:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Rod Anliker    
Thanks, everyone! I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. There are more places to go than we'll have time for, the way it looks. I'll let folks know how it goes....
Royboy posted 02-28-2005 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Royboy  Send Email to Royboy     
The Hack-ma-tack lodge doesn't open until 5:00 p.m., but it's supposed to be a first rate eatery. We cruised there for "lunch" and were about five hours early.

There is a very impressive Coast Guard Cutter (The Ice Breaker Mackinaw)stationed in Cheboygan too, although I beleive it was decommissioned this year? It has been stationed there and in service since 1944. When you launch at the city docks you are directly across the river from it. Very nice photo op for your Whaler!

This is all about 20 miles from Mackinaw City.


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