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Author Topic:   Mackinaw Island, July 2007
Dauntless Dave posted 05-15-2007 09:09 PM ET (US)   Profile for Dauntless Dave   Send Email to Dauntless Dave  
This is more of a fact finding post. Has anyone cruised the east and north side of the Island? Is it worth the gas?
Is it rocky or any hidden trouble? I would be grateful for any information. Thanks!
Moose posted 05-16-2007 08:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moose  Send Email to Moose     
It's nice early in the day with the sun on that side of Mackinac Island. Other than bike riders on M-185 and Arch Rock there isn't much to see.

It's fairly deep right off shore, mostly rocky on the bottom. I haven't come across anything hazardous.


Buckda posted 05-16-2007 11:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
When gas wasn't so precious, I'd say worth it in a heartbeat. I'd do it anyway just to say I had, if I hadn't already done it.

For now, I'd consider running up the east side to the NE corner, then running NE to Hessel, Les Cheneaux Islands and then on to Cedarville through the islands. Have lunch at the Hessel Bay Inn.

Return to the NE corner of Mackinac Island and run across the top and to St. Ignace for dinner. Then back out and across to Mackinac Island for a nightcap (Know your limit), and return to a sunset over/under the Bridge on your way back to St. Ignace or Mackinaw City (wherever you started from).


home Aside posted 05-16-2007 08:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Definetly worth it!!! Although I've made the trip with Buckda once and again on my own in my former Montauk, In July it might be tough getting in to dock at the Island, not as difficult in Hessle, Cedarville, or St. Ignace


Dauntless Dave posted 05-16-2007 09:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dauntless Dave  Send Email to Dauntless Dave     
Thanks for your you're info and personal experience!! I've heard alot about the Islands but now have a worthy vessel to get me there and back. Can't wait to explore this summer. I'll look at google earth for a good idea of the distance. Thanks again!!
Dauntless Dave posted 05-16-2007 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dauntless Dave  Send Email to Dauntless Dave     
Do you have to be very paticular about the wind or is this area fairly protected by the mainland of the U.P.? And How long a ride is that from Mackinaw Island to hessel bay? What is there to see @ les chanteau islands? Thanks in advance.
Moose posted 05-17-2007 10:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moose  Send Email to Moose     
That east and north side of Mackinac Island and the open water over to Hessel Bay is generally much calmer than the straits or the area between St. Ignace and the Island. The prevailing winds are from the west to southwest, so the island protects that area well. I've been that route to the north end of the island, from Hessel, and then down the west side of Mackinac and have had the seas go from almost nothing to 2 foot on a very calm day. The non-stop ferry business on almost any day will do wonders to that side of the island. As you get closer to the island harbor it gets choppier, but not too bad. That east shore is much calmer, unless of course there is a strong wind from the east.

It's a very nice run from Mackinac Island harbor to Hessel Bay, about 14 miles. The Middle Entrance or the Yacht Entrance are a few miles more. At the northwest end of Government Island there is a great beach area, lots of sand and shallow water for kids, dogs, etc. Camping sites and pit stools are at a couple of other spots on the island. Hessel is a great "up-north" boating town. The Hessel Bay Inn, The Islander Bar, the bakery is open again. The sign shop right at the corner of M-134 and 3 Mile Road is a good stop to make, classic style reproduction art of the area, boat show posters, even some Whaler stickers. There is a gas dock at Mertaughs, a great township marina with some 3 hour courtesy docks. Cedarville has a good grocery store, some nice motels, restaurants, plenty of marina services.

There is a travel log on this website from a trip the host made there in 1998, worth a read if you're heading that way.

Buckda posted 05-17-2007 12:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
One of the other nice things about diversion to the Les Cheneaux Islands - this can save a day of boating. The protected waters allow for you to have a bit of fun even if it's blowing quite hard on the open lake. If it's too rough for the family on the return trip, you can hug the mainland and stay pretty protected, or - if things get really snotty - take the kids and wife to the Les Cheneaux Historical Society Museum in Cedarville and brave the straights on your own...get to the car and it's a 30 minute trip back to pick them up.

If it's extremely snotty, stay at the Islander in Cedarville (clean and inexpensive, downtown) and go home the next day.

Whatever happens, your kids will definitely remember that's cool.


Buckda posted 05-17-2007 07:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Meant to add:

Things to see and do -

Hessel: On the way into the bay, notice the two French-American war era "watchtower" on Long Island with a pronounced lean...the other obscured by trees on Marquette Island near Goat and Echo Islands.

E.J. Mertaugh Boat Works - one of the oldest BW and Chris-Craft dealerships in the US (The man knew how to pick quality boats). The area didn't get roads until the 1940's, so it really developed in the 1880-1920's around the water. Mertaugh's usually has a few antique boats around and is a blast from the past.
Hessel Bay Inn is good for food. The nearby bakery and grocery store (more of a small supply outpost) has ice cream for the kids and there is a public beach nearby.
Club Point is nearby - golf course on the mainland, large, historical cottages (mansions) are on the island. Nice cruise through the "Snows" channel...probably the most 'resort-y' portion of the Islands. Dollar Island is a must-see-to-believe. At one point, it was very charming - and even made an appearance on a "Say Yes To Michigan" tourism commercial in the 1980's....the current owners have taken things a bit too far...but it's still an interesting conversation piece.
In Cedarville there is a good ice cream shop, a supermarket (a nice walk) and of course, the historical society/museum...which has great displays...just ask anyone in town and they'll direct you right to it. I don't know if "the Great Outdoors" outfitter is still open or not, but it's a cool place to rent Kayaks if you're so inclined.
Tassier Boat Works is in town too...and they are currently building (or have approval to build) a school that will offer full-time and summer courses on wooden boat-building in town near the lumber company. I can't wait for that to be finished, as I'd like to spend a week or two up there in a class or two.
Government Island offers rustic camping - and if you take the beach in the corner of Government Bay where Government Island "touches" Big LaSalle Island, you can follow a narrow channel through to a nice sandy beach on lake Huron with views SSE over 335 miles of open Lake Huron toward Ontario. Coryell Island also has historic cottages with great boathouses...though generally not as swanky and historic as the ones on Marquette Island at Club Point.

If you have a little boy aboard, or are just a little boy at heart, Port Dolomite, although viserally different than the rustic surroundings, offers a cool view (from the water) of (mining)Trucks, (dolomite) trains, conveyors and lake liners. I used to love going over there with my Grandfather in the summers growing up.

If you're familiar with 4Winns boats, be sure to check out one of the "Winn Brother's" cottage on Strongs Island..the island is currently for sale as a single parcel or can be subdivided. Last check on price was actually what I would consider a deal....but still too rich for my current financial condition, plus I'm not sure what I'd need all that land for anyway.

On the return trip, if you wish to stay close to shore, Saint Martin's point, Islands and Bay offer some interesting diversions....St. Martin's bay is a good place for Pike/Muskie in the evenings....and I believe it's "Search Bay" that has a nice beach at the base of the bay.

You could truly make this into a two day trip, including a day on Mackinac Island.... :)

Hope I could help spend your gas money... I love it up there and am looking forward to my week of vacation in the area July 4...Look for My Whaler (GAMBLER) if you're up there that week..I'll be around Government Island and on the north side (McKay Bay) of Hill Island.


PeteB88 posted 05-20-2007 12:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
We're on Mackinaw IS for almost a week early July, have to double check with Ellen.
jimh posted 05-20-2007 01:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
"Is it worth the gas?"

I guess this depends on your starting point and the fuel consumption rate for your boat.

For help navigating around Mackinac Island I recommend the appropriate NOAA chart in preference to GOOGLE EARTH.

For some information on the Les Cheneaux Islands by small boat see:

Crossing the Straits of Mackinac can expose you to wind driven waves which have a long fetch and can reach significant wave heights of 2-meters. There is a funneling of the winds in the region and this often contributes to the high sea state. The marina in Mackinaw City is sheltered from westerly winds, and the sea state near the marina is often much lower than will be encountered in the open water under the bridge. You should factor that into any decision based on observation of the sea state from the marina in Mackinaw City.

You can reach Mackinac Island from the upper peninsula of Michigan. There are very nice launch facilities in St. Ignace and Hessel.

There is a State of Michigan dock on Mackinac Island, but the dock height there is quite high and it may be difficult to reach from a small boat. Traditionally there has been high demand for space at those docks, and it is not unusual to have to get on a waiting list for a day to get an overnight accommodation there. In a really small boat you may be able to tie up at a dingy dock for a few hours to come ashore, but I would not count on it; it will depend on the season and the number of boats in the harbor that day.

Reaching Mackinac Island from St. Ignace will be shorter and be in more sheltered water (from westerly winds) than launching from Mackinaw City. The ramp at St. Ignace is also easier to use, has more trailer parking, and is located in a less crowded (and non-tourist) area.

What size is your Boston Whaler boat?

Moose posted 05-21-2007 05:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moose  Send Email to Moose     
Les Cheneaux update:

The Great Lakes Boat Building School is about 75% finished. I was in Hessel and Cedarville for the weekend and had the opportunity to take a walk around it, and almost, through it. Very nice facility, historically accurate, not a big metal pole building as I had feared. The word is it'll be done by July.

The Hessel Grocery is closed. It's been for sale for a few years while operating, but now it's looking as if 2007 will be a complete wipe out. That's a shame, the only place to get most things in Hessel. The Bakery appears to be out of business again after being open last summer.


Dauntless Dave posted 05-22-2007 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dauntless Dave  Send Email to Dauntless Dave     
Thanks to all for your valuble info on Mackinaw Island. My boat is an 18 Dauntless. So far I really like the boat, but I can see already a larger whaler in my future. Not sure how distant future it is, but I love the quality of the boat. I just installed 498 Garmin GPS and added a inland lake card (sweet) to help with some of the smaller lakes I go to. Just had the local marina tune the carbs to be sure I'm ready for all the hours AI have planned this summer. Indian River, Cross Village, Charlevoix and the Mackinaw Isalnd and now you've got my attention with expanding to the Hessel and Cedarville area. I'm concerned about whereto put in at, Mackinaw City or St Ignace? It depends on the weather that day.

Thanks Again!!!

Royboy posted 05-23-2007 10:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Royboy  Send Email to Royboy     
Here's another good idea: they're slammin the Atlantic Salmon at Detour. If you go, troll from the green can to a bit beyond the Detour Reef Light. The last report I heard said they are in the top 25 feet of water.


Royboy posted 05-24-2007 09:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Royboy  Send Email to Royboy     
Forgot to mention Detour salmon is a daybreak to around 9-ish sort of game. You can be back in time for breakfast!


fourdfish posted 05-25-2007 05:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for fourdfish  Send Email to fourdfish     
The wife and I have stayed on the Mack for the Lilac Festival
4 times and have always had a great time. One of the few times you can get a slip and stay for more than 3 days in a row.
The Island is filled with Lilacs and they are usually beautiful. They used to give you lights to hang on the boat
and it was a sight to see at night.
This year it runs from June 8th to June 17. We always put in at Mackinaw City.
Moose posted 06-22-2007 09:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moose  Send Email to Moose     
Not really Mackinac Island, but...

I'll be in the Les Cheneaux's from tomorrow through July 2nd. After morning fishing I can usually be found at the beach in Government Bay most afternoons. There are normally a few Whalers around to look at... and, I generally travel with plenty of cold ones to share, if you get there early enough!

Ah, sweet vacation...


Dauntless Dave posted 06-24-2007 02:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dauntless Dave  Send Email to Dauntless Dave     
I guess I'll have to change my name, I no longer have my 18 Dauntless. I finally worked a deal to get the boat I've been after for 8 months. A totally redone 85 Outrage 22.
It's been on line @ a remote site "gregory boat company" for a while. But the price was way up there. The guy spent over 80K re-doing this boat! He finally lowered it and gave me a ton for my Dauntless. So I'll call myself....
"It's an outrage" I hear this is a classic hull and it's got a 225 Evinrude 2 stroke. It is like no whaler I've seen so far! Teak deck, electronics installed very tastefully, The only thing I do not like is it has been bottom-painted. Which I will re-do after this boating season is done. I'll be up on Indian River thursday through
July 3rd,07 Dark blue with red stripe @waterline. Watch out for my wake!!
Its an Outrage posted 06-24-2007 02:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Its an Outrage  Send Email to Its an Outrage     
OK, I have tranformed into Its an Outrage, Dauntless Dave has moved up the food chain into the Outrage series, I can't wait to get it on the water next week!
home Aside posted 06-24-2007 03:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
the BWGLCC was all over that boat at our Holiday get together last December at the Gregory Boat Co. It's a beautiful specimen......I have many photographs of the boat, I'm not home right now, I'll e-mail them to you later.


Buckda posted 06-25-2007 10:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Dave -


Awesome boat.

cdnwhaler posted 06-25-2007 10:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
Having stood in that Outrage in the showroom all I can say is I'm VERY jealous.



Royboy posted 06-25-2007 10:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Royboy  Send Email to Royboy     
Outrageous! That is a sweet boat, although I've only seen her in pictures. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to check her out in person this Summer.


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