Day 71 - Traverse City, MI
07 August 2016
Day 71 - Sun 7 Aug 2016
Docked – Traverse City, MI
[photo: Very convenient that above the brewery downstairs is a drug and alcohol counseling center]
I found the evening very restful, but the squeaking of the rubber fenders between the hull and dock disturbed Diane, so she moved to the other side away from the noise. Once I know a sound is benign, I can usually tune it out; she can’t.
We both got up about 0530 while it was still somewhat dark and got prepared to cast off. By the time we were ready, it was 0610 and I could not see any whitecaps on the bay. Once we rounded the point of the breakwater, however, the wave action was definitely noticeable and uncomfortable for the admiral. We were taking the waves slightly off our starboard bow. So we had more pitching than rolling. As we worked our way W, the shoreline curved farther to the S, and as we turned, the waves became more on the beam, which was worse.
Fortunately, we only had to endure that for another hour and then we could turn S into Grand Traverse Bay and put the waves more on our stern. Eventually, they were dead aft and we had a pretty smooth ride, by comparison. We have been using the high-speed mode a lot more than we did last year and more than I expected, but if it makes an uncomfortable ride a lot shorter, then it is often worth it.
With the wind out of the NNW, I figured we should take advantage and go pretty deep into the bay on the Traverse City side (the bay is divided into two long arms by a center peninsula). When we turned up into Bowers Bay, everything looked pretty good except when the water depths finally dropped off from well over 100 feet, all we could find was a rocky bottom. We looked around for some sandy spots to get the anchor to set, tried one promising spot unsuccessfully and said “forget it.”
Setting a course for Traverse City, just 70 minutes S, I called on the phone and was told they would almost certainly have a spot for us. When we finally got there, the only spots were “on the wall,” which normally wouldn’t bother us, but whoever designed the fencing had no clue about boats. It was a chore getting situated where we could actually get off the boat and not easy tying to the fence. To make matters even worse, the ladder where we had to disembark had been severely bent by a previous boater and made for quite a challenge to use it.
Diane served up a great BLT lunch and then we settled in to an unexpected day of shoreside sight-seeing. Once again, we have to remark that these Michigan marinas and the adjacent waterfront areas are really nice. The downtown was only two blocks away and we walked up and down most of the streets that had any action going. Our stops included a tasting of some local-distilled 100% rye whiskey (it was good, but at $64 for 750ml, it was not nearly worth it to me), the Mackinac Brewery (where Gerry and Bear from Bear Holiday sauntered in and joined us), and the Cherry Republic (which features an incredible array of foodstuffs with cherries, and where I got a cherry ice cream cone).
We had a great time exploring the very vibrant, if touristy, downtown and then headed back to Diva Di for some reading and a short nap. When it was supper time, we hit the showers and then I used the marina’s gas grill to cook some burgers and onions in foil. We had a bunch of fresh veggies that were not going to be fresh too much longer, so we had a medley of those, as well.
While Diane cleaned up, I visited with some locals playing great oldies music on their fishing boat tied to the wall not far from us. As usual, these folks who rarely take their boats more than 15 miles from home are fascinated with the idea of being on a boat for 7 months or more and going the distance we are.
The evening was delightful in temperature and humidity and there was a lot of people watching opportunities. Michigan probably has some guiding legislation that makes all public operated marinas open to the public except during overnight hours, which sometimes starts at 11pm. It is a good thing, but means that non-boaters are almost continuously walking the docks and have access to your boat if they chose to board uninvited.
Tomorrow, we will head to the other arm of the bay and visit Elk Rapids for a day. I will then call the tech that repaired the chartplotter and give him a place to ship it.