Thirty-eighth Lighthouse Expedition
August 23-27, 2001
Straits of Mackinac Cruise with GLLKA
August 23, 2001, Thursday
- 10:05 am
- Left home and stopped by our daughter Andrea's home.
- 10:25 am
- Left Andrea's in White Lake.
- 12:25 pm
- We arrived at the Tangier Manufacturer's Market shopping area. Diana had 1/2 hour to do all the shopping her little heart desired. We left at 1:00.
- 1:30 pm
- We stopped for lunch at an Arby's just south of Graying and left at 2:00. We stopped at Glen's market in Gaylord to pick up a few things.
- 3:30 pm
- We arrived at our friends, Marvin and Mary Jane Jewell's home in East Jordan. Their daughter Donna was there also. We went for Chinese dinner in Boyne City. Then we went back to their place and enjoyed a sail boat ride on Lake Charlevoix. The weather was beautiful. In the evening we taught them a new game we had learned with dominos called "chicken foot."
August 24, 2001, Friday
- 1:05 pm
- After enjoying a nice leisurely morning with the Jewells, we left shortly after lunch. We enjoyed a Dairy Queen in Petoskey; a must on all of our trips. We left there about 1:45.
- 2:30 pm
- We arrived at the Old Mackinaw Point Lighthouse. It is so nice to see that they are renovating this beautiful lighthouse. There are plans for the interior to eventually be opened for tours. There is a new gift shop in one of the nearby buildings. From there we went to Mackinaw Crossings to walk around a bit. We left there at 4:05.
- 4:10 pm
- We crossed the Mackinac Bridge. Even though we have done this many, many times, it is always a thrill.
- 4:25 pm
- We arrived at the Days Inn in St. Ignace. We had a beautiful view of Mackinac Island from our balcony. We went to the Lighthouse Keeper's store. Diana got a denim shirt with the little Round Island Lighthouse embroidered on it. The Round Island Light has always been one of our favorites.
- 7:15 pm
- Tom & Lynn Baumgarten (from Tomah, WI) picked us up at the Days Inn and we went to the Galley for dinner. We had met them on our San Francisco trip in May and were delighted to hear they would also be on the GLLKA cruise. We had a nice dinner and then they came back to the motel to see the pictures from the SF trip. They left about 9:15.
August 25, 2001, Saturday
- 7:10 am
- We left the Days Inn and went to the Shepler's dock in St. Ignace to get on the boat. We left on the cruise shortly after 8:00 am. Bill Shepler was our boat captain. Dick Moehl, president of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keeper's Association, was our guide and host. Sandy Planisek provided lots of historical information along the way. We enjoyed this cruise along with 150 other lighthouse enthusiasts. Another couple from the San Francisco trip, Bob Quirk & Nancy Warzecha from Des Plaines, IL were also along for the fun. One of the benefits of these trips is meeting wonderful people and then meeting up with them again on subsequent trips. We traveled under the Mackinac Bridge and could see the lighthouses near Mackinac Island and St. Helena Island. (We got a closer look at these on Sunday.) This cruise took us to several lighthouses which we have seen before. However, we got a closer look at some of them, visited 4 new ones and saw how some of the lighthouses have been renovated since our previous visits.
- 9:15 am
- We arrived at White Shoal Light. This one was built in 1910 and automated in 1976. It has been repainted since we last saw it, and while it is the same color scheme, it is much brighter now. It is considered a major aid to navigation today as it is the "turning light" at the west end of the straits. It is also the tallest on the Great Lakes. As with all the lights, the boat slowed down and allowed the photographers to get many pictures from as many sides of the light as the rocky shoals would allow. We left at 9:25.
- 10:15 am
- Arrived at Lansing Shoal Light. This was a new light for us. It was built in 1928 and was the last major lighthouse built on the Great Lakes. There was a lightship here before this structure was built. It had a third order lens which is now on display at the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing. We left at 10:25.
- 11:35 am
- Beaver Island (Beaver Head) Light built in 1858 was our next stop. This light marks the west edge of the approach to the Straits of Mackinac and is located on the south end of Beaver Island. The light is located up on a small bluff and the fog signal building is located near the shore. We could not get very close because of the shallow waters. We left at 11:45.
- 11:50 am
- Everyone was happy to hear the announcement that the box lunches had been set out. We were not starving however. We had coffee, bagels, muffins and juice available all morning long.
- 12:20 pm
- Our next stop was the South Fox Island Lights. South Fox Island has two lighthouse, one built in 1868 and its replacement in 1934. These lights were new ones for us. Unfortunately because of water depths, the boat was not able to get as close as we would have liked for photos. Neither light is operational and they are owned by the State of Michigan. We left at 12:35.
- 1:50 pm
- We were heading into Charlevoix and saw the Charlevoix South Pier Light. It was built in 1948 to replace the original 1886 light which was on the north pier. We went into Charlevoix for fuel. By this time there was a light rain. Many of those who had been up on top of the boat were now wandering down below to stay dry. We left at 2:25 and were passing the pier light again at 2:35.
- 3:20 pm
- The Little Traverse Light, built in 1884, was our next stop. This light is on private land and is very difficult to see from the shore. ( We know because we have really tried.) It is located near the town of Harbor Springs. There is a fog bell tower located near the lighthouse. We left at 3:30. (We were to see this light again on Sunday.)
- 3:35 pm
- We saw the Petoskey Pierhead Light. We had not photographed this one before. It's an ugly, modern reinforced concrete structure, and is an example of the new types of aids to navigation. From here we went to Bay Harbor, a very nice (and expensive) residential area located outside Petoskey.
- 3:50 pm
- The boat docked in Bay Harbor and we waited for the shuttle bus to take us to the Holiday Inn in Petoskey.
- 5:00 pm
- Arrived at the Holiday Inn.
- 6:30 pm
- Went downstairs to the dining room for dinner with the rest of the cruise participants.
- 8:20 pm
- Our table was THE VERY LAST ONE to go to the buffet table. We had waited for well over an hour after the first table started through the buffet line. Fortunately, the food was very good, and well worth the wait. The GLLKA annual meeting started shortly after we finished eating. The program was given by a teacher and a few of her students who had studied lighthouses.
August 26, 2001 Sunday
Our 34th wedding anniversary. (Now we can tell everyone that we went on a cruise for our anniversary.)
- 7:00 am
- We had a wonderful breakfast buffet at the Holiday Inn. We were shuttled back to the Shepler boat at Bay Harbor.
- 9:00 am
- The boat left Bay Harbor and we again enjoyed muffins, bagels, coffee and juice all morning.
- 9:15 am
- We went back for another view of the Little Traverse Light in Harbor Springs. It was much brighter this morning than on Saturday when we stopped here. We were happy to finally get good photos of this light. We left there about 9:25.
- 10:25 am
- The boat arrived at Ile Aux Galets (Skillagalee Island) Light built in 1888. This island is on the southern end of the Gray's Reef Passage and is a major navigational threat due to the dangerous reefs. There were two previous lights here; one built in 1851 and the other in 1868. We left at 10:30.
- 11:10 am
- We arrived at the St. James Harbor Light on Beaver Island. This one was built in 1870. It was a duplicate of the first Pt. Betsie light. All that remains now is the tower. This location was also a life saving station. We had a short tour of the St. James Harbor. We left at 11:20 am. The box lunches were brought out about this time.
- 12:00 pm
- We arrived at Gray's Reef Light built in 1936. This marks the southern end of the 1,000 yard wide Gray's Reef Passage. The living quarters at this shoal light were 27' x 27'. The base for the tower was 64' x 64'. Not much of an area to "go for a walk." The lens for this light is on display at the Charlevoix Historical Museum. We left at 12:15.
- 12:20 pm
- Waugoshance Shoal Light was our next stop. This 1851 shoal light is celebrating its 150 anniversary. This was the first in the Great Lakes to have a Fresnel lens and is one of only three on the Great Lakes to have the birdcage style lens room. (The other two are Selkirk in New York and Bailey's Harbor in Wisconsin.) We left at 12:30.
- 12:35 pm
- We passed White Shoal which we viewed yesterday.
- 1:05 pm
- We had been viewing the St. Helena Island Light for a few minutes before getting a closer look near the docking area. This light was built in 1873. GLLKA acquired this light in 1986 and has been the major force in restoring this light station. Many people have been involved with many hours of work to bring this light back from near ruins. The leaders of GLLKA are to be commended for their dedication to this project. We left at 1:20 pm.
- 1:50 pm
- We arrived at one of our favorite Michigan lighthouses, Round Island Light. This is another light which was close to ruins but has been restored and is now a beautiful sight. Many people get to see this light when taking the ferries from the mainland to Mackinaw Island. It was built in 1896 and is owned by the Forest Service and maintained by GLLKA. Just across the entrance is the Round Island Passage Light built in 1948. This one was solarized in 2000. Many of the lights are now powered by solar energy. We left the Mackinac Island area at 2:05. We had wonderful views of the fort and the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island as we were leaving.
- 2:20 pm
- We arrived in St. Ignace, where the cruise concluded. While the weather was not terrific, the trip was GREAT.
- 2:30 pm
- We said our goodbyes to our SF buddies and the new friends we made on this cruise. We crossed the Mackinac Bridge and went to Mackinaw City.
- 3:00 pm
- We checked into the Hamilton Inn and then walked to Mackinaw Crossings. We went back to our room and enjoyed our water view before going to the Lighthouse Restaurant across from the motel for our anniversary dinner at 6:00 p.m.
- 8:00 pm
- We enjoyed the musical "Lost in the Fifties" at the Center Stage Theater at Mackinaw Crossings. This was two hours of high-energy singing and dancing and brought back lots of musical memories.
August 27, 2001, Monday
- 9:00 am
- We had breakfast at the motel.
- 10:00 am
- We left the Hamilton Inn in Mackinaw City and headed south. We stopped in Gaylord to pick up ice cream to take to the Myers.
- 11:20 am
- We arrived at the home of Dick, Linda and Andrew Myers near Gaylord. They took us to Diana's Delight restaurant in Gaylord for lunch. We went back to their place for the Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Andrew is now 15 and entering high school. He was born in Waterford at the time that Dick was the associate pastor of our church. Dick and Linda are really enjoying retirement in this beautiful area of Michigan.
- 3:40 pm
- We left Myers and headed south, stopping at Tangier again for Don to shop this time and got gas. Left at 5:00.
- 6:25 pm
- We stopped for a quick McDonald's dinner at the Holly Road exit on I-75. Left at 6:45.
- 7:15 pm
- Arrived home.
Our special thanks to the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keeper's Association for organizing this wonderful tour. Everything ran very smoothly. We look forward to signing up for their St. Mary's River Cruise next year.
Trip Totals: 4 new lighthouses, 10 revisited lighthouses, 590 miles by car and many by boat, 5 days.
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Lighthouses: A Photographic Journey
Conceived and Developed by David S. Carter
Photographs by Donald W. Carter
Text by Diana K. Carter, Donald W. Carter & David S. Carter
Copyright © 1995-2001 David S. Carter, Donald W. Carter, & Diana K. Carter. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means, physical or electronic, in part or in full, without the express permission of the authors, is strictly prohibited.