Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Heading off to Charlevoix

On Friday morning (August 24), we gassed up at Traverse City ($3.53 / gallon) then headed for Charlevoix. The trip up Grand Traverse Bay was uneventful, with the weather sunny and calm. Some Chicago boaters may recognize the large blue boat also in the picture -- it's from DuSable Harbor. It had some crewmembers from Pendragon (also DuSable) that were in town for a regatta.

When leaving Grand Traverse Bay headed to the northeast, you pass Fisherman’s Island. There are some shoals there to avoid, so you shouldn’t get too close. Past Fisherman’s Island, there’s a buoy marking the dangerous areas and you should stay outside of it. At this point, there were a number of sailboats heading out, as well as into, Charlevoix, and we kept close to the buoy to avoid them.

Upon rounding the point and approaching the river channel of Charlevoix, it got pretty choppy. This area of Lake Michigan around the Charlevoix was much rougher than the surrounding areas on the way out as well. It may be because of the interaction with the river current and the breakwaters. But it wasn’t too terribly bad and we made it into the channel with ease.

Once in the river, we could really feel the current affecting our forward motion. But it slowed down considerably by the time we neared the bridge, and it was easy to hold Meridian stable as we waited for the bridge to open. This time of year, it opens every half hour and you don’t have to signal.

After getting through the bridge, we hailed Charlevoix Municipal Marina, got our slip assignment, and pulled safely in to the harbor. Charlevoix Municipal Marina is currently undergoing an extensive reconstruction. They have nice floating docks (the rickety ladder gets another workout) and electricity, but there is no water. And there are no facilities at the harbor. The harbor master’s office is temporarily located over by the Beaver Island Ferry offices, and those restrooms are open 24 hours for boaters. However, they don’t have showers. They give a $5 per night discount for the lack of water or showers. That is supposed to make up for having to pay for showers at the health club. But when we went to the health club on Saturday afternoon, it was closed. Luckily, we had filled up the water tanks in Traverse City. We took very short showers on Meridian.

One thing that surprised us about the slips was that there were no poles between slips. Not even for the largest boats. That means there is no way to keep the boat off the dock when the wind blows from a certain directions. The fenders – and/or fender boards - can get a decent workout here. However, the wind wasn’t much of a problem because Round Lake is a small lake surrounded by high hills. And the entire lake is a no wake zone.

While the harbor and park are not much to look at now, we’re told they’ll be extremely nice once completed. And if they’re to be anything like the rest of Charlevoix that we experienced, they will be first-rate.

While we were staying in Charlevoix, we saw a large sailboat (The “Lady Carol”) arrive and sail on through Round Lake into Lake Charlevoix. That was a coincidence, because we stayed in their slip when in Northport. We know the boat because, when in Northport, they arrived and had to tie up on the wall while we were there. It was so windy at the time, the harbor master didn’t ask us to move for them (did we mention that the harbor staff at these marinas are great?).

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snowiscool said...
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