We left the dock at Portage Lake at 7:30 am on Wednesday after taking a walk to Lake Michigan to verify conditions. We had been thinking of going directly from Portage Lake to South Manitou Island, but the weather forecast sounded like we only had one good day – today – before another couple of days of wind and waves.
We decided to head directly to Leland. Two different couples had told us this was their favorite harbor on Lake Michigan. It sounded like the kind of place where, if we needed to be laid up for a couple of days, we wouldn’t get bored. Also, it’s the standard jumping-off point for the Manitou Islands.
As we traversed the channel from Portage Lake to Lake Michigan, we were happy to see just how much conditions had improved from the prior day. The lake once again had that glassy look to it. The two foot waves were more like gentle swells, giving us a very comfortable and pleasant up and down motion as we headed north.
Before long we passed the Frankfort entrance, which was our destination from the prior day. Bernie noticed the Frankfort lighthouse is on her list of lighthouses to be checked off (it’s a book we have). So that was one more mission accomplished! The lake was still glassy calm, and the trip was progressing nicely.
After rounding Point Betsie, we were headed to Sleeping Bear Point – and the Sleeping Bear National Seashore. The waves started building, and as we neared Sleeping Bear Point they were beginning to approach three to four foot heights. However, they were coming from a more reasonable direction than the day before, and were not unpleasant to deal with.
Heading north past Sleeping Bear Point places you in the Manitou Passage, which is the route many large freighters take when heading north. We (ok, maybe just Phil) were hoping to get a relatively close look at one, and we weren’t disappointed. This one was traveling along within sight virtually the entire way from Portage Lake to the Manitou Passage. That’s South Manitou Island in the background.