Sunday, July 20, 2008

Touring Detour, Michigan

After leaving Cedarville, we continued sliding through the last part of "The Snows" on our way to Detour Village, Michigan, a 27 nm trip. Waves were in the 3 - 4 range but coming from southeast. It was particularly turbulent when we got to the entrance to Detour -- where the St. Mary's River meets Lake Huron. This area is marked by the Detour Reef Lighthouse and, remarkably, there was a boat tied up to the lighthouse!

The area has quite the interesting names for islands. Here, for example is Frying Pan island. Of course, it's really supposed to be Saute Pan island but ...

As we were entering the Detour Marina, they radioed us to change our slip assignment. Apparently, upon seeing that it was THE Meridian and HER crew, they wanted to put us in a slip that had not boats in "striking" distance. Really it was due to the strong wind gusts that were accompanying us in. The dockhands at Detour are very experienced, professional, and highly skilled. They worked hard at getting us into our slip.

Once settled in, we were able to enjoy the "Freighter Show" that passes by regularly. Since Detour is on the St. Mary's River, which connects Lake Huron and Lake Superior, freighter traffic is pretty heavy. Our favorite was this lime green one with the fluorescent orange stripe.

Detour is not a big town, but it has the basics within walking distance of the marina: Sune's Grocery Store, North Country Outfitters (charts, boat, camping, fishing and hunting supplies), Timberdoodles (specialty food items, art, cards, gifts) and a few restaurant. A ferry shuttles cars and people between Detour and Drummond Island. They even have a shoe tree. This is becoming a trend -- South Manitou had a bottle tree, if you recall.

The restaurant we frequented while in Detour was the Mainsail Cafe. It is a restaurant with a bar that also serves ice cream. It is quite the experience to sit at a bar eating an ice cream cone. (It is also quite the experience to be told "Sorry, miss, I can't sell you this beer because it is only 11:30am. Can't sell you this until noon." Too embarrassed to return, Bernie made Phil go back to get the Bell's Oberon.) The Mainsail Cafe also serves locally caught fish and we'll personally vouch for the broiled whitefish!

Across from Detour Harbor is a statue of The Passage Keeper. This had been a cottonwood tree that had been hit by lightening. The owners had a chainsaw artist carve The Keeper in the trunk.

Detour Harbor also has a resident otter family. They played on the docks one evening to an audience of boaters.

We stayed in Detour for three nights. A little longer than expected but strong winds (20+ mph with 30+ gusts) were forecast, and experienced, in the area. A few sailboats had attmepted to leave (they had schedules to keep), but returned after encountering very rough waters! We took the conservative approach and stayed -- nothing wrong with hanging out on the aft deck watching the freighters go by.

While in Detour we ran into (figuratively, not literally) Bill an Evelyn in their sailboat Inua. We had met them "way back" in Leland and it was nice to see them again. They, too, are headed for the North Channel for a few weeks of cruising.

On Monday, July 14, the forecast seemed good for a trip to Meldrum Bay, where we would check in to Canadian Customs and, perhaps, finally get "there".


Jack said...

Thoroughly enjoyed your tour of DeTour! What a neat spot! Were there many salutes from the freighters? I've been told they blow their whistles fairly often.

Great Lakes Cruising said...

Hi! Glad you enjoyed it. We didn't hear many whistle blows, and when we did we couldn't really tell if they were "saluting" or "warning" about something! It was really something to see (and hear) though.

Actually, I think we heard more freighter whistles when anchored in South Manitou. It was foggy that morning and there was a constant sound of freighter horns out in the fog as they made their way through the Manitou Passage. We couldn't see them, but could certainly hear 'em.

Good memories!