To Grand Haven (Day 25)

We heard lots of positive things about Grand Haven, and it didn’t disappoint. The biggest treat was the famed musical fountain, right across the narrow river from the marina. Superb!

We were under way today by 0730 and made the 52-mile trip down the coast to our newest port in 6.5 hours. That means we kept a steady 8 knots, which is solid for us. The big lake was quiet enough to use the auto pilot most of the way, which increases efficiency.

As we entered the harbor, we were greeted by a huge anchor atop the hill. That sure marks this as a boater’s town!

We settled into our slip at the municipal marina by ourselves — no support from the dock, and no drama. We are finding our stride. Of course, there was almost no wind to push us around, so that helped! The first thing I did after settling in was to take the bike for a dip in the big lake. (I rode the bike. I’m the one who took the dip. 🙂 ) It remains very hot, which is a challenge for my 100%-Finnish physiology. My genes are not built for heat, so I’m in the water a lot.

We’ve become accustomed to looking for other Loopers whenever we pull in, and found some quickly here. We joined three couples for dinner and met two other couples on the dock later. All nice people. I notice that every “crew” we’ve met so far is composed of a man and a woman, and th man is the skipper. I wonder if we’ll encounter any same-gender crews or a female skipper. (The first Loopers I met were a pair of male buddies traveling together, so it does happen but is clearly rare.) So I notice again that motor-boating is a rather traditional activity in terms of gender roles — led mostly by men, with women in a support role. That’s ok with me. But it feels a bit odd, given my own career and experiences. My guess is that most Loopers don’t even notice, much less think, about it.

I also notice how many ports along this Lower Peninsula coast have easy access to the big lake. Boats of all sizes come and go for day trips into Lake Michigan. Many come back in after dark. This doesn’t happen much in the Upper Peninsula bordering Lake Superior. There just aren’t that many protected harbors up there.

That’s one thing that makes boating in Lake Superior so extraordinary. It’s so beautiful, but more risky. Some of our most memorable experiences are like that, aren’t they? A complicated balance.

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