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.

2 thoughts on “To Grand Haven (Day 25)

  1. I disagree with your comment that most Loopers don’t notice or think about the fact that women are mostly in the support role. I think at least 50% (the female half) do notice and I think many of the men notice it also. I am an officer (Fleet Captain) at a boat club. Our club belongs to a larger organization of about 30 clubs and there are very few women officers. We notice and discuss it, but like you, don’t make a big deal about it. It will change- but unfortunately not as quickly as we would like. Sometimes I wonder if the number of women boaters is less because there is more mechanical knowledge required and traditionally most aren’t trained in this. Our fathers may have show us how to change a tire or check the oil but never encouraged us to take auto-shop or other helpful trades classes like our brothers. Having mechanical knowledge or the desire to learn it is extremely helpful and makes you a more confident captain. Just my opinion- but wanted to say don’t assume just because they aren’t talking about it, that they aren’t noticing it and hoping it will eventually change. Also- I hope my comment does not offend you, it is only my opinion and kind of my reflection on the state of things. I am very glad you mention your noticings- I think it is important to recognize areas of our culture that could use some discussion.


    1. Mary (love your name!), I’m so happy to be corrected in things like this and no offense taken! I “report” my own experience and questions and invite others to disagree… so thank you.


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