We’re just 100 miles or so from De Tour Village in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where the Mainship Many Moons will close the loop — i.e., finish The Great Loop — and then continue a few hundred more miles to her home port. Loopers call this closing of the loop “crossing your wake” because when a boat make a circle, it crosses its own wake. In this case, that circle (loop) is at least 5,400 miles long, more if you choose the longer options or detours. And if you have to travel and from the designated route, as we did, it’s even longer.
By the time Many Moons returns to her home port in Lake Superior, she will have traveled about 6,000 miles at 8.5 mph. She’s been on-the-move for almost a year. It’s hard to believe, and it’s weird to be nearing “The End.”
This sinks in as we spend two nights in a well-maintained marina in the small town of Harrisville on Michigan’s east coast, just two days’ cruise from De Tour. It could be a one-day cruise in the right weather, as we’ve done more than 100 miles in a day before — but the “right weather” is hard to come by on Lake Huron these days. (See previous post.) This horse-and-driver have been hurrying for months to get “back to the barn,” but me…I’m in no rush. Soon I’ll be living on land again, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I can wait a little longer!
I’ll use this pause to register a few more milestones for Many Moons from the past week:
- Fastest-ever speed: 15 mph, while sliding down the front side of a five-foot wave (maybe it was four but it looked like five to me) and getting pushed from behind. That’s almost twice our normal cruising speed. Jeff spun the helm this way and that to keep the bow going where he wanted it to go. I was grateful for his boat-handling skills and felt inadequate about my own. I hope to never repeat that particular experience.
- Earliest-ever check-in: Port Austin. After our aborted cruise the previous day due to those high seas, we left Harbor Beach at 0515 for the 30-mile trek up the east coast of Michigan’s thumb to Port Austin, where we checked in at 0900. I promptly took a nap. Stress has a way of tiring a body, once you let yourself feel it.
- Slowest-ever speed: 3 mph, passing under the Blue Water Bridge connecting the U.S. and Canada. That’s where the waters of Lake Huron squeeze into the St. Clair River. We encountered a similar effect on the Ohio River last fall but didn’t get quite as much push-back.
- Longest Great Lake crossing while out of sight of land: Saginaw Bay, 26 miles wide at its north end. We’ve done longer cruises on Lake Michigan but weren’t out of land-sight as long. We never lost land-sight on Lake Superior since we stuck closer to shore. (Due to the earth’s curvature, you lose sight of land about three miles out when standing at sea level.)
- Most unusual buddy-boat: Redemption. Unusual because its crew is two couples, which we haven’t encountered before. I call it our “buddy boat,” even though we haven’t been cruising together, because we met years ago in Michigan and have been tracking each other since Buffalo (N.Y.). We anchored near each other in Erie (Pa.) and are finally at the same port here in Harrisville (Mich.). We plan to leave together tomorrow — weather permitting! — for points north.
Photos and captions of our Saginaw Bay crossing and arrival at Harrisville, below.