Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mackinaw Island, Michigan

We made our way into Mackinaw Island, Michigan and anchored in the harbor.  Upon reading Active Captain we knew it wouldn't be the best anchorage, but decided to try anyways.  We had a great spot with good holding and good night sleep.
 The island of course is full of horses and the kids loved everyone of them!
 A great view of the Mackinaw Bridge which connects the lower state of Michigan to the upper peninsula.  To the left a sailboat and next to that the typical ferry boat that runs all day long to the mainland.  This is a great view from the park.  As luck would have it we arrived on a very cold, rainy, windy day and opted not to bike around the island (which we have done many times in years past). 
 The Grand Hotel's name says it all. It's always impressive to see it again.
 The bushes on the lower left are sculpted to look like a horse and carriage.  This beautiful sight is right next to the Grand Hotel.
 Bikes, bikes, bikes...they are everywhere and the best transportation on the island as there are no cars! 
 A street sweeper...but of course it's pulled by horses.
 After a long day at the island, great dinner and fun we headed back to the Negotiator to find our anchorage had turned rather bad.  The wind shifted directions and the boat was taking it hard on the beam. Mix in the ferry wakes and it was quite uncomfortable.  I called the marina and the dockmaster insisted that his marina had no protection from the wind as well and not to bother coming in. 
The moment we crossed our wake was a glorious day!  We purchased the boat in St. Clair Shores, Michigan and brought it back the 500 miles to Grand Haven, MI a few years ago.  This point would be our official 'crossing' but we look forward to having the boat back in Grand Haven some day where we left last Aug. 2010. 
On the island Jaxon found a great toy....Super Looper! I believe he is the youngest "Looper" on record.  Does anyone know different??
 My Super Looper lost his first tooth at four years old!  He was happy and unsure of it all at the same time.  Talk about bad karma....he was biting his big sister Morgan when it happened...yikes!  His mode of self defense that day from some pesky older sibling....
 My grandfather, Wes Myrick, (my mom Yvonne's dad) has been a huge supporter of our adventures/travels and has come to see us three times along our journey.  I really appreciate all of his love and at 87 years old he's a lot of fun to be with and always comes with tons of hugs!
 My Uncle Ron (on right) came with my grandpa as they were heading to the Bay Harbor boat and car show over the weekend and featuring my Dad's old 1948 Woody Station Wagon that we owned for around 25 years!.  It was so nice to see family and we enjoyed a warm evening over cocktail hour in the cockpit!
A little late....but the Big Chute photo's from the digital camera Craig was using. 
 It was a long ways down and kids loved it!
 I have a ton of different photos of our kayaking times on the 'underwater digital camera' that I forgot to include in my blog.  This photo is in the North Channel with the boat anchored in the background.
 My photos are a bit out of order, but our very first visitor was my sister, Michelle Spears!!  The kids swarmed all around her for the entire duration of her visit.  She just happened to be right next to our port at the same time because her husband, Rob, qualified for the Michigan Amateurs in golf and was playing very close to our dock.  The timing was perfect and we loved our time spent with her!! 
 Although we have 'crossed our wake' the adventure still continues for the Parrent family.  I will continue to blog our life as we move forward through life.  It is very bittersweet to be back in Michigan.  We love the state and will enjoy living here again, however, it had proved to be harder to return back to reality then it was leaving last summer.  We have no cars, house or jobs. We are truly starting from scratch.  It's scary and exciting at the same time.  I know I should feel sad that we're back, but I know that there are many new adventures to come.  On June 15th it marked three years that we've been homeless.  With the RV and boat trip our traveling days have been fun, but are now coming to an end.  The kids are expressing a great desire to live in a home again too.  More fun to come with holiday weekend around the corner.  Life is good and changing every day.  More to come next week....have a great 4th of July!!  

Friday, June 24, 2011

Georgian Bay and North Channel

The Georgian Bay was the most scenic part of the entire Great Loop experience.  We were enamored with the constant breathless scenery that lasted for miles for miles. 
They call this the 30,000 Island Region for a reason.  Come to find out there's actually criteria for determining what can be included and counted as an island.....circumference and ability to stay above water for 365 days are just some determining factors.
We opted for one of a million different anchorages and chose this one which was near a Parks Canada island.  This way we could play on the island and explore the many shapes, colors and sizes of surrounding rocks.   
 Ryann called this her hot tub and didn't want to leave the warm clean water!
 There was a blue wooden pallet here, but trash is virtually unheard of in this area. 
The stone cliffs were breathless and literally didn't phase the kids.  With hardly a mention they passed through the area looking for more wildlife. We saw a humungous frog and caught him in our big net as he leaped a few feet in the air and escaped.  It was as if he didn't know to even be afraid of us.
 We were so fortunate to have perfect weather for our entire stay!  The kids loved a bonfire each night. We roasted marshmallows, hunted for fire wood and fought off the mosquitos! 

The kids enjoyed the warm weather and hanging on the bow of the boat.....their front yard!  Notice the buoys up ahead as a lot of the Georgian Bay is a maze of zigzagging. 
Rogers Island was the site of yet another fun anchorage....or is it a dock?  I would highly recommend this one as you tie to metal stakes in the rock formation.  What is quite a popular anchorage on the weekends, we were fortunate to tie up and enjoy the night in peace. 
 Morgan didn't waste any time getting into the water with Craig and Ryann.
 Ryann found the perfect cliff and made a big splash!
 Every piece of driftwood/firewood found was cut perfectly with beaver teeth. 
 The girls loved playing in the water.
These look like old blocks once used for tying up boats?
Smores are gone, but fire kept the bugs off and made for a cozy night.
Right next to the boat is a marked path through the woods for a trail to the bonfire.
Floatplanes are a very common sight in the area. Marinas can accommodate them as well. This one flew by a few times putting a show on for us.
We weren't totally alone as the beavers built dams all around us.  They were "busy little beavers" until late at night!

Jaxon had front row seating...or a great tube ride on the bow!
We put the canvas down, enjoyed the sun and turned up the ipod to do some dancing!

I can't even explain the millions of water bugs that invaded us while underway.  I'm not exaggerating they were EVERYWHERE!  I had a hooded sweatshirt with only my sunglasses out. You couldn't even talk without one flying into your mouth. It went on for hours and nothing you could do about it. I would wipe and sweep them away and they'd be back in seconds!  It only happened when we went out of the small craft channel and into the Georgian Bay unprotected waters. We wanted to avoid a very shallow area not recommended for vessels our size.  
The rock formations were beautiful, but as we entered into the North Channel the scenery took on more trees and height!
Killarney is a very popular cute little town at the beginning of the North Channel.  We stopped to fuel up at the Killarney Mountain Lodge and met a couple that circumnavigated for 8 years. They had great stories and experiences to share. 
Negotiator looks so different with the canvas down. Another peaceful protected anchorage at Covered Portage Cove that I would recommend to anyone.  We took a dinghy ride about a mile back into the town to enjoy a little shoreside fun.
A very popular stop for people from far away come to enjoy "Herbert Fisheries" fish and chips that has been in business for over 28 years. You order at the small counter here and the magic frying happens in the school bus! 
Since we already ate dinner we tried a sampling that included whitefish catch of the day and hand cut fries.  It was delicious and although fish isn't the kids favorite, they ate it all!  

We didn't have time to zip the kids around in the tube that night as it started to rain, but they enjoyed swimming, jumping off the boat and playing with their best friends...eachother! 
Jaxon's first loose tooth. He wasn't quite sure how he felt about it, but the girls reassured him that he'd love the money from the tooth fairy.  He immediately started wiggling.
Hard to describe and photograph the seas here, but were caught in about 6-8 footers, as NOAA described them to be 2 feet or less.  We kicked up the speed and rode the waves as if we were surfing. We'd crest the top of the wave at 17 mph and fall back to as low as around 10 mph. The kids adjusted well and focused on a movie to pass the time.

Jaxon had no problem being lulled to sleep!
Grand Michigan is just around the corner!  That's what Jaxon calls it....I think it's a mix of Grand Rapids or Grand Haven, Michigan (our home towns)....all we know is that Michigan is a Grand place to live.  Craig only refers to Michigan as "The Great State of Michigan" when describing it to anyone that asks where we're from.  The adventure isn't over......more to come!