We heard that strong currents in the Straits of Mackinac (a narrow band of water that links Lakes Michigan and Huron) could produce 3-6 foot waves and that the best time to transit the Straits is early morning. So we rolled out early, left the slip quietly to not awaken our dock-neighbors, and were out of the harbor before 0700.
Only a few miles into today’s trip we approached and then passed under the five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge. What an impressive sight from the water!
There are many reefs and shoals in the Straits of Mackinac. Typical water depths are more than 100 feet, but in some places the water is only two feet deep. To be safe, I planned our route to follow the deep-draft ship track through the Straits and through Gray’s Reef Passage into Lake Michigan.
The autopilot followed my planned route most of the way, except when we diverted to avoid Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw and a few freighters.
It was our plan to travel to Bay Harbor Marina in Petoskey today. We entered Little Traverse Bay and stopped at a Harbor Springs marina to pick up some boat supplies, but since it was so early we called an audible, switched slip reservations, and cruised 15 more miles to Charlevoix instead.
The Charlevoix drawbridge opens on the hour and half-hour, so we treaded water for a few minutes waiting to get under.
We were happy to be safely tied up here before severe thunderstorms hit!