Michigan Back in the United States


IMG_7836We left Blind River early Thursday morning the weather was cool but sunny.  We have 45 mile ahead of us and will have to go through US Customs Port of Entry in Drumming Michigan.

IMG_7857This is Potagannissing Bay meaning “Bay by the Mill Island” is a shallow island strewn bay on Lake Huron in Algoma District, Ontario Canada and Chippewa County Michigan United States.   Potagannissing Bay occupies the site of the rapid melting of a glacier at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation approximately 10,000 years ago.  The melting ice dumped random piles of rock and gravel onto a section of land surface so low-lying that most of it wound up under the surface of the Great Lakes.  Lake Huron did not always have its present shape.  Before the last ice age it was much larger and covered what became the Thumb of Michigan’s lower Peninsula.

The bay is currently studded with 53 named islands and innumerable unnamed ones.  Few of the islands are permanently inhabited, but many are privately owned with summer cottages built upon them for the use of their owners.

IMG_7868We entered the United States at 11:40 on Wednesday with sunny skies and pretty calm water.  Our check in dockage will be Drummond Island at the Island Yacht Haven.

Drummond Island is one of the largest islands in Lake Huron  M-134 runs through the western portion of the island.  On the east side of Drummond Island the Canada United States border passes through the False Detour Channel.  The township and island are named after Gordon Drummond, who was the first Canadian born officer to command the military and the civil government of British Canada.  When we arrived at Drummond Island Yacht Haven we were greeted by a dock hand who informed us the U. S. Customs Officials were on their way to check us in.  We are allowed to get off our boats only to tie them to the dock and then have to be aboard our boat when the U.S. Customs Officials arrive.

Johnny and Liz were behind us so when the U.S. Custom officials arrived Officer Dane asked permission to come aboard our boat and Officer Adam boarded Johnny and Liz (Anchor Down)  boat.  We both had all our papers, passports, and we had the sticker so it was very easy to check in.  I asked officer Dane if it was ok to take his picture before I took it,  didn’t want to do anything wrong.  It took us about a half hr and we were on our way to Detour where we will dock for the evening.


We only had a short one hr run when we left Island Yacht Haven in Drummond to DeTour Harbor.  This is a picture of Johnny (Anchor Down) going through the DeTour Passage or break wall into the marina.

Detour Marina is on the St. Mary’s River which connects Lake Huron and Lake Superior.  Detour is not a big town, but it has the basics within walking distance of the marina.  This is the summer home of Captain Connie (Simpatico)  who has finished the great loop and is now flying the gold burge.  When we checked into the marina we walked by her boat and the gold burge looked really nice.   We contacted Connie and she came down to the dock from her cabin about a mile away.  It was so nice to see her again and hear how the end of her trip went.  Connie said she did not like the Big Chute Rail crossing at all.  We had a nice visit with her and she told us to check out the Detour Village Inn.

Passage Keeper

On our walk to the Detour Village Inn across from the marina we saw this carved tree that was called Passage Keeper.  This was a cottonwood tree that had been hit by lightning.  The owner had a chainsaw artist carve the Passage Keeper in trunk.  The artist work was amazing so detailed.

When we walked in Detour Village Inn I thought I was back home.  The place was full of local patriots having a great time it was Karaoke night and still Happy Hr. We found a table and had some good bar food.

We all had a great time Liz really got into the music she even got up and danced to the New York New York song.  It was nice to be in a small town with great local people having a good time.  Connie was right when she told us to check out this bar.  Food was delicious, beer was cheap, entertainment was great and we were with great friends.


Thursday morning we left early we have  45 mile to MacKinaw City and the wind was not nice making for rough seas.  They were calling for one foot waves I think they were more like 3 or 4.  This is the DeTour Reef Light a non-profit operated lighthouse marking the northern end of Lake Huron.  The light is an automated active aid to navigation and is 83 feet tall,  built atop DeTour Reef on a crib structure and warns boats away from it.  In 1847 a lighthouse was located on shore at point Detour Michigan to protect the Detour passage and in 1931 was moved offshore on to Detour reef.  This is locally called the  gateway to Lake Superior.  We are staying at Straight State marina in Mackinaw City and Johnny and Liz are at Mackinac Island.  There was not room in the marina for both of us.  We will take the ferry over on Saturday and spend the day with them.

The Straits of Mackinac is a series of narrow waterways in the Michigan between the Lower and Upper Peninsula.  The main strait flows under the Mackinac Bridge and connects two of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.  Historically the region around the Straits was known by the native Odawa people as Michilimackinac.  The Straits of Mackinac is “whipsawed by currents unlike anywhere else in the Great Lakes. We are still on Lake Huron the lower Peninsula.  The straits are shallow and narrow enough to freeze over in the winter.  Islands in the Straits of Mackinac include the two populated islands, Bois Blanc (11 miles long is the largest) and Mackinac, and two that are uninhabited Round and St Helena islands.  The straits were an important Native American and fur trade route.  When we leave on Monday we will pass under the Mackinac Bridge and will then be navigating  on Lake Michigan.


Mackinaw City is a village in Emmet and Cheboygan counties in the state of Michigan.  It’s at the norther tip (headlands) of the Michigan’s Lower Peninsula along the southern shore of the Straits of Mackinac.  The official name of the community is “Village of Mackinaw City”.  The City began as a fur trading colony with the first European to pass the site was Jean Nicolet in 1633.  Mackinaw City first European settlement came in 1715 when the French built Fort Michilimackinac and lost it to the British during the Seven Years war.  When the British took it over in 1761 they moved the fort to the island and then abandoned the fort in 1783 after the American Revolutionary War resulted in independence of its Thirteen Colonies.  When the fort left the fur trade followed leaving the city in a slum until the rail road finally reached the tip of Michigan in the 1800s jump starting the regions mining industry.


Due to Michigan’s unique geography being made of two peninsulas surrounded by the Great Lakes they depended on many ferries for connections to transport people, vehicles and trade.  The first autos crossed the Straits of Mackinac in 1917 on the SS Chief Wawatam.  In 1923 the state of Michigan began an auto ferry service. This “Highway over water” was unique in being the only service of its kind operated by a state highway department.  It came into being through an act of the State Legislature which reacted to public displeasure with the infrequent and expensive ferry service for mother vehicles provided by railroad boats.   The Michigan State Ferry service had eight different state-owned and operated ferries that worked the dock between 1923 and 1957.  During those 34 years the ferries carried 12 million vehicles and more than 30 million passengers across the Straits of Mackinac.

Kent and I took a walk over to the USCGC Mackinaw a 290 foot vessel specifically deigned for ice breaking duties on the Great Lakes.  Mackinaw was home-ported in Cheboygan Michigan during active service.  Due to Mackinaws age and expensive upkeep the cuter was decommissioned and replaced with a small multipurpose cutter which was commissioned in Cheboygan the same day.  The icebreaker was commissioned  from December 29, 1944 until decommissioned on June 10 2006.  The old Mackinaw moved under its own power on june 21 2006 from the port to a permanent berth at the SS Chief Wawatam dock at the ships namesake port Mackinaw city Michigan where she now rests as a museum ship know as the Icebreaker Mackinaw.

The entire ice breaker is still in its original condition and very interesting.  This is the first time Kent and I have toured a ship we are so glad we did.


We walked around down town and went through the reconstructed village of Colonial Michilimackinac.  I found a spring jacket reasonable price and a tee-shirt.

It’s now time for dock tail but Johnny and Liz are not with us so we stopped at the Irish Pub for a beer and chicken wings before turning to the boat.  The weather is starting to warm up and the cold beer sure tasted good.  Would have been better if we could have been with Liz and Johnny.  But the saying is  “There are dog ships and there are wood ships the ships that sail the sea.  But the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

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