Waking up Saturday morning, August 13th was glorious. We had successfully navigated through the Canandian waters, cleared US Customs, fixed an engine problem, and were floating in US waters. The forecast was for sunshine and calm winds and we traveled 41 miles going past Mackinac Island to the St. Ignace, MI marina where we topped off the fuel tanks and found a restaurant close by for some dinner and then early to bed. The winds were to pick up late the next morning and we wanted to get through the Straits of Mackinac and around the corner before the waves started to build. So we left the dock Sunday morning at 6:30 am and enjoyed the ride all the way to Petoskey, MI, about 55 miles.
Petoskey is on our list of favorite harbors to visit on Lake Michigan. They have an excellent marina close to the downtown business district and wonderful sunset views. We had lunch at the City Grille Restaurant which is known for its colorful history of having had Ernest Hemingway summer there and frequenting the place so often that he claimed the left corner bar stool as his. They display several pieces of memorabilia from that period including a phrase attributed to Hemingway that "he drank to make other people more interesting."
The next stop was Leland, MI harbor on Tuesday, Aug 16, about a 51 mile run. Our plan was to travel further south down the Michigan side of the lake to Frankfort and spend a few days there. Frankfort is just one of those wonderful beach towns that we really enjoy. Sadly, as we kept looking at the weather and wind forecasts, we realized that Lake Michigan was not going to be very nice to us later in the week, so we changed our plans to get up early Wednesday morning and run the 85 miles across the lake to Sturgeon Bay, WI. We were rewarded with an absolutly flat lake which made the crew very happy.
At about 1 pm, Wednesday, August 17, WaterMarks crossed her wake entering the Sturgeon Bay channel entrance from Lake Michigan and officially completed the Great Loop adventure. Because of the impact of the Covid virus which caused us to wait for the Canadian border to reopen to US boaters, this completion came exactly three years and 2 weeks after our start. It was the journey of a lifetime that provided incredible challenges and rewards. We travelled 8,772 miles during this trip, consumed 5400 gallons of fuel, and made countless new friends. This has truly been a dream come true.