As it was only a 13 mile run to Mackinac Island from Hessel ,and we expected there would be no point in arriving early as boats would not have left the dock opening space, we left at 0805. Don came over and helped us off of the dock.
The run across this portion of Lake Huron was just as predicted on “Wind Alert” with light winds out of the northwest. These were on our starboard stern quarter so the ride was very nice.
We pulled into the marina without a reservation as the reservation needed to be made on line, with a deposit that was difficult to get refunded if you weren’t able to make the destination. It took more planning ahead than we wanted to do. We figured we could go on to Mackinaw City and take the ferry back to Mackinac Island as a fall back position. As we approached I called on the vhf but the harbormaster told me we had to be in sight before he could give us a slip. When we rounded the breakwater he assigned a slip with no problem as we had arrived after some boats had left but early enough that it wasn’t filled up yet. Vicki says we lucked out again.
All of the docks since Drummond Island have had square 6”x 6” posts bolted onto the side of the floats/finger piers at 6’ to 10’ ft intervals. Why I cannot find out or figure out. I have asked several people and no one seems to know. They make it harder to moor as the fenders go in between them leaving less protection for the sides of the boat. Many boaters fashion a way to hang their fenders horizontally and keep them in place between the boat and the post . Usually there is a piling between boats in the mooring bay that you can tie onto to pull your boat away from the dock. Still I do not understand the purpose and they are an inconvenience (at least for me).
We took our time walking through the town and then slowly meandered toward the Grand Hotel. We arrived just before lunchtime so made reservations for the buffet lunch “on the veranda”. Lunch was served at exactly 1200 hrs. so we had a little time to walk around and explore the Grand Hotel. The buffet was incredibly extensive and everything we had (which was twice as much as we should have) was very well prepared. Waiters and Waitresses were constantly running back and forth to make sure we had drinks, taking dishes away as soon as they were emptied and helping with napkins and generally looking after your every need. They served hundreds at the same time so the buffet tables were extensive and well stocked. All in all this was a worthwhile experience.
We then explored the town some more and bought tickets for the horse and carriage ride. This ride lasted a couple of hours and took us around the southern end of the island to historic and geologic sites. Again, an activity worth doing at least once. We liked Mackinac Island but got the feeling it is somewhat the Disneyland of Michigan. Scads of people, a gazillion shops selling clothes and tourist stuff and a price on everything. It was a fun place to be but we didn’t feel to bad that the weather window to go to Charlevoix was tomorrow so we could only stay the one day.
Ferries coming and going made constant wakes in the harbor causing all boats to surge around jerking on their mooring lines. Larger boats passing the harbor entrance did the same as the harbor entrance is very wide. The marina facilities were very nice (except for the unexplainable posts) and we had a great time.