Pancake Ice

Pancake Ice by Julie

Pancake Ice by Julie

This is one of the best shots I’ve seen showing how the structure of pancake ice is basically “round iceberg”. The Weather Channel explains the science behind pancake ice:

The circular slabs you see can range anywhere from one to 10 feet in diameter and up to four inches thick, typically forming in areas with at least some wave action and air temperatures just below freezing.

Pancake ice can begin as a thin ice layer (known as grease ice) or slush on the water surface, which accumulates into quasi-circular disks. The “lily pad,” or raised-edge appearance of pancake ice, can form when each disk bumps up against one another, or when slush splashes onto and then freezes on the slab’s edge.

Julie caught this picture last week in Charlevoix’s channel to Lake Michigan. See more in her Coronavirus Times 2021 gallery on Flickr.

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Surf’s Up in Michigan!

Surfs Up by Julie

Surfs Up by Julie

While it seems crazy, winter, particularly November & December, are Michigan’s best surfing season. If you take a look through our photos of Michigan surfing, you’ll see that the biggest waves are the ones that come with snow & cold.

Julie took this on Sunday in Charlevoix when the temperature was a balmy 37 degrees. Head over to her Flickr for a shot of all five surfers who were out and see lots more in her Lighthouses gallery on Flickr. 

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Looking Over Charlevoix

Charlevoix Michigan by Laurent Fady

Charlevoix, Michigan by Laurent Fady

Visit Charlevoix says that the Charlevoix area was part of what was called Michilimackinac formed in the Treaty of Washington in 1836:

French explorer Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix is said to have stayed on nearby Fisherman Island and the area was named after him in 1836.

…Exclusive hotels, the Inn and the Beach, were the summer destination for people from around the Midwest. Two depots served summer guests, one at Belvedere and the Pere Marquette Railway depot. Guests also arrived in the late 1800s on steamships including the Manitou, Alabama, North American, South American, Milwaukee Clipper, and Illinois.

During the Prohibition, Chicago area gang members moved their operations to Charlevoix. The Colonial Club became a gambling joint for some of the Midwest’s most powerful. A barge-turned-speakeasy traveled from Charlevoix to Boyne City carrying passengers in style during the summer months.

Lots more at Visit Charlevoix. Laurent took this sweet aerial photo of Charlevoix back in June. See many more views from above in his Aerial Photos of Northern MI gallery!

More Michigan aerial photos & more from Charlevoix on Michigan in Pictures.

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Ride the Wave

Ride the Wave by Julie

Julie writes:

Sunday evening the winds picked up and we rode down to the pier and I watched this boat come from the harbor out the channel and head towards Petoskey north. He hit some huge waves coming in and I don’t know how he ever made it.

Here’s hoping he did and that you’re able to overcome the waves of 2020 as well!! See more in Julie’s Coronavirus Times 2020 album on Flickr.

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Bay Shore in black & white

Untitled, photo by Ron Smith

View the photo background big, see more in Ron’s Up North slideshow, and follow him on Instagram @RonSmith.

More black & white photography & more from Charlevoix on Michigan in Pictures.

Today is not the Earth’s Longest Day

Untitled, photo by Jim Schoensee

The summer solstice arrives at 12:24 AM tomorrow when sun’s zenith is at its furthest point from the equator, making today the longest day of  2017. Vox’s article on the summer solstice has some interesting info about the solstice including a look at whether or not today is the longest day in Earth’s history:

Ever since the Earth has had liquid oceans and a moon, its rotation has been gradually slowing over time due to tidal friction. That means — over very, very long periods of time — the days have been getting steadily longer. About 4.5 billion years ago, it took the Earth just six hours to complete one rotation. About 350 million years ago, it took 23 hours. Today, of course, it takes about 24 hours. And the days will gradually get longer still.

Given that, you’d think 2017 would be the longest day in all of history. But while it’s certainly up there, it doesn’t quite take top honors.

That’s because tidal friction isn’t the only thing affecting Earth’s rotation — there are a few countervailing factors. The melting of glacial ice, which has been occurring since the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago (and is now ramping up because of global warming), is actually speeding up Earth’s rotation very slightly, shortening the days by a few fractions of a millisecond. Likewise, geologic activity in the planet’s core, earthquakes, ocean currents, and seasonal wind changes can also speed up or slow down Earth’s rotation.

When you put all these factors together, scientists have estimated that the longest day in Earth’s history (so far) likely occurred back in 1912. That year’s summer solstice was the longest period of daylight the Northern Hemisphere has ever seen (and, conversely, the 1912 winter solstice was the longest night we’ve ever seen).

Eventually, the effects of tidal friction should overcome all those other factors, and Earth’s days will get longer and longer as its rotation keeps slowing (forcing timekeepers to add leap seconds to the calendar periodically). Which means that in the future, there will be plenty of summer solstices that set new records as the “longest day in Earth’s history.”

View Jim’s photo of the Charlevoix Lighthouse on the summer solstice in 2010 bigger and see more in his Charlevoix Lighthouse slideshow.

Lake Charlevoix Fall Colors

lake-charlevoix-fall-colors-by-frank-wulfers

Lake Charlevoix Fall Colors, photo by frank wulfers

Frank took this shot on Wednesday from the Avalanche Mountain Scenic Overlook in Boyne City. As you can see, this will be the weekend for fall color across much of Michigan, so check out some great fall scenes on Michigan in Pictures and make your plans for a getaway!

View Frank’s photo bigger and see more in his Michigan – Northwest slideshow.

This salmon is going up. The salmon population in Lake Michigan is headed the other way!

EDITOR’S NOTE: It looked for a minute that we had another Turtlegate brewing and that this might not be a Chinook but a brown trout. Read more in the comments on Facebook.

Salmon up and over the dam

Up & Over……….., photo by Julie

The Detroit Free Press reports that the salmon population is plummeting in Lake Michigan. The article begins:

They are the king of the Great Lakes sport fish, luring thousands of anglers to Michigan waters every year for a chance to try to land them — and helping fuel a multibillion-dollar fishing and boating tourism industry.

But the Chinook salmon’s numbers are plummeting in Lake Michigan due to a combination of natural forces, unnatural invasive species, and the state Department of Natural Resources’ own efforts to dial back the population and prevent a more permanent population crash as happened in Lake Huron about a decade ago.

The salmon population on Lake Michigan is down 75% from its 2012 peak, said Randy Claramunt, a DNR Great Lakes fishery biologist based in Charlevoix.

A leading cause is a reduction in alewives, a silvery fish up to 10 inches long that is the salmon’s primary prey on the Great Lakes. The alewife population has been decimated by invasive zebra and quagga mussels that have changed the nutrient dynamics of the lakes.

Read on for more at the Freep.

View Julie’s photo of a salmon jumping up into the weir at Charlevoix bigger and see more in her Wildlife slideshow.

More about Chinook salmon and more fish on Michigan in Pictures.

Frequency

Frequency

Frequency, photo by Liz Glass

Liz says that these decaying pilings in Lake Charlevoix at Boyne City are the only remnants of the docks and roundhouse that stood at the waterfront during the town’s lumbering days. About this photo she writes:

Haven’t played with these guys in a while. This is the best time of year for them: we start having more colorful sunsets, and the ice that remains out on the lake helps keep the water still closer to shore. These pilings actually launched my ice fixation years ago when I noticed the elaborate frozen coats they grow in the winter. And then they became a year-round obsession themselves.

By the way, there’s no monkey-business here other than darkening the pilings a little to make them solid black. This is how it looked.

View her photo bigger and see more in her Pilings slideshow.

More from Liz on Michigan in Pictures.

The Oldest Ship on the Great Lakes: The St. Mary’s Challenger

Departing........

Departing…….., photo by smiles7

7 years ago I shared the story of the Southdown Challenger on Michigan in Pictures. I was happy to see that the oldest operational freighter on the Great Lakes is still in action. The feature on the St. Marys Challenger on Boatnerd.com begins:

Currently holding the honors of being the oldest lake boat still trading on the Great Lakes, the self unloading cement carrier St. Marys Challenger was built as a traditional Great Lakes bulk carrier as hull #17 by Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse (Detroit), MI in 1906. This veteran of the lakes was launched February 7, 1906 as the William P. Snyder for Shenango Steamship & Transportation Co. (subsidiary of Shenango Furnace Co.), Cleveland, OH. Retaining her original overall dimensions, the St. Marys Challenger is now powered by a Skinner Marine Unaflow 4 cylinder reciprocating steam engine burning heavy fuel oil rated at 3,500 i.h.p. (2,611 kW) with 2 water tube boilers. The power is fed to a single fixed pitch propeller and the vessel is equipped with a bow thruster. The vessel is capable of carrying 10,250 tons (10,415 mt) in 8 holds at mid summer draft of 21’09” (6.63m). Cargoes of bulk or powdered cement can be unloaded by a fully automated system including air slides, conveyor equipment and bucket elevators feeding a forward mounted 48’ (14.63m) discharge boom.

Of note, the St. Marys Challenger is one of only two remaining U.S. flagged vessels still active on the Great Lakes to be powered by the classic Skinner Marine Unaflow steam engine. The other vessel is the car ferry Badger (2) which is powered by two of these engines and, in turn, remains as the only coal fired vessel still in active service on the Great Lakes. The only remaining Canadian-flagged steamer powered by a Canadian-built (Vickers) Skinner Unaflow engine is the James Norris.

Read on for more and also check out this set of photos by Wade Bryant, who served aboard the Challenger.

Julie took this shot as the St. Marys Challenger steamed out of Charlevoix last week. Check it out bigger and see more in her boat slideshow.

Many more Michigan ships & boats on Michigan in Pictures!