Round Island Run

Ferry & lighthouse

Round Island, MI, photo by Bill Johnson

Bill took this photo 21 years ago on September 21, 1995! It shows the Star Line Ferry’s Nicolet speeding past the Round Island Lighthouse. Star Line explains:

Star Line Ferry was started by Tom Pfeiffelmann, Sam McIntire, and others in the late 1970s. They purchased Argosy Boat Line. The company was then renamed Star Line after the 5 original stockholders making up a 5 pointed star. At that time they operated slower ferries including the Nicolet, Treasure Islander and Flamingo.

In 1979 Star Line bought their first fast ferry, Marquette. Over the next few years the old LaSalle and Nicolet were replaced with sisters to the Marquette. In 1987 Star Line decided to take it up a notch with Radisson, an 85-foot fast ferry which was modeled after a luxury yacht.

View Bob’s photo background big and see more in his Lighthouses slideshow.

PS: Check out this cool yesterday and today at Round Island Lighthouse on Michigan in Pictures!

Rockport State Recreation Area on Lake Huron

rockport-state-recreation-area-alpena-lake-huron

Rockport State Recreation Area – I, Alpena, MI, September, 2016, photo by Norm Powell

The Alpena CVB’s page on Rockport State Recreation Area says:

Rockport State Park, Michigan’s 100th State Park and an official Dark Sky Preserve, has over 4,237 acres of land located on the shores of Lake Huron north of Alpena. The property includes a deep-water protected harbor, an old limestone quarry of approximately 300 acres, a unique series of sinkholes, Devonian Era fossils, the Besser Natural Area, and a broad range of land types, vegetative cover, cultural resources and recreation opportunities. At the harbor the DNR has a boat launch facility, and there is a small park with picnic areas.

If you click through, they have a nifty guide that includes more information on the offerings including the fossils and sinkholes! You can get a map and more info from the State of Michigan’s page on Rockport Recreation Area.

View Norm’s photo bigger, see more in his slideshow, and view and purchase his photos on his website.

Many more Michigan parks on Michigan in Pictures!

#TBT Tawas Point US Lighthouse Service Crew Training

Tawas Point Lighthouse USLSS Life Saving Service Crew Training on Tawas Bay

Tawas Point Lighthouse Crew Training, photo by UpNorth Memories

The U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association has an excellent history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service that says in part:

In 1878 the growing network of lifesaving stations was finally organized as a separate agency of the Treasury Department and named the U.S. Life-Saving Service. Sumner I. Kimball was chosen as the General Superintendent of the Service. Kimball held tight reign over the Service and, in fact, remained the only General Superintendent of the organization. The law which created the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915, also provided for the retirement of Kimball. The Service’s reputation for honest, efficient, and non-partisan administration, plus performance of duty, can be largely attributed to the efforts of this one man.

The stations of the Service fell into three broad categories: lifesaving, lifeboat, and houses of refuge. Lifesaving stations were manned by full-time crews during the period when wrecks were most likely to occur. On the East Coast this was usually from November to April, and was called the “active season.” By the turn of the century, the active season was year-round. Most stations were in isolated areas and crewmen had to be able to perform open beach launchings. That is, they were required to launch their boats from the beach into the surf. Before the turn of the century, there were very few recreational boaters and most assistance cases came from ships engaged in commerce.

Lifeboat stations were located at or near port cities. Here, deep water, combined with piers and other waterfront structures, allowed the launching of heavy lifeboats directly into the water by marine railways on inclined ramps. In general, lifeboat stations were located on the Great Lakes, but some lifesaving stations were situated in the more isolated areas of the lakes. The active season on the Great Lakes stretched from April to December.

…The U.S. Life-Saving Service had two means of rescuing people on board ships stranded near shore: by boat and by a strong line stretched from the beach to the wrecked vessel. The Service’s boats were either a 700 to 1,000 pound, self-bailing, self-righting surfboat pulled by six surfmen with twelve to eighteen foot oars, or a two to four ton lifeboat. The surfboat could be pulled on a cart by crewmen, or horses, to a site near a wreck and then launched into the surf. The lifeboat, following a design originated in England, could be fitted with sails for work further offshore and was used in very heavy weather. Some crews, at first, viewed the lifeboat with skepticism because of its great weight and bulk. The skepticism soon changed and crews began to regard it as “something almost supernatural,” for it enabled them to provide assistance “when the most powerful tugs and steam-craft refused to go out of the harbor. …”

Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light has a bunch of information and photos of the Tawas Point Lighthouse.

This photo shows the crew of the Tawas Point Lighthouse participating in USLSS crew training on Tawas Bay. Check it out bigger and join the Northern Michigan Photo Postcards – Our History and Heritage group for more great old photos from Don and others.

More history from Michigan in Pictures.

Bridge with a view

Bridge with a View

Mackinac Bridge from Michilimackinac State Park, photo by Todd Marsee, Michigan Sea Grant

Todd took this a couple of weeks ago from Michilimackinac State Park in Mackinac City. One thing that continually strikes me about Michigan is how easy it is to find space to enjoy our scenic beauty in relative isolation. What’s your favorite spot for quiet contemplation of Michigan’s beauty?

View Todd’s photo background big, see more in their Summer Fun slideshow and definitely follow Michigan Sea Grant on Flickr for all kinds of great pics from the Great Lakes!

Tons more about the Mighty Mackinac Bridge on Michigan in Pictures!

Fourteen Foot Shoal Lighthouse in Lake Huron

14 foot shoal lighthouse by David Juckett

14 foot shoal lighthouse, photo by David Juckett

Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light remains the gold standard for information about the lighthouses of the Great Lakes. Terry writes (in part) of the process of constructing Fourteen Foot Shoal Light near the entry into Cheboygan Harbor:

With completion of the work at Poe Reef in 1929, the work crew turned their attention to work at Fourteen Foot Shoal. While the new light was of a totally different design, and considerably smaller than the twin lights built at Martin and Poe Reefs, the construction of the crib proceeded in much the same manner, with the construction of a wooden crib at the shore station on the Cheboygan Pier. After an area on the shoal was leveled, the crib was eased down wooden ways into the water, and towed to the shoal by the Lighthouse Tender Aspen. Once over the leveled area, the crib was sunk to the bottom by filling its empty pockets with rocks and gravel.

This timber foundation then served as a core, upon and around which wooden forms were constructed and filled with concrete loaded from the Lighthouse Service scow. As was the case with both the Martin and Poe stations, the upper edge of the crib was formed into a graceful flare, designed to deflect waves away from the pier, in order to help protect the structures which would be erected on the deck. With the completion of the concrete work, the pier stood fifty feet square, and its deck level fifteen feet above the water.

The steel framework for the single story equipment building was erected at the center of the deck. Standing thirty-four feet by twenty-eight feet in plan, on completion, the entire exterior of the building was sheathed with 1/4-quarter inch steel plates, each riveted to the steel framework beneath. Centered on the roof ridge, a cylindrical steel tower was integrated into the roof, standing six feet in diameter and twenty-four feet above the ridge line. The tower was capped with an octagonal cast iron lantern and outfitted with a flashing white Fourth Order Fresnel lens.

Read on for lots more and photos!

View David’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

Many more Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!

2016 Chicago to Mackinac Sailing Race

Chicago to Mac Sailboats & Mackinac Bridge

Sailboats and Mackinac, photo by Alex Duncan

On July 23, 2016, over 350 sailboats will leave the Chicago Yacht club for the longest annual freshwater race in the world. 2016 marks the 108th annual Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac aka the Chicago to Mac. On their Race History page the CYC shares that:

Starting in 1898 with a mere five boats, The Mac has evolved into a world-class sporting event. After the first race in 1898, the Race to Mackinac was not held for five years until the second race in 1904. By 1906, the race had developed a healthy following and, in that year, the original Mackinac trophy was purchased. The race has seen occasional sustained violent weather in the blows of 1911, 1937 and 1970. After gale force winds took down most of the fleet in the Mac of 1911, the finish in the 1912 and 1913 races was changed to Harbor Springs on Little Traverse Bay instead of Mackinac Island. Race organizers felt the shorter distance was safer.

From 1914 until 1916 the Mac was back to its full distance until WWI. From 1917-1920 there were no Mac races due to the strains of the War, which took away yachtsmen and put many boats out of commission. Since 1921, the Race to Mackinac has run consecutively every year, remains the longest annual freshwater distance race, and is recognized as one of the most prestigious sailing races in the world.

Read on for lots more including an account of the first race. If you’re wondering when to catch a glimpse of them, Pyewacket set the monohull record in 2002 with a time of 23 hours, 30 minutes and 34 seconds. The race starts at noon on Saturday and usually takes between 40-60 hours to finish.

View Alex’s photo from 2011 background bigtacular and see more in his Pure Michigan slideshow.

More summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Whipped Up Waves for the Weekend!

Whipped Up

Whipped Up, photo by Terry Clark

mLive reports that big waves are expected for parts of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan this weekend:

High winds and an arctic air mass are set to hit Michigan this weekend, and gales are in the forecast for the Great Lakes as a result.

A gale warning for much of Lake Huron’s offshore waters, issued by the National Weather Service, is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, April 2 to 5 a.m. Sunday, April 3.

Winds are expected to reach up to 41 mph from the northwest with gusts up to 53 mph. According to the warning, waves will build up to 13 feet tall with the potential for an occasional 19-footer. The largest waves in an area 5 nautical miles off shore and out are expected around 1 a.m. Sunday on Lake Huron.

If you want to tune in, check out NOAA’s Great Lakes Coast Watch and the Great Lakes Webcam page.

View Terry’s photo background big and see more in his Wintry Scenes slideshow.

More waves and more wild weather on Michigan in Pictures!