A Little Light Changes Everything

A Little Light Changes Everything, photo by John Gessner

I hope that you get a chance to get out there this weekend and let the sunlight in!

View John’s photo bigger and see more in his Michigan Water slideshow.

Cruise to 32 Lighthouses including the Skillagalee Island Light!

Ile aux Galets, courtesy Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light

I just learned about a super-cool cruise for lighthouse lovers that also benefits the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. mLive reports:

There are 80 spots available for the trip which takes place in the northern part of Lake Michigan June 5-9. It is presented by the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, which oversees the care of two lighthouses in the region. Guests travel aboard the Shepler’s Ferry vessel HOPE and stay at different resorts along the way, including Weathervane Terrace Inn & Suites in Charlevoix and Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay, Wisc.

“It’s an awesome thing to do,” said Terry Pepper, executive director. “Lighthouses were built for the mariners so by going out to see them the way they were designed for from the water is unique.”

Click above for more and make reservations at gllka.com. Speaking of Terry Pepper, let’s add another Michigan lighthouse! Via Terry’s excellent Seeing the Light website here’s the Skillagalee Island Light Station:

Skillagalee Island is located some 7.7 miles Southwest of Waugoshance Island on the East side of the approach to the Gray’s Reef Passage. The tiny island represents but a small exposed portion of a large gravel shoal that extends 1.8 miles to its East and a half a mile to the Northwest.

Being very low in elevation, the island is barely visible except from close by, and to exacerbate the problem, the size of its exposed surface fluctuates dramatically with the level of the surrounding water. The island was considered a navigational hazard during the earliest days when the French Voyageurs took the time to name the place “Ile aux Galets,” which translates as “Island of Pebbles.”

A is so often the case, the English speaking mariners and settlers found the French name difficult to pronounce, and “Ile aux Galets” soon unofficially mutated into “Skillagalee.” The anglicized version took hold, and by the mid 1800’s references to the original French name all but disappeared.

While Skillagalee laid claim to many wrecks over the years, the grounding of the A.D. PATCHIN was seminal in the call for the construction of an aid to navigation on the island. The PATCHIN was a 226 foot wood-hulled sidewheel steamer built in Trenton Michigan in 1846. Laden with general merchandise, she was making her way into Grays Reef Passage on September 27, 1850, when the currents pulled her out of line and onto shore at Skillagalee. While her crew managed to escape to safety and the initial damage to her hull was minimal, the weather turned evil and thwarted a number of attempts to pull her free. By late November she had been pounded to pieces, becoming yet another of Lake Michigan’s many victims.

To answer the need for a navigational aid to warn mariners of the shoal’s existence, Congress appropriated the necessary funds to construct a light on Skillagalee Island in 1851. As a result of the exposed location and fluctuating water tables, the tower was in constant need of repair, a cycle that would be repeated throughout the station’s history.

Read on for more and check ou tSeeing the Light for more Great Lakes Lighthouses!

$1 Million Asian Carp Challenge

Fish On, photo by Terry Murphy

ABC News reports that the State of Michigan is turning to the public for new ideas and plans to offer a prize to whoever comes up with a way to stop the voracious Asian carp:

Michigan’s global search challenge comes after the U.S. government and others have spent hundreds of millions searching for a solution to stop the carp from entering the world’s largest freshwater system. If they aren’t stopped, officials fear the aggressive fish will crowd out prize native fish and hamper recreational boating in large sections of the lakes, which stretch from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan in the west to New York and Pennsylvania in the east and from Ontario, Canada, in the north to Illinois, Indiana and Ohio in the south.

“I think in the fight against Asian carp, there aren’t really any bad ideas,” said Molly Flanagan, vice president of policy for the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “We have to try a bunch of different things.”

Michigan alone has a $38 billion tourism industry, much of it focused on the outdoors, and the Great Lakes region has a $7 billion fishing industry. Asian carp have been spotted 45 miles from Lake Michigan. If the fish make it into that lake, they could make their way into the other Great Lakes.

Details on how much prize money will be offered are still being worked out. Officials also haven’t determined how many winners might be chosen.

The Michigan Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder allocated $1 million to develop the challenge. Most of the money will go toward a prize for an idea or ideas that are deemed feasible, Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Joanne Foreman said. The rest will be used to create the challenge, which includes working with InnoCentive, a crowdsourcing company that will host the event online. The campaign is expected to go live this summer.

If you have an idea, now’s the time to start working!

View Terry’s photo background big and see more in his Terry Murphy Portfolio Selects slideshow.

Underneath the Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge 1, photo by John McGraw

View John’s photo from beneath the mighty Mackinac Bridge bigger, see a few more from the Straits in his slideshow, and follow John McGraw Photography on Facebook to view & purchase more photos.

A Tale of Two Sunsets

Here’s two photos from the Absolute Michigan pool taken from the same spot in Grand Haven on the same evening by two photographers that I recently featured on Michigan in Pictures! I just love coincidences, don’t you?

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Driftwood And Reflected Pastels Of Afterglow, photo by David Behrens

View David’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow (where you’ll see the photo of the Grand Haven Fog Signal I featured the other day). Then when you’re done with that, check out Jerry James’ photo bigger and see more in his slideshow (where you’ll see the “Alley Adventures” from a little while back).

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Drifting, photo by Jerry James

The Eyes of the Earth

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aerial shot, photo by Sandy Hansen Photography

“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is the earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden

One of Thoreau’s most beautiful thoughts in my mind, and we are certainly blessed in Michigan to have the eyes of the earth upon us here as they are in few other places.

Sandy says that at the top of the photo are West & East Grand Traverse Bay and then Elk Lake and Lake Skegemog. You can get your bearings and have a little fun exploring the lakes from above in this 3d view from Google Earth.

View her photo bigger and see more including more from this February flight in her Traverse City Area slideshow.

More aerial photography on Michigan in Pictures.

High and Dry in the Leland Harbor

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High and Dry, photo by Mark Smith

Here’s a cool shot by Mark Smith of the Leland, Michigan harbor mouth that has become choked with sand through the actions of Lake Michigan. The spot where he’s standing is normally 10 feet deep, effectively blocking access to the harbor. Despite federal responsibility for the harbor, things were looking dire as no federal funds were forthcoming for a project that usually costs over $150,000.

The story has a happy ending as the harbor is buying their own dredge – click that link to read more on Leelanau.com.

View the photo background bigilicious and see more in Mark’s Leland slideshow.