Thursday, January 5, 2017
Georgian Bay and North Channel are two bays on the northern edge of Lake Huron. Both are large bodies of water, but there are reasons for calling the Great Lakes "great." They are so large that they are often called inland seas. Freight is still a major industry in the Great Lakes. The decision was made to cross back into the United States to Rogers City, Michigan, one of the few places to clear US Customs in Michigan. On that crossing, the crew encountered commercial traffic. From a distance, the ship above looked like a freighter, but closer examination noted and odd stern. It was actually the tug Samuel de Champlain pushing a barge - an 843 foot long barge.
Lighthouses remain an important navigation aid on the Great Lakes. Many are on reefs offshore, which must have been a tough place to live in stormy weather and winters. Today they are automated and unmanned. This is 40 Mile Point Light, a point on a reef 40 miles east of the Lake Michigan/Lake Huron divide.
The Michigan cities along Lake Huron not being destinations of interest, more lighthouses are shared. The Poe Reef Light. There are shallows and reefs along Michigan's shore of both Lakes Huron and Michigan, necessitating the navigational aids.
The divide between Lakes Huron and Lake Michigan is spanned with a huge bridge - 5 miles long and 554 feet at the top of the towers. With a 155 ft clearance, this is a bridge that Last Dance does not need to worry about lowering the antennas. Local business people had lobbied for the bridge since the late 1880's, but it didn't become a reality until 1957. The fast, catamaran ferry is carrying tourists from Mackinac City to Mackinac Island.
Grays Reef creates a large shallow area in Lake Michigan with only a small channel of safe passage. The northern-most light is abandoned, but is helpful in finding the northern end of the channel.
The Grays Reef Light is at the southern end of the channel. The waters of Lake Michigan are deep from this point south.