Heading north along the Michigan shore

One of the lovelier features of the Michigan shoreline is the abundance of inland lakes. A whole bunch of these lakes are linked to the Big Lake via canals, dug a century ago but now maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. These lakes allow boats a safe place to pull in and spend the night.

Always fun when a bridge opens for us!

Always fun when a bridge opens for us!

We loved Pentwater Lake; our anchorage was beautiful, and the water great for swimming. We are a little less enamored of Manistee Lake–there’s a bunch of heavy industry and a train that runs close to shore–but we’ve still had restful nights with great protection. There are a few additional lakes we might pull into between here and Frankfort.

Measuring our anchor chain, Manistee

Measuring our anchor chain, Manistee

The thing that we’re finding a bit strange about these protected bodies of water: no one else seems to be anchoring out. Since we left Milwaukee, we’ve seen hundreds of boats; the total number with a hook out: three, including us. Now, maybe we’re early in the season, or maybe it’s just unusual timing, but marina culture seems to dominate the entire lake so far. We’re sure this will change as we head farther north, but for the moment, it’s strange!

When we pulled in to the town of Pentwater for a couple of hours of grocery shopping and ice cream, our dock mate couldn’t even believe anchoring was A Thing. “You mean, you just put down an anchor? Just, all night? Really?” Really.

Sand dunes, Michigan shore

Sand dunes, Michigan shore

Here in Manistee, there is no dinghy dock for cruisers. The folks at the Municipal Marina are happy to let us tie up for a few hours, but it’s clearly not a request they get often. Our budget doesn’t allow for a whole lot of marina time, so we’ve learned not to worry too much about the lack of other boats in the anchorages. Fewer bugs, less noise and free–we’ll take it.

The SS City of Milwaukee and the USCGC Acacia, off our stern on Lake Manistee

The SS City of Milwaukee and the USCGC Acacia, off our stern on Lake Manistee

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