There is nothing so sweet as entering your home harbor.
This series was shot as we were returning home from a cross-lake race on Lake Michigan. In the above shot you can see both of Muskegon’s lighthouses, the inner South Pierhead Light towards the left of the frame and the outer South Breakwater Light to the right. It feels pretty epic to enter Muskegon harbor and pass these sentinals in succession.
As you enter our man-made harbor you will make your way through the “washing machine”, so dubbed by the Coast Guard as this is where the river current piles up against the prevailing westerlies and waves of Lake Michigan, tasty fun if you know what you are about. Next landmark is the West end of the channel which is guarded by the red conical tower of the South Pierhead Light. This lighthouse was opened to the public for tours two years ago but it’s closed for the season as of this writing. By the way, all of these shots are from the starboard side of the boat showing the south side of the harbor and channel (I was working on that side of the boat and therefore using a small, waterproof camera.) The North side of the Channel is taken up by Muskegon State Park.
Next in line is the old Coast Guard station which is now the NOAA building where Scientists collect meteorological and hydrological data on Lake Michigan. You can see red and green buoys on the pier next to NOAA but those belong to the Coast Guard, which is stationed behind that pier. In the third photo we are passing our Maritime Museum with our submarine, the Silversides, which is also my Precinct HQ where I vote, alas, not on the submarine but in the museum next to it. This voting at a submarine which served to protect my freedom to vote pleases me to no end. Also in the frame is the USCG Cutter McClane, which also saw active duty in WWII.
As we near the East end of the channel you will always find fishermen. I enjoy riding my bike down to and along this pier, talking to the fishermen and circling around that red and white light. Next photo is Harbor Town Beach, a great little beach on Lake Muskegon for those days when the rougher waters of Lake Michigan can be challenging. Where you go from the beach depends on your home marina.
The adage goes “East-West, home’s best”. There is nothing like coming home along such a spectacular route.
More on our pier lights This link also features an ariel photo that will show you the shape of our man made harbor and lights.
One fifth of the World’s fresh surface water lies in the Great Lakes. I cannot think of a finer place for it. A week ago I helped deliver a boat from Chicago to Muskegon, covering 110 miles of open water in 20 hours. I’ve seen a lot of Chicago this summer and these shots were taken at the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park. Chicago pumps it’s water from Lake Michigan and at this fountain it is pumped back out so that children can play in it.
It is a delight to watch the families play in these fountains on a warm summer’s afternoon. The ‘faces’ spit water at timed intervals and children eagerly await the blessing:
Do you remember the childhood joy of playing in puddles? Wading along the beach? Looking for frogs in ponds? Just observing the water? I caught these two brothers closely inspecting the reflecting pool but when the monolithic fountains at either end started up they ran for the ‘blessing’ of flowing water.
I hope this stirs happy memories of your childhood. Here’s to the joy of H2O!
The summer from the top of a swing..pure nostalgia.
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside–
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown–
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
~ Robert Louis Stevensen
And if you are like me you forget the broken arms and broken noses and remember only the pure, soaring joy.
(PS This is my nephew about 10 years ago at Grand Haven State Park, on the beach in Grand Haven, Michigan. If you look under his feet you can see the red lighthouses.)
“That guy’s going to mess with you.”
I said that to Van as I was looking aft. I had been chillin’ on the rail, scanning ahead and to the sides for wind when I heard swearing and a rather salty exchange of words behind us. Two boats, unknown to me, full of younger sailors were having it out. It is fair game to cover a competitor and mess with his wind supply but it is usually done within a racing division, I mean, why waste energy screwing someone else over when you are not racing against them and you have more important things you need to do in the race you are running, which was the heated and colorful point of the guy in the smaller boat.
The guy in the bigger boat, let’s call him Dick, wasn’t in our division either and had set his sites on our boat next. This young turk was so sure he could take us out.
I gotta tell you Van, he’ll be 78 in October and has spent most of those years racing sailboats, is so calm and competent there’s not a boat in the fleet that wouldn’t take him as their helm, Van was wearing what my old man called a sh*t-eating grin as it became a game of cat and mouse tactics. It was not Van’s first race. In the end Van smoked the other guy, Dick.
Life is good!
(And wasn’t that a big ole CF* on the third start. I am so glad I was not driving…and I am so glad I was there to see it and be in the middle of it trimming sail. 😀 )
*CF – WWII Military Term
GAH! Cats all up in my frying pan.
That’s not a euphemism for anything and I’ve locked the little pecker-heads in the basement.
It could be worse. I had a rescue from the mean streets of Saginaw. Marsallis would wait until we turned our backs then jump up on the stove, stick his head in the pan while the fire was up and the bacon sizzling and then he’d make off straight to the tub with his kitty booty.
R.I.P., Marsallis. He died of natural causes. No, seriously. He did.
This is the hard-working, dedicated crew of Majic. She always wins and she’s so pretty we don’t mind…most of the time. It’s a funny thing, this envy/pride. She kicks our asses, but, dam, she is OUR home based ass-kicker. We are all proud of her when she goes out to represent MYC on the national scene. The Chicago-Mac race is international level stuff and she took 3rd this year. No mean feat, that.
These are twitchy boats and weight placement is important. When the boat ‘heels’ you need all the weight on the top rail to keep her from tipping over. Unless you are the one at helm after you do your assigned job you get your butt to the rail and become ballast/counter weight.
The sailing sport is a ‘salty’ one in that we have great names for this sitting on the edge; ‘rail-meat’ or ‘rail-b*tches’. Everyone on this boat and in this picture is a superb sailor. You don’t get on a boat of this class without knowing your stuff. Sitting on the low side rail in a low wind race night can be tedious, sitting on the high side when the winds are up is why we sail. It takes your breath away.
Majic is a Sydny 41 and her captain is William Hoyer.
Meanwhile, on Lake Erie:
I took this down once but life is short and we all need a good laugh so I’m putting it back up. Check your source! And let’s give the O.P., original poster, all the love!
“Upon a crystal river of light.”
Autumn is spectacular in Michigan, it is a balm for the soul when our short summers close. This is up on Hart Lake, in the town of Hart which sits at the northern end of the Hart-Montague Bicycle Trail. If you like the slow life of a small town this may be the one for you.