As most of you already know, the 5 p.m. departure of the Huron last Thursday marked the last time a boat operated by Arnold Ferry Line would travel to or from Mackinac Island. The historic ferry line (the oldest and longest-running), which began serving the island 138 years ago, has been purchased by Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry, which began 38 years ago as competition to Arnold and to Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, which was created in 1945.
Arnold’s mighty Huron, as she is known by everyone with ties to Mackinac, has been the only winter ferry to the island since 1955. Star Line will continue to operate the Huron for passenger and freight service during the winter, abiding by Mackinac Island’s winter ferry passenger service agreement.
Star Line will also buy five other Arnold Line boats, the Arnold Boatyard and several docks.
Star Line’s Marquette II arrives on Friday morning – her first trip ever as the winter ferry to Mackinac.
For hundreds of islanders, for thousands of visitors whose memories of a Mackinac vacation began with an Arnold Line ferry boat ride, and for the hundreds of Arnold employees whose lives were tied to the company over those 138 years, this is the sad end of an era. Especially poignant is the end of the mighty Huron operating as an Arnold boat. It’s hard to comprehend for those of us who do not live year-round on Mackinac, but Arnold’s mighty Huron provided everything to the island after the close of the season – passenger service and freight service – until the Straits of Mackinac would freeze over and the ferry would have to stop running. She alone was responsible for islanders receiving food and other staples for the grocery store and restaurants that remain open, for residents reaching the mainland if there were health concerns or if they just needed to have a day off-island, and for winter visitors trying out “Mackinac in the winter”. Even though the mighty Huron will continue to run, it is a bittersweet transition from one company to another.
We wish Star Line a hearty congratulations on your new venture! With only two lines providing transportation to Mackinac next summer, Star Line and Shepler’s, it will be interesting to see what changes are in store. We know both these fine companies will continue to provide excellent service to and from our favorite island, and we look forward to a great 2017 season!
A poignant farewell photo from Arnold Mackinac Island Ferry on its last departure from the island: “It was a pleasure serving you. Thank you for 138 years of memories. This is your ATCO crew – signing off.”
NOVEMBER ON MACKINAC
Clark Bloswick has been busy documenting November on the island. These next six photos are his.
A relatively calm day earlier in the month.
A typical fall wind storm hit the island on Thursday, Nov. 10. It always amazes me the size of the waves generated on the Great Lakes. Clark remembers these waves were nothing compared to those on November 10, 1975, the day the Edmund Fitzgerald went down during a Lake Superior storm, with the loss of the entire crew of 29.
Wind, waves and whitecaps.
Sunset on Saturday evening.
Sunrise over Bois Blanc this morning.
An early evening shot tonight of geese flying into Mission Point, backlit by that gorgeous full moon.
I love this photo! A beautiful fall image of the steps leading from Sugar Loaf to Point Lookout. (Photo: Patti Carpenter McGreevy)
I will not lie. Having a teenage Golden Retriever who weighs 58 lbs. at seven months is a little harder than I thought it would be. It’s been 12 years since we had a puppy in the house (that would be Maddie), and she was an amazingly easy girl. And she was small. Having a big dog puppy is totally different because he does everything . . . bigger! Plays bigger, eats bigger, poops and pees bigger, chews bigger, walks bigger. He is a daily challenge, but I love trying to stay one step ahead of him.
One of my biggest challenges is teaching him to greet people gently on our walks. He wants to wiggle himself right into their space and get all mouthy with their hands. It was wearing me out trying to pull him back. So – I sent out a “please help me train Bodie” message to our entire Sunset Inlet community, giving suggestions on how to help Bodie learn to greet nicely. Our neighbors have responded like the wonderful folks they are. So far we’ve had encounters with two neighbors who ignored Bodie while I asked him to sit, waited for him to calm down, then asked him to “shake”, which he did. Then they petted him. And Bodie got a treat from me. It was amazing how well it worked!
We have a trainer coming once a week for five weeks to offer tips and help me find the best ways to train him. Two of our neighbors, Mark and Shauna, text “going to the dog park” when they head out with their two big dogs, Rascal and Ryder, so Bodie and I can join in the fun. We have a big open area in our community we call the “dog park”. It’s great for playing fetch and just letting dogs be dogs.
And – I will tell you something else big dogs do. They LOVE big. All I need to do to get some Bodie love is climb in his big bed with him. He snuggles right in and we have some mom/Bodie love time.
Yes, he’s a challenge. But he is remarkably smart, learns commands quickly, retains most of them well, and is quickly creating his own great big spot in my heart.
Bodie: “Maybe if I stand here long enough, Maddie will get tired of that Kong and I can get it.”
“Hmmm . . . or maybe not.”