This week has been packed full of exciting events – horses, baseball games, sailboat races – I’ll just tell you, this old girl is tired! I couldn’t put off until next week though letting you know about the Chicago to Mackinac Island Yacht Race – and a few more little things that wiggled their way in and got my attention. So hold on – this one will be all over the place, and I hope it makes sense at the end!
The 102nd Chicago to Mackinac Island Race began July 24, with 3,000 sailors from 15 different U.S. states as well as Ontario, Switzerland, and as far off as Hong Kong. This is the longest fresh water race in the world – 333 miles – and is primarily an amateur event. Historically though, the race has a proven track record of attracting some of the finest sailing talent in the sport. The “Lady K” out of Muskegon, MI was the winner.
Ted and I walked over to the West Bluff early Monday morning to watch some of the first boats come in, and on Tuesday we walked down to the shore, close to the finish line (behind the library), to get a better view. Whereas the Port Huron to Mackinac racers come in by Mission Point, the Chicago to Mackinac boats sail in under the Mackinac Bridge. It’s a pretty amazing sight!
Early Monday morning we watched several boats from the West Bluff. They were "dead in the water" - not a breeze to be found anywhere. That has to be terribly frustrating after sailing almost 333 miles and being within sight of the finish line.
That same morning I couldn't resist turning around and photographing this beautiful West Bluff cottage in the early morning light.
Isn't it amazing what our special Mackinac Island "compost" can do to a flower bed?
By Tuesday the winds were back, and the action had picked up on the Straits of Mackinac.
A vividly beautiful spinnaker, full of wind and heading for the finish line.
Watching the boats come in from the shoreline between the library and the Iroquois Hotel was perfect. We were close to the cannon that fired when each boat crossed the finish line.
From our vantage point, we could watch everything else that was going on close to shore also - like this little girl who had waded out to stand on a rock and work on a stone stack . . .
. . . and this lady who was standing at the water's edge, watching for "her boat" to end its journey.
If you look closely, you can see over a dozen sailboats coming in under the Mackinac Bridge.
Ted told Bear he had a "special rock" he wanted him to go after. He threw it, and Bear bounded out into the water . . .
. . . and came back out with this disgusted look on his face like, "Are you kidding me? There's a million rocks out there, and they all look the same! What was 'special' about it?"
Bear: "Ok, ok - you threw another one, and I will try to find it."
"That's it - I'm done with this game. Next time, bring a tennis ball."
Blue boat, blue sail, blue water, blue sky - beautiful x 4!
The large white sailboat at the right center of this photo is the Beau Geste from Hong Kong. It was the largest boat in the race.
A couple of sailors cooling off. Bear wanted to know if they were looking for "special rocks" too.
Starting up Fort Hill on the way home, I turned to look back at the harbor. Like so many others on the island, I never, never tire of this view.
A group of Boy Scouts marched up the hill ahead of us. They had just lowered one of the flags downtown and were going back to the Scout Barracks.
From halfway up Fort Hill, another of my favorite views.
Our bikes were right where we had left them - in a wooded area at the top of the hill. From there we're a quick 10-minute ride to the condo. By the way, that cute little blue "hood" on my bike seat is a shower cap - the best way to keep the seat dry if rain is threatening!
On Thursday I have two events to attend. I’ll be riding in the pilot house with Chris Shepler of Shepler’s Ferry on The Hope (a ferry that was cut in half, had a middle section added, and was put back together again this winter), gathering information for a blog post I’ll write sometime next week. Thursday night is a hayride out to the Cannonball Restaurant at British Landing for all the folks who volunteered for the Festival of the Horse! On Saturday, there will be another Tweet-Up on Mackinac – this one sponsored by the Island Bookstore and Shepler’s Ferry. A Tweet-Up is a get-together of everyone who communicates online through Facebook, Twitter, and blogging, and I’ve been asked to be one of the guest speakers. I almost refused, but they just wanted me to talk “from my heart” about my favorite island. THAT I can do!
I’m going to take a long weekend away from the laptop to get recharged after this busy week. I’ll see you Monday, but check back over the weekend to see if I’ve posted any pics – you just never know! Have a wonderful weekend! God bless.
Note: Thanks to our neighbor Smi Horn for the beautiful header photograph. That Smi seems to always be in the right place at the right time!