Killarney, ON to Traverse City, MI


We backtracked a bit dropping The Roskas off in Killarney which is where we had picked them up. It was well worth it to have them visit us and be able catch up in person. We had a great time showing them a little bit of this crazy trip we are doing.  We then cruised 45 miles past Little Current ultimately dropping the hook in the Benjamin Islands for 2 nights. 

Our first night was a bit windy, wet and even a bit rolly until the wind changed around to the west and we were better protected. Our second day and night was sunny, warm and less windy. Perfect conditions for hiking/exploring, SUPing and swimming.

“The Ski Slope” – Benjamin Islands.  A nice steep granite hill to stretch your legs and expand your lungs.  Penny was super happy. 

View from the top. Heartbeat is over toward the center right. 

 Closest we got to seeing a bear in Canada only because we can now say that we now know where the bears are sharpening their claws. 

Great walking/exploring with fantastic views in every direction. 

It is not all sightseeing, sunsets and happy hours. Kent has been spending a bit more time than desired troubleshooting and maintaining all the systems on board. Definition of cruising: Working on your boat in new or exotic places. 

With a no wind day forecasted we left the Benjamin Islands and headed toward our next destination. We were only slightly tempted to make it a long day and head towards the US but the beauty of the Northern Channel with it’s exposed granite rocks for walking/exploring, the warm (enough) water for swimming and the SUP opportunities kept us from rushing to the US border.  Our days enjoying these activities at anchor were limited and we wanted to squeeze as much out as we could. 

Flat water on our way from Benjamin Islands to Bear Drop. If only we had water skis. 

Bear Drop anchorage was like glass most of the day. Do not tire of seeing the reflections of the trees in the water. 

 Spectacular sunset for our last night at anchor in Canada. 

More of the same sunset, it was pretty epic. We also both liked different pictures so you all get to see them both. 

At Bear Drop our generator finally stopped working (for good) despite all of Kent’s troubleshooting and short term fixes the past week. It is not realistic to have a spare part on board for everything so we are without a generator until we can get a new water pump and to have a mechanic look at some of the ominous blue smoke it has been emitting. Reality is we could have anchored out another night or two but with the weather forecast for very strong winds meant we would be stuck sitting on the boat and without a generator we wouldn’t be able to use our stove/micro for meals. Certainly not the end of the world but we we decided to head to a marina – ugh. We have enjoyed all the anchoring and remoteness in Canada in the 7+ weeks this summer so it was a bit sad to have this portion of The Loop end. In front of us is Michigan and most likely more marina stops than anchoring opportunities so heading to a marina a day or two earlier than intended felt like we were missing out on a few last peaceful/remote anchorages.

We spent one windy night in Blind River at the marina. Seeing whitecaps from our spot at the dock meant the weather forecast was quite accurate. 

Not a lot to do/see in Blind River (pop. ~1.500). There was however a great fish market ~3mi away so we grabbed the marina loaner bikes and stocked up on fresh trout and smoked white fish. 

Classic Canada school or rec center – ice hockey rink that is just waiting for the freezing temps.

From Blind River we headed toward Detour, MI. We checked in with the ROAM app which basically allows for us to be pre screened and typically enter with a phone call as we approach the US. So easy. Detour is a small town of around 900 people. Several other Looper boats were there when we arrived so we had docktails and then cooked another delicious fresh (bought, not caught) trout on the BBQ for dinner. Will never tired of fresh trout. 

The following morning we moved 50 miles to Mackinaw City. Not initially intending to stop here but we were killing some time before meeting my sister and her boyfriend at nearby Mackinac Island. Or so we thought. Long story sort weather –  (wind) was looking pretty nasty that week. Our plan was to meet Laura & Doren with the boat at Mackinac Island for a few days and then all head down to Traverse City, stopping in a place or two along the way. With the weather forecast what it was we decided we needed to get Heartbeat down to Traverse City as ultimately that is where Laura & Doren were flying out from. The four of us divided and conquered – we got a rental car and marina spot in Traverse City for a week and cancelled existing marina reservations along the way while they found a hotel for themselves in Sault St Marie and then a place for the 4 of us the following day on Mackinaw Island. We will drive up from Traverse City to meet them and then the 4 of us will still be able to experienced all we wanted it will just be via car instead of boat. Amazingly for all the guests we have had join us this was the first time we really had to all significantly adjust our "plans". We are grateful that Laura & Doren roll with it all. 

We did a couple more 50 mile days, stopping in Charlevoix, where we unexpectedly ran into John & Gina (Alysana) – yeah! and then to our destination of Traverse City before winds picked up. 

So many lighthouses on our Lake Michigan journey thus far. 

Mackinaw City, retired Coast Guard icebreaker ship. 

Mackinaw City has an stellar fireworks every Saturday in summer. Penny hated them but we thought they were fantastic. 

Mackinac bridge, according to the internet  – longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere. 

Charlevoix – No joke, a dozen or so mushroom houses are just outside of the downtown area. So cool and very fun to walk by. 

Charlevoix – Who knew Lake Michigan had clear green waters? The pic does not due it justice. We have been pleasantly surprised at being able to see the bottom of the lake most of the day. 

Stay tuned for the next Guest Post from Laura & Doren descibing how their trip visiting Heartbeat for the second time turned out! 

And ….  for those who love (or hate) the random state facts, Michigan is a new state on our trip so here we go again – 

Random Facts: Michigan 

  1. Michigan borders 4 of the 5 Great Lakes. 

  2. Michigan has over 10,000 lakes and the longest freshwater shoreline in the world. 

  3. Michigan has 116 lighthouses and navigational lights.