July 14, 2014

Day 303 - July 14, 2014: Pentwater, MI

We are getting close to home, and anticipating "crossing our wake" and celebrating the completion of the Great Loop. But, I digress. First, we must get there...

The route home takes us along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, and one of our favorite ports, among many, is Pentwater. Since it is about halfway to Spring Lake, we chose this for tonight. After leaving Frankfort, there is a long curving stretch where we passed ports such as Arcadia, Portage Lake, and Manistee. This led to Big Sable Point, where we turned south, passed Ludington, and headed for Pentwater. 

Big Sable Point Lighthouse
Like most ports along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, Pentwater is a summer tourist and boating destination and also a port of refuge. A port of refuge is a place that is required to take boats and provide shelter when the captain believes that to continue the voyage would put the boat and passengers in peril. Most of these ports of refuge are inlets with a channel into a small river-fed lake that provides natural protection from winds and waves. Here, the Pentwater River feeds Pentwater Lake which outflows into Lake Michigan. 

The Pentwater beach on Lake Michigan
Pierhead in the Pentwater channel
View of Pentwater from Pentwater Lake
The most disastrous day in the history of Lake Michigan shipping occurred here in November 1940, when 75 mph winds and 20 ft waves and a raging rainstorm destroyed three ships and took the lives of 59 seamen. Two freighters sank with all hands lost, and a third freighter ran aground, losing two seamen. That night a snowstorm arrived, hampering the Coast Guard rescue efforts for three days. 

We docked at the Snug Harbor Marina, and after Anne's especially healthy dinner of baked catfish and asparagus, we walked a couple of blocks into town and  treated ourselves to some Amaretto Cherry Chocolate Moose Tracks ice cream before retiring for the night. We are expecting a small craft warning with high winds and waves tomorrow, and won't know until dawn whether we will make the run for home. 

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