Sailing Sailing Tipsy Gypsy Travels

Memorial Day Sailing – Beaver Island & Petoskey

Beaver Island

After a weekend at our land home in Rockford, we made our way from Mackinac City to Beaver Island. It would be a 43 mile journey and the conditions seemed perfect. Still not having confidence to depend entirely on wind, we motored under the Mackinac Bridge and waited till Tharon had a break to help hoist the sails. Once we decided it was time to put the sails up, we were pleasantly happy with the lack of engine noise and addition of soft waves hitting the bow. We swiftly traveled in the appropriate direction but after an hour or so it would have been too much for only one of us to control the sail and went back to the roaring engine.

We enjoyed a full day of boating and as we approached the entry of the channel, we ran out of fuel. We panicked briefly and went to the fuel tank to notice it was on its last leg. On either side of the channel, the depths get too shallow for our draft and had to be very careful as we hoisted the sail enough to get us thru the channel and situated in an appropriate anchorage.

β€œLuckily we sailed a good two hours, otherwise we would have been out of fuel much farther out. Although I suppose that forces us to learn faster,” Tharon mentioned.

We were relieved to situate in a beautiful anchorage in smooth waters. Right away, we decided to walk around the downtown area and get a feel for what the town offered. The dogs loved walking the streets but ended up being much smaller than expected. Although the downtown was smaller, the island was huge. We soon found out we would not be able to ride our bikes around. We also found out that none of the marinas were stocked with fuel yet and the nearest gas station was a few miles away.

Enjoying food and beverage at Shamrock Bar & Restaurant and Stoney Acre Grill & Pub, we soon made friends with a few of their staff members. One being a hyped up college aged guy who randomly moved from Colorado to Beaver Island for a more active Summer. Always looking for new adventures, we found his passion to be comforting. We also met some bartender girls that we’d see all over the town while we were there. They even took Tharon to the gas station to fill up a few jerry cans of diesel. We enjoyed their company and made sure to say our goodbyes before leaving the island.

One of the days we decided to rent a car. This allowed us to fill up our fuel further and also provided us the transportation to explore the island’s beauty. We made up a route and enjoyed much of the shoreline surrounding the large land mass. Highlights of our trip included Big Rock, Big Birch Tree, McCauley Point (being it’s my maiden name), the Beaver Island Light House, and many of the Nature Preserves scattered around the shoreline. We hiked all around the island and took in as much of the scenery as we could. Although we did not see a single beaver, a favorite part of the travels were the infinite number of Northern Water Snakes. It was a bit eerie at first but then realized that they were completely harmless and were prominent due to it being their mating season. As we arrived back into town, it was sad to lose the wheels and caused us to cut our trip short. We had visited all the stores/restaurants in walking distance, explored the island, refueled, and made some friends. It was time to leave for a new destination!

Beaver Island was much different than we expected. Not in a bad way but also not in a good way. We found it to be a tight knit community and would have been bored staying over the long weekend. We decided to enjoy Memorial Day Weekend in one of our favorite Michigan cities instead, Petoskey!


The sail over to Petoskey was the best yet. I sailed the entire way, making great time and having comfortable sea state so Tharon could work. I enjoyed the remaining portion of an audiobook. β€œWild” by Cheryl Strayed is an incredible story and now suggest it as one of my favorite books. We made a plan to pull into the Petoskey’s Marina and stay at a slip for a couple nights. It’s always nice to have a slip with the dogs and knew we’d be walking around lots due to the great shops, parks, and provisioning we’d be attending to for the holiday weekend.

Weather was perfect all day but ended up raining quite a lot before we decided to head to dinner at Tap 30. It dampened us but not our spirits! We sat at the bar next to a partial owner of Perrin Brewing Company and ended up getting a complimentary glass of β€œNo Rules”. One of their popular, more expensive beers. We appreciated the conversation and the delicious beer to enjoy.

The next few days, we spent time cleaning the boat from the gross midges that were accumulating on our boat. These buggers were all over the boat both alive and dead. In fact, under our cockpit grate, they accumulated so bad it was starting to smell. They happen to be around until the end of May and THANK GOODNESS they are gone. Those things are disgusting.

After finishing all the boat projects we could fit in, we explored more of Petoskey’s shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. Such a fun city! One of our favorite stops is to Beard’s Brewing. We tried every beer and stumbled home for an early night sleep. In the end, we would have loved to be there longer but paying for a slip can be quite expensive and there isn’t really a place to anchor.

What’s Next!?

As you read this post, we would have already had a strenuous experience in Charlevoix (Look for that post on Tuesday!) and will be in the midst of our second overnight sail to Muskegon. We hope for following seas and a smooth sail down with the help of our friend Abbey. Wish us well and we hope for an exciting but safe ride down.

Cheers & Thanks for Reading!


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