We made it to Leland. Alongside high winds, we sailed with one reef in and directly after calling in our arrival we heard their warning of shoaling around the harbor. In other words, it was a fast sail from Frankfort but there would be a chance of grounding coming into the harbor as the winds had blown the sand into the passage way. They mentioned it’d be 6 feet in depth but our keel is at 5.5 feet so it made us hesitant to come in right away. They were correct (luckily) and we made it in fine with the help of a couple dock hands. Leland soon became our favorite harbor in Michigan. Petoskey had a ranking of first but fell to second as we enjoyed Fishtown so much. Leland is the only anchorage we could have stayed at while visiting family as they took holiday in Sleeping Bear Dunes. Since dating Tharon, I’ve known their travels to this scenic area and I’ve gone each time I had been invited. I’ll go every year now, invited or not!
First things first. Tharon’s Mom knows how to camp. There are no campers or luxury items of any kind, instead they bring the necessary items for a very enjoyable time. I grew up the same way by enjoying life off the land and making the most of what the community has to offer. It’s partly why Tharon and I have come to know such great adventures with each other.
As soon as we got to the marina, we had company. Tharon’s mom & grandpa were there to greet us! Hoping to get sailing shots of us coming in, we were glad to have already been docked. In case those pictures would have been us grounding, we wouldn’t have wanted the extra attention. Speaking of which, there was a boat that grounded while we were there. It was a power boat that has a much shorter draft but instead of listening to the dock master commands, thought it’d be fine to go on the other side of the buoys. DOH! He grounded and had to have a tow boat pull him out. We soon realized that BOAT US would be a good idea to have…just in case. Anyways, we toured Tipsy Gypsy and laughed away any hesitant options of turning back now. His grandpa was accepting of our travels and could not be prouder of his grandson.
Back at the docks, we met Courtney, David and their boat Jupiter. Although we were exhausted from the long day sailing, we had sundowners with them which ended up being many drinks throughout a late evening of laughing and exchanging stories. We learned that they had bought their sailboat as part of their honeymoon and were delivering it around Michigan from White Lake to St. Clair Shores. We also learned that they were stuck in Leland with some engine issues. Tharon knows far more about the maintenance of Tipsy Gypsy and became a useful source for them. Throughout our family time, we loved hanging out with cruisers our own age for a while! Each day, they were closer and closer to fixing the issue but in the end, it was Tharon’s Grandpa that got their engine running and they could not have been happier!! They decided to leave the day the engine started and we said our goodbyes. Such a great couple and selfishly glad they had to stop in Leland so that we could meet them 🙂
Our days in SBD & Leland were spent on the beaches of Lake Michigan, climbing sand dunes, shopping Fishtown, and enjoying ice cream every day. We always try to do a different event while visiting M-22. This year’s trip we were able to take his entire family out on Tipsy! It was a very windy day and because it was so crowded (14 People) we decided we’d just cruise around instead of sail. Everyone enjoyed being out in the water even if we were only out for around an hour. There was a storm coming and we definitely didn’t want everyone on board while dealing with a storm. It rained for two days off and on with one of the days spitting out tennis ball sized hail stones! We were happy to be on the boat as it was drier than tent camping.
After one of the rainy days, we did decide to camp out. We love having bonfires and one of Tharon’s favorite dinners is having Hobo Pies. Basically you place ingredients in between two pieces of bread and smash it together in a cast iron sandwich maker and grill it in the coals of a fire. Typically they have ingredients for pizza flavors or sweet pie flavors. They really hit the spot! Sitting around the fire was SO nice. Camping was peaceful. Our favorite part of being around the campsite though, was the new bocce ball set that Tharon and I bought for the occasion. I had never played before and it soon became a slight obsession. I’m getting better at it but still not someone you’d want on your team, haha. We also loved the sunsets in this area. Sleeping Bear Dunes is already gorgeous but with a sunset behind you, it’s the ice cream on top.
Sleeping Bear Dunes and Leland are two of our favorite spots. This would be my 5th year there. Tharon has been going for the past 19 years. It’s changed drastically each year I’ve gone and unfortunately keeps getting more popular to visit. If you do visit, be respectful of all this beautiful place has to offer. Glad to keep our secret spots and for this continued tradition from where ever we might be next.
Cheers, thanks for reading!