Charlevoix, michigan

Ok, so let’s start off on the right foot, Charlevoix is pronounced Shar – le – voy, the ending rhymes with boy. If you pronounce is Shar – le – voo, you will get funny looks – like – your not from around here are you? Ask us how we know this. After 3 or 4 days I think we finally got it right.

Today is Thursday June 25th and we left Northport after an overnight stay around 8:15 am this morning and we are heading the 21 nm to Charlevoix (remember rhymes with boy) for a 3 night stay. We are looking forward to Charlevoix as we have heard lots of great things about this town and the marina. Reservations were hard to come by and I made sure we called at least a week in advance, as they were full the weekend we were there.

One of our favorite sailing youtube channels is Sailing Soulianis. They are a couple that is originally from the Lake Michigan area and we have watched their journeys on Lake Michigan and in particular their stay in Charlevoix. So, we were excited to get to places that others have been and we have seen through sailing youtube videos.

We were having a very pleasant sail this morning:

All of the sudden we see and hear this helicopter and when we look off at the distance toward where is it, we see that it is hovering over a boat on the water in the distance. What is going on over there? Get the binoculars so we can check it out. It appears it’s a coast guard helicopter. Are they actually rescuing someone? We didn’t hear anything, like a mayday, on our VHF. But wait, it appears the boat is a coast guard boat as well. We finally figured out that the coast guard was out here practicing maneuvers and they were actually dropping a couple of guys on wires from the helicopter and landing them on a moving boat. By the time I got out the telephoto lens I think they guys were already on the boat. But we still got some cool photos of the action.

It was beautiful coming into the entrance to Charlevoix. One of the things that makes Charlevoix a great place is once you are inside the entrance the town of Charlevoix sits on what would be otherwise described as a small inland lake – round lake. Then at the end of round lake it opens up a bit more to Lake Charlevoix. All the action with the town and marina are right on round lake the main street of town overlooks the marina.

We wanted to get the dinghy out and go exploring with our dinghy into Lake Charlevoix however, we haven’t put our registration numbers on the dinghy yet and we were warned that the coast guard here was very serious about patrolling these waters and we would likely get a ticket for not having our registration numbers on the dinghy, so we never made it into Lake Charlevoix and stayed in round lake, however we had more then enough to keep us entertained.

Here’s some photos of the entrance into Charlevoix:

Now, you might notice that there is a bridge at the end of this entrance just before we enter Round Lake. Our mast on the boat is about 56 feet tall and as you can see in the photo above, there is no way a 56 foot mast is getting under that bridge. Thankfully the bridge is a draw bridge that opens every 30 minutes at the top of the hour and the bottom of the hour. Now, this is only the second time we have encountered a bridge on our boat. The first one was in Manitowoc when we had to move from the winter storage building to the marina, that bridge opened on demand, meaning you call them on the VHF and request them to open and they open the bridge for you. This particular bridge however opens on a schedule and does not open on demand. This means we have to carefully time our approach so that we hit, I mean come, to the bridge at the right time. Mark was doing a great job adjusting our boat speed and watching the clock to ensure we didn’t get to the bridge too early. However, there was also a bit of a current that was pushing us toward the bridge.

We are starting to get pretty close to the bridge now and we still have a few minutes! And there are people standing all along the area watching as we approach. So, great, we are going to have an audience when we hit this bridge, as at this point, I am certain will be our fate. I am getting really nervous and praying that the bridge tender could open the bridge anytime now. Mark however, is cool as a cucumber. Thank God one of us is. After what seems like an eternity, we hear the sounds of the gates going down to stop traffic from coming across the bridge. It’s going to open!!! Thank God!

Under we go, just like we have done this before! I am now a bundle of nerves and have determined that the reason sailors drink is because of bridges and docks.

Once we pass through the bridge there was the Emerald Isle ferry that takes people between Charlevoix and Beaver Island. Also there any many beautiful homes that line the shores of Round Lake.

We got settled at the marina – the routine often goes like this: Call marina on VHF as we are getting close to confirm/get slip number. They will often tell us which side to tie so we can get lines ready. So, they might often say starboard tie, bow in, so we know how we will be oriented in the slip. They will usually have marina staff meet us at the dock to help catch lines and guide us in. This is very appreciated! Once we are tied off there is a bit of adjusting the boat and lines in the slip and adding fenders between the boat and the dock before we are satisfied that everything is as it should be. Then we take out our power cords and hook up to the shore power so we can charge our batteries and run the air conditioning. Then we head to the marina office to check in and pay for our slip for the number of nights we are there. Important information to get at the check in is the code or key for the bathrooms and showers, as well as the wi-fi password for the internet. There are often brochures for what is in the area so we can grab those to help check out the area.

After all is settled, then it’s time to check out our new surroundings. Charlevoix marina has a park that sits right on the edge of the docks and on the other side of the park is the main street. Here are some great photos:

That’s Painkiller with the mast in the center of the photo!

We learned from some local folks on the dock that Charlevoix during non-COVID times has quite the summer celebrations and has historically hosted one of the countries largest fireworks displays for the 4th of July and the band shell pictured above have hosted bands such as Loverboy and others.

We wandered up and down the main street to check things out:

We finally settled on a beer and some appetizers at the Bridge Street Brewery that overlooks the bridge coming into Round Lake.

Here’s some views from our table:

We rounded out the evening with dinner at a local mexican place that was really good. Sailing makes one tired so off to bed! More about our time in Charlevoix tomorrow!

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