Today was a Mackinaw City kinda of day. The boys spent the morning touring the Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw WAGB-83. The icebreaker known as the "Queen of the Great Lakes" was built as part of the war effort during World War II to meet the heavy demands of war materials and transportation during the winter months. She was decommissioned in 2006.


Ed and John on the deck.

Carol and I went on a mission to find dinner. This included a drive to the Upper Peninsula to Lehto's to purchase John and Carol's favorite pasties. We drove 40 km (26 miles) round trip and paid two bridge tolls and it was worth it.

A view of the Mackinac Bridge from the Upper Peninsula.

The afternoon was spent on the Lighthouse Boat Tour. The owner of Sheplers Ferry's was our captain and Terry Pepper, the executive director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association was our guide. This was a "3 hour tour" --- we were relieved that we didn't have any Howells, Gilligans, Professors, Maryannes or Gingers on board.

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During the tour we saw five lighthouses and drove under the Mackinac Bridge. This is the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City.

The Mackinac Bridge from the water.

Under the bridge looking at the Cormorants.

We were also lucky enough to see five great lake freighters. On February 20, 1959, the Great Lakes Engineerg Works launched the Herbert C. Jackson.

This is Algosoo, one of the many freighters owned by Algoma Central. This freighter was built in Collingwood Ontario and was launched on July 24, 1974.

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The tug Defiance and the barge Ashtubula were specifically designed to operate together as a self-unloading bulk carrier. After a long career on the ocean, the pair have returned to the Lakes where they were built. The barge was launched on April 22, 1982.

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The the left is Grey's Reef lighthouse was completed in September 1936. On the right is the White Shoal lighthouse was built in 1909. The outside of the lighthouse was covered with glazed white terra cotta blocks. In the 1980 a coast guard crew repainted the lighthouse in the "candy cane" red and white spiral we still see today.

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Waugoshance lighthouse was built in 1851. After the White Shoal lighthouse was built, Waugoshance lighthouse became redundant and was decommissioned in 1913. The lighthouse remained undisturbed until the early 1940's when it was used for bombing practice.

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The St. Helena Island Lighthouse was built in 1873. By 1980 the lighthouse was in extremely poor condition. The Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association purchased the lighthouse in 1986 and with the help of the boy scouts and many volunteers have restored it.

The Wilfred Sykes going under the Mackinac Bridge.