But Sometimes Life Hands You Lemonade

We fervently wished that we’d get but one glorious Michigan late-summer day while all our friends were visiting.  Alas, the weather is a cruel mistress; we were denied.  Since then, though, it has been paradise: almost cloudless mid to upper 70’s during the day, and clear cool nights.  You’ll no doubt be surprised to learn then, that we spent a good bit of the day yesterday on Torch Lake.

Looking northeast from the sandbar

Actually, we started out at Short’s Brewery, which I’m told has really great brews.  I wouldn’t know.  They all taste terrible to me, but I keep trying!  I think beer and oysters are just things I will never enjoy.  But I do like sandwiches, and Short’s knows how to do those, too!

But, after Short’s (okay, and Moka, because how can you go to Bellaire and not have Moka?), we frolicked on the sandbar at the south end of Torch Lake for a bit, then took the kayaks out.  The water was cool, and the sun was warm.  We discussed  floating tents, on the premise that if we had one, I would have stayed the night.  Really, it was one of those days where you’re just glad that you’re alive and in the moment.

Looking back to shore

This weekend was Traverse City’s annual schooner festival, though, so we did  not sleep on Torch.  Instead, we unloaded the kayaks at the house, feasted on some of our now-ripening grapes, then headed into town.  I don’t find the idea of pirates particularly romantic, but their boats?  Absolutely.  How can you not?  I had Tony stop for a photo op before we had dinner (aside: I’m not sure how much he loves doing this, but he never, ever complains, so he gets brownie points 🙂 ), and then after we walked to the marina for sunset and more pictures.  I think the returning schooners with their sails down look positively ghostly, but maybe that’s just my romantic side.

Peeking through leaves at the sun-warmed grapes

Single grape in Jess' fingers

The tallship Manitou

Unknown (to me) and the armed sloop Welcome

The Madeline and Denis Sullivan

The Inland Seas

The Denis Sullivan (the camera picked up more light than my eyes - it really was at least a bit spookier in person)

Sunset from the marina

A glassy Boardman, about 40 minutes after sunset

We had plans last night to get up this morning and try to get some decent photos of the Elmwood wreck, but with the festival going on, that area of the bay was pretty crowded with boats – schooners, dozens of sail boats, and probably more fishing boats (the salmon are doing their annual baby-making journeys).  So instead, we went up to Northport, because I had read about some shipwreck there close to shore.  We first scouted with the kayaks, and then decided to snorkel given that we’re promptly (as in Monday night) running out of warm weather.  There were a couple of other guys out diving the bay/marina area there, and we talked to one of them after our trip.  Turns out, we were checking out the remains of both a shipwreck and some old iron smelting equipment.  He gave us all kinds of details about the area (ask me next time you’re in the region;) ) and some new places to check out. We rounded out the day with a stroll along the Boardman River through downtown TC, where we watched huge salmon swim upstream unsuccessfully (the fish weirs are down), and a nap.

Me, before our swim out

Note: underwater photos have been color-corrected.  So, not exactly as we saw it, but the camera simply does not know how to deal with all the blue-green.

Wreck parts

Wreck, iron smelting scrap, fish

Other side

Tony over some wreckage

Looking under at some fish

The long view

Boardman River on its way to West Bay

Pylons along West Bay

Fall is undoubtedly barreling down upon us, but we’ve had a pretty spectacular summer.  Having a few fantastic late-season days makes the transition to cooler weather pretty sweet.

Don’t fall too fast for fall in Michigan
Warm summer still clings to its sunny course
Distant visitors bring good luck but bad weather again
But the sun returns, and so shall they, of course!

-Joe Conard, in freshly sharpened pencil

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