On Day two we headed North to Grand Haven. As can be seen in the picture above, there was a lot of boat traffic. More than usual - because there were some major power/jet boat races going on. We saw (and heard!) some fast looking boats with seriously large engines motors past us on the way to the course. A little bit of internet surfing makes me thing it was the Great Lakes Silver Cup Series. If that was the case, the winner was a "super cat" with an average speed of 85mph. Just imagine how fast that would be on land. Joining the crowd on the lakeside, we were just in time to watch the start. It was hard to see too much from the shore, but it was possible to watch the helicopters out filming all the boats and of course hear the engines. We soon left the beach to the hard core fans settled in with their lawn chairs, coolers, and sun umbrellas, in search of our next lighthouse.

Grumpy Old Men

This was our favorite name for a boat and it turned out to be the winner in its class with an average speed of 66 mph All of the drivers were well equipped with helmets and blaze orange life jackets, presumably for improving their chances in a crash.

Grand Haven Light

This was as close as we could get to the light. The walkway was closed due to the crowd around for the motor boat races. If you look closely, you'll see there were a few lucky exceptions watching the race from the top of the light.

 

Muskegon was our next stop and it felt like the Caribbean! The place had immense, white sand beaches, sunbathers galore, and an additional crowd drawn by a beach volleyball tournament. Craziness! We braved the calf-burning walk through the beach to the lakeshore and meandered out the long breakwater to one of two lights on the channel to the inland lake. There was a crowd of fishermen at the end of the breakwater and spent some time with them watching the boat traffic. A sail boat race had just finished (big weekend for racing apparently!) and they were all coming in - downwind with spinnakers flying. Jim got some nice shots of them actually sailing spinnakers through the channel - which given the amount of boat traffic and subsequent lack of room to maneuver was fairly daring. We had a leisurely lunch here, toured an old WWII sub and headed off for the last lighthouse of the day.

This was the light on the original channel. It now sits inside a newer, longer breakwater with its own light as shown below. This generates a little harbor that was popular with boaters who wanted anchor and head in to the beach.

 

The old one (seen again on the right) is currently a USCG facility and no longer open to the public.

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The boat with the red spinnaker is Guantlet. The captain shouted to Jim that he wanted the picture. If you see this, send us an e-mail and we'll get you a print!

According to my favorite source (the internet) the USS Silversides was commissioned eight days after Pearl Harbor and went on to conduct over 30 war patrols. Now in addition to being a museum, it is a sleepover site for boy scout troops. Not sure I'd sleep there voluntarily. The Muskegon Chronicle reports that it was also in the movie Below (out on 10/11/02) that is some sort of a ghost story on a submarine thing. In order to prevent breaking a treaty with Canada stipulating that there are no active warships in the great lakes, they took off the propellers and towed it around for filming.

This is the new light - up close!

USS Silversides SS236

The last stop of the day was Whitehall. This is the only lighthouse in the vicinity that is open to the public so we scrambled to get there before closing time. A very patient museum employee let us in and stayed on a little late so Jim and I could climb the excellent stairs up the tower and wander around the lightkeepers house.

One More Day of Lighthouses

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