Day 115, August 20, 2012 (Ludington, MI): In the last few days we visited three ports: Leland, Frankfort, and Ludington.
Leland, a town of about 1,000 permanent inhabitants, is a happening place. It is a fishing town that processes tons (literally) of white fish during the season. You can eat white fish any way; broiled, fried, grilled, smoked, pâté, pickled, dressed, naked, and just dead. It’s all good. At the left this fisherman is emptying his barrel of ice after cleaning several hundred pounds of fish he has caught, today. The homes on the hill overlooking Lake Leelanau are lavish and the golf course is pristine. The main street is at most 200 yards long but features good stuff, very little imported junk. Despite throngs of visitors, the town is devoid of litter. At the right are some of the old buildings in the fishing port, a small creek jammed with net boats large and small. Flower pots hanging from lampposts thrive and regularly cultivated. The marina is nicely sheltered and the docks are well maintained.
Frankfort is less than 2000 permanent inhabitants and it is just there. In contrast to Leland, the main street consists of litter, holiday kitch, and ends in a collection of vacant condos by the lake. Here is a bit of the main street at the left. The port is a sheltered lake entered through a narrow channel. Here a mink pays us a visit. Minks clean up dead fish and other edible debris. The locals start leaving to go fishing at 04:00 and don’t care how much wake they lay down. and the marinas are exposed along the shore of the port. The municipal docks run by the Michigan DNR are in poor shape. The DNR cut off the bottoms of the timbers that keep boats off of the dock and the ends are too high, at a level that can grab a rub rail or splash rail and rip it off. At the right, Ralph, a bachelor swan pesters us for a handout.
Below, Quest and Queen Kathleen are leaving the Frankfort channel to resume their southward journey. Frankfort was a one nighter.
Ludington is a city of just under 10,000, well buffed up and bussed. Like Leland the main street is pleasant and free of litter. There is a variety of shops and a good market. The marina also suffers from the cut off posts but the dock hands are on the job and handy to help keep the boat away from these hazards. Salmon fishing is big in Lake Michigan. Boats troll for fish in water that is deeper than I expected, over 40 feet. We watched fisherman filetting fresh catch. The last coal-fired ferry boat, SS Badger, is based in Ludington.
On one side of the Ludington Municipal Marina is a huge park, another marina, and a sculpter garden. Here, a group of loopers is having “docktails” next to the boats. Below the Badger is heading to Wisconsin for its second four-hour trip of the day with a bugler aboard announcing the striking of the colors and the end of the day.
Folks are at the park facility showing off their salmon catch and cleaning the fish.
Resident swan pair shows off at sunset.