the morning of August 7th,
we sailed to Mackinac
Island, again mostly downwind. We have been lucky in our sailing conditions
to date. In route, we passed several large freighters.The
Gray's reef lighthouses are impressive standing
as lone guardians in the middle of the Lake.
We left Lake Michigan
and entered Huron as we went under the Mackinac
Tacking around cowboy
turbo ferries, we
passed between the Round Island lighthouse and the Old Mackinac lighthouse
and anchored in Mackinac
This is a beautiful
but tourist filled island. It is unique in that no automobiles are allowed
and all transportation is by bicycles
and horse drawn carts. The high tech Segway
vehicles are specifically prohibited.
Many of the original
hotels and homes
have been preserved and are actively utilized. The harbor
is overlooked by the Grand
Hotel and historic
We have it on good
authority from our new little friends Sarah
and Suzie that the Butterfly Museum is
an excellent place to visit, even though it is not quite as good as the
one at Niagara Falls.
The name of the island
is from the French interpretation of the original Native American "Turtle
In the dim light of
early morning the island begins to stir. The
horses are fed and prepared for their day. They
are the pulse of the island. The people on this beautiful Great Turtle island
decided that they didn't want to have cars and car exhaust on the island
and that it is worth the extra work to keep it that way. Hay is delivered
to the island and the stables. Blacksmiths pound out the horseshoes. The
horses are groomed and saddled and are ready for moving people, baggage
and materials around the island. Then, the rhythmic sounds of the horse's
hoofs begin clip-clop, clip-clop. There is an organic smell to the island
and a cadre of scoopers patrol the island streets.
After spending several
days with no autos, but a plethora of bikes and horses, one has to ponder
the pros and cons. The use of horses is very labor intensive and not inexpensive.
must be grown by local farmers and then shipped to the horses. The horses
must be stabled, fed and cared for. Some byproducts of horse use are messy
and require disposal. Autos are less messy. However, to fuel autos we must
pay international cartels to extract oil, ship it to our land and refine
it to gasoline.
Horse byproducts enrich
the Mac Island flower gardens, while car byproducts poison our lungs. I
am not proposing that horses replace autos everywhere, but it is nice to
have this one special place where they do.