I'm not sure I can add anything to the multitude of superlatives already attached to this boat ride, but I'll try...We've been to the straits area many, many times over the last 35+ years and it's hard to find something new to do each visit, but after checking into our motel and grabbing some brochures at the front desk this adventure caught my eye.
We didn't really have a set agenda for each day, so on Tuesday (27th), after some morning rain and a visit to the the Old Mackinac Point lighthouse late morning, we decided to go check on the availability of tickets for the 5:00pm "tour under the bridge" cruise. We had some trouble finding the place (it's directly across the street from the new Starbucks "tower" and next to Bell's Fishery.), but once we found it we discovered no one was there at the moment. We didn't want to hang around and wait for someone to show up as we were heading to the fort for the afternoon, so I called the number listed and left a message. A short time later, after we got to the fort, a very nice lady called me back and took our reservation over the phone.
After we were done with our fort visit we headed back over to the Ugly Anne's dock and bought our tickets. At $24.50 a head it was a great deal. It was a beautiful weather day for the straits...no wind whatsoever and lots of sunshine so the water was like glass. When it came time to board there was less than a dozen of us on the boat.
Once we got underway the captain, Chris and his mate were very capable and friendly. They played a recording of information while we rode out toward the bridge that was difficult for my old ears to hear over the motor, but that was a non-problem. We were there for the experience and the chance to shoot photos from under the bridge.
When we got out to the bridge Captain Chris made multiple passes back and forth under the bridge which allowed me ample opportunties to get some great looking pics from an entirely new perspective (thanks to the calm water and late afternoon sunshine). He even came close enough to one of the buoys with his wake to ring the bell, which made me smile.
After we were done hanging out underneath the bridge we started heading back for the dock and on the way back Chris let several of the kids on our tour steer the boat which was a thrill for them. Also, everyone on the boat was given a necklace of red beads as a sovenier of the cruise. We gave ours to our granddaughter when we got home and she's still wearing them :-)
All in all it was a very well spent hour, doing something new on a beautiful day in Northern Michigan.
Over the years we've driven over the bridge dozens of times, flown over it in a small plane (tour plane based on the Island on our honeymoon trip years ago), walked over it on the bridgewalk a dozen or more times and I've even been to the top of the North tower with one of the engineers who helped build the bridge when I was shooting pics for the travel bureau years ago, but the boat tour under the bridge on the Ugly Anne was a first and an all around enjoyable experience. I'd definitely recommend adding it to your list of things to do next time you're in Mackinaw City. I know we'll be going back again next time we're in town.
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