I recently joined the Fox Island Lighthouse Association (FILA) in Traverse City. They are trying to restore the South Fox Island Lighthouse and the surrounding area.
My brother, Gary, and I attended several meetings to learn about the work being planned to restore the grounds and the lighthouse. We found out that the boat used to take the work crews out to the island was stored in Northport and a work crew was needed to prepare the boat for the upcoming season.
I drove over and met John McKinney and Phil von Voigtlander. Gary was coming next week.
Former Seagrant Agent with the Michigan State University, co-founder of the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Initiative (now Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay) and the Maritime Heritage Alliance; expert in just about anything concerning Great Lakes ecology. FILA co-founder and President.
Northport, Leelanau County, MI.
PhD, retired pharmaceutical research director, avid sailor of the Great Lakes. Former chair, now vice chair of the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay. Designer and skipper of the Baykeeper tug boat.
FILA Island Project Manager
The boat has two 200 HP Merc engines and was once a charter fishing boat. The motor and boat were overhauled and made ready for service a couple of years ago.
The boat is called the Lightkeeper and everything that goes to the island is carried by the boat.
The first day we worked on scrubbing the deck and cleaning the hull.
The deck plates were scrubbed with a cleaner and then a Soft Scrub with bleach added was used to brighten the deck plates. After the plates dried, a coat of sealer was added to protect the cover and make it easier to keep clean. There were four removable deck plates that had to be cleaned.
That took most of my time the first day. The boat had the initial cleaning and then we made plans to return in a week.
The following week, Gary and I headed up to Northport to work on the boat again. On the drive up M-22 towards the end of the Leelanau Peninsula we could see the cherry trees in blossom.
I, of course, had to stick my head in and see the work being done. Things were coming along and the boat would be ready in a week or two.
Gary started cleaning the boat from the top deck down. This was the second cleaning
and then we put on the poly sealer.
I cleaned the top and front deck and prepared them for the final sealer. We had to be careful not to
put the slippery poly sealer on the walkways of the deck.
The Lightkeeper was looking good. Hopefully, we will go out on a work crew to the island and spend
three or four days camping while we work on the project.
After we finished up for the day, Gary and I drove back to Northport and started back towards Traverse City.
We saw many sites that we would like to stop and explore.
It is easy to see where the water drops off to the deeper depths.
This shot was a raft with two deck chairs and an umbrella on it.
We didn't get to the Winerys that are all over this area. I definitely want to come back and ride these roads
The last shot of the bay before we left the area was a good one!
When you come to visit me, we will go up there. It is only 1 1/2 hours from my house.