The Wayne Diaries: Ludington to Chicago in a 17-foot boat

October 25, 2022

The Wayne Diaries: Ludington to Chicago in a 17-foot boat

Self-proclaimed “professional beach bum” Wayne Dewyer of Ludington is currently trekking his way to the Florida Keys in a 17-foot motorboat. From time to time, Wayne will update the readers of MCP about his journey. You can also follow him by subscribing to his YouTube channel, The Wayne Diaries here. 

Read more about Wayne’s journey here.

Chicago from Lake Michigan

By Wayne Dewyer

It’s always very scary trying to make it to the Chicago River in an open boat down the mighty Lake Michigan. I have to pick my days where the waves are one foot or less to be comfortable; anything larger than that in this 17-foot boat is very scary. Lake Michigan can get so wavy and unpredictable in an instant. I planned my route so as to always have a ditch port to pull into, like Pentwater then White Lake, South Haven, St. Joseph, and so on. 

Wayne Dewyer, photo by Rob Alway

As I left Pentwater it was sunny and 75 and just perfect on the Lake.  I made it to White Lake next and then it was like a switch was turned by mother nature and the rain came in and the wind picked up and the temperatures dropped. I was trapped for two days with rain and wind. After two days I was just tired and had to move on so I continued on to Grand Haven with wind and waves of two to three feet which was not pleasant but I had to continue..

After refueling in Grand Haven, the next morning was perfect and I headed to Holland with less than one foot seas. I arrived there before noon and refueled and figured I had better take advantage of the weather and continue on. I had a storm chasing me and It looked very bad behind me from the north. I kicked up the speed to 12 knots. As I pulled into Saugatuck the wind was picking up and the rain started and temperatures were in the low 50s.  I spent four days in Saugatuck windbound with rain all four days. 

Everything on the boat was wet and damp and I was feeling defeated. I kept looking at my weather apps hoping it would break. I finally saw that the weather was perfect the next day, so I got everything ready and headed out first thing in the morning heading for Hammond, Indiana Marina where I start into the river down to the Mississippi on the Calumet. 

As I saw Chicago coming into view I started to feel really good about the accomplishment of making it down Lake Michigan and into the Calumet River to start my trek to the Mississippi. 

The next article will talk about the leg is the locks and barges I have had to contend with.


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