Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ferry Etiquette . . .

New to the Island?  Here are a few tips on Ferry Etiquette to buff off some of that newbie shine you might be sporting:

1.   Plan ahead - It helps:
First, check the schedule for the boat so you can plan your travel times. Our Drummond Island Ferry runs on the 10s and 40s. You can find the current schedule online here:

2.    Be nice – It’s the right thing to do:
There IS a line leader. They are the ones who got to the ferry dock first, line-up nicely behind them.  Do not take cuts.

3.    Waiting - It happens:
In high season, ferry traffic will exceed capacity, particularly on Friday afternoons and Sunday mornings/early afternoons. At these times the ferry may or may not “run wild” – meaning make extra trips between regularly scheduled runs to pick-up cars that were inline but simply couldn’t fit onboard. Be prepared to wait. Bring a book, a newspaper or a good friend to chat with!

4.    Don’t rush – you won’t get there any faster.
When getting on or off the ferry watch and wait to be directed by a Crew member.  Rushing rarely accomplishes anything and may cause accidents.

5.    Hang up – stop texting.
When loading or unloading from the ferry please turn your cell phone off and pay attention. The process goes smoothly when we all work together.

6.    Have your money or ticket ready.
The EUPTA only accepts cash or check. They are NOT set-up to accept Credit or Debit Cards of any kind. Know what the fares are in advance by reading the board on the DeTour side or online at their official website:

7.    Don’t argue with the Ferry Crew, ever.
They are here to help us, they know what they are doing and do it well. Take time to smile and wave as you unload!

8.    Sit back and enjoy the view!
You’re on “Island Time”!

                                          Photo Credit: Donna Alexander

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Together We Make a Family . . .

Our family. We are a strange clan of characters making our way through life sharing DNA and toothpaste. Borrowing money and divvying up marshmallows . Inflicting pain and hugging to heal it all in the same moment. 

We love, laugh, fight and defend. At times we struggle to figure out just what the common thread is that binds us all together.

It isn't blood. When we married each of us brought two biological children to the table. His daughter and son, my two sons and a "daughter" who became family by default. Our five have grown, married and multiplied - this month we morphed into a family of 24! Five children, their spouses/partners, their children and their step-children. All part of this thing I lovingly call "Our Clan". 

I am now the Matriarch of this ragtag bunch. And I find myself using terms like "young people" and "good, clean fun" when referring to the activities of my grandchildren. When did I become my Great-grandmother?! 

But the thing is, when I look at my life, my greatest happiness-es are our family happiness-es. Each and every milestone takes on new meaning for me. Babies being born. Wee ones starting kindergarten. Older ones going to Prom, off to college and getting engaged. 

Our family - our Clan - is a circle of love and strength. With every birth, union and milestone the circle grows. Every joy shared adds to the love we all feel for each other. Every obstacle faced makes our growing circle stronger. 

I didn't choose this family - they are God's gift to me. The bond that links us is not entirely blood - it is the love and joy we bring to each other. 

Together we make a family!

Friday, January 3, 2014

How C-O-L-D Was It? The Story of a Cold Winter in the Island's History as shared by Lisa Ellis:

Coast Guard Cutter 'Mackinaw' in the ice circa 1960s 
(Photo Credit: from the collection of the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum)

Lisa Ellis was kind enough to type up this story of her father's memory of another C-O-L-D winter in the Island's history:

"My Dad, on his regular visit this morning had a cold weather story to share!

He began talking about the coldest he had ever seen it on Drummond - I would say after 82 years he has seen a lot! He said that the coldest he had ever seen it on Drummond was -50F! BURRRR!

He also told of weeks and weeks of below zero weather. I can remember -40F for weeks in my life time.

He told of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (the old one) pulling into the ferry dock, putting the stern engines in forward and the bow engines in reverse sending ice chucks rolling up around the bow along with car parts, bikes and mud from the bottom of the lake!

He also told of weeks and weeks of below zero weather. I can remember -40 for weeks in my life time.

He told of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (the old one) pulling into the ferry dock, putting the stern engines in forward and the bow engines in reverse sending ice chucks rolling up around the bow along with car parts bikes and mud from the bottom of the lake!

He told of being out on the ice (driving across with their car) and being 60 feet or so from the Mackinaw while she worked her way through the St. Mary's ice. They watched as 4 or 5 foot thick chunks of ice bubbled up around the bow and slid across the top of the ice-crusted River! (He wishes he would have taken pictures, I wish they would have too! I would have loved to see that!)

He told me how exciting it was to see that majestic boat at work. He considers it a privilege to have been able to see it! I think it's awesome to hear his stories! If anyone had photos I would love to see them! Candis Collick here is a story for you!

Coast Guard Cutter 'Mackinaw' in the ice circa 1960s 
(Photo Credit: from the collection of the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum)

I love hearing and sharing the stories of our Island's history. Stories like this define one's sense of the unique nature of each of our families, and of our own places in them. They provide us with inspiration, warnings, and cherished values. These stories never leave us; they reverberate through our lives, guiding our choices in work, friendship and love. Keeping a family's history alive is critical not only to its memory, but also to its members own emotional survival.

Thank you Lisa for sharing your father's story today - keep 'em coming!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

For all your "Calming" Beverages!

The rhythms and rituals of life on the Island are sacred. Now you can be reminded of your own "Island Times" while sipping your morning coffee - or the "calming" adult beverage of your choice!

Get your own "Keep Calm" mug from Cafe Press by following this link:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Hatch is ON!

Think how fast a year flies by
A month flies by
A week flies by
Think how fast a day flies by
A Mayfly’s life lasts but a day

A single day
To live and die
A single day
How fast it goes
The day
The Mayfly
Both of those.

A Mayfly flies a single day
The daylight dies and darkness grows
A single day
How fast it flies
A mayfly’s life
How fast it goes.

It starts like a rise of small trout. There are dimples on the surface, little fingerlings eating midges, perhaps. But these are no fish. The water breaks and up pop the wings of a Mayfly, then another and another. The hatch is on!

This legend plays out every year on calm, dark, humid nights in late May and early June. The mayflies make the television news by showing up on doppler radar or calling snowplows out of dormancy to remove layers of duns from bridges. 
 Mayflies have two adult stages. They first emerge from the water as duns (scientifically known as the subimago stage). They then molt into the spinner (imago) stage, in which they mate and die.

This poem is from the book The Llama Who Had No Pajama by Mary Ann Hoberman. Hoberman's poems, accompanied by Fraser's illustrations, have been delighting children for 40 years. Now, many poems from their out-of-print books are available in this fun collection. The selections are mostly humorous, sometimes contemplative, and deal with animals, family, play, and plain silliness.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Once You Have Slept On An Island . . .


If once you have slept on an Island
You'll never be quite the same;   

You may look as you looked the day before
And go by the same old name,


You may bustle about in street and shop
You may sit at home and sew,
But you'll see blue water and wheeling gulls
Wherever your feet may go. 


You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
And close to your fire keep,
But you'll hear ship whistle and lighthouse bell
And tides beat through your sleep. 


Oh! you won't know why and you can't say how
Such a change upon you came,
But once you have slept on an island,
You'll never be quite the same. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Paddling Drummond Island

 There is no rushing when paddling. When you paddle you go at the pace of the water and that pace ties you into a flow that is older than life itself on this planet.  Acceptance of that pace, even for a day, changes us, reminds us of other rhythms beyond the sound of our own heartbeats. 

Drummond Island is a paddler’s paradise of sheltered bays, forested islands, and stone-studded shorelines in northern Lake Huron. The Island and its many satellite islands combine to form a marvelous playground for seasoned kayakers. Of course, Drummond’s quiet bays and forested shoreline can also be explored and enjoyed by less experienced paddlers on day trips and over-nighters, provided they select a route geared to their experience level.  With that said the Drummond archipelago is particularly suited to veteran kayakers. Drummond’s waterways feature long sections of exposed shoreline, and exploration of some of the outer islands in Potagannissing Bay require open crossings of a mile or more.

If one sets out to navigate the waters surrounding Drummond you should always be mindful of the fact that perspective changes and what is familiar from land is not always so clearly recognized from the cockpit of a low riding kayak.  Always plan your paddle and paddle your plan! If you need help laying out your route, simply stop by the DITA office. Our local experts will share their knowledge and experience in an effort to make your paddling experience a successful adventure!

Drummond Island has over one hundred forty miles of coast and inland shoreline to explore – all plotted out via the DITA recreational map and easily accessed from multiple public launch points.  There’s much to explore by kayak or canoe, especially on the Drummond Island Heritage Water Trail - where points of interest are linked around a 60-mile loop. From easy paddles in our inner bays to high adventure risk and challenge circumnavigating the entire shoreline - paddling the Island’s waterways is a true Up North experience! 

Escape your land-locked life for Drummond Island, where our scenic shoreline awaits you for the ultimate paddling adventure!