Lighthouse Flight
May 26, 2013

Thursday      Friday
Saturday   Sunday     Monday

Sunday - Lighthouse Airplane tour, Leg's Inn & M-119 Tunnel of Trees, Petoskey, Leelanau Peninsula

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Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse - Mackinaw City, Michigan Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Great Lakes Air Cessna 172
Cessna 172 and our pilot, Brian Allen

Sunday - day 5

Sunday was our last day in the Straits. 

After checking out of our motel, we went to the St. Ignace airport where I had chartered a Cessna 172 for a 90 minute flight. We were checked in by the owner of the company (Great Lakes Air) who I had not seen since the 1970s. His father was the Chief of Police when I was a Mackinaw City police officer. I would never have recognized him if I hadn't heard his name. I don't think he remembered me at all.

They don't regularly do lighthouse tours, but I knew where the lights were and worked out a route with our pilot which let us photograph 17 lighthouses, the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City and the Mackinac Bridge in about 90 minutes. I rode shotgun, where I could consult with the pilot, while Linda had the two seats in back, where she could photograph from both sides of the plane. We were taking pictures during almost every minute of the flight, taking about 700 photos between the two of us during the flight. It was cool, clear and calm - a beautiful day for the flight.

Mackinac Bridge and St. Ignace from the air
The Mackinac Bridge from St. Ignace

Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island from the air
The Grand Hotel

Round Island Lighthouse from the air
Round Island Lighthouse (Prints and greeting cards of this photograph)


Brian Allen and Keith Stokes

Many of these lighthouses can only be seen from the air or by boat and I had never had a close look at three of them (Skillaglee Light, Martin Reef Light and Spectacle Light) before. Photos from this trip will be soon be used to expand our pages devoted to Straits of Mackinac Lighthouses.

Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse - Bois Blanc, Michigan
Old (1868, deactivated in 1924) and new (1941) Bois Blanc Island Lights. 

Martin Reef Lighthouse - Detour, Michigan
1927 Martin Reef Lighthouse

Spectacle Reef Light - Lake Huron
Spectacle Reef Light (1874, automated in 1972) 

Poe Reef Light - Straits of Mackinac
Poe Reef Light (1929, automated in 1974) 

Fourteen Foot Shoal Light - Cheboygan, Michigan
1930 Fourteen Foot Shoal Light was one of the first automated lights.


The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw in the Cheboygan River

Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping Resort - Mackinaw CIty, Michigan
Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping Resort has over 600 campsites and a mile of Straits of Mackinac shoreline

The Mackinac Bridge spans the Straits of Mackinac
The Mackinac Bridge


Colonial Fort Michilimackinac and the newly reconstructed southwest rowhouse

McGulpin Point Lighthouse - Mackinaw City, Michigan
1869 McGulpin Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City is open to the public

Skillagalee Light
Skillagalee Light (Ile Aux Galets) and hundred of nesting birds

Waugoshance Lighthouse near Wilderness State Park
Waugoshance Lighthouse - during World War II, the abandoned light was used by the U.S. Navy for bombing practice.
(Prints and greeting card of this photograph)

White Shoal Light from the air
White Shoal Light

Freighter and lighthouse inthe Straits of Mackinac
The 1942 freighter Lee A. Tregurtha passes the 1936 Grays Reef Light

St. Helena Island Lighthouse - Straits of Mackinac
St. Helena Island Lighthouse was built in 1872-73

I think the pilot enjoyed it as well. He asked me to email some pictures of the lights to him so he can print one for his father. Much of the flight was at about 500' and there were many times when the plane was tipped about 75 degrees as were circled a light. I had a fabulous time. Linda enjoyed the plane ride for the most part. There was a couple of times that the quick tight turn around the lighthouses almost made her sick... but she says it was a great way to get some wonderful photos that you can't otherwise get.

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copyright 20132015 by Keith Stokes.