1900 Miles Due North: Ambergris Caye, Belize to Beaver Island, Michigan

Someone said (and I wish it was me) – “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”.  And while I don’t have a proper travel bucket list, I can tell you one thing – Beaver Island, Michigan was never on it.  Never heard of the place.


But here I am.  Happily.  In the way north of Lake Michigan.  The largest island in the second largest Great Lake (by volume).  And the island we are on…Beaver Island, happens to be pretty close to due north from Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Or close enough for me to find it very interesting:  San Pedro, Belize 17 deg 55′ North, 87 deg 57′ West and Beaver Island 45 deg 38′ N and 85 deg 33 W.   Other than a skooch to the east (and 2 times zones), we are basically 1900 miles north of home.

On another small island…that we took a tiny Fresh Air plane over to…with beaches and clear waters…


And I’ll stop trying to make comparisons between the two places (or I’ll TRY to stop), Ambergris Caye and Beaver Island, Michigan.  But you just need to know that they are both magical spots…in very different ways.

They don’t call it the Emerald Isle for nothing…


But let’s back up…we started our trip in LOVELY Traverse City, Michigan (Belize City to Dallas to Chicago to TC).  And spent two nights on the “mainland”…in the cherry capital of the world.

cherry socks

We ate and enjoyed the view.


And we enjoyed the scenery from the beachfront hotel.  THIS is Lake Michigan?  Who knew?


We also shopped for fishing equipment (carp fly-fishing is BIG on Beaver Island)…


…and bought an absolutely GORGEOUS book.  Fly Fishing Belize by Jim Klug…a love letter to Belize.  Just absolutely gorgeous photos around the country – a beautiful book if you love fishing or…you just love Belize.


We looked at many balls of fur and feathers…


And then went next door to a deli/specialty shop that made some amazing sandwiches.  OH SANDWICHES how I sometimes miss thee!


We needed to energize…with massive amounts of cured meats and pepperocinis…we were headed to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.   The geology of this whole area is super interesting…350 million years ago, it was ocean.  And it has been pushed and prodded and formed by glaciers and ice ages.  And what is left behind is gorgeous.


And so odd to see at a lake.  But these lakes are massive…the area of Lake Michigan alone is about 3 times the size of the country of Belize.  More like oceans with their currents and waves.

A serious workout.  Miles and miles of dunes.  Looking forward deciding whether to do the 1.3 mile SAND hike to the next one…


And then headed back.IMG_4045

To the beach along the lake shore…WE ARE NOT EVEN AT BEAVER ISLAND YET!

Many provisions are needed.



The water is beautiful…cold but beautiful.  Sandy beaches…in Michigan.  Who knew…


And the next morning, after eating at an amazing Italian restaurant in Traverse City called Trattoria Stella.  Burrata…


and scallops with fennel and sweet corn.


The next morning we were off to Beaver Island.  Da B.I.  An island with a population of 500.  An island that used to have a Mormon King.



And strange foreign creatures like this one.

IMG_4082And a guy named Protar who was considered a bit of an island saint and has a very impressive tomb.


More about Beaver Island tomorrow.  It really is a beautiful place.  But quickly…

Check out this sunset last night.  I was agape.

And then told by our host that it was…meh…mediocre.

I have a few more days to get a better one…and a better picture.  But better than this is a bit hard for me to imagine.




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