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Beacon Archive

May 2003
PDF Version

The Plan for Furnishing the New Health Center

Notice to Voters: Important School Finance Issue

Chamber’s 2003 Citizen of the Year Banquet

James Kenwabakisee Cuts His Own Channel

Beaver Island Wildlife Club News

Patrick Cull, by Gosh

Michigan Townships Association

Coyotes on the Ice

Here comes... the Acacia

On This Date

My Grandfather’s Farm

Skip Duhamel: Our World-class Totem Pole Carver

News from the Townships

The EMS in Action

Charlevoix County Commissioners

Results ... from the Egg Lake Seven

The Way it Was: the Famine in Arranmore

BIBCO Press Release

Leadership Retreat to focus on challenges

Arts & Culture Grant Update

Carrie Podgorski makes Deans List

Local Poet Melissa Bailey wins Prize

17th Annual Beaver Island Talent Show

Native American and Crooked Tree teachers visit Lighthouse School

AmVets raise ribbons and flags for Beaver Island

One Hundred Years Ago

Paradise Bay Dive Shop comes to ... Paradise Bay

Come See “The Vile Veterinarian” - May 2nd 2003

Cindy Turns a Page

Weather or Not

Edgar B. Speer Refloated

Ronald Haggard 1977 - 2000

Lester Gallagher 1918 - 2002

Classified Ads

Here comes … the Acacia

Winter ended at the end of March but then returned. April's arrival had promised freedom from the snow and ice, but with a new ten inches, everyone on Beaver Island was glad to hear the news: “the boat, the icebreaker: she is coming!” So on April 10th twenty-five people and several equally cabin-fevered dogs gathered at Whiskey Point to watch the sturdy steel-hulled Acacia, fresh from winter duty in Chicago, carve up the foot-thick barricade that had surrounded Beaver’s shores.

The wind was perfect, blowing to the northeast: the burgs the icebreaker was calving would blow away from the Emerald Isle's route. Some thought the ice would be thicker, but an earlier two days of rain had created warm lakes on the surface that mirrored the melting action of the current below, and the great white tectonic sheet that had blanketed us broke easily into mushy pieces.

When the welcome ship passed the Coast Guard Station, everyone acted spontaneously, jumping back in their car or truck and racing to the Ferry Dock, where the kids who'd been let out of school were waiting with another thirty adults. They needn't have hurried because a thousand feet out the powerful boat had come to a complete stop. There she sat, as the gathering joked: it had to be lunch time.

Then she came on, her motor churning and seagulls billowing as she chewed through ice that had thickened to thirty inches, without being strained. Cameras clicked; dogs turned frolicky; and people said hello to those who'd hidden out in their cabins during the long run of short days. The Acacia came right up to the dock with the grace of a dolphin, and then backed away–time and again, widening the path to the rest of the world. But on one of these feints the calculation the Captain was making from her high perch was not quite good enough and the ship tapped the bow of our beloved Emerald Isle. The row of observers did not quite believe what they had seen; the railing was bent at three stanchions, and a dimple left in her bow plating. The ding was only cosmetic, but it was a reminder of the raw force and skill involved that we often take for granted after seeing the ships being maneuvered flawlessly year after year. When the Acacia steamed away, there was a narrow alley cut in the ice, through which groceries and fuel oil and building supplies could be brought, starting with a trip the day after the following day. But two days later ice showed up all the way from Traverse City–apparently needing a vacation–and the Acacia had to come back!

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