This is the week that about 75% of the population leaves the island and heads usually to warmer climates although some of us stick around just to make sure that the island doesn't sink. With the snow melting away quickly now the roads are clear for biking and roller blading (yes, I've been out there with my blades too). Deer are on the move, robins have been seen hopping along and the turkey flocks are easily seen as the males display their colors. I understand that Randy Osborn and Kathy Ruis have crocus coming up, our daffodils are just starting to peek through their covering of winter straw insulation. Spring is on the way... finally!
No, it's not the first robin. Nope, not the first crocus. No way is it dry, clear roads. The first true sign of spring on Beaver Island is the sight of the icebreaker coming to open the harbor. This year it happened on Sunday, April 3rd. Word had passed around that the Acacia, from Charlevoix, would be arriving at 9 a.m. Sunday morning. She was a little late but that gave folks time to stop by Dalwhinnie's for a cup of coffee before heading to the point to begin the watch.
At first it was a tiny speck on the horizon but by 10 a.m. it was just entering the ice outside the harbor. Last year we could only hear it due to thick fog, but this year it was clear, sunny and if you saw the Lach lad wearing his shorts and sandals you would have thought it was very warm out too... NOT. Once the Acacia reached the mouth of the harbor it just walked through the honeycombed ice with not much trouble at all unlike some years where she's had to run up on top and back up and repeat the whole process, this year it didn't take much time at all. Without a lot of fanfare, the Acacia quietly did an about face and headed back out into the big lake leaving behind a trail of glittery, broken ice that the first strong wind will disperse. For folks like Sue Solle and the Morgan family, seeing the harbor opened was a new event. With most of the population gone there was still a welcoming committee at the end of the Beaver Island Boat Company dock to cheer the "Official" Beaver Island beginning of spring.
Page Two of the News on the 'Net