Kayak the Mackinac Bridge with this guide to St. Ignace
As we duck in and dip our paddles into the shallow bay, it quickly becomes apparent that we couldn’t have asked for a better guide. Andy points to nearby houses (all with their own complex history) and shares colorful stories about the past and present residents who call this piece of paradise their home. We find out that Andy was born and raised in St. Ignace, and that his father, Allen, spent his career working on the deck, first as a painter out of high school in the mid-70s, and mainly as a foreman. until his retirement in 2002. “He ran summer crews, paint crews and bridge maintenance,” Andy explains.
As we paddle closer to the causeway – not a soul on the water but us – Andy shares stories of his father’s time working on the bridge, as well as his own background: Eventually he left St. Ignatius to pass time in Florida, where he became a schooner captain. Then at 37, he joined the coast guard and became a reservist, working as a nurse. About five years ago, he found a property along W. US-2 (where he now offers camping and lodging) and realized that whatever he was chasing in Florida, he could find him at his home in St. Ignatius.
In 2018 Andy started offering tours with just two kayaks. “It was kind of one of those stories where you pretend until you make it,” he says, “and now we have new kayaks, enough to handle just about any crowd that comes to me. never called.”
Andy points to the horizon and we see a small jagged plank rising from the depths. Glad to hear we’re headed to what he calls the “Ghost Dock” before crossing the bridge. We slide down the plank to find ourselves floating above a massive submerged dock, like the tip of an iceberg, which Andy says has been in ruins for over 60 years.