Friday, July 6, 2012

Departure - S.S. Badger

I decided shortly before leaving to take the Badger across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc.  I sailed on her last year returning from Wisconsin and enjoyed it so figured I'd do this time round trip.  There is a possibility that this will be the last year the Badger will run and you never know when these opportunities will disappear so I took it.

The Badger tied up, while waiting for boarding.  The Badger is the last of the car ferries built and she is the last one still plying the Great Lakes.  She operated between 1953 and 1988 when she was taken out of service because of the economy.  In 1992 she returned to service sailing between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  

The Spartan.  This is the Badger's sister ship, although she is non-operational.  She was launched and entered service in 1952 in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.  She was taken out of service in 1979 and has remained tied up since then.  She is owned by the Lake Michigan Carferry Service and is used to provide spare parts for the Badger.

The Spartan from the stern of the Badger.  Both ships were designed to operate all year and have reinforced bows allowing them to sail through ice pack.

The bridge from the bow.

The Captain was enjoying himself.  He opened the window, called down to "Watch your ears," and sounded the ship's horn.

Leaving Ludington.   I chose an evening sailing so I could watch the sun set from open water.

 The North Pier Light.

 Big Sable Lighthouse from the deck of the Badger.

Smooth sailing.

If you have a chance to take the Badger, I encourage you to do so.  There are factors in play that my have the ship laid up after this sailing season.  She is a beautiful ship and an icon of another era.


  1. Great photos! From the fourth photo it doesn't look very crowded onboard, when I took her across that shot was cluttered with people! I gotta say I'm worried about her though. It doesn't look good.

  2. No, it wasn't real crowded. There were many more people on the trip back Wednesday.