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Maybe it's because the North Island brings people to camp and the south island brings more daytrippers that aren't as comfortable roughing it, but the south manitou island ferry was much nicer and larger than the north island. It does depend on the day, the trip over on the north ferry was choppy, everyone got wet and was feeling pretty queasy halfway through. It's a smaller boat, no real "seats" per say, you sit around the edge. Not terrible but if you're prone to motion sickness I'm thinking you will get sick on this one! There is also a "top deck" you can sit on if you're brave. That's wild but also fun :)
The South Manitou Ferry was bigger, had benches below deck and above, and even a snack bar for food, soda, and beer.
Both ferries do have toilets.
Catch them from Leland at around 9:30 in the summer months-book ahead of time, they can fill up. Only public transportation over there. Get your tickets early (9ish), go park in their designated parking lots down the road, and a shuttle (or a pick-up truck!) Will pick you up and bring you back to the harbour with your things, as well as bring you to your car when you return.
Written Sep 12, 2006
In order to reach North Manitou Island you must take a ferry across Lake Michigan operated by Manitou Island Transit. Here is a link Ferry. This is the worst boat trip I have ever taken in my life! If you think you should sit inside the ferry because you will be sheltered from the wind think again. It's pure hell in there. You can feel every single bump and tostle of the ferry which unless you are born to be on the sea, makes you absolutely nauseus. Everyone inside the ferry were carrying barf bags and once one person lets loose, it creates a chain of people losing lunch. My brother's girlfriend vomited like 3 times and I have been on mutiple boats and ships and this was the first time I ever vomited. Definitely take Dramamine before embarking and stay on the deck of the ferry and watch the horizon the entire way out. Otherwise you're in for a bumpy ride.
Updated Jun 15, 2006