Captain Tom Carriveau has been taking visitors out on Charity Island Dinner Tours for over seven years. We caught up with Captain's Tom as he was preparations for the Summer season..
We dropped in on Captain Tom to check his progress with outfitting his 50-foot tour boat "Lady of the Lakes". Tom brought the Lady over from Leland Michigan where it had been conducting Lake Michigan ferry service between the famous Fishtown and Manitou Islands. The tour boat is in the process of being refurbished for tours and chartering on Saginaw Bay this summer.
"We installed updated electronics including radar, VHF with AIS and a new stereo system" Tom noted. "We can take a passenger’s smartphone and play his or her favorite playlist on that can be enjoyed throughout the ship. It will be a great personal touch"
Charity Island Dinner Tours Begin
This this the first summer summer that the Lady of the Lakes will be taking tours from Caseville. “We will be starting our first dinner cruise out to Charity Island on June 8th. We will depart at Caseville Municipal Harbor at 4 pm, returning approximately 9:30 pm. Then we will start our regular weekend dinner cruises embarking from Caseville Harbor”. In addition, the tour boat will also be chartering private events. Tom added “We will be hosting some birthday parties and a company outing. We will be busy.”
Port Austin Lighthouse Tours to be Offered
It's anticipated that Captain Tom will also offer mid-week tours out of Port Austin Harbor. Tom added, “I’ve been working with the Port Austin harbormaster to operate off of the State Docks. It's work in progress.” Captain Tom will set course to offer up close views of Port Austin Lighthouse, Burnt Cabin Point and Turnip Rock. "The Lady's shallow keel of four feet enables us to get in areas where other boats this size cannot.”
For more information about the Sunset and Charity Island, Dinner Cruises call Capt. Tom at 989-550-1234 or visit Explorer Charters for details, schedules and costs. Explorer Charters offer company events, weddings, lighthouse tours, sunset tours, kayaking, scuba charters, and many more commercial and charter services.
An Evening on Charity Island
One of the great experiences of being in the Upper Thumb is a chance to get out on the Saginaw Bay. On most days there is a cool breeze from the southwest and a light chop that makes for delightful cruising along the shore or out to the Charity Islands. This year we have a new excursion boat operating out of the Caseville Municipal Harbor and up at Port Austin. The 50 foot “Lady of the Lake” will have variety of trips and special themed sunset cruises.
Sunset on the Bay
On Mondays and Tuesdays “The Lady” will host a gentle two and a half hour narrated sunset cruise out of Caseville. Departing the docks at approximately 8:00 pm and returning after sunset at 10:30 pm. This offers guest an ideal after dinner activity to enjoy the Bay as it typically settles down for the evening.
Evening on Saginaw Bay from Port Austin
On Wednesdays the Lady of the Lake moves up to Port Austin. Leaving the docks at about 8:30 pm for a two and a half hour narrated history and sightseeing cruise. The excursion will get you out to the picturesque Port Austin Reef Light that was built in 1878 and has been in the process of being beautifully restored. The Lady then heads east to the landmark Burnt Cabin Point and the area’s iconic Turnip Rock. This large limestone outcropping has been called one of the most amazing rock formations in America by the Cable News Netwok, CNN.
Cruise to Charity Island
On the weekends, (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from Memorial Day through September) the Lady of the Lake departs from the Caseville Municipal Harbor mid-afternoon* for its signature Charity Island Dinner Cruise. Guest enjoy a one-hour trip out to the remote island enjoying views that can only be experienced out on Saginaw Bay. As we near the island you will clearly see both shores of this magnificent bay. The trip includes pop and water onboard and guests are welcome to bring their own coolers for the boat ride.
Boarding is the Beginning of the Charity Island Adventure
Your adventure begins in Caseville harbor. You pay when you arrive to board and yourr dinner orders are taken of either Tenderloin Steak Tips or Lake Perch. Captain Tom will give introductions, tell you about the Lady of the Lake and what to expect on the trip ahead.
Once underway, there is an appetizer of cheese and crackers on the trip to the island. Upon arrival, the Lady motors the last ¼ mile into the cozy marina basin and docks. You disembark on the island and walk or ride ¼ mile to the outdoor screened and covered pavilion where dinner is served. Look for your name or your group name on one of the assigned tables.
Arriving on the Island
Before dinner, there is a wine sampling and a cash bar available. There is complimentary iced tea, lemonade, and bottled water. While dinner is being prepared in an outdoor kitchen, there is an interesting history presentation about Charity Island Lighthouse and related maritime history.
The evening commences with a delicious evening dinner consisting of:
o Red-skinned potatoes marinated in a special broth, cooked with fresh dill and butter
o Cabbage, carrot, onion salad we prepare in a large wok
o Steak Tips or Lake Perch
o Freshly baked French bread prepared on the Island
Excursion Costs and Considerations
The cost of this all-inclusive dinner cruise is $98 for adults, ½ price for children ages 3-12, and children under three are free. Boarding begins at approximately 3:30 pm Friday and Saturday, 1:00 pm on Sundays. Departure times vary because of sunset times. The total trip is between five and a half to six hours in duration. The trip needs to have a minimum of 25 passengers to schedule an excursion. Weather is a factor and may affect the schedule
For Booking or More Information
Call, text or email Explorer Charters Cruise Lines at
Captain Tom 989-550-1234 (cell)
Denise 989-856-3182 (cell)
Facebook: Explorer Charters-cruise lines, Charity Island Dinner Cruises
Tom Carriveau is a Master Technical Scuba diver and Great Lakes charter captain with over 30 years of experience.