Harsens Island, MI
Lat: 42° 33.370 Long: 082° 37.075
Harsens Island sits in the middle of the St Clair River delta, formed by the main branch of the river and some of its tributaries. It is a low-lying mix of marches, sloughs and meadows that has attracted people since it was first settled by Jacob Harsen in the late 1700's.
Locally, it is part of an area referred to by locals as 'The Flats'. The ownership of Harsens Island was subject to much dispute for the better part of a century. Today, this American island is a most beautiful and restful place to plan a stopover.
The St Clair River flows south and it empties into Lake St Clair via 3 principal channels, named appropriately enough North, Middle and South. Together, these channels form Harsens Island.
From the NORTH via SOUTH CHANNEL
Coming down the St Clair River, as you approach Algona, MI, you will see a GR bifurcation buoy marked "R1" with a Fl (2+1) G light. Here, the river forks into the North and South Channels. Bear to port and follow the South Channel to Fl RED "A14" and bear to starboard Make sure you stay in the channel as the water gets quite skinny outside of it. Continue to the Cardinal buoy BYB "XS" marker and bear starboard to enter the OLD SOUTH CHANNEL. Leave the marker on your port beam. Follow the channel around to reach Schneider Marina, South Channel Yacht Club, Tashmoo Marina, and Idle Hour Yacht Club - all on your starboard.
From the NORTH via NORTH CHANNEL
Follow the river south to the GR bifurcation buoy "R1". Bear to starboard and follow the North Channel. You will pass Algonac, MI on your starboard. As you continue along the channel, you will come to Sunset Marina. You can continue to the R/G bifurcation buoy Fl (2+1) R. Bear to port to follow Middle Channel. At the end of the channel, you will have Clinton River Boat Club on your port at marker "RN4". Stay in the channel. It is dredged to 25ft / 7.6m. Immediately outside the channel, depths can be as little as 1ft / .3m.
From the SOUTH
You can reach Harsens Island from the south by either the Middle Channel or the South Channel.
From the South via MIDDLE CHANNEL
Water depths approaching the south entrance to Middle Channel are quite shallo so navigate with care. Set a course to "G1MC" Fl G marker. From there, pick your way, marker by marker, to the channel entrance. There are paired GREEN and RED markers leading to Middle Channel. Once past "GC7" and "R6", water depths exceed 20 ft / 6 m.
Once in the channel, you will soon come to the Clinton River Boat Club, on your starboard by the "R4" buoy. Continuing north, you will eventually come to the junction with the North Channel at the bifurcation buoy "RG". Alter course to starboard and continue past Algonac, MI to join the main channel leading north.
From the South via SOUTH CHANNEL
Further to the south, on the south side of Big Muskamoot Bay lies South Channel. It can be entered by either the 'Old Channel' or the wide (700'/213m), well-dredged (20-40'/6-12m) St Clair Flats Canal.
Make your way to "R 2OC" Fl R marker and follow the line of R markers. Note that water around the Old Channel light is in the 2-3ft / .6-1.0m depth. The Old Channel joins the St Clair Flats Canal at "G7" Fl G marker.
St Clair Flats Canal
Make your way to the bifurcation buoy "GR CO" Fl(2+1) G marker. Bear to port and follow the channel. You will come to the following marinas and yacht clubs on your port as you make your way - Idle Hour Yacht Club, Tashmoo Marina, South Channel Yacht Club and Schneider Marina.
MARINAS, YACHT CLUBS, MOORINGS, ANCHORAGES
Schneider Marine Services (810) 748-3011
This is a full-service marina. They have several slips for transients. There is a fuel dock (gasoline) and water and power at dockside. Restrooms are available. They can carry out engine, mechanical, electrical and fibreglass repairs and have a haulout facility. There is a store on site.
Tashmoo Marina (810) 748-3330
This small marina has several slips available for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (diesel and gasoline). There is water and power available dockside. They can carry out engine and mechanical repairs. There is a haulout facility There are restrooms and showers available. There is also a store on the premises.
South Channel Yacht Club (810) 748-3535
SCYC has 20 slips available for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (gasoline) and a pumpout station. Water (NON-POTABLE) and power are available dockside. There are restrooms and showers available as well as picnic areas.
Idle Hour Yacht Club (810) 748-9794)
IHYC has 60 slips with several available for transient sailors. There is water and power available dockside. They have a beautiful, 2 story clubhouse complex. There are restrooms and shower facilities in the clubhouse. The grounds are lovely and there are picnic and BBQ areas.
Clinton River Boat Club
CRBC has several slips available for transients on a first-come, first-served basis. Its beautiful club house has restrooms, showers and kitchen facilities. The grounds offer great views of Big Muskamoot Bay and there are picnic and BBQ areas. Other amenities include a childrens' play area. Internet is available.
Sunset Harbor (810) 748-3082
Sunset Harbor is located on the north shore of Harsens Island. It has approximately 12 slips for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (gasoline) and pumpout station. There is water and power dockside. Repair and maintenance services are available for engines, mechanical and electrical systems. Restrooms and showers are available. Other amenities include a heated swimming pool, private beach, on-site store and picnic areas.
Gull Island is located near the south tip of Harsens Island at 42o31.811 N 083o 40.837 W just by the entrance to the St Clair Flats Canal. This is considered one of the best anchorages on Lake St Clair.
Strawberry Island, located at the edge of Goose Bay [42o 35.953N 082o 42.650W] is another good anchorage.
REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE, PROVISIONING, BANKS/ATM's
Schneider Marine Services (See above)
Sunset Harbor (See above)
Beardslee Marina is located immediately west of Sunset Harbor. It is a full-service marine facility with diesel and gasoline engine specialists. They are able to carry out all manner of repairs from major work to minor repairs including structural fibreglass and mechanical repairs, woodworking and painting.
Art Cook Marine Services provides general marine repairs and maintenance services.
Riverside Groceries on the South Channel carries a range of grocery items as well as beer and wine.
There is an ATM located in the village of San Souci on the South Channel.
There is no hospital on Harsens Island. The nearest hospital is St. John River District Hospital (810) 329-7111 located in East China, about 17 mi / 27 km north.
There are three medical clinics located in Algonac, MI, immediately north of Harsens Island.
Downriver Community Services (810) 794 4917 is located near the junction where the St Clair River forks to create the North and South Channels.
There are four pharmacies on the island including Rite Aid (810) 794-4985
PLACES TO EAT
The village of San Souci is located at the north end of the South Channel. San Souci Bar is a casual dining place with a good view of the channel.
The Schoolhouse Island Grill serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual restaurant located near the north shore of the Island.
THINGS TO DO/SEE/VISIT
This is an area to relax and enjoy the slower pace of the small communities in the delta region.
A quick look at this Harsens Island tourism site will give you some ideas on what is happening locally.
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