Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes – Book Tour part 4

Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes – Book Tour part 4

The longest leg of the Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes tour is complete. I’m back to reality for a few days before setting out again on the last leg of the trip, Pte. aux Barques Lighthouse on August 2nd. The signing and presentation at the Eagle Harbor, MI Life-Saving museum went very well. The morning was cold and the fog was thick, a good wind blew mist up on shore blanketing the life-saving station and I felt this was fitting weather for a celebration of the USLSS and Coast Guard.

When Kim and I arrived at the station the open house was already under way and I was quickly introduced to Montie Ocha. Montie is the Great-Grandson of Albert Ocha, who was a friend of Rev. William H. Law from about 1901 to 1912. If you have yet to read Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes, Albert Ocha’s story is a pivotal moment in the book. As it turns out, Montie lives only about 45 minutes from my house and we will made plans to get together again to discuss the possibility of a book based on Albert’s life story.

Montie Ocha, Great Grandson of Capt. Albert Ocha

Montie Ocha, Great Grandson of Capt. Albert Ocha

I was interviewed at this event by the Superior Sentinel by Gene Johnson, who took particular interest in the book. I look forward to reading his article. I also found out that day that Houghton’s Daily Mining Gazette had run an article on Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes which was a pleasant surprise. As the day wore on and we moved our operation to the Eagle Harbor community center the sun decided to make an appearance. As the crowd started to file in I was impressed with the number of people who came out, With the weather I had expected far less, but Eagle Harbor didn’t disappoint.

Book Signing in Eagle Harbor

Book Signing in Eagle Harbor

The presentation went well and the participants seemed to enjoy the discussion and asked all the right questions. When the presentation was complete I signed a few more books for people and had many great discussions with them on Maritime history. Special thanks goes out to Barb Koski of the Keweenaw Historical Society for making me a part of this event.

The next day it was time to head back for home. A few storms had materialized along our route so we decided instead of travelling south to the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse as we had planned, we would be better served to detour a bit more north to Grand Marais, MI and do a little rock hounding on the beaches there. This turned out to be a great idea since not only did we miss all the bad weather but I found two beautiful agates on the beach.

Lake Superior Agate found in Grand Marais

Lake Superior Agate found in Grand Marais

Once in the Straights of Mackinac we stopped in the at the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association and I met with Executive Director Terry Pepper. I had had conversations with Terry for years as I was working on the book but we had never met in person. I proposed a few ideas to him for future fundraising efforts and I could see the wheels turning in his head. While final decisions couldn’t be made we left the ideas open for future discussions. If they pan out they will be amazing.

This Friday Kim and I will be heading to to Michigan’s “Thumb” for the Pte. aux Barques Heritage Festival on Saturday August 2nd. The station is a beautiful location and the historical society that maintains it does a wonderful job. I am looking forward to this event and hope to meet Buzz Hoerr of the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance and Great-Grand-Nephew of one of the surfmen who was part of the crew that rescued Rev. Law at Bois Blanc in 1900. It should be a great weekend.

Autographed copies of Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes are now available from my store on the Square Marketplace.

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John Kotzian was born in Rogers City, Michigan located on the shore of Lake Huron and raised some 30 miles away in Hillman, Michigan. He is the great-great-grandson of the “Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes”, Rev. William H. Law.

His passion for the Great Lakes and its history grew from the stories handed down through both sides of his family about Rev. Law’s travels and relatives lost in the sinking of the S.S. Carl D. Bradley.

He currently resides with his wife, Kimberly, in Brooklyn, MI.
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