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      Touring the Pictured Rocks by boat is off to an icy start

      Weâ??re already at the end of May and summer tourism season is right around the corner. This is about the time of year that the Pictured Rocks Cruises begin, but there is a slight problem this year.

      â??The ice has been coming in and out of Munising Bay for about the last week. It left about a week ago, but came back two or three days ago with the northwest wind,â?? said John Madigan of the Pictured Rocks Cruises.

      The first cruise of the year was slated for this past Saturday, but ice on the lake prevented tours from taking place. Tours of the Pictured Rocks have been running for years and it is certainly unique to have cruises held up because of ice.

      "Not typical, but it does happen. In the history there has been ice into June around the Munising area, but this is not a typical year. We've had severe cold and the ice is lingering on," said Madigan.

      It's certainly possible to see ice on the lake into June this year, which could halt more cruises in the near future. Ice holding up cruises may be a rarity, but there are other weather related factors that can cause the boats to stay docked for the day.

      "If we have a strong west-northwest or maybe even a north wind, that hiders us. Obviously fog is an issue and we can't really see the sights out there, that becomes an issue. It's really down to two issues is rough water and fog," said Madigan.

      Weather permitting, Pictured Rocks Cruises run through the middle of October. Although, until the ice melts or is pushed back out into the lake, taking a Pictured Rocks Cruise could be a little tough. As of Wednesday, not one cruise has taken place this due to the ice.