March 2018 Newsletter: Warmer Days Ahead on the Detroit River

March 2018 Newsletter: Start of Spring Means Warm Days Ahead on the Detroit River


Captain’s Corner: Featuring Mike Nicholls

We’re happy to introduce Captain Mike Nicholls, our Diamond Queen captain. Mike’s interest in boating stems from his father who served in the U.S. Navy in World War II.

“My siblings and I would ride around the Downriver area with him in the summer,” Mike said.

“When we stopped for lunch, it was always at the Detroit River.”

His brother, who is now a naval architect, also had an impact on Mike’s interest in boating. His brother would make note of ships that passed by during those summer days on the river in 1967, commenting on their different characteristics – size, colors and national flags.

Mike learned how to become a captain after retiring from General Motors. He was hired by the Gaelic Tugboat company as a deckhand and after a year’s experience, he was eligible to take the United States Coast Guard Captain’s Test. He passed and received his captain’s license in 2003. Today, he takes great responsibility and pride as captain on the Diamond Queen.

“By Coast Guard decree, I am the master of the vessel. Safety, crew training and navigation are the most important of my duties,” Mike explained.

Captain Mike Nicholls of the Diamond Queen

As captain of the Diamond Queen, Mike has enjoyed conducting tours for school students who often call the large wooden steering wheel a “pirate ship wheel”. He also shared a fond memory of meeting a gentleman who sailed to Mackinac Island aboard the Diamond Queen when it used to be the Mohawk of the Arnold Transit Co.

“He was quite familiar with the Mohawk and noted the differences in the Diamond Queen,” Mike said.

Ask The Captain a Question!

Q: What kind of costs are incurred for fuel? – Janet H.
A: Depending on how hard we are running engines, we burn about 30 gallons per hour. Fuel costs can vary depending on when you purchase.

Q: Which of the four inlets near Great Lakes Steel is the one that the Edmund Fitzgerald was launched into? – John G.
A: It is the second inlet or “slip” south or downriver of the Great Lakes Steel Boat Club.

Q: What has been the most unusual wildlife or water creature that you have encountered on your journeys? – Darlene L.
A: On our downriver tour from Wyandotte, we have spotted on numerous occasions, bald eagles, herons, cormorants and, of course, seagulls. Captain Paul says he has spotted a pair of eagles on top of rock piles in Windsor.

Q: What training/qualifications do you need to become a captain/pilot on a boat like the Diamond Jack? – John G
A: To obtain a license to run a boat, you must have a minimum of a “100 Ton Master License”. In order to receive that license, you must have at least 365 days, in the previous 5 years, of pilot house training and supervision under a licensed captain. Then you take a comprehensive coast guard written exam.

Do you have questions for the Captain? We have answers! Submit your questions to Whether you’re curious about the innerworkings of a boat or have any other sailing-related inquiries, we’ll provide you with answers straight from one of our captains. Each month, we will pick 5 winners and publish those questions (with the answers) on our next newsletter and on our website! The winners will receive two free tickets for a scenic cruise with Diamond Jack’s River Tours!

Spring Events in Detroit

With March comes the hope of bright, warmer days! As spring approaches, us Detroiters are all too familiar with that itching feeling to get outdoors after the long winter months. Slush-free streets mean it’s time to get out and celebrate! Our sightseeing tours don’t start running until June 7th, but the city of Detroit offers festivals and events like no one else to hold you over until then! We’re here to round up the must-do events to kick off the 2018 spring season!

March 29: Detroit Tigers Opening Day game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates starts at 1:10pm.
April 29 – May 2: Metro Times Blowout celebrates over 200 unique musical artists over the span of 4 nights!
May 26 – May 28: Movement Electronic Music Festival brings thousands of people from around the world together to celebrate the birthplace of Techno music, Detroit.

The Mysterious Windsor Hum

Our neighbor across the Detroit River has been experiencing an unusual, persistent noise for years now, which has become known as the Windsor Hum. No one is able to detect the origin of this noise, described as a distant rumbling sound, that has plagued Windsor, Ontario residents. The hum’s unpredictable nature, varying in timing, duration and intensity, has made the city increasingly agitated, desperate for answers and is even destructing the people’s quality of life.

The Windsor Hum has been under investigation since first reports of the noise in 2011. The Canadian government, The University of Western Ontario and the University of Windsor have all attempted to find a solution to the crippling sound but have come up short. Lead researcher and Professor of the University of Windsor Colin Novak described their investigative efforts, “like chasing a ghost”.

There have been many conspiracy theories generated on Facebook pages dedicated to discussions on the Windsor Hum. People have suggested the noise is coming from UFOs or secret government operations. The most likely explanation as to the source of the hum has been the furnace operations on Zug Island on the Detroit River. Our sightseeing tours will cruise right into the hum. Will you hear it?

Private Charter Dates Still Available to Book

We still have great dates available for our 2018 sailing season, so be sure to book your private charter now! Diamond Jack’s private charters are the perfect way to celebrate family reunions, host fundraisers, enjoy corporate or holiday parties, and even give students a day of educational fun on a school field trip! Give your friends and family a unique experience they won’t forget!

Our private charter boats will run from May 1st to October 31st and will be available to rent 7 days a week. We welcome groups of all sizes up to 250 guests and have catering, beer and wine available for your party to enjoy. Choose from the Diamond Jack, Diamond Queen or Diamond Belle to cruise the Detroit River or a destination of your choice. We look forward to sailing with you! All aboard!

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