I really can't remember how I heard about the Mackinac Island Swim, which only started in 2021, so this was the second annual. Somehow, I found it online last December, registered late because the date could have conflicted with a Lawler family event, sat on the waitlist with 35+ people ahead of me for months, then suddenly got in off the waitlist in mid-June (36 hours to decide; what the heck, let's do it!) So, I didn't have enough time to train but still thought it looked like fun, and it was amazing. Very tough, 65 degree water and we had wind from the east, which is unusual as that's the leeward side of the island, so that meant the water was rougher on the last 4 miles than on the first 4, and as the event director said by email the day after, it was "a washing machine" out there.
It's not a timed event, you have a chip only so they can make sure that everyone who went into the water got out of the water. I am very happy with my 6 hours and 2 minutes of swim time for 8.2 miles. Mackinac Island is beautiful (once you get out of the most touristy area near the ferry docks), the people were great, Lake Huron is very clear and shallow for most of the coastline, and the weather was amazing for a guy from Phoenix ("Hey, this is what we condition air to.") It was, to use a cliché, epic.
More pictures later, I hope. [Update: Photos are here, password is MacSwim24.] A fun day and now I've swum 8.2 miles in open water (that's 3 times the IM distance, plus an extra mile).