August 22, 2001
We made it to Put-in-Bay - - and it is wonderful to be here. For those of you who know Put-in-Bay, you would not believe how empty the harbor and village are! When we arrived at noon yesterday, we were only the 4th boat moored in the harbor (there are 81 mooring balls which, in the past, we have always seen full). By evening, there still were not more than 20 boats moored - - AND the town docks were only 3/4 full ... with NO rafting. Unbelievable, but VERY nice. We like this mid-week, late summer cruising!
last e-mailed from St. Clair (Friday), where we ended up watching the football game from a bowling alley! As it turns out, the 3 bars in town were still focusing on/watching baseball. So, as a last resort, we stopped by the Voyager Bar and Bowling Alley - - yes, it was a rather odd combination, but, hey, it worked. By the way, the St. Clair Municipal Marina was nice. There were two large grocery stores near by (although we never did figure out why two were necessary in such a small town), and the marina was close to everything else in town. The only disadvantage to entering the marina was having to wait for a road bridge ... which only opens every 1/2 hour ... which we missed by minutes both ways. Patience to "drill holes in the water" for 1/2 hour at a time is not something Brian was born with ...
The rest of the trip down the St. Clair River and into Lake St. Clair was good - - decent weather, lots of freighters and other boats to watch, and well-marked channels - - amazingly well-marked channels! In fact, the last thin channel out to Lake St. Clair had so many channel markers that we felt like we were boating down a runway. Kind of fun though ...
Metro Beach on Lake St. Clair is wonderful! A good-sized, beautiful, well-protected harbor for anchoring, a large marina spread out over many miles of wall and dock space, and a huge metro park with everything from a 9-hole/par 3 golf course to a pool to an amphitheater for concerts (from which we listened to a Big Band concert on Sunday evening). We anchored in the harbor for 2 nights (the second day, Sunday, was to avoid a string of thunderstorms that came through). We found it to be a perfect anchorage - - in fact, on Sunday night, we had the anchorage to ourselves. Both days we had lots of fun exploring the miles and miles of "residential canals" - - the canals are lined with homes and boats. It really is an interesting area - - we would recommend it for both boaters and people traveling by land.
On Monday (20 August), we set out for Amherstburg, Ontario/Gibraltar, MI, down the Detroit River. As with the St. Clair River, the Detroit River looked very clean and the waterfront along the way interesting and beautiful ... even Detroit! Based on a previous recommendation we anchored on the north tip of Bois Blanc Island in a small, near perfect cove that looks out over one of the main shipping channels. The anchorage will only hold 4 - 5 boats maximum so it was very quiet and we very much enjoyed watching the freighters and other boat traffic go by (without feeling their wakes). Within the first several hours, we found that we could feel/hear the rumbling of the freighters' big diesel engines long before they actually went by.
We woke and left early on Tuesday for Put-in-Bay (South Bass Island, Ohio). It was a remarkably smooth day to cross Lake Erie, with only 1 - 2 foot following seas - - we know we were very fortunate. And here we are! We spent time in the village of Put-in-Bay yesterday afternoon, including going up the Perry Monument (yes, we've done it lots of times before but it was such a beautiful, sunny and clear day). The waterfront park is still lovely and the village and its shops quaint and interesting. Whole chickens are still barbecued on the grills mid-town and Westside Steve is still singing at the Gazebo Bar and Grill. After spending a few hours on the boat in the afternoon, we went back into town for dinner and strolled the docks. (By the way, the water taxi back and forth between the village and the boats is free with the mooring cost, $25/night weekdays, $30/night weekends.)
At this time, we plan to leave Put-in-Bay (the harbor, not the boat) either tomorrow or Friday for a marina in West Harbor, Ohio. Members of Brian's family are coming in for the weekend to meet us. We are looking forward to seeing them and to sharing our stories with them. Early next week, we'll head east on Lake Erie towards Vermilion, Cleveland, and Erie. We are thinking the timing may be right to catch the opening Bills game in Buffalo!