While we were in Tonawanda, we met several other boaters whose plans were disrupted by Irene. Burt and Prue, on sailboat Exuberant from Sandusky, were heading to Annapolis and ended up having their boat trucked there. Mark and LuAnn on sailboat Journey from Holland, MI, out for their first big cruise, decided to turn around and go home. We also met a couple from Austria, Eckhardt and Ursula on sailboat Azimut, who had recently completed a 14 year circumnavigation of the world.
The Great Lakes are notorious for seas that kick up quickly and somewhat unpredictably. Lake Erie in particular poses issues because of its relative shallowness and also, for us, the fact that we needed to cross the length of it running east to west. Prevailing winds from the west could easily build up big wave action on the eastern portion.
|Odette Sculpture Park, Windsor Canada|
Back in June in NC on our way north, we had anchored near a boat named Manate. Joe had talked to the owners on the radio and learned that they have "looped" 21 times. Every year they move the boat up the east coast, across Lake Erie to the Detroit area for the summer, then around Michigan and down the rivers to Marco Island for the winter.
After all that partying we needed to start cruising to get some rest. The trip up the St. Clair River to Lake Huron was even slower than the Detroit River had been. We actually slowed down to below 4 knots - which means the current against us was nearly 4 knots. At one point we were instructed to stay in the center of the channel to avoid divers that were in the water. We wondered what they had to do to keep themselves in place with a current that strong.
Michigan has harbors of refuge about every thirty miles along its shores on both Lake Huron and Lake Michigan because there are very few natural harbors. The harbors have a breakwater around them and the prices, set by the state, are reasonable. Our first day was relatively short - about six hours. We had stopped in St. Clair and couldn't leave before the first bridge opening at 8am. Our choice ended up being to stop around 3pm or go another 30 miles and possibly arrive after dark.
This is the end of our northward travel - finally - it's starting to get cold up here. Now we'll head south down Lake Michigan.
There are more pictures on the picasa site: http://picasaweb.google.com/joseph.pica