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Cruising the Lake Erie Islands

Discussion in 'Cruising Sailors' started by David in Sandusky, Jun 9, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,048 posts, 98 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    A while back, I listed some destinations we were considering for a 2 1/2 week cruise of the Lake Erie Islands, an a couple of you suggested the I blog our trip, so here goes.

    We loaded our boat on Thursday morning, 7 June, Day 1 of our cruise. This included our two folding bikes for exploring the land. They forecast included variations from S to SE to E to NE and back so we decided to head for East Harbor State Park, an anchorage with 360 degree protection. We sailed out of Sandusky Bay, and up to Marblehead on an unexpected SW wind, but it died as we turned east toward Catawba Island, so we fired up the engine and motor sailed the rest of the way to the harbor entrance. Turning right off the channel to head east for the anchorage south of the park is always a little hairy. But with Lake Erie about 3 feet over chart datum we were expecting good depth. (We draw 3.5 feet.) We saw a minimum of 5 which means we may not be able to come here when the Lake returns to datum. We anchored south of a marsh in S winds in 7 feet of water at 1:30. The pic shows Joanne, the Admiral reading with the marsh behind her. Later in the afternoon, the wind shifted to NE, so we had to turn and look over the bow to see the great blue heron working the marsh.
     

    Attached Files:



  2. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,048 posts, 98 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    The E to ENE winds on Friday, Day 2, decided us against Kellys Island and for Put-in-Bay. We left at around 10:30, and headed north for the green “5” buoy south of Ballast Island that marks the NE entrance to Put-in-Bay. When they wind shifted to the ENE, though, we decided to head for the south end of South Bass Island, and approach PiB from the east. The result was a wonderful broad reach, running at 5.5 to 6 knots all the way to our turn. What fun. As we rounded the west side of South Bass, we fired up the engine, and had a tough slog east into the wind and waves for about a mile until we turned south to round Gibraltar Island into the Bay. We caught a mooring ball, set up our canvas shade, had lunch, and spent a lazy afternoon napping and reading. Some friends with a house on South Bass invited us to an open dinner at the PiB Yacht Club, and we settled in for the night with a little chop from the E winds that subsided sometime in the night.
     


  3. Johnb

    Johnb

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    1,042 posts, 78 likes
    Hunter 37-cutter
    US Richmond CA
    Could not figure out where you anchored - interested to know.
     


  4. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,048 posts, 98 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    This is the East Harbor of Catawba Island. The rectangular land from upper left to lower right is beach on the lake side, and woods and swamp on the bay side. The little inlet near the center of the bay side is the swamp shown in the picture. We anchored in the deeper water just off it. The Chanel entering the bay is to the lower right. 347D8A48-A910-43FC-AD98-F6525F2AB1DC.png

    (Somehow my screen shot did not pick up the “East” of East Harbor. It’s the enclosed body of water in the lower middle of the picture.)
     


    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  5. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,048 posts, 98 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    Day 3, with storms and thunderstorms and E winds forecast for the next few days, we motored 20 minutes from our mooring ball to Middle Bass Island State Park Marina. In our opinion, this is the best marina in the Islands. It’s new, good facilities, and quiet. There are good walks around the old Lonz Winery, and good biking around the Island.

    We did have the 15-20 Lt E winds, and intermittent rain showers through the afternoon and night, but no thunder or lightning. Big thunder storm systems often die down when they come over the cool lake, and that was certainly the case this time.
     


  6. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,214 posts, 1,659 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Thank you David. This is an entertaining read. Keep it coming.
     


  7. Alansails

    Alansails

    Joined Oct 3, 2011
    553 posts, 61 likes
    Anam Cara Catalina 310 Hull #155
    US Lake Erie/Catawba Island
    As we sail out of West Harbor (Herls Harbor Marina) we are very familiar with the area, We would suggest sailing to Pelee Island (Scudders Marina) which is very unique (Quiet) and also Leamington (not an island) Marina which is IMHO the nicest marina on Lake Erie. We look forward to following your blog/Story.
    Have Fun!
     


  8. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,048 posts, 98 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    Both are definitely on our plan, Alan. We’ll be at a Great Lakes Cruising Club rally at Leamington next weekend, and the winds are good for Scudders on Tuesday.
     


  9. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,048 posts, 98 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    Day 4, Sunday, we are enjoying a lazy day on the boat, reading and napping as the rain clouds alternate with the sun. OK, mostly rain! We biked around the Island before lunch. East Point is the peninsula that forms the north shore of Schoolhouse Bay. A group of pilots built summer homes there, and although the Island airfield is less than a mile away, they formed their back yards into a landing strip along the peninsula. So, they can commute by small plane, and park it by their summer house!

    We love this kind of quiet day together on the boat. Tonight, we plan steak, potato salad, and the last salad from our garden back in Columbus.
     


  10. DArcy - Islay Mist

    DArcy - Islay Mist

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    176 posts, 140 likes
    C&C 27 MkII
    Ca Ottawa
    David, thanks for posting. I'm enjoying following along.
     


  11. Alansails

    Alansails

    Joined Oct 3, 2011
    553 posts, 61 likes
    Anam Cara Catalina 310 Hull #155
    US Lake Erie/Catawba Island
    Sounds like you are having a great time-See you at the GLCC rally-we will be there Thursday !
    Come on over to our boat when you get there!
     


  12. DArcy - Islay Mist

    DArcy - Islay Mist

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    176 posts, 140 likes
    C&C 27 MkII
    Ca Ottawa
    David, I just heard on the radio there is a flood warning for Lake Erie due to a combination of high water and high winds, Wind Guru says winds out of the East gusting to mid 30 knots. I hope you are well protected, be safe out there.
     


  13. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,048 posts, 98 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    Yeah, we are holed up in Middle Bass State Park. Planning to head to Scudders tomorrow.
     


  14. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,048 posts, 98 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    Day 5, decided to skip a night in Manila Bay on North Bass Island given the high winds and forecast shift to the NE which can bring a surge into the bay. Worked on a foiled primary fuel filter - looks like we have a bad tank of fuel, since the filter was changed in preparation for this trip. Rode our bikes to explore the east side of Middle Bass Island. There has been a substantial amount of residential development - summer homes - all over the island.

    Filled our water tank in the evening, and will pump out in the morning before leaving for Scudders on Pelee Island. Neither is available there.
     


    DArcy - Islay Mist likes this.
  15. Alansails

    Alansails

    Joined Oct 3, 2011
    553 posts, 61 likes
    Anam Cara Catalina 310 Hull #155
    US Lake Erie/Catawba Island
    Free pump out at Middle Bass and you are right-nothing at Pelee and you sure do NOT want the water there!
    We leave West Harbor Thursday for the straight shot to Leamington , We will see you there! :clap:
     


  16. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,048 posts, 98 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    So we were relaxing in our cockpit after arriving at Scudders Marina at the north end of Pelee Island. Joanne Junor Foster said, “Look! Quick!”
    I did, and there were two huge, white pelicans flying by us on their way across the bay!
    This is the first time we have seen pelicans this far north, east of the Mississippi. And we have never heard of a sighting in the Great Lakes.
     


  17. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,048 posts, 98 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    Day 6, pumped out, then bled the engine again. Left Middle Bass and hoisted sail in a beautiful 10-12 knot SE wind on the way to Scudders on the north end of Pelee Island under a clear sky. Had a great, relaxing sail, ended as the wind slackened, and we started the engine approaching Point Sheridan on the NW corner of Pelee. Total time for the trip was 2 hours, 35 minutes. Scudders is quite empty. The west dock is out of commission, with electricians upgrading the electrical service.

    Ate lunch and napped, then set up the bikes and pedaled over to Connerlee’s Bakery. They had just closed, and are closed tomorrow, so we will miss them this time. Too bad! We were looking forward to croissants tomorrow morning.

    Part of the joy of the cruising life is lots of time outdoors, leading to fun like our pelican sighting today. Going by their dark wing edges, the two we saw were probably non-breeding youngsters, who do wander before settling down.
     


    Alansails likes this.
  18. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    8,657 posts, 2,029 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    Interesting, they are as common as seagulls in MN, mostly along the Mississippi, Minnesota, and St Croix rivers. See them in Duluth too. Nice story BTW!
     


  19. DArcy - Islay Mist

    DArcy - Islay Mist

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    176 posts, 140 likes
    C&C 27 MkII
    Ca Ottawa


  20. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,048 posts, 98 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    Day 7 was a typical Pelee day for us (except for missing Connerlee’s croissants!) After a lazy morning, we hopped on our bikes and rode to the Pelee Island Winery at the other end of the Island. A brisk west wind opposed us for the first leg, but it kept the flies off us the whole way!

    We enjoyed a bottle of wine, pate, and a pizza at the winery. Their picnic area is great. For the first time, we did not buy any wine to take home, since the prices keep going up, and we are going to another winery in Leamington with the GLCC crowd this weekend.

    The wind stayed brisk into the evening, and shifted the NW. This caused a nasty surge in Scudders. The boat would jerk against the stern breast line, and when grunt as it came back against the fenders. The motion and noise kept the Admiral up until 1:30, while earplugs let me sleep through the night. (The Admiral didn’t like the earplugs...)
     



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