Monday, July 12, 2010

Lake Erie Sailing Trip - Day 9

Day 9 - Kelley’s Island to Sandusky, Ohio

We wake up to a grey and rainy day, the first of the trip. It is actually quite a relief to get a break from the sun, though the temperature is still very warm. After breakfast on the boat we toss off the dock lines and start the short sail over to Sandusky, which is only 10 miles to the south. Once we get offshore the wind really picks up and makes for some great sailing. Ana takes over the helm for most of the way and has the boat doing over 6 knots on a mainly downwind course.

As we close in on Sandusky we pass by the Cedar Point peninsula which has a giant amusement park at the point overlooking Lake Erie. We promised the kids a trip to Cedar Point since we began the trip so they are very excited to see the rollercoasters and other rides. Sandusky has a huge harbour and the route in is quite congested with boats so requires more attention than normal, especially today with the strong wind. We take down the sails and motor into the harbour, eventually finding our way to the Sandusky Sailing Club, which offers a magnificent 7 free nights to members of our yacht club. At the entrance of the marina stands a sign saying proudly, “Sailboats Only!”, the first of which we’ve seen. The marina is indeed full of sailboats, mostly older ones and few of any size. As we make our approach to the sea wall on the west side of the marina, Ana is busy readying the dock lines and fenders. As we near the wall several of the sailors have lined up on the dock to help with the lines and Ana launches into an unorthodox docking maneuver, never before attempted in these waters. As she winds up and hurls the coiled dockline to the waiting dock hands she somehow manges to propell her body completely over the sides of the boat, in fact causing herself to travel further than the actual dock line. She was able to grab on to one of the lifelines with a single finger (which would later turn a bit purple) and she then latched on with both hands and hung there while the stunned bystanders stood speechless. Fortunately one of them does speak up and reminds me that I have left the boat in reverse gear and am rapidly closing in on a boat behind me. I slam it into forward, get into the clear then hop up on deck and give Ana a lift back into the boat. Like a trooper, she then hops onto land with the rope and gets the boat safely tied down. I think she briefly considered telling our hosts we were visiting from Toledo…then reconsidered and admitted we were Canadians and part of the CVSS - Canadian Vaudeville Sailing Squadron.

After getting settled we attempt to take a walk downtown and the rain picks up and washes into the nearest building we could find, which turns out to be a Maritime museum so we happily go in and spend an hour or so learning about Sandusky’s marine history and the history of sailing on Lake Erie. They have a large pirate display which gets the kids whipped into a frenzy and they speak Pirate to each other for the rest of the day.

After spending a few hours back at the boat waiting for the weather to clear we do return to Sandusky’s downtown to discover a big street festival in full swing with a live band and hundreds of people drinking Bud Light and other similar forms of tinned water. Yet again, it is a metal cover band and we are treated to all of my early 90’s leather panted favourites. Ana takes the opportunity for

Some badly needed retail therapy and finds a junky thrift store into which her and the kids disappear for thirty minutes and return with prizes. I was happy to wait outside as I had already found my prize on the walk downtown - a dirty, small fish shop that served us the best walleye and perch sandwiches I believe I’ve ever had.

The walk back to the boat features a highly organized firefly hunt. As it is well past dark, the fireflies are out in the thousands and we devise a technique whereby Stella rides on my shoulders and we run in the grass corralling the stray fireflies into Magnus sticky grasp where he easily captures the flickering creatures. And that is a most fine way to end another adventurous day!

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