Sunday, July 14, 2013

2013 Lake Erie Sailing Trip - Day 2

Day 2 – Erieau

The rest of the sail went by without problems and by midday we were closing in on Erieau.  After the single floating sailboat we did not see another vessel during the passage, but now the lake was alive with action as there were fishing boats everywhere, in fact Stella and I counted 23 of them.  We also spotted some fishing net markers directly in our path, and attempted to go around there, but after a mile and a half, with no end of the markers in sight, we decided to cut across them and fortunately did not get anything tangled in our keel or rudder.

We arrived to a clean, well organized, well marked marina and within minutes we were in our slip, registered and being taken on a guided tour of the marina by Cathy the manager.  Erieau is one of these special places that nobody knows about.  The town itself is small and located on a peninsula between Rondeau Bay and the lake, and the nearest city of any size is Chatham, another place that few people know much about.

The kids and Ana immediately put on their suits and were in the swimming pool, while I decided to go for a walk and enjoy a nice Cuban cigar.  After a long, successful sail it is good to treat yourself, no?  I wandered around, found the beach, which was gigantic, nearly void of people and very inviting.  I went for a nice walk along the shoreline then cut back into town and snapped a photo of what I can only describe as the perfect marine trifecta - welcome to the Erieau Marine store/Liquor store/Beer store, one stop shopping for boaters.  And less than a block away was a convenience store where you could pick up a pack of hot dogs and buns, so there truly was everything a boater could possibly need for supplies.

After that lovely cigar, I went for a dip with the kids, then did some dock walking and saw hundreds of fish and some big turtles, as well as a few baby turtles which Stella was absolutely smitten with.  Ana soon joined us and we did another tour of the town, stopping for ice creams at the convenience store, then the curio shop, which I refused to enter as those places tend to trigger a knick-knack attack for me.  That’s the feeling that your house or boat is about to be buried in a nonsensical heap of crystal figurines, ceramic elephants, aprons embroidered with “Please kiss the cook”, collapsible back scratchers, carved Indian heads, Sea Monkeys and, if things go really bad, a Slap Chop that will forever take up valuable, limited cupboard space and never get used.

We decided to go for an early dinner so settled in at a newly opened brew pub/restaurant, called the Bayside Brewing Company.  After admiring the gleaming new bronze beer vats, we were led to an enormous fifteen person table on the deck overlooking the bay.  The beer came in two varieties, regular and light, and in cups, pints, mini pitchers and full pitchers.  I floated the idea of splitting a pitcher, which Ana declined, so I ordered a pint.  That pint tasted so good I ordered another one, which we shared since Ana liked it too.  For dinner, I had a gourmet perch sandwich, strangely served in two toasted hot dog buns, but was delicious.  The owner came by at the end of our meal to ask how everything was and told us that they have been very busy thus far this season, with people traveling from a wide area to visit the restaurant, which did not surprise me much at all.

After our meal, we walked over to experience the marina/liquor/beer store (man, I love typing that!).  The marine store was extremely well stocked so I picked up a few spare boat parts, but was stopped in my tracks by Ana when I started eyeing up the equally well stocked beer fridges.  Yes, I knew cheap US brews were only a couple days away, but still....

Outside the store there were a few fishermen cleaning their catch, which consisted of a dozen huge walleyes and rainbow trout, obviously all those boats were out there for good reason.  The well built clean station was right alongside the lake, and in the lake sat a dozen hungry turtles, snapping up the fish bits that were thrown out to them.  What the turtles didn’t grab, the hundreds of fish beneath them did, providing for a very well fed population of creatures.

We returned to the boat and somehow managed to get through half a movie before passing out. 

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