Sunday, July 14, 2013

2013 Lake Erie Sailing Trip - Day 5

Day 5 – Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass Island

I woke up with a remarkably clear head, considering the quantities of Buzz Balls and tall boys consumed the previous evening.  Additionally, because of the overnight rains we had sealed up the boat tight, closing all hatches and plugging all holes, which always produces oxygen depleted environment, perfect for turning a six pack stinger into a 26 ounce pounder.  Seems that in life, sometimes you are just not meant to get a hangover, and I thanked the gods for that one.

The mission for the day was to get the ferry schedules figured out so that Chris and Melissa could make it back to Pelee Island in time to catch their Canada bound boat.  But before all that, we need a good solid brekkie so after showers we walked over to the best breakfast place on the strip and enjoyed a great meal and decent coffee.  It’s easy to find, just start walking down the main street and when you get to a place that doesn’t sell beer or knick-knacks you are there.

After breakfast, Melissa checked the ferries and bought the required tickets, leaving at 12:15, then we walked over to Perry’s Monument, which is a 350 foot tower built to commemorate the American’s defeat of the British in the Battle of Lake Erie in the year 1813.  The view from the top was okay, but you couldn’t see too far because of the haze hanging in the air, but we were at least able to see the whole of South Bass Island and at least part of the nearby islands.  As we walked around the observation deck, I couldn’t help thinking about some lunatic jumping up and over the concrete rail and plunging to his gory death.  Then I started thinking about us walking around at the bottom and one of us getting flattened by just such a suicidal maniac.  Then I started thinking that would be an excellent beginning for a horror novel.  Then I wondered why I hadn’t written a horror novel yet.  Funny how the mind makes these strange leaps.  I was soon distracted by a thread in my shirt tickling my neck, which got me back on track and away from that macabre train of thought.

We trotted over to the visitor’s centre, a place we’d somehow missed on the previous four visits here, and discovered an excellent exhibit on the Battle of Lake Erie, as well as a 15 minute movie on the battle, which was surprisingly well done.  By the end I was imagining myself as a low ranked sailor on the US Niagara, loading up a 30 pound cannon ball, suddenly and violently ripped to shreds by a deadly shower of wooden timber shards as an enemy projectile rips through the hull of my ship.  Man, what the hell did they put in those Buzz Balls to produce such gruesome thoughts?  Mental note – pick up a case before we leave.

Soon, we are waving goodbye to our friends and are sad to see them leave.  They were great guests to have aboard, not just because they brought a great deal of alcohol, but because they were carefree, eager to help, excited to learn and so great with the kids.  I sure hope they get married some day and have kids of their own, sometimes you just meet couples who you know would be the best parents in the world.

Shortly after they left on the ferry, we threw off the lines, went for a quick pump out, filled the tanks up with $90 worth of diesel and headed over to Middle Bass Island, a short 2 mile trip north of our current location.   We had visited there last year but really hadn’t explored much, so  we wanted to spend a day and have a better look around.

We went to the Middle Bass Yacht Club, got a slip, had some lunch, then rented a golf cart and began our whirlwind cruise around the island.  If Put-In-Bay and South Bass Island is Disneyland, and Pelee Island is like a beaten up teeter-totter in a forgotten playground, then Middle Bass Island would be something akin to the local shopping mall parking lot carnival.  Yes, there a few interesting things to see, such as “JR Walleyes”, “Hazard’s” and the giant lily pad swamp near the airport, but by far the highlight of the visit was the walk around Lonz Winery.  As dusk approached, we went for a walk over to the abandoned winery, counting a dozen bunnies along the way.  We explored the area for a while then headed west along the shoreline in search of some diving cliffs that the dockhand at the marina had told us about, which we never did find, but did discover a large population of fireflies, which kept the kids busy scurrying around in the long grass, catching dozens of them.  This particular species were large and very easy to catch.  As we rounded the corner of the island, mosquito hour had arrived and they began their attack, so we picked up the pace and headed down a heavily wooded path, which seemed to lead back to the marina.  Halfway through, I looked to my left to be rendered speechless by a vision of the enchanted forest.  Before me were thousands of fireflies, from the forest floor to the treetops, flashing their fires at random, creating a mystical, magical scene.  The rest of the family soon reached this spot and we all stood there for a few brief moments, entranced by the picture before us.   But soon the mozzie bites were too much to bear so we continued on and were soon back in the marina and in the boat.  We finished off the night by watching Cloud Atlas, whose storyline defies description, but suffice to say that, though it was watchable, it confirmed my belief that Tom Hanks and Halle Berry should probably move onto other careers.

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