Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday, July 20th – Water snake bay and Kelleys Island

By the time I woke up (which I think was only 7:30) Ana was already showered, dressed and plucked. Tony too was up and outside the boat enjoying the hot, calm morning. My first job was to get some coffees rocking and then I moved onto breakfast. In Sandusky I had picked up a tube of that fantastically unhealthy American pork sausage that they use to make the biscuits and gravy so I slabbed that baby up and threw the discs into the frying pan. Angela still hadn't emerged from the aft cabin, but after consulting with my wife I said, "Tony, you may think your wife is sleeping but Ana was picking up some Instragram activity so I think she's up!" She appeared shortly after that, laughing.
Ana and Angela fixed up the picnic table under the gazebo beside our boat with all the breakfast stuff and we enjoyed a hearty meal while enjoying the views and having a great chat. After this we went snake hunting as the dock walls are a favourite hang out for the Lake Erie water snake, and we managed to spot two of them, thanks to Stella who has a keen eye for snakes. Now Magnus did not participate in the snake hunt because he is deathly afraid of serpents, and has been since he was a baby. I've always wondered if it's because of that time I put a garter snake in the crib with him for a joke and it crawled all over his face.  Looking back, maybe that wasn't such a great idea.
After we were all showered we threw off the dock lines, said good-bye to Put-in-Bay and set sail for Rattlesnake Island, which was located only a few miles west. We weren't sure what was there, as we had never been close to it before, but as we approached we realized it was a private island complete with private houses, a private marina and dock and some very large boats. Not wanting to get shot for trespassing, we turned north and sailed up to Middle Bass Island, finding a lovely anchorage in a small bay on the north-west side of the island. We tossed the anchor, tossed in the Hydro Force Marine Pro supersonic dingy, tossed ourselves in the water, and then tossed back a beer. Actually Tony did not toss back a beer as he had to fly their airplane home later that day, and prefers to pound half a bottle of tequila before he flies to get that intense drunk on instead of the sleepy beer feeling. It makes him a much better pilot.
We lobbied hard but just could not convince Magnus to join us for a swim, even though everybody else was in the warm water, enjoying floating around on pool noodles or leaping off the boat. I said, "Magnus, there are no snakes in this water. It's way too far from shore and the snakes never come out this far."
"I don't care," he said, "I'm not going in."
"Well, your loss. The water is absolutely beautiful and snake free"
Shortly after saying this, I was floating on a noodle with a scrubbie brush cleaning off the waterline of the boat when Stella pointed out across the water and said, "What's that?"
Tony replied, "It's a snake.  But keep quiet and don't say anything unless it gets close to the ladies"
So we watched this big snake swimming through the water with his head straight up navigating his way right across the lake to the nearby island. Shows what I know about Lake Erie water snakes. Fortunately neither the ladies nor Magnus noticed the snake, so there was no panic, although later in the day I think Magnus got wind of it because he asked Stella if there had been a snake in the water. She lied and said no, what a good girl.
After our delicious swim we put the sails up and had a slow, easygoing cruse eastwards to Kelleys Island, propelled by a steady 6 knot wind. But since we weren't in a rush…there was no rush and we arrived at the Portside Marina a few hours later. Kelleys Island is larger than Put-in-Bay but has much less tourism and is a slow, friendly, easy-going place. We rented two golf carts and set out for a rapid island tour. By this time the temperature had really skyrocketed so the breeze created by the roving golf cart felt great. We drove to the State park and got out to have a look at the beach and then continued on driving though some nicely shaded country roads until we found the Kelleys Island Brewery – that's worth a stop.
We ripped back to the golf cart rental place after enjoying a quick drink and then walked over to our favourite restaurant on the island, called the Island House, for an early dinner so that Tony and Angela could catch the 18:10 ferry back to Put-in-Bay. As expected, the meal was excellent and reasonably priced too.  They even served PBR tall cans for $2 – PBR being "Pabst Blue Ribbon", an outstandingly mediocre American lager, so I just had to try one of those.
By then it was time to get the Henriques to the ferry so we walked the two blocks to the ferry dock, said our goodbyes and waved them off. I had been hoping we'd be able to sail them back to Put-in-Bay and paddle them to the airport shoreline in our dingy (as that's something we're yet to do…) but we simply ran out of time, so we left it up to the Henriques to figure out how to get to the airport from the ferry dock. We would learn later that Angela had her very fist hitchhiking experience as they thumbed up a golf cart ride to their airplane!
We sent the kids off to play mini-golf and returned to the boat salon for an after dinner chill out. When the kids returned Ana and Magnus walked back up to town to check out a few shops while Stella and I went snake hunting on the docks. Both teams scored. Stella and I spotted one snake while Magnus returned, beaming, with a switch-comb. His hair is going to look so nice.
By then we were all wiped after all the sun and swimming so we watched a spot of tv and crashed hard, putting the wraps on another fantastic day in the islands.

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