We'll be boating thru Lake Erie once or twice this year (if all goes well). We stick mainly to Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, but we took a trip to Put-In-Bay and Cedar Point last year. Planning the same thing this year.
I've done the Metro to PIB cruise a few times. I also cruised down to Cleveland from Metro Beach before. Used about 108 gallons of gas (out of the 110 gallon tank) getting down there. Yeah, that was pretty stupid of me but I still made it. Got some interesting looks from people when I told them I was inLake St. Claire just three hours prior. The Islands are a good time for some, but not if hate crowds and/or large groups of drunken morons. I took my Dad there last year and he didn't care for it at all. We later tried to get in at Kelley's Island but there were no open slips. This was a Friday afternoon too (not Saturday). Personally, I like the Beach at Cedar point the best. Good sandy bottom and a huge beach (free for the taking )
Sorry about the website. I never got around to making it "Netscrape" friendly. Try loading it with Internet Exploder, that should solve most things. If that doesn't work, just follow these links to a few pictures I have from the Lake Erie area. Not much, but still something:
As for the cruising speed, I was doing about 50 mph there and 55 mph back. I did stop in at PIB on the way there for a mooring bouy that I could come back to. If I hadn't stopped off at South Bass Island, I probably could have cut north of the Islands and made it in well under three hours. Of course, that would have been a long trek across big, open water (cruising at 10 - 15 miles offshore).
The "Islands" are by far the most popular place on Lake Erie. The Islands consist of four U.S. Islands; North Bass, Middle Bass, South Bass, and Kelley's Island, and one Canadian Island; Pele. South Bass is home to the famous "Put In Bay" which can get down right out of hand at times. Kelley's Island is a little more "family" paced but can still draw a pretty big crowd on the weekends. Middle Bass used to host "Lonz Winery" which was a quick 5 minute ferry boat ride from PIB. They closed the Winery down last year and keep talking about the State taking it over as a State Landmark. Besides the Winery, there's not much on Middle Bass. North Bass is 100% private. I've never been to Pele before, but I've heard that it is nothing like the American Islands. A lot more "Park-ish" with a nature feel to it.
Swimming in Lake Erie:
Do people do it? Sure. Do I recommend it? Depends. In all fairness, Lake Erie is a shallow lake that gets a lot of irrigation run off. This is what gives the Lake it's characteristic "Murkiness". I don't think Lake Erie is any dirtier than any other Great Lake (well, OK, maybe not Superior). You could very easily find a clean beach with water temps above 70 degrees in July / August. My favorite Lake Erie beach, so far, has been the Cedar Point beach. Just watch out for the Jet Ski rentals. :gunner:
Bars on the Lake, PIB is the place for that. The Cleveland Flats also has a lot to offer boaters. As for "Coves" you really need to head up into the Detroit River / Lake St. Clair area to find the really popular ones. There is "Crystal Bay" at the southern part of the Detroit River. Used to be very popular with live bands on floating stages, but there has been a severe crackdown the last three to fours years in the area. I guess the US coasties got sick of patrolling the area and told the Canadian's it was "offifically" their land and they should be patrolling it. Canadian boating regulations are a lot more strict than those in the US. I guess that sort of killed things off.
That's it for this marathon letter, feel free to drop me a line if you want any other local information.