Friday, July 22, 2005

A day on the hook in Presque Isle, PA

We left our slip in Erie PA pretty early in the morning. Just coffee and off we go. We simply motor across the big bay to a smaller bay called Marina Lake. It’s not really a separate lake but a well protected bay with its own marina surrounded by the Presque Isle State Park. We plan to just anchor here for a day and explore. Maybe claim the land in the name of Chicago!

There are two other sailboats anchored and we give them plenty of room and anchor by a little inlet the leads to who knows where? The anchor is set easily enough and we are off in the dingy but just oars. Good thing. There is a sign by that little inlet that says no internal combustion engines (Oh for a steam engine just then!). We (Ok, Scott because he insisted) rows the dingy up the small channel. It’s very wild and pretty and we go as far as a bridge and pull the dingy up to begin walking. We have a map of the state park and follow the walking, biking path all the way to yet another memorial for Commander Perry. It seems his ships were all built right here in Erie for his famous battle of Lake Erie that was alluded to earlier in this blog. In fact the two bigger ships were built here but could not make it through the shallows so they had to use “camels” to get them out. It is just crazy what people did 200 years ago. A camel is a big square barge type thing. You place one on each side of the ship you want to clear the shallows and then you sink the camels! Tie the big ship to the camels now nice and tight. Now just pump all the water out of the camels and you raise the big ship so it can clear 4 feet of water! Of course before you do all that you take off all the cannons and cannon balls and Elizabeth Taylor if she is hiding below and then you put it all back sans Liz!

Anyway, right where this Perry monument is is where they scuttled (sank) the Niagra and some of the other ships from the battle of Lake Erie in a place called Misery Bay. Way back in 1914 though they raised the Niagra and used the keel to build an exact replica of the original ship. That very ship sails out of the Maritime Museum here in Erie PA.

A shot of Misery Bay....doesn't look so bad now!

In the afternoon Scott read and Sue did some boat projects: cleaned the fenders and sewed some reinforcement into our hatch screen. Good thing because later in the evening we really needed the screen to thwart the mosquitoes…well, most of them.

We took dingy out again later and tried to catch dinner with our usual outcome. A couple of strikes but no fish. We were on the look out for gar since we saw one as we anchored. Thankfully none were to be found while fishing.

Tomorrow we leave early and either head for Dunkirk, NY or the Welland Canal in Ontario depending on the winds.

See the Gar fish? Yikes! Gots a big aligator type snout!

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