After a good sleep, we shoved off heading south and west. Our earlier homage to King Neptune paid off as a huge high pressure dome settled in over the western Great Lakes. The upshot for us – favorable winds, both direction and velocity, for the remainder of the voyage to Detroit. Quite extraordinary considering that southwesterlies usually persist this time of year.
We sailed on beam and broad reaches through the moonlit night 135 nautical miles arriving in Cleveland, Ohio, around midday. Arrival back into the U.S. was easy breezy using a video phone dockside at the municipal marina. The dockhand even pumped out our holding tank for free while we checked in with the Border Patrol agent. Welcome
Soon thereafter, we were tied up at the Edgewater Yacht Club. We wasted no time taking in the town, culminating in a visit to Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, who were in the midst of what would become a record breaking 22-game win streak. We saw them beat the Detroit Tigers for win number 18.
Phil had to leave us, flying back to New York reality early the next morning. Propelled by very favorable winds, Rod and I carried on to Middle Bass Island, part of an archipelago of islands at the western end of the lake.
As you know, every island has a story and this one was no exception. We set anchor in firm holding just off the dock at Put In Bay, the most protected cove in the islands. Even before landing, we could see the island’s main landmark, the world’s largest Greek Doric column marking the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial National Park.
Once on shore, we soon came upon a pleasant park in the middle of town surrounded by watering holes and tourist traps. The park was set aside way back when by Joseph de Rivera St. Jurgo who was born in Barcelona in 1813. Joseph came to New York as a young man and built a successful import business. In 1854, he bought six Lake Erie islands and had them subdivided into ten acre lots. He encouraged German immigrants to come to the island to purchase land and plant vineyards. A respectable wine industry followed. He also established the island’s cave as a tourist attraction and donated five acres in town for the park. He is buried in the island’s cemetery on land he donated for the purpose.
A bike ride from one end of the island to the other only took half an hour. There, we found an historic lighthouse being toured by a group of “Road Scholars” visiting the island for a history lesson. We tagged along and climbed up to the top to take in the view.
We arose early after a restful night swinging at anchor to another brilliant sunny day with beam reach winds propelling us toward the Detroit River. Within 15 nautical miles of weighing anchor, we crossed the very spot where U.S. Naval Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry won the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, effectively turning the tide of the War of 1812. Here is where he uttered the memorable cry, “Don’t Give Up The Ship.”
Thirty nautical miles later, the persistent flow of the Detroit River against the hull began impeding our progress by about a knot, proving that we had left Lake Erie behind. Soon thereafter, we tucked behind an island to set the anchor as dusk fell.