Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 8: Erie, PA to Detroit, MI

Hopefully the last of the getting up before sunrise happened today. Here is the brief of the last 24 hours:

The Welland Canal did not take the 12 hours we were told it would take. It took about 6 hours to navigate - much better. The canal was very interesting, especially the flight locks: These are 3 locks all in a row so as you exit the first lock, you go directly into the 2nd and so on. What made it pretty cool was the fact we had a large ship in front of us so while we were in the 1st and 2nd locks, he was 70 feet in the air above us in the lock in front with nothing but a 2 foot thick steel door separating us and him (along with 91 million gallons of water I later learned). It's a little nerve wracking to see water pouring over a huge door that is only a few feet in front of us and knowing there is 91 million gallons waiting to come down on you.

After transiting the canal, we met up with Lady Barbara (this is the yacht we were docked next to in Atlantic City and has been with us on and off all trip). She is out of Erie, PA so we transited Lake Erie with her to Erie and spent the night at the Erie Yacht Club tied up next to Lady Barbara. We got in right at sunset so we grilled a quick dinner and went to bed fairly early. The departure time the next morning was 5:00am again to make up some time for the long 200+ mile run to Detroit. EJ and Jock left us in Erie. They caught a morning flight out of Erie to Chicago. They were going to leave us in Detroit but since we were running a bit behind, they were planning on departing Saturday anyway.

The trip from Erie to Detroit was a long one. It took us about 10 hours of cruising to make this. Weather was not great. A small system was blowing in and wind was pretty high. This meant we had to hug the shoreline on the south side of Lake Erie where the waves were smaller. Once we hit Cleveland, we turned for a direct shot to Detroit. That trip across Lake Erie was wavy but things got worse the closer to Detroit we got. The wind was picking up through out the day and on the Great Lakes, weather changes very fast. Waves grew to around 3 feet and the chop increased. This meant we had to bring down our speed for the last 2 hours of the trip to make the ride better.

Once we hit Detroit, we went up the Detroit river and into Lake St. Claire. This is about the 1/2 point for us in terms of time but we are obviously much closer in distance to Chicago. Lake St. Claire has a repair facility so the plan has been to layover there and get any critical repair work done before moving on. This is also where we pick up 4 new passengers and where Mark will leave us to fly back to the east coast. Our new passengers are Erica, Ela, Rob and Betsy. That will give us a total crew of 6 for the rest of the week.

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