News and views, and history and humor, about the lake I love.

"I can hear my granddad's stories of the storms out on Lake Erie, where vessels and cargos and fortunes, and sailors' lives were lost." ~ James Taylor, Millworker

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Boating Scenes from Yesteryear

Cruised out to Kelly's Island in the Lyman this morning and had a lunch at West Bay, so I thought it would be nice to post some pics from old postcards that depict boating in times gone by. How different it must have looked back then!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sunsets on Lake Erie

There is something elemental, almost spiritual about sunsets on Lake Erie. Watching them brings a calmness and peace that is totally unique and special. And, as you might expect, I never get tired of photographing them. So I thought I share a few I've taken recently. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tell your legislators loud and clear: water is not a commodity

If you've been following this blog you know that I've written extensively about HB 231, that ill-conceived piece of legislation that made a mockery of the Great Lakes Compact and which Governor Kasich thankfully - and wisely - vetoed.

Tom Henry, writing for Great Lakes Echo, recently posted a brilliant and timely editorial piece about the Great Lakes Compact and how the Ohio General Assembly tried to exploit one of the most serious problems facing the Great Lakes region for the short-term benefit of some influential business lobbyists. (See: Gov. averts Great Lakes attack; I'm still embarrassed to be a Buckeye). Tom talked about how he's still embarrassed to be a Buckeye.

We should all be embarrassed to be Buckeyes.

While all the lakes are equally precious and needing of our careful and caring stewardship, Lake Erie is particularly vulnerable to the kind of short-sightedness and stupidity we saw with the introduction of HB 231. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes in volume (119 cubic miles) and is exposed to the greatest effects from urbanization and agriculture. The average depth of Lake Erie is only about 62 feet. The drainage basin covers parts of Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario. Because of its fertile soils, the basin is intensively farmed and is the most densely populated of the five lake basins. All of these factors create enormous pressures on the health of the lake and we haven't even talked about the greed factor.

Tom Henry writes: "If HB 231 had become law, Ohio businesses would have been allowed to drain Lake Erie to the tune of 5 million gallons a day and take up to 2 million gallons a day from groundwater that replenishes the lake." In other words, he points out, virtually use of one of our most precious resources.

As is clear from the HB 231 fiasco, we can't afford to sit by passively and trust our elected officials in Columbus (or Washington, for that matter) to operate in our best interests without constantly looking over their shoulders. I guess they are like little kids that way. And with a political system awash in money, the game of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" is only going to get worse. (Our broken election system is only going to change through massive reform, such as the institution of public funded elections, but that's a subject for another day.)

As tempting as it might be, I'm not going to try to analyze the thought processes or pathology of the mental midgets who crafted this piece of legislation. Life has taught me that the simplest explanation is usually the right one, and the simple explanation is that they do what they do because they see their oath of office not as a sacred trust but as a means to an end, that end being to further the interests of those to paid to get them elected. I know, I know; in Civics 101 we learned that an elected representative is sworn to represent the interests of all the people and to provide the greatest good. But these guys don't think like that, as they've shown during their first six months in office.

To say that the system is broken and just give up is a cop out. Things are the way they are because we allowed them to get that way. There's no one else to blame but us. But the good news is, something that is broken can always be fixed. It only takes will and determination.

When it comes to something as precious as our water supply and the future of our children, we can't afford to let our politicians screw this up. Let them know water is not a commodity, it's a precious resource to be shared by all.

And let them know that, from now on, you'll be watching.

A Day at Put-in-Bay

I thought I'd share a few pics from last Friday afternoon when I group of us took a 21' Lyman over to the island. After a picnic in the park, we walked around town, had ice cream, and waited out a thunderstorm before heading back. What a day!

This looks like fun!
P-I-B is a great place to see classic Lymans. This baby blue boat is a beauty.
Great Blue Heron - a true Lake Erie icon
Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial undergoing repairs
Black squirrel, common on the island and in Ohio generally
This unique home, utilizing the pilot house of an old lake freighter, sits on the north shore of the island

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More pics from the Lakeside Wooden Boat Show

I am going to keep posting these until, so please enjoy them!

This 12' performance racer was my personal favorite from the show

Another eye-popping Chris Craft

This historic 1909 launch is a beauty

One of many fine Lymans at the show. They probably accounted for 75% of the boats there

Chris Craft

A small boy stands proudly with the 13' Lyman he helped his dad restore

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Great Lakes Forever Photo and Art Contest

Thirty Mile Point in Winter by Gerri Jones, 2009 Grand Prize Winner

Great Lakes Forever and Budweiser have again partnered to produce the 7th annual Great Lakes Forever photo contest in an effort to raise awareness of the Great Lakes and engage people in their protection. This year, the contest includes an original art division.

Artists and photographers are invited to enter their best Great Lakes photographs or pieces of original art, including graphic illustrations, paintings, drawings or any other two dimensional piece of art inspired by the Great Lakes. Art and photography should exemplify the distinctive landscape of the Great lakes and the communities that live on the shores. Great Lakes Forever hopes to see from this year's entries the diverse wildlife and natural areas, cities and cultures that make the Lakes unique. Six finalists will be chosen from the pool of hundreds of submitted photographs and win great prizes from Budweiser.
Grand Prize: Featured on Budweiser coasters to be distributed around the region and a cruiser bike
1st place: Double chair and umbrella set for sunny days at the park, beach or backyard pool
2nd place: Ladder gold set-the new picnic game that's sweeping the nation

Grand prize winning entries in both the art and photography categories will be printed on beer coasters. Last year, the winners were printed on more than 120,000 beer coasters that were distributed to all eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces. Not only does this contest highlight the talented photographers in the Great Lakes area, it also works toward making residents aware of the problems the Great Lakes face and engage them in protecting this vulnerable and valuable natural resource.

All entries must be received no later than 11:59pm CST on August 14th, 2011. For contest rules or to enter, go to the contest web site.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yet More Lakeside Wooden Boat Show Photos

Lighthouse for Sale!

Conneaut Harbor West Breakwater Light
If you've ever wanted to own a lighthouse on Lake Erie, now's your chance. The Conneaut Harbor West Breakwater Light is being auctioned off by the federal government. On the GSA website you can find everything you need to place a bid. But hurry, the auction closes July 27th.

Monday, July 18, 2011

More Lakeside Wooden Boat Show Photos

Lakeside Wooden Boat Show

I had the good fortune today to attend the 8th Annual Lakeside Wooden Boat Show at beautiful Lakeside, Ohio, the famous "Chautauqua on Lake Erie." The boat show is put on each year by the Lakeside Wooden Boat Society. There were over fifty boats on hand, ranging in size from 9 to 57 feet in length.

I arrived early in the morning with my brother-in-law who had a 16' Lyman in the show. Despite a virtual flotilla of trailered boats converging on this little hamlet by the lake, setup was quick and stress free, thanks largely to organizer Mame Drackett. With the boat in its assigned spot, we were able watch the arrival of the other boats and enjoy the festivities. Boats arrived by both land and water. At first a trickle, the pace picked up quickly as boat after boat chugged around the Lakeside breakwater and were immediately greeted by orange-shirted harbor masters who instantly barked orders over walkie-talkies to assistants who rushed to the dock or plunged into waste-deep water to secure the arriving boats to the pier. I was impressed at how well organized it all was.

In addition to the beautiful antique wood boats, there miniature boats as well, with members of two model boat clubs , the Cleveland Model Boat Club and the Maumee Valley Model Boat Club, on hand to display their craftsmanship.

It was a beautiful day for the boat show. Although hot in the afternoon, the moderating influence of the lake helped out a lot. But it was all about the boats; admiring not only the fine lines of these classic craft, but also the craftsmanship of the boat owners who work so hard to restore and maintain them year after year. And if that wasn't enough, the Lakesiders provided a great and supportive venue for it all. A nice lunch was available for a small free and there was a live band on hand performing 70s and 80s rock classics.

Now on to the boats. I snapped some great photos. Here are a few to get started. I will upload more throughout the week, so keep coming back!

Big Chris Craft arriving for the show

32' 1937 Richardson Cruisabout

Lyman with some nice artwork!

Another shot of the Richardson

Richardson again

A classic Chris Craft waiting in line to dock

Check back tomorrow for more uploads!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kasich sides with Lake Erie; vetoes HB 231

Good news for Lake Erie! Ohio Governor John Kasich vetoed HB 231 yesterday. This terrible bill would have allowed Ohio factories to pull up to 5 million gallons from the lake per day without any oversight whatsoever. The legislature had passed the bill despite warnings from two Republican ex-governors that, among other things, the bill probably violated the Great Lakes Compact.

In vetoing the bill Kasich said, " Lake Erie is an incredible resource that demands our vigilant stewardship to maximize its environmental, recreational and commercial potential for Ohioans."

The Ohio Environmental Council applauded the governor for doing the right thing.

Indeed, he did.

More Matthews boat photos!

As the follow-up to my post the other day, here are some photos I took at the Port Clinton Yacht Club of some of the beautiful Matthews boats that docked there for public viewing. Enjoy!

If you'd like to see even more boat pics, you can find a nice slide show here.