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, February 4, 2012

A spring-like winter's day on Lake Erie

Photo by Rich Norgard
As I look out my window the winter scene out on Lake Erie contrasts sharply with the scene a year ago, when ice shanty's dotted the lake. By all accounts this has been an unusually warm winter so far, compared to, say, Alaska, where they are experiencing some of the coldest temperatures and highest snow falls in recent memory.

With the aid of a brisk wind from the northeast, the ice that has accumulated along the shore of Catawba Island is breaking loose and drifting off toward Port Clinton. Many of these mini icebergs make fine rafts for the many sea gulls that hop aboard for a free ride.

One sure sign that this is not your normal winter is the fact that the Catawba Island ferry is running again. The announcement was made the other day that the ferry running from the end of Catawba over to Put-in-Bay will provide service four times per day as long as the lake stays free of ice. Many islanders are taking advantage of the opportunity to hop over here to the mainland to pick up groceries, watch a movie, or visit relatives. However, it's not so good news for pilots who make a living on the Put-in-Bay run.

With apologies to the pilots and the ice fishermen, I'm hoping the warm weather continues. Watching the sea birds ice hop and the sun shimmer off the cold water is more than worth it.

Photo by Rich Norgard
Photo by Rich Norgard