Lake Erie – The Islands

They call it “Key West of the North.” Put-In Bay is a summer playground on South Bass Island, one of four significant islands (and several smaller ones) in western Lake Erie, in the State of Ohio, just a few miles from the Canadian border. Yes, I know there’s a lot of geographic pointers in that sentence. It’s a bit hard to keep up with at times!

I didn’t know there were islands in Lake Erie, much less popular ones. Well, why wouldn’t there be? Most lakes have islands. Still, it surprised me somehow. It was just the latest surprise on the adventure called The Great Loop.

We’ve been staying at a state park at Middle Bass Island, a short ferry ride from the more famous island to the south. I’ll remember this visit mostly for the mayflies and the golf carts. Photos and captions below of our leg from the town of Huron, on the northern shore of Ohio, to the Bass Islands in Lake Erie.

After leaving the waterfront town of Huron days ago, we passed the famous amusement park Cedar Point. I still love amusement parks and roller-coasters. There’s a large marina right there. We pass by so many cool destinations when doing The Great Loop, especially when in a hurry to get the boat home. It was too hot that day, anyway…
Nearing the Bass Islands, we ran into car ferries making the run to/from the mainland. These two look like they are about to collide, but are actually safely separated.
We found the Middle Bass Island State Park marina nearly deserted. As soon as we arrived, I took the paddle board out into the clearer water of the lake and jumped in to cool off. (The near-shore waters are not inviting here.)
A large plaque at the park reminded us what state this is. Since it’s our 19th state on The Loop, I appreciate the reminder!
Then-Governor Kasich helped create this beautiful park.
Its marina is clean and well-run, including paved trails and potted plants on the docks. Best of all, it’s quiet.
Many Moons at rest at the marina on arrival day.
Mayflies are an aquatic insect that lives a short time. They stuck to windows, landed all over us, crunched underfoot, and created brown “pods” on the water surface. (This is a close-up of one on the boat screen.)
Other than the flies, the facilities in this marina are pristine. (At least they don’t bite! More a nuisance than a problem.)
The ruins of the Lonz Winery on the Middle Bass Island. It was in use too long; one death and many injuries occurred when a wall collapsed.
On Day 2, we took a small ferry to South Bass Island to see what all the fuss over Put-In Bay is about.
Arriving by ferry at The Boardwalk of Put-In Bay…
The view from the top of Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial on South Bass Island, overlooking Put-In Bay.
The monument honors the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie, Oliver Hazard Perry, but also recognizes the peace among the U.S, Great Britain, and Canada. (Keep in mind that it wasn’t always so!) We’ve seen a lot of Canadian flags on Lake Erie, reminding us that Canada is on the other side of the lake.
Golf carts are all over this island. We rented one, too, and enjoyed exploring the island that way. It was my first time driving a golf cart. They have their quirks! We saw a near-collision outside of a winery, complete with screeching brakes. I’m not surprised. They may go only 15 mph, but I still chose not to drink-and-drive.
See the mayflies covering the ground around this lamp post and the nets protecting the hanging plants?
We found the recommended “local’s favorite,” decorated with this curious sign, and had lunch there.
Another quirky sign.
After several stops and a circumnavigation of the island, we ended the day back at The Boardwalk, where we waited hours for the returning ferry. But there was plenty to look at from the waterfront bars and restaurants while we waited.
Another curious sign, on the Boardwalk. No bottoms?? Really? They have to warn people about that? This place must be really nuts on summer weekends! I’m glad we’re here on a week-day.
Jeff waits for the taxi on the waterfront with John and Rachel of Rachel Ann, who spent the day with us. This is the Burgee Bar. See the colorful burgees (small flags) hanging down? Someone should add an AGLCA burgee…
A floating tiki bar passed us as we waited. Yep, a summer playground!
The Perry Memorial and the marina at South Bass Island. There’s also a large mooring field nearby ($35/night, $45 on summer weekends) with free water taxi to/from your boat. If we stayed longer, I would have liked to try that.
This map shows the islands on lower left, and the U.S./Canadian border through Lake Erie. We will pass through the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, and the St. Clair River before entering Lake Huron. I had planned to leave the boat in Detroit but nobody else has shown up, so…. onward!
We have survived thousands of miles while sharing 34 feet, 24/7. My girlfriends often ask how we manage it. A lot of compromises and adjustments…

3 thoughts on “Lake Erie – The Islands

  1. Thanks for the many lessons you are teaching me including geography, history and life.

    Robert L. Hanson


    1. John & Rachel of the ‘Rachel Ann’ have enjoyed traveling with you on occasion ‘Many Moons’. Safe travels back to your home port.


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