7/4/17: We got an early start on our 60 mile trip to Windsor. Today was July 4th, and we thought the boat traffic on the St. Clair and the Detroit Rivers, as well as on Lake St. Clair, would be extremely busy. To our surprise we only passed two lakers, and instead of intense boat traffic, we played ‘dodge the fishing boats’.
There were hundreds of fishing boats along both rivers and the lake. They were along shore, surrounding islands, and many were just sitting right in the middle of the shipping lanes, oblivious to the freighters, only moving at the very last minute, or some not moving at all, coming within yards of the huge ships. Mix in the speedboat traffic and it was a fun day of dodging the fishing boats and riding out the wakes of the power boats.
The St. Clair River near Sarnia is almost all industry. There were refineries, chemical plants, and many, many factories. It wasn’t very scenic. The lower part, before Lake St. Clair, was mostly homes, some bordering on mansion-size. Many had power lifts for their million dollar yachts, and many had actual boat garages attached right to the house. One we entered Lake St. Clair, the one thing you see the entire 20 miles across is the GM building in downtown Detroit. Detroit was Detroit, but from the river it doesn’t look as poverty-stricken as we had heard it was. The downtown area looked like a really nice city! And across the river, in Windsor, is the Caeser’s casino, which is just enormous. But then, after the Ambassador Bridge, comes more industry. More factories, more chemical plants, etc…
The marina we chose was down a side channel, next to Fighting Island. It wasn’t quite what we expected, based on what we had read. One single fairway ran down the middle with about 70 slips on either side. They asked us to utilize their service well, which was all the way at the end of the channel. Before we even reached the well, we realized that this was the tightest maneuvering marina we had been in to date. After we tied off, we started trying to formulate our exit plan (without much success). It was really tight, and we weren’t sure how we were going to get out of here. But the owners were really great in lending a hand spinning the boat around in the fairway and backing it into the service for an easy-out tomorrow morning. On our way back from dinner, we saw that the marina is for sale. For 3.2 million Canadian Dollars (only $2,464,000 American Dollars at the July 3rd exchange rate), you could be the proud new owner!
Tomorrow we depart for Leamington, about 37 miles from here. It will be our first glimpse of Lake Erie, and based upon what we’ve heard about her, we are praying for good weather. We have our fingers crossed that our 5-day plan to cross her doesn’t turn into more. However, if the winds are high or the weather turns bad, it may turn out to be more. We certainly hope not, as we really do want to get to Maine this season!