Boat Trip!

Last year I took a two-hour riverboat trip on the E.V. Clinton out of Lake Erie Metropark.  It was a “discovery cruise” designed to combine a boat trip with a learning experience and was entitled “Eagle’s Eye Nature Cruise” and I really enjoyed it.  You can read my post about the trip here if you would like.

On that cruise, we explored Lake Erie and part of the Detroit River to check out eagles and eagles’ nests.  So, as a past Summer Discovery Cruises “cruiser” I was e-mailed information about a brand-new Fall cruise being offered by Lake Erie Metropark with a similar destination.

Well, I jumped at the chance to sail again and check out the Fall foliage and be part of the raptor migration for which Lake Erie Metropark is renowned.  Most Fall weekends at this venue, you will see photographers with long lenses, or folks with high-power binoculars, watching the skies for a myriad of raptors which fly over the boat launch area from September through November.  There are so many raptors that are in this annual migration, that they keep score of the totals and their species.

So I made a reservation the same date I got the e-mail, August 22nd

Though we had spectacular weather two weeks ago, this past week’s weather has been a bit of a dud.  We dipped to near freezing two mornings and had extremely high winds.  I felt like a tumbleweed as I did my laps around Council Point Park. On the other side of the Mitten State, the gales of November came early, with 13-foot waves crashing about and knocking back 20 feet of the Sand Dunes.

I had already decided that if the winds did not subside, I was not going on this boat trip – no way.  I don’t know how to swim!  Luckily, the winds were calm for the 10:00 a.m. trip, but it was cold when I left the house at 9:00 a.m. as you see below.

I debated what to wear as the day would eventually warm up and I wanted to spend the afternoon walking around Lake Erie Metropark post-boat trip.  On the other hand, I wanted to sit in the stern where it was all open to take photos without being obstructed by windows.  Do I take along another coat or a hoodie? Honestly, I fretted more than a teenager getting ready for prom night, but finally settled on a Winter coat, wool hat and my fingerless gloves with the flip-back mittens for taking photos.

I arrived at the marina early enough to get a few pictures of the calm water and the remaining boats which were not shrink-wrapped or out of the water for the Winter season.  It was picturesque and still.

We assembled at the dock while the crew was still squeegeeing the boat’s windows from the heavy dew which you see glistening on the grass at the marina.

We got on the boat at about 10:15, allowing for one passenger who arrived late – Carol was teased by the crew and passengers mercilessly, but it was all in good fun.  We walked up the metal gangplank, which swayed slightly, then each of us were given a hand and helped aboard by Captain Joe, who was also our Captain on the last cruise.  After we were seated, Captain Joe pointed to the life jackets stowed above and said “you won’t  need them but here they are” and also asked that we not all sit on one side during the trip as the boat would list to one side.  Then he added “oh, and by the way – no Titanic poses on the bow either, okay?”

As we pulled out of the marina and up a narrow passage into Lake Erie, the foliage colors we left behind were jewel toned and spectacular along the shoreline.

We were humming along, churning up the water from my vantage point in the stern.  Occasionally, fishermen standing up in their boats would give us a friendly wave.

As we glided on, the Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant was in the distance, easy to locate from the plumes rising out of the twin 400-foot towers.

The blue skies belied the fact that it was really late October, and, if not for the chilly morning, it could have been a mid-Summer cruise as we went past the Grosse Ile Yacht Club.

Our interpretive guide was Paul Cypher.  I’ve had Paul for some trail tours in the past, and his interpretive lectures are very thorough. He has worked in the Metroparks system for 25 years.  This is a picture of Paul as he was doing show-and-tell with an Ovenbird.  (This is a small, brown-speckled songbird in the Warbler family, not a turkey by the way.)  The duck decoy on the wall is a Canvasback duck.  In the background is Captain Joe in the wheelhouse demonstrating “look Ma – no hands” for a split second as he turned the wheel loose.  (No, the boat did not run away from the Captain.)

We learned about the migration of the Monarch butterflies to Mexico, and, if we didn’t blink, we could have seen two Monarch butterflies that flitted right past the boat.  These beauties should have donned their long underwear on this cold morning.  We saw photos on how to distinguish male and female Monarchs and a photo of them swarming together.

Though it is smack dab in the middle of migration, we only saw Turkey Vultures. Paul said there were thousands of them migrating through.  I saw a few far away, but didn’t take any photos of them.

It is always exciting to see freighters on the Great Lakes and most times, if you’re down near the Detroit River, from April through November lay-up, you’ll see a few if you’re lucky.  So, we were very lucky and saw three while “at sea” Saturday.  Paul had an app on his phone and was able to tell us the specifications about the freighters we saw.  We were really impressed with the MV Saginaw, which sails under the flag of Canada.   It is 639 feet (194.84 meters) long and carries up to 20,200 tons.  Here are two photos showing the bow and the stern.

We watched as she slowly disappeared from the area we had shared only moments before.

Here is another freighter on the horizon.

The cruise was over by 12:15 p.m. and I headed three miles down the road to Lake Erie Metropark where I spent the afternoon getting my steps in at that venue.  Peak leaf peeping here in Southeast Michigan is another two weeks away this year.  So, just like the shoreline, the trees were not totally vibrant colors yet, just the occasional pinky-red or yellow-orange leaf was scattered along the trail, but the trails were dry, which was welcome as the Cherry Island Trail was quite muddy and soggy the last time I visited from our incessant rains earlier this year.  I will write about my marsh meander in a separate post.

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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71 Responses to Boat Trip!

  1. Laurie says:

    That sounds like my kind of boat trip. You have the best excursions!
    I don’t know if I told you this, but when we were in South Carolina we counted monarchs for about an hour. There were over 300 that went past the house we stayed in. I guess they were on their way to Mexico. It was really amazing.

    I didn’t see an ovenbird this year. They hide in the forest pretty well. I heard lots of them calling me though this spring. They say “teach-er, TEACH-er, TEACH-ER!!!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      It was fun and we had such a good weather day Laurie. You never know what you’ll get this far into October. It was a shame we did not have peak color yet, but there was some color along the shoreline. The swarm of Monarchs in the photo Paul showed was impressive. I can’t imagine seeing them in real life. You were very lucky. I saw a group of Monarchs in the Fall of 2018 at Council Point Park. They alighted on a tree and were gone before I had time to realize what happened. I pulled the camera out and got a few in the tree, but the rest had flitted on by.
      That’s the first time I even heard of an Ovenbird – I need to learn more about our native birds and their calls. A call made just for you!

      Like

  2. Sounds like a fun cruise. Our fall color is running late this year too. We have migrating geese that fly overhead but I haven’t seen any this year. I may have missed them as it’s getting late.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      It was very nice Kate and an inaugural cruise. It turned out so many people wanted to do this cruise, they added three more trips. I guess the rain is what impacted the color this year. I have not seen any geese migrating this year – I wonder if I missed them too?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice boat excursion, Linda! Good thing that the weather held up for you. Did you see any eagles on the cruise?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, I was lucky we had clear and sunny weather Sabine. The cold I could deal with, but was worried about the high winds we had a few days last week here in SE Michigan and will have again over the next 24 hours. Parts of Michigan will get 26-foot waves (equivalent to those that sank the “Edmund Fitzgerald”). This is not near me however.

      We did not see any eagles, just turkey vultures – there were at least 1,000 of them spotted as they migrate over this park and area. I didn’t take any pictures- they were not close enough. I was at the park afterward – saw nothing there either. In fact it was rather desolate – the winds may take the leaves before the colors peak unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful boat ride! Those days are just about done for.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ally Bean says:

    I’ve never been on an excursion like the one you took. Most interesting and thankfully dry enough for you to enjoy the sights. You do find the things to do

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      It was a nice getaway and I was glad conditions were dry Ally. They have twenty different cruises, some focus on Lake Erie and the Detroit River and others are on the St. Clair River. I think I’d like to try one of their four or five-hour cruises next year. They also do educational cruises for school field trips as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I do like a boat trip. looks like a great trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      It was a great trip Andy and I was concerned about the weather and it turned out to be fine. The cold I could deal with and just bundled up – I got lots of fresh air on Saturday. They have a lot of educational trips with 20 different themes. I think given your love of the water, you would really enjoy these boat trips.

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  7. ruthsoaper says:

    What a beautiful day for your trip. A few days a go I saw a turkey buzzard standing on a deer that had been hit on the road. Guess he was gonna eat good. I said to my husband “I wonder where those birds live”. Do they nest in trees? They are huge. Right now we have quite a lot of fall colors. Even though they say it hasn’t reached it’s peak you never know because wind and rain can take down leaves before they reach “peak color”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, I was really lucky Ruth – it could have been bad given last week’s weather and you have to pay in advance – you only get a refund if they cancel the trip. When I went in 2018, it was a hot and humid day and that morning they had predicted a storm. I sent a message to Paul Gross at Channel 4 to ask if, in his opinion, it would be safe to go on the 2:00 p.m. trip and he said yes. The Clinton boat divides its time between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie/Detroit River throughout the Summer. They have other longer trips (3-5 hours) as well. I saw my first turkey vulture at Elizabeth Park last year – I was amazed how large they were. Yes, I guess carrion is their main meal – not a nice sight for you to see. We’re having a big wind event tonight and a thunderstorm as well. Some folks have already lost power. Hopefully the wind doesn’t pluck those leaves right off the trees.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ruthsoaper says:

        It is quite common to see road kill around here and there are often birds eating it – a lot of times it is crows but the turkey vultures seem to be more common now days.
        We had some rain and wind last night but no storms, I hope your power stayed on.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I was leery going out to Lake Erie Metropark on Saturday morning due to deer running in the road as it is really rural out that way. There was that unfortunate instance a few weeks ago where the deer ran into one vehicle and the driver and car were okay, but the deer bounced off and crashed into the second vehicle killing the woman. Scary! My boss has a friend whose car was totaled and luckily he/wife sustained no injuries when a deer crashed into their vehicle up North. We just had rain and wind but I heard no rumbles either. I did not lost my power … if I have to lose it, let it be now and now in the dead of Winter, especially during a Polar Vortex event.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ruthsoaper says:

        It is that time of year when car-deer accidents increase. I am super careful when driving but you just never know when one will run out.
        Can we not talk about a polar vortex – it makes me cold even to think about it. LOL!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, I was driving slowly and thankfully there is not much traffic on a weekend. I don’t want to think that far ahead either Ruth … just looked outside and still darkish out. Sigh. I am looking forward to the time change on November 3rd.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Not to scare you, but we watched a special on cyanobacteria (blue-green) algae as one of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease; the video was narrated by Harrison Ford. Lake Erie was one location that they mentioned as being very high in cyanobacteria. The National Weather Service has posts about when algal blooms are very high. When we have algal blooms in our river, i avoid going very near to it. Brother!

    Trees have not yet fully colorized here in Illinois. It’s so cool to see the red and golden hues when things really get going! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you for the tip Tom. I didn’t know that – the ducks and geese are smarter than the people who walk around it then!
      When I walked around Lake Erie Metropark after this cruise, I saw several areas in the marsh that were still covered in algae bloom, yet a few minutes later on the trail, the lagoon would be clear as a bell. It is worrisome to me after a lot of ducks were killed by algae bloom about ten or so years ago. Homeowners along the shoreline went outside to find all the dead ducks, similar to the 25 loons that were discovered last week from Type E botulism. I will remember that for next Summer as the algae was bad this year.

      I love the color change too and had hoped to see more along the shoreline, but we were told all the rain is what made the peak time slow this year. We have a lot of wind forecast for the next day or so, so there goes a slew of beautiful leaves most likely.

      Like

  9. I enjoyed your adventure. Lovely pics.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………………..I really enjoyed your blog on your “discovery cruise” excursion……………..we have taken the tours in the past and enjoyed them too…………………….I always love seeing the big freighters on the river………………especially the Canadian “Saginaw.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ann Marie – I wondered if you got the e-mail about this trip as I know you and Steven have also taken the boat tours in the past. They kept adding more trips as they kept selling out. I love seeing those freighters too and we were really up close to the Canadian “Saginaw” that morning. Our guide, Paul, said it was lucky for us to see so many freighters on one trip. I saw two freighters the day I went down to Belanger Park to see their lighthouse.

      Like

  11. I’ve never been on a boat trip; It sounds like fun! I love that kind of situation: a bunch of strangers thrown together, enjoying themselves and cracking jokes… People can be pretty cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I enjoyed both trips and you are right Rachel- people are all thrown together and make friends easily, lots of camaraderie for those two hours. The one woman who was late, Carol, was contacted by Paul to see if she was still attending … she was on the road and hurrying and still a few miles away. Carol likely did not anticipate that everyone on the boat and waiting knew she was running late … she got on board and everyone cheered and teased her. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. good thing it wasn’t a three hour tour!
    Sounded like fun Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Shelley says:

    Yay – glad the weather was nice enough for your boat trip. That sounds like a great time. Your narration and the photos are a wonderful virtual adventure for me. And…you got a 3-mile walk in too. Way to go!! How are you doing on your yearly total, you must be getting close to your goal right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks – glad you liked the post Shelley. I am going to add up my miles the end of the month, as I have some daily totals jotted down on a pad of paper, then combine them with the other part of the list in the computer. Last total I had 1,009 miles and that was on October 15th – I have 1,242 miles to walk before year end. I had hoped to get to 1,100 by the end of October but may not make that. I’d not have had any issues if I had not added 80 extra miles when Canadian fellow bloggers said – “why not do 2,000 kilometers and make it a round number?” I should have stuck with my original goal of adding one more mile at year end and I would only need to reach 1,162 miles. If the weather turns bad, I may backpedal and say I only do one more mile than the prior year … hate to do that as I took on the challenge, but it’s been a challenging year, weather wise and with all the contractors and house issues during June/July I had to stay home to deal with. P.S. – BTW, Mike Posner reached the Pacific Ocean and took a dip upon completing his nearly 300-mile walk. That was done last Saturday and I’m going to mention this in my month-end post.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh what a beautiful sounding boat trip ❤❤

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Ive still never been to lake erie metro

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I was going to go last weekend Brian and I figured most of the leaves would be gone from all that wind and two solid days of rain (just the crummiest Halloween day/night ever). I’ll likely wait until December when the deer are done chasing each other and potentially running into the road into the car. I got my pass for next year – hopefully it is not flooded half the Spring/Summer like it was this Summer.

      Like

      • One of the worst halloween nights ever then the following 3 days were super nice – felt so bad for the kids. Didnt feel like halloween at all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I agree with you – I can remember rain, even one time when it snowed, but this was horrible. The upcoming days won’t feel like November either – they say more like late December – ugh!

        Like

      • I need to take a bus down to Belle Isle and take some photos of there – I dont think Ive uploaded my photos of the plant room when I was there in 2017 yet. Cell phones have made me so lazy!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I have not been to Belle Isle since 1973 – I walked with a group of fellow students from LPHS in our senior year, in the March of Dimes Walkathon … the head of the “pack” was Bob Seger! I have a friend who bought a DSLR and now just uses her phone for everything and says the same thing – it’s handy and takes great pics.

        Like

  16. Eliza says:

    Looks like it was gorgeous! I’m glad you got another cruise… meet anyone nice?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      It was a gorgeous day Ellie – I was lucky as it had been a very windy week, and record wind gusts, just a day or two before. The other cruisers were very nice and friendly, but I stayed to myself at the very back so I could take photos … they had mentioned we might see some migrating raptors so I was hoping to get a good view of them with no windows in the way.

      Liked by 1 person

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