Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Red Piano, West Edmonton Mall

Aimee, Mike and I had dinner tonight at a bar he works at on the weekend (security). We started by walking a small part of the mall. It is huge: I saw the ice rink, water park and area with a pirate ship where they have seal shows, and of course there are lots of stores too.
The Red Piano is in an area called Bourbon St, full of restaurants. We ate appetizers for dinner as we wanted to try a  variety of what they had to offer. We had bison satay, calamari, alligator popcorn, home made chips and dips, fish tacos... all delicious.
At about 9 a man and a woman came out and settled at the 2 red pianos in the centre of the room. They were very entertaining and we only left, at about 11, as Aimee was feeling tired. The show was entirely request driven and interactive with the audience, some of whom sat or stood around the pianos. The performers (we saw 4 in total) sang, played piano, joked, interacted with the audience and one played guitar too. Their repetoire was amazing as requests included the expected (Billy Joel, Elton John), country (Johnny Cash, Keith Urban), heavy rock (Ac/dc, Queen, Meatloaf) and everything in between (Tina Turner, Heart). it was amazing and as we left more people were coming in and more people were singing along and dancing.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Erie, the day of the Lakers and home again.

After a busy day of shopping we had a fabulous sunset.
Set out the next morning after dropping the car off at 7:30am. We started out with a good wind and sailed out of the bay and towards the Point and the wind dropped. Back to motor sailing again! As we approached the Point we had to cross the shipping lanes with 5 Lakers within sight. We managed to weave between them.

After rounding the point we could see 2 Lakers in at Nanicoke ...
... and were greeted by 2 more, anchored in Long Point Bay. The wind picked up and we still motor sailed in, beating the storm as it rained just after we had docked.

What a great trip; fun times with other sailors, seeing the U.S. side of the lake, visiting little communities and big cities and sailing in between. The weather was kind to us on the return journey although we made some travel decisions based on the forecast. Most of all I am grateful to Paul and Sharon for letting me share the trip with them.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Geneva to Erie

The weather forecast was for increasing wind so we left early from Geneva on the Lake.
Sunrise - not my favourite time of day!
The fishermen were up and out at the same time as us, heading out on the Lake
to their favourite fishing spots.
We were passed by a huge laker, close enough to see the massive bow wave. We heard it radio in to Conneut that it was going to back into the harbour. Very shortly after we were swarmed by the little fishing boats, all high tailing it in before they would have to wait for the laker to negotiate the entrance.

Interesting name, as that was the next way point on our chart plotter, the lighthouse just off
Presque Isle.
We did the usual motor sailing day activities; read, napped, ate, supervised the auto-pilot, watched the chart plotter, watched for lakers, observed the cormorants, gulls, other boats and the shoreline. The wind built during the day, as forecast, and the boat was smashing loudly into the waves as we came closer to Presqu'Isle.

I took a video of Paul napping and the boat smashing into the waves but it wont load up onto the blog site and it would have made Heather feel ill anyway.
Just before rounding into our approach to Presqu'Isle bay we passed this weather buoy that
looked like something out of Star Wars.
We turned towards shore and had the wind on our side and then behind us as we came in towards the channel. We had a reefed mainsail up and were surfing at over 7 knots - exhilarating.
Buoys at the side of the channel, entering the bay.
It was odd for me to be at the Erie Yacht Club without the craziness that is the Interclub. It was quiet, sedate, the bar was occupied but not noisy, it was easy to get a table in the restaurant.
Zatarra was moored right in front of the clubhouse.
We had a great view of all the "goings on".
The ceremonial cannon (fired every day at sunset and to get everyone up on the morning of the
Interclub race) was pointed right at us.
We ate dinner at the clubhouse and retired early, tired from doing next to nothing all day. The next day we rented a car and Sharon and I did some shopping  while Paul thoroughly checked over the boat as it had had a long day of bashing into waves.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Geneva on the Lake (GOTL)

We left Cleveland at about 9am and motor sailed to Geneva State Park Marina. There were long slow swells and I took some sea sickness tablets and napped off and on for the morning. My camera must have felt the same way as the readout indicated "Battery exhausted" and Paul had to do some fancy electrical trickery to get it to charge. Therefor there are no photos of the Cleveland lighthouses. No photos of the tourist "pirate ship". No photos of the strange work boat out in the lake with a cement mixer working on it. No pictures of ... well you get the picture.
We arrived at Geneva on the Lake, State Park Marina at about 4pm and were docked on the north wall behind a 42 foot sailboat making its was back to Sandusky from the Bahamas and South Carolina. There were 2 other boats (Whisper and Radiance) from Port Dover there and we had a drink and chatted.
The office, store, washroom building at Geneva State Park Marina.
"The Lodge", also in the state park.
The next day we walked the mile into the village of Geneva on the Lake. It reminded me a little of Grand Bend on Lake Huron although not as big. The strip was about one block long and there were lots of places renting cottages and cabins overlooking the lake. It had a vaguely 1950s feel especially the arcades and the restaurants.

We had brunch at Mary's Kitchen, in the porch of what had once been a house close to
the lake. The food was excellent, reasonably priced and the bottomless coffee cups were
fiesta ware.
We walked the strip, stopping in odd little souvenir shops and speciality stores. The largest restaurant was Eddies Grill with a diner like feel to it, juke boxes at the tables, inside and outside seating, a constant line up and a Dairy Queen too.

I had a lemonade that was squeezed while I watched and then a lemon put in
the cup too.
Sharon ordered a small sundae:
it nearly did her in.
We stopped at the Firehall Winery on the way back. We didn't opt for the tasting tray - 10 1oz samples but instead I had a glass of their Cab. Sauv. and Paul had a beer. The wine was OK but I am finding Ohio wine tastes too sweet for me and a little "young".
After walking back we had a lazy afternoon on the boat and watched a man in a Walker Bay dinghy sail around the marina in a very relaxed manner.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Cleveland, Edgewater - Bird deterrents.

We noticed a total lack of Canada Geese at Edgewater. Canada Geese are the bane of most Yacht Clubs, they poop everywhere and are very difficult to discourage. I did happen to see a brochure, on one of the desks, advertising a company that would "humanely" dispose of Canada Geese. One of the staff commented that they "turn their back". We didn't see many gulls either. Perhaps they saw what happened to the geese. The swallows, however, were everywhere. They made a real mess of the boats and there were various techniques used to try and discourage them from perching on the life lines or other attractive perching locations.
They are cute little guys
and there are lots of them.
This is what they do if undisturbed and if you don't scrub the deck regularly.
Cleveland boat owners are quite creative in their attempts at deterring the swallows.
There's the traditional predator technique
Maybe 2 predators would be better than 1.
This would deter me from going on that boat!
Then there is the "attachments to the life lines" techniques, of which there are quite a few:
Hard to see in this picture but fishing line has been strung just above the life lines
Fluttering foil strips
This boat with flags all along its lifelines looked as if it was permanently in a parade.

This one also looked permanently festive with metallic Christmas garland on the lifelines.
Maybe music will scare them away.
This one was my favorite and was moored in a slip directly behind us. The owner had hung disco balls ....
from the furler..
the boom.....
and the stern.
From my dock walk I would say that those boats with deterrents were cleaner than those without. However if an owner cares enough about their boat to try these measures they probably also care enough to clean the decks regularly. I saw swallows sitting on all these boats, no technique really seemed to work.

Cleveland, Edgewater Yacht Club, race night.

Wednesday night was race night and we were well positioned, on the deck, to watch the preparations. Some of the fleets were kept "on the hard", on trailers, and then swung into the water with a crane system. The crews were extremely efficient with this process and the boats were plopped in one after another. They didn't have motors so had to sail away from the dock, out the channel in front of the clubhouse, turn left and then right to get out, beyond the break wall, into the lake.
One of the committee boats starting out. We saw 2 go out but I think the club has 4 so we may just
have missed the others going out.
A couple of the boats had covered trailers parked next to them and, when opened
up, we could see that they stored all their sails and equipment in them.
Vampire, a Menjes 32, was one with a trailer.
Launching using the crane
Nearly there.
Then rigging at the dockside ....
... and sailing out.
We walked up to the pavilion that looked out over the lake and could see 2 separate race areas with more than 55 boats in all.
One race course, the one furthest out into the lake.
The other, closer.
We were back at the boat, having finished dinner, by the time the racers
were coming in.
One boat even sailed in, up to the clubhouse, under spinnaker.