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Old 05-18-2014, 07:50 AM   #1
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Lake Erie. Obstacles for night run?

Hi all: Having never been on the lakes before, is Lake Erie heavily populated with fish traps, weirs, or other obstacles which would preclude night running? I don't want to bang up my new girl, but I don't want to lose a good 24 hour weather window on transit ( and turn it into a three day /daylight only poke).

Basically, I wouldn't run the Chesapeake at night to prevent fouling the prop. Is there any fixed gear in Lake Erie?


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Old 05-18-2014, 08:38 AM   #2
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No.. Lake Erie is wide open and night travel is very safe.

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Old 05-18-2014, 10:41 AM   #3
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I have not really seen a problem if you are anywhere near the freighter routes but the lights can be a bit deceptive as they blend with the shore in some places - watch your GPS
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Old 05-18-2014, 10:50 AM   #4
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I kept my boat on Lake Erie for many years, the main thing to watch out for are fish nets which are often stretched out over great distances. They are generally well marked but difficult to see at night or stormy weather. If you look at the string of floats you will see entrance/exits that allow you to pass through the nets negating the need to go around.

Watch the weather, the bottom of the lake is littered with ships and is a sober reminder of the vulnerability of our little boats and unpredictability of the lake. Erie is shallow and builds very steep short frequency waves. The Pelee Passage with its strong current in an opposing wind can be brutal. Also keep in mind there are precious few anchorages but there are ports nearly every 50 miles along both coasts. Careful not to cut corners going around Point Pelee, shallow and rocky extending miles off shore.

That said, mostly it is tame and navigating at night is not a problem but watch for the nets. If you can, set aside some time to explore there are many quaint ports to visit and explore on both the cannuck side & the US side. Vermillion is a must see, as is Port Dover but there are countless others.

Take your time, enjoy your trip.
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:28 PM   #5
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Capt K is correct about both the fish nets and the weather. My reading of your post was that you wanted to go straight through. I know there are nets but sticking to the freighter path will keep you away from most of them as fishermen do not like to lose gear and stay away also.

On the weather however- this is more serious. Sounds like you are running east to west - prevailing winds are westerly and Erie does have almost square waves. You will probably be driving right into them. When you see 15 to 20 miles an hour winds elsewhere you don't worry too much but that can be very choppy in the Pelee passage. The good news is that winds tend to die down late at night and early morning.

If you run straight through, you can fuel up at Gibraltar - the place is called Humbug Marina and they have diesel. To avoid the bridges go back to the main channel but when you do be very careful to stay off Grosse Isle enough and watch the markers and depthfinder as you work your way to hole in the wall If you are a boat club member there are three first class clubs on south Grosse Isle. Be careful about crossing or anchoring on the Canadian side without a Nexus and call in - that area is heavily patrolled.
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Old 05-18-2014, 07:49 PM   #6
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Stay on the US side and nets are minimal to none. Stay in port if you have more then 15 knots of wind in your face this equals 3-5 ft waves at less then a 3 second interval. Best run is from buffalo to erie to islands. Long weather delays are unlike in summer. The Canadian side ports can be tricky do not try at night.

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