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|The Great Loop Route - click next.
|This leg of your trip is 892 miles - from the International Peace Bridge at Buffalo, NY - to the Chicago River Lock at Chicago, IL.
The Great Lakes of course, it the largest body of fresh surface water on earth. From the
moon, Astronauts can see the lakes and recognize each one.
I remember (believe it or not) in 5th grade, our teacher taught us to remember the names
of the Great Lakes by remembering the word "homes". The "homes" (or Great Lakes) cover
more than 94,000 square miles and drain twice as much land. These freshwater seas, if
drained, would flood the lower 48 states and cover them with almost 10 feet of water.
The channels that connect the Great Lakes are an important part of the system. The St.
Marys River is the northernmost channel, a 60-mile waterway flowing from Lake Superior down
to Lake Huron. At the St. Marys rapids, the Soo Locks bypass the rough waters, providing safe
transport for boaters.
The St. Clair and Detroit rivers, and Lake St. Clair between them, form an 89-mile long
channel connecting Lake Huron with Lake Erie. The 35-mile Niagara River links lakes Erie and
Ontario, and sends approximately 100,000 cubic feet of water per second over Niagara Falls.
On each of the Great Lakes, you can boat far enough out from shore, that you will not be
able to see any land in any direction. WOW! But of course, if you are one that prefers to stick
a little closer to shore, you can do that to. One could probably spend a life time cruising
around all the Great Lakes and never see all the wonderful sites or experience all the
incredible adventures this land of lakes has to offer.
Historically, many commercial Merchant ships have successfully crossed oceans only to
meet their doom on the Great lakes. Most of the shipwrecks lie near Thunder Bay near the
point where eastbound and westbound shipping lanes converge. "Shipwreck Coast" from
Grand Marais, Michigan to Whitefish Point on Lake Superior.
The last major ship wreck on the lakes was the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank on
November 10, 1975, just over 30 miles warship HMS
Now, having said that... It would be OK - if I scared you just a little into always being extra
safe. However, the fact is that for the exception of a couple of boiler explosions and fires in
the 1800s, all the ship disasters on the Great Lakes have been a result of early winter
storms. So, if you are voyaging the Loop per "seasons" as we suggest, you will be well off,
and far south of the Great Lakes before the early winter storm season.
Besides, with todays technology such as GPS on boats and with accurate weather
forecasting on the news and your VHF radio, you have nothing more to worry about on the
Great Lakes as you do in your own Marina.
In fact, the Great Lakes make up what would be the Boating Capital of the World with an
estimated 210,000 recreational boats.
If you are cruising the Erie Canal, then Lake Erie will be the first of the Great Lakes you will
cross. The average depth of Lake Erie is only 62 feet, but the western basin area averages
only 24 feet. It warms quickly in summer, and freezes over quickly in winter. Lake Erie is 241
miles long. If you take the US side trip around, your likely stops will be Dunkirk, Erie, Conneaut,
Cleveland, Sandusky and Toledo. I enjoy Sandusky Bay and stop at Famous Dave's
restaurant every time I pass by.
After your cruise from Lake Erie through Lake St. Clair, you will enter Lake Huron. Lake
Huron is 206 miles long with an average depth of 195 feet. On the north and eastern shores of
Lake Huron, the granite islands (which are typical through out Georgian Bay) surround the
Canada's North Channel. Lake Huron will take you to the Straits of Mackinac. The island of
which is one of our favorite stop overs.
From Lake Huron, and the Straits of Mackinac, you will enter Lake Michigan. Traveling
south from Milwaukee to Chicago, the western shore is lined with big city landscapes. This
area, combined with the southern shores of Indiana is home to over 10 million people, and a
whooping 120,000 registered boats.
Cruising the Great Lakes is fun and easy. We almost always stay on the US side, and
follow our way-points on the GPS, from one point to the next. Finding safe over-night
anchorages or Marinas along the way is not difficult at all. It is however difficult to decide where
you want to stay.
Many of the waterfront areas offer some very tempting sites to visit.
"Bring Your Own Boat"
and take the voyage of a lifetime
America's Great Loop
|From the Erie Canal you enter the Niagara river and head to Lake Erie
|After you pass under the International Peace Bridge you are in Lake Erie, Buffalo NY is to your stern.
|:: Cruising the Great Lakes ::
|Entering the Soo Locks from Lake Michigan to Lake Superior