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9663 Views 21 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Aggressortom
There's been threads on Cedar Point and a few other places but what about Put-In-Bay for those of us who have never been there. I can read the brochure's till I go crossed eyed, but nothing beat's the exereince of having been there. I am looking at going during the week this summer as the kids will be along, but where is the best, most reasonable place to dock?
What about the use of the mooring bouys and the water taxi to the island. Where are the best sights, things to do situated at? Anything?

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I've done four over night trips in the last three years to PIB. Each time I went, I tied up to one of the mooring buoy's. I never tied up to any of the docks before. Even for day trips, I always used the buoy's.

The buoy's have both their pro's and con's. The biggest advantage I can think of is the privacy of the buoy's. Since I've never actually stayed on one of the docks before, I can only relay what I've seen on the docks. The place gets N-U-T-S on the weekends. It's very common to see raft's as wide as four across in the public docks. There also seems to be one a-hole every time who insists on having every other boater in the marina listen to their "music de jour" at 120 dB's.

I like being out at a buoy, for simply nothing more than getting away from things. The town has plenty of activity to keep you busy, it's nice for me to have a place to relax at. Of course, a major pain is the water taxi. On busy weekends, it can take 10 - 15 minutes before a boat comes to pick you up, but they will come. Make small conversation with the driver and tip them nicely after your first ride. They will most likely come get you much quicker the next time.

Keep in mid, however, that the water taxi stops running a 1:00 AM. This means you need to be at the dock by 12:55 AM waiting for the last boat (which can get crowded on weekends). Since you mentioned that you would be travelling with children, this probably won't be a problem. The town stays going for a quite a while past 1:00 AM, so if you really want to whoop it up, the docks might be a better choice.

Getting a Buoy can be tough on the weekends. The public dock will almost always make room for addition last minute boats, but then you will be added to hoards of boats rafting up against each other. The best time I've found to grab a buoy is between 9 and 10 in the morning. By this time, most of the weekday overnighters have left and the weekends haven't quite arrived yet. If no buoy's available, just cruise up and down the rows and one should eventually open up.

Dining in town is a D+ or C- experience, depending on where you go. Don't expect much. Every "morning after" (Sunday) that I was there, I sent off on a mission to eat breakfast at a place that actually provided silverware and porcelain plates. It took me three trips before I was successful. "Pasquali's" café was the only restaurant that I could find, that felt like a breakfast place and not a bar converted into a diner (which there are PLENTY of, in Put In Bay). Don't get me wrong, I love visiting PIB. However, it's not Mackinac Island, like I first expected it to be.

Not sure how quick your cruising speed is, so I can't really estimate how long your trip will be. I know I can make it down to PIB in about 2 hours, give or take 20 minutes depending on weather, from Metro Beach. Last September I was able to make it down from Metro to PIB in one hour and 22 minutes. I left Metro around 4:30 PM, so by the time I got to Erie, she was dead flat. Of course, I was "cruising" at 65 - 70 mph which might be a little faster than most. At 40 mph, I can still make it down to PIB in under three hours.

Good luck with your trip, feel free to e-mail me if you have any direct questions:
[email protected]

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Bayley, Thanks for the insight. We would be making it a week day trip and an over night. Cant leave the kids behind and really dont want to expose them to a full weekend there just yet. Not real keenon the idea of rafting there on the weekends either.

How do you call for the water Taxi? Do they just make the rounds, or do you have to call or fly a pair of britches from the pole to summon them?

The mooring bouys sound interesting, but we've had great luck making reservations and staying at the Crew's Nest, a private marina with slips available during the week only, no weekends. It cost about 5 to 10 more dollars a day than the public docks, but the location is great and they have a nice pool you'll enjoy.

Rent a go cart one day and take the kids to the Alaskan Wildlife Museum. A couple who were teachers built the place when they retired and moved back to the island from Alaska, and they give tours and describe the behaviors of all the animals they have mounted and on display. Every tour is a little different - the lady really went into geat detail explaining to us how to react when facing different species of bears, while her husband dwelt a little more on the different salmon and their life cycles. It is really a great place to visit.

Another worthwhile thing to do is to go on a "lantern tour" of the cave there - you go with a small group and they turn the lights off and illuminate the way with just the electric lanterns (flashlights, really) that you each carry. At one point you turn off all the lanterns and experience the complete darkness for a few minutes - wild!

Hope you have fun.
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I HATE rafting too. I want make it to PIB also, but I think I will Trailer down to Port Clinton or somewhere down there, and just go out like that until I get to know the place. Just so I have the option of mooring ashore.
I agree about the Crew's Nest... With kids they have a pool there... It is a little more expensive.. There is also a gas dock where you can stay. I forget the name. But if your interested I can get it for you. My boat club had about 20 boats there. It is a nice place.

If your only doing a couple days during the week with kids, I would recommend the Crew's Nest. There are lot of things to see on the island. Depending on the kids ages.. Rent a golf cart. I have to say with kids the bouy is out. Too much running back and forth.

It's a great time there. Been going there for many years. Happy to fill you in if you have questions.
Convincer253, I dunno, you may not to do that, they have name for guys that trailer don't want to be known as a Wally, do you?
I've been to PIB 4 times and used the Mooring Buoys everytime. I agree completely with everything Bayley has said about privacy. I can't imagine spending the night at the public docks with drunken morons traipsing across your rafted boat all night. I figure when its time for bed its time for bed. There's nothing to stop you from hanging out at the public docks if that is your thing (not for me).

To answer the question on hailing the taxis, its really quite easy. I think they monitor channel 9 but whatever the channel is, its written on a sign attached to a buoy at the entrance to the bay from the lake. Each buoy has a letter/number designation (i.e. A5, C3, B2) and the buoys are arranged in letter rows (parallel to shore) and number columns. So when you want a ride in you simply pick up the VHF and say something like "We need a pick up on Charlie 3, Or Bravo 2 or Alpha 5, etc" (they like to use the military parlance so as to not confuse say "B" with "D") I've found the taxis to be pretty responsive and the kids that run them are actually pretty cool.

Another advantage (I think) of the buoys is the EXTREME ease of mooring to one. You just slowly come up along side of it and grab it with your hand or boat hook and put a line through the ring on top. Then you can just slowly back up while your crewmate holds on to the line and walks forward with it and cleats it off. (there are of course many other ways to do this, you'll figure it out). The whole process of takes literally about a minute. I find this a big plus because being a sailor with a single screw and a lot of windage, docking at a crowded dock is pretty tough.

Personally, I don't really see a downside to the buoys, the peace and quiet coupled with the ease of mooring far outweighs the minor inconvenience of using the taxis and not having power.

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Sounds like the bouyes are the way. The kids are 7 and 4 and would get a kick out of it. The boat has the head and galley so those basics are met. The golf cart is a must as I dont walk far with a kid on the shoulders and one in tow. Plus it will make seeing the island even easier.

I am waiting on the 2003 Chamber of Comerce package to arrive. From their last email, it was at the printers and was to be finished last monday and shipped out ASAP, so any day now.

Thanks again for all the advice and keep it coming. By the time we are ready for our first trip, we'll pull in like old pro's.
I don't know what a Wally is, so I don't much care.

I have a 502 b/b and it would be a whole lot cheaper to trailer down there for me.

What does Wally mean anyway. Don't forget, I'm not much for labels.
Wally is the nickname given to the people that trailer their boats because they are too scared to make the run from the Detroit River to Put-in-Bay. Just given ya a razzin', personally, I haven't made the trip yet either and the only time I was there was by ferry from Catabwa the day I bought my boat there.
Hey Wally,
When you gonna get some motors for the Dominator of yours?!?


I feel your pain! It take me about 60 - 70 gallons of premium fuel to get to PIB. All of a sudden, trailering doesn't sound like a bad idea. However, I wouldn't get to drive by "scenic" Zug Island. Always a crowd pleaser!

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I kinda figured. I would love to make long distance trips, but wouldn't have any cover from weather if it hit. Hell, I don't even have a windsheild on my boat. Oh well. Thats what I gave up for a cool looking boat that goes fast.

My next boat will at least have a windshield.
My buddies have taken their 24 Sunsations countless numbers of times and almost always have one leg of the trip that is horrible. Just makes me nervous. With the 32 Sunsation I bought this fall I feel pretty good about going without any problems. I will make one trip there this summer, if it ever gets here!
Bayley, think you are going to hang on to the Sunsation this summer or aggressively go at selling it. I have to run with you at least once before its gone. Should have a set of 502's going in the boat within the next month. I won't keep up with you, but will be biting at your heels.

I think I was more of a tourist than a Wally! All I needed was a box of fudge under my arm on the walk back to the ferry!
In case you do go these might help if you have a GPS.
Put-in Bay 41*39'94 - 82*49'42
Port Clinton 41*31'66 - 82*55'84
Lake Erie Entrance {for when you come back} 42*00'22 - 83*08'40
or if you're down there and you want to see how far you have to go...
New Baltimore 42*40'03 - 82*44'29
Clinton River 42*35'62 - 82*45'60
North channel entrance 42*37'59-82*43'29.
If you don't want to stay on the island Port Clinton is a nice town to stay in. You can take the Ferry over if you want to. If we can't get a slip on the Island{stay away from the public docks} And we do recommend The Crews Nest, We stay at Brands Marina in Pt. Clinton. It's easy walking distance to town or the ferry. Phone is 810-231-1133 they monitor ch 9.
Also another great place to go to is Maumee Bay. Great if you have kid's. If you play golf they have a scottish style course. take alot of balls. You can find them on the web. They only have about two dozen slips if that, so you have to make your reservations early.
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Let me ask you something? How much is it gonna cost you to put 502x2 in your boat. I would think that would be insanely expensive! Do you buy refurbed motors? Or just motor kits and build them yourself?
Let me know, please. Cuz, this just sounds crazy. I mean, usually when you buy a boat, the base cost is figured on the engine you want. And usually worth 2/3's of the cost of the boat. Crazy.
Cost for 2 freshened up 502 mpi around $11500 and my old stuff as trade-in
Cost for additional broken parts, props, and steering $3500
Going 80mph across lake St Clair with a smile stuck to my face priceless
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and yes, after starting this, I must be crazy. To start with, this is the "drug repo" boat that was on another post before I bought it. So I went thru the dealings with the bank, found out it had bad motors after I bought what was suppose to be a running boat, then went back and got money back from the back....stressful.....but worth it, I hope.
Hey sounds cool! Hopefully I can check it out this summer some time.
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