The Ultimate Guy Trip

From St. Clair Shores to Cedar Point, By Matthew Blew & Photos by Jeff Wegner

December 2017 Feature

Before preparing the boat and leaving the dock on this Saturday morning, we first reviewed the current weather conditions and forecast for the next five days. The weather looked calm and clear, but even though it was summer, we still had some concerns. There was a cold front moving south toward Lake Erie and it was predicted to hit Put-In-Bay by Monday morning. According to the forecasts, we could be looking at 40-mile-per-hour wind gusts from the southwest, which tends to get your attention. When this kind of weather appears on Lake Erie, the lake has been known to produce 6- to 8-foot waves. After reviewing the logistics we decided we would be able to minimize the risk of getting into bad weather and avoid the front if it was necessary, so we continued with our planning.

Plenty Of Gear           

After reviewing the weather situation, we next began the process of loading the 25-foot Crest Caliber pontoon. The Caliber brings new definition to pontoon boats through irresistible sport and styling and that’s why I love this boat. It’s agile and perfect for this type of a trip.

Our gear consisted of food and drinks for four people, for four days. So besides the four clothing duffle bags, we also brought onboard a wakeboard, wakeboard tow rope, wakeboard life vest, eight Coast Guard-approved lifejackets, an air horn, flares, a portable VHF radio, duct tape, standard hand tools, two inflatable paddleboards, two paddleboard LED lights, two paddleboard paddles, our American flag and pole, two large stainless steel anchors, four fenders, a 750 ballast bag and water pump, two kiteboarding kites, and photography equipment. Now that’s what I call an impressive checklist!

We were pleasantly surprised that our Crest pontoon was capable of stowing all of our gear with plenty of extra room to spare. All pontoons are spacious, but the floorplan on this Crest feels even more open for excursions like this one. Because of the large amount of storage space and our packing ability, we were able to maintain a tidy and clean cockpit, which really is crucial when you’re taking a journey like this. Having everything tucked away and in a designated spot meant we could have a comfortable and clutter-free cruise.

Getting Started

With all the gear packed and the weather clear, we started to head south as we began our boating journey. About 20 minutes after heading south we stopped at Kean’s Marina on the Detroit River to top off the fuel tanks for our journey. We left Kean’s and continued south toward Detroit’s downtown waterfront boardwalk and a spectacular view of the tall buildings.

On our way we came across a protected deep-water area on the backside of Belle Isle and couldn’t resist wakeboarding in such flat water. We filled the ballast bag and spent the next three hours wakeboarding near the southwest tip of Belle Isle with the city skyline in the background. It’s just one of the many perks to operating on your own timeframe and schedule in what was shaping up to be an epic guys road trip. Once we were tired out from boarding, we continued south past the downtown Detroit waterfront.

Continuing On

Sticking to the west side of the river took us to some very impressive industrial areas and then past Grosse Ile Township. Before leaving the southern mouth of the Detroit River we stopped at Gibraltar Gas Dock to top off the fuel tanks. At this point there was a 17-mile-per-hour headwind coming from the south and the waves were producing white caps. We left the river mouth and headed south toward West Sister Island. Despite the less-than-ideal weather conditions, the boat had no problem at all handling the choppy water. In fact, with the Crest we were experiencing a very smooth and comfortable ride as the pontoons cut through the waves with ease.

Once West Sister Island was off to our starboard side, we changed our heading and headed straight for Put-In-Bay. At this point the wind had died down and the lake was relatively flat for being so large. Because of the calm conditions we were able to increase our speed to 40 mph with the Mercury 250hp four-stroke.

We pulled into Put-In-Bay at about 6 pm and the island was full of people having fun. The marina was packed with boats and we were lucky to even find an open spot to tie-up for dinner and drinks. We enjoyed our time at the Boathouse then left the island before sunset and headed east toward Cedar Point. We arrived at the Cedar Point Marina after dark, tied up the boat and checked into Hotel Breaker.

Paddleboarding          

The next morning we grabbed a delicious breakfast at the hotel and then headed to the marina. We fueled up the boat and headed into the Sandusky Bay for a day of paddleboarding and relaxing on the sandbar. With the backdrop of the Cedar Point Amusement Park and the boat anchored just off-shore, we practiced our yoga skills on inflatable paddleboards for several hours in the flat water. We eventually pulled the anchor and headed back to Put-In-Bay for the evening after a fun day on the water. Before arriving in the bay we discovered another protected area with flat water that we knew would be perfect for wake surfing.

We couldn’t pass on this opportunity and decided to fill the ballast bag and we used the paddleboards to surf. After several hours of surfing fun we docked the boat in Put-In-Bay and had dinner at The Boardwalk Restaurant. That evening we navigated through the night and headed back to our hotel at the Cedar Point Breakers.

Return Trip

The next morning we woke up, had breakfast, topped off the fuel tanks and headed west toward Detroit for our trip home. Before leaving we checked the weather and discovered the high winds that were predicted to hit Lake Erie were holding off. With clear weather in front of us, we headed west. This time we were going with the wind, and the waves provided a comfortable and quick ride across Lake Erie. Two hours later we were on the other side of the lake filling our fuel tanks at Gibraltar Gas Dock. On our way north through the river we spotted a sea wall, which created a flat spot of water—an ideal place for wakeboarding and wake surfing, which we did for several hours. After tiring ourselves out we headed north through the Detroit River and then stopped under the Ambassador Bridge to marvel at its size and eat a light dinner we had brought onboard. From here we headed north to the northern mouth of the river into Lake St. Clair. At this point the sun was just setting and the lake was perfectly calm as we headed to Colony Marine to conclude our adventure. Our guys’ trip was now concluded and we instantly began planning our next getaway. At this time we’re not sure where or when we want to go next, but we do know it will be on a Crest.

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