Swarmed in Sandusky

I will preface the following story with this statement: “You can’t make this stuff up.” Okay? So here it is.
We spent a lovely night anchored in Lorain Harbor, Ohio. It was a very quiet anchorage next to the bones of what was three major manufacturing companies: The American Shipbuilding Company, The United States Steel Mill, and the Ford Motor Company that manufactured such epic vehicles as the Thunderbird, Torino, Mercury Montego, Mercury Cougar and Econoline vans. I say bones because none of that stuff is there anymore. Talk about de-industrialization. Lorain practically invented the word. Shipbuilding stopped decades ago, but The U.S Steel Mill left in 2005, then Ford pulled out last year in a UAW dispute. That’s a butt-load of jobs that vaporized. How could you not feel sorry for these guys? Lorain, Ohio was a manufacturing powerhouse! Now all the wharves are barren and everything is closed. But I digress.

Sad, empty wharves.

Lorains beautiful lighthouse.

The cops came by to say hello.

We left the next morning for Sandusky, Ohio, a resort town in western Ohio that features the largest roller coaster amusement park in the world. The weather was really nice, the waves less than a foot, the winds light and variable. We were just cruising along southern Lake Erie, minding our own business, not bothering anybody, Then it happened. A thing I never considered. A thing I never thought was possible. We were swarmed by flying insects!
We first noticed a bunch of bugs on the lee side of the boat.
“Okay”, we said, “it’s just a few insects getting out of the wind.” Then there was a bunch more on the other side of the boat.
“Hmm. That’s odd”. Suddenly they were everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE! We quickly shut all the windows so the cabin was okay, but bugs soon blackened all the windows. But the aft deck was wide open and the little devils collected there by the millions. By the time we reached Sandusky Bay, bugs were and inch thick on the carpet. Odd that most of them were dead, but thousands were still buzzing.
I tried going out onto the aft deck with a big towel, I figured I could swing it around and shoo the live ones away but I was instantly covered. They dove for my mouth, eyeballs, ears, and nostrils. I gagged–almost puked– and ran back into the salon, coughing and spitting up bug guts. They had invaded every uncovered surface of the outside of our boat. Like our barbecue grill, straw hats, ditch bag, and dock lines. The inside of our walking shoes, which we kept out on the aft-deck, were filled with writhing, smelly, winged insects. It was absolutely disgusting. After anchoring, we regrouped, masked our faces with dish towels, put on hats, and went back into battle armed with swinging towels and a wet/dry vacuum. It took two solid hours to clean everything up enough to inhabit the aft deck. I emptied the vacuum a dozen times. If you squished these bugs, they would leave a black stain, so we had to either brush them off or vacuum them up. After some research, we discovered we were not the only unfortunate victims of the bugs called Mayflies.That is my unforgettable memory of Sandusky Bay, Ohio. SOCOBO 9/22/17


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