To all you Great Lake Folks - I dig your lakes, a lot!

I just wanted to say to all your Chicagoans and Milwaukeeites and all you folks who live on or near the greats lakes, I like your lakes, they have that sea feel and you even have Sea Gulls! Not as many Sailing people that I can see, but I see your marinas and know you have the boats…But hey it’s midweek. Very nice indeed!

So do you folks boat as much as we coastal folk? How about fishing, not like you are going to be catching a crazy amount of Stripers* on these lakes?? Or are you?

What about diving? Any of that going on? I’m not talking about the 100 year old timber salvage diving either, I mean regular recreational scuba. Any of that?

Well, they are the Great Lakes. Plenty of sailing and boating happens on them. I gather that diving is pretty boring unless it’s a wreck dive- I have yet to explore the option. I have a feeling that after Monterey Bay, it will be nice not to have the salt, but there’ll be nothing to look at. Fishing has been horribly impacted by polltution and invasive species- indeed, it has been estimated that the economic damage from ocean going vessels coming into the Lakes has outweighed the benefit.

As someone who grew up in California, I never gave much thought to the importance of the GL Basin. Now that I live here, I realize that the health of the nation is very much tied to the health of the Lakes.

We have plenty of boats up here - sailboats, motorboats, sea kayaks, etc etc. We’re a small town (20K population) but have two marinas and at least a couple other not-so-fancy places to store boats.

Diving? Yes, there is recreational diving here. There’s a few underwater preserves on Lake Superior, and I know of at least one commercial diving place that will take you to the wrecks. I can’t say it lives up to diving in the ocean, though. For one, there’s not much to see beyond old, sunken ships, which I hear are great the first time you see them, but once you’ve seen them, well, you’ve seen them. For two, Lake Superior is cold. Damn cold. Like 40 degrees once you get below the surface, even in summer.

Fish, yeah, we have trout, and whitefish, and salmon. Plenty of people go out fishing, or you can buy it at the local fishhouse. In fact, I was just there about an hour ago, picking up dinner!

Waiting for QTM to check in. He lives on the shore.

I’ve been giving serious thought to relocating to a small community in Indiana that is completely surrounded by Indiana Dunes National Park, where I could buy a house within walking distance of both the commuter train into Chicago in one direction, and the lakefront in the other. Figured I’d get a kayak and a wetsuit for some low impact workouts.

Go to Kingston, Ontario, the freshwater sailing capital of the world.

I’ve lived my entire life (well, my residences have always been… it’s not like I never travel) within 3 km of Lake Ontario. It would feel strange, to me, to NOT live next to a sea (which, let’s be honest, the Great Lakes pretty much are.)

I love the lakes. I like them more than the ocean. They have the feel of the ocean, but not the jellyfish! Having lived by them all my life, I forget that tourists are suprised by how big they are. To me they are as good as living by an ocean shore, and if I lived somewhere too land locked I think it would bother me. Someday I would love to get a house by the shore. After visiting the lakes from other states, I must say I am partial to our Michigan beaches, they seem to be some of the nicest.

I live about 45 minutes from the lake right now, it is great for vacations and day trips. I see plenty of sailboats at Grand Haven and Holland beaches. A friend of mine does some diving in the lakes, but as others have said, there are not the varieties of colorful fish you have in the ocean, and the water is cool much of the year.


Hey I’m glad you enjoyed the lakes! They’re all unique and grand in their own right. Growing up near Lake Erie made me kind of take it for granted until I got older and realized that alot of folks are landlocked.

Oh yeah - I’ve got a nice view of Lake Mich from my office window.

The great lakes have storms, shipwrecks, lighthouses, sea gulls, tides — just like the oceans, without the salt and sharks. Parts of northeast Wisconsin look like New England fishing villages.

They are certainly Great. We have a house on Lake Erie, it’s like heaven. When people are visiting who have never been here before, I often tell them that it’s a lake, but the kind of lake where you can’t see the other side. Still, when they arrive, I usually hear “Wow, that’s a big lake!” Well, yes, it is. You can’t see the other side.

In case it ever comes up in conversation, you may be pleased to know that Lake Erie is the most bio-diverse of the Great Lakes.

Please explain.
I knew it was the shallowest, but I think I interpreted that as - I don’t know - pond-like.

I don’t live near the great lakes anymore, but of course there is scuba diving. The great lakes are rather treacherous, and are littered with wrecks. Visibility is relatively low, but if you really enjoy scuba you won’t object to the occasional freshwater dive.

It’s not that shallow. :slight_smile:

I learned about the biodiversity at the Lake Erie Seaway Trail Center, I don’t know if it is related to the shallowness of the lake.

Until I was 5 I lived on the shores of Lake Erie (near Lake Erie State Park.) Despite the fact that back then the beach experience was often marred by the smell of washed-up dead fish (no longer,) I would still prefer swimming there to the eye-blindingly painful experience of salt water. Now if there were only surfable waves they’d be the best big water bodies ever!

Yep, I do. It’s good to live on the lake. Some days it is as calm as glass, other days it roars so loud you can’t hear yourself talk on our front deck! But it hasn’t tried to eat my house since 1987, thankfully.

I was quite offended by the ocean when I was a tyke. Same sandy beach as by my house, same big waves, but that nasty salt water!! :mad:

Musicat is on the lake also, north of me. Check out his lake cam sometime.

I’ve done boats. Sailboats are the most fun, I have a 16’ catamaran, but it’s a bit much to handle on my own. And the damn lake can turn on me fast! So I don’t take it out much. Not since that time some 9 foot swells blew up while I was out, turtled me, and I got hypothermic from 47 degree water and sunburned from 92 degree sunshine while lying on the hull.

Otherwise, we’ve had inboards, outboards, canoes, kayaks, jetskis, fishing boats, and I sort of got bored with them all. And I can wait for the salmon and trout to swim close to shore and club 'em, so fishing for them is rather tedious to me.

Up north, boating is more interesting, with all the islands and bays to visit, in the upper 3rd of the lake. In the lower 2/3, it’s just shoreline with occasional ports. Go in, dock, buy gas, shop in Port Washington or Manitowoc (not real exotic), then go home.

“Pops” Mercotan used to scuba dive the wrecks. He’d go up with his buddy who had a seaplane, they’d spot a wreck, land, then dive on it. We’ve still got some odds and ends he salvaged, including an old item he thought was a gold coin. Turned out to be a notary public seal. He took me out a few times, but we preferred reef diving to lake diving. Lake Michigan is just a sandy lake bottom, not real interesting to dive on.

Sport fishing is big business around here. The lake is stocked with trout and salmon. The sea lamprey decimated the original lake trout stock (and drove my family’s old fishery out of business) in the 1950’s, but Salmon took to the lake and ate the invading alewives and grew quite big. Sport perch fishing is still in a bit of a decline. Commercial fishing is pretty much done in this lake. One cannot sell the salmon one takes from the lake. Not legally, anyway. Lake Superior still has commercial fishing, though.

Swimming is good now. The lake was about 72 degrees over the past weekend, and moderately rough, so quite fun for splashing around and body surfing. No undertow, the current is parallel to the shore 99% of the time, and can be quite strong. But it’s not too dangerous for a strong adult swimmer who knows the lake.

I could babble on more about the lore of the lakes, harking back to the day when my great-great-grandpappy would watch the sturgeon spawn on the sandbars in front of my current place, but I’ve already said too much…

Very interesting the similarities between those who live on the coasts and those on the lakes. Some cool psychology in how the lake itself affects the people living around it and the sea does the exact same thing. I don’t take for granted living on the beach and ocean, I enjoy it to the fullest at all times. But I too can see how things can sit around unused…just things like wind boards, and kayaks.

Glad you chimed in Qadgop!

The great lakes are cool…growing up in the Chicago area, I kind of took them for granted. My grandparents lived in a high rise right on the lake, so it was just part of the background for me. But as an adult, I have traveled extensively around Lakes Michigan and Superior (the Michigan side), and some of Erie and Huron, as well. This has really made me appreciate them as a natural resource, and although the lake is the best thing about Chicago, I really prefer the more remote areas in Michigan, where you can really soak in the natural beauty.

If you ever get a chance to go to Isle Royale in Lake Superior, go! You will not be sorry.

After age seven, I grew up in Whitby, on Lake Ontario. I now live in Toronto, about a twenty-minute walk from the beach.

The lakes are beautiful, but they aren’t the trade and commercial-fishing places they once were; the Collingwood shipyards are gone, the fisheries my friends grew up in are gone, the Port of Toronto is a ghost of itself; the steamers that plied the little ports on the northern shore of Lake Huron vanished in the sixties. The big ore boats and such are still there, passing through the Seaway and the Welland Canal, but the local commercial maritime traffic is now much less. So much switched to rail, then later road, then later air.

So we love the lakes, but we don’t live on them the way we used to. Toronto especially almost turns its back to the lake and almost looks inward; the harbour is now mostly pleasure vessels.

The east shore of Lake Superior, north of The Soo, is stunningly beautiful. My sister and I went there last fall, and say on a lonely beach watching the sunset, in the quiet and the cool breeze.

When I was a kid, we sometimes went to Outlet Beach, part of Sandbanks Provincial Park on Lake Ontario. After a long summer day, the water was warm like bath water in the shallows, and those shallows extended outwards for many hundreds of metres before they even reached waist depth. It was like the world’s biggest wave pool, with a soft forgiving sandy bottom covered in fascinating ripples, and none of that nasty chlorine. I would build canals and islands to my heart’s content, and eventually, eventually, respond to my parents’ call and the promise of food and drink. I miss it still.

Definitely part of the Beautiful Land.

I have not kept up on whether we still hold the “title,” but for many years, the stretch of shore from Lake St. Clair down the Detroit River to Toledo and out around Lake Erie to the islands off Sandusky were the busiest small craft waters in the world.

Diving in Lake Michigan, (a long sandy valley), is probably not that exciting away from wrecks, but Lakes Huron and Superior have lots of rock formations, reefs, and clear water. (On the other hand, wrecks are plentiful in all the lakes. The November, 1913 storm sunk or grounded nearly forty ships and there have been an estimated 6,000 sinkings since LaSalle’s Griffon disappeared on its maiden voyage in 1679.)

I grew up on the tip of Lake Huron, at the Sarnia, Ontario - Port Huron, Michigan entrance to the St. Clair River. I really miss being on the lake now and am drawn to the water whenever I visit Sarnia. It really is like a fresh-water ocean.