Friday, September 18, 2009

Read My Lips
(no pics today)

For what ever reason, Google's photo up loader isn't working for me today. So no pics. I was interested in commenting on our Great Lake Michigan today. It is, for me, one of Milwaukee's greatest assets (as it is for a number of Wisconsin and Michigan communities). Recently, I've been noticing all the different uses that call people to its shores.

By far, most people on the lake around here are fishing. since the introduction of the coho salmon, charter business have attracted out of town anglers wanting to catch one of these large PCB-laden teleosts. Like all other life forms in this large body of fresh water, I would not eat anything taken from it,butthat is for each of us to decide. I have often sailed past these charters and seen their cockpits filled with pot bellied, beer drinking men bobbing up and down as numerous lines and outriggers troll behind. It often brought on waves of nausea.

Which brings us to sailing, which I did for many decades. After the ocean, the great lakes offer some of the best sailing, sight seeing and anchorages around. Each state has unique shorelines and amenities. One can travel by boat from here to the Atlantic, the Mississippi and the gulf coast. Time, unfortunately, is the most common element that keeps more folks from doing this. Ironically, many are stuck in jobs they need to keep in order to make payments on the boat that is meant to take them away from it all.

More recently, we are seeing surf boarders, para-sailors and, of course, kayakers out on the lake. Our sea kayak group is out there 12 months out of the year and get maximum use of the lake. Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more recreational boats with ill-clad paddlers, who are eqaually ill-equiped, heading offshore. Often in spring and dressed in cotton, we try to apprise them of the dangers of still near-frozen waters. So far, the local guardian angels have successfuly worked overtime on their behalfs.

Then there are the research folks. There is a University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Research Foundation with a facility on the river and a vessel that goes out on the lake to take samples. Now and then they leave a research buoy in place to collect data.

The govenors of the great lakes states have formed a group to protect what may, in the future, become a salable commodity. I suspect that, as it has with so many other things, the federal government will usurp their power and use the water in some yet to be determined way.

No doubt, this lake is a precious body of water with different significance to different people. What we need now is to stop the invassive species that plague us and clean it up for future generations.

Paddle safe...

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