Category Archives: Lou’s blog

New Reef Warrior Winter sport!

Now this is a Reef Warrior approved Winter sport!

Hobie Cat Skiing


The history of the Sherkston wreck

Since October 1961 the Steel Products has been aground off Sherkston Beach. This abandoned ship has been known as the “wreck” as long as I have been a regular on the Lake Erie shore.

This “wreck” has become a symbol of Sherkston and the reef, a backdrop for countless photos and stories

( click on the photos for a close up)

hobie rescuecirca 1978
hobie rescue
circa 1978

 and a huge part of our lives on Lake Erie’s shore.

I have swam out to it, jumped off the deck ( when it had a deck)

circa 1980
circa 1980
paddleboarding around the prop

sailed and paddled around it.

sept28 2012 006
fall 2012

Mother Nature has taken its toll on our great symbol of the reef.

steel products 004
where to find the wreck

With that being said I would like to share the history of the wreck.

the crane on the wreck
the crane on the wreck
steel products 006
steel products
steel products 007
steel products as venus

The Steel Products was named Venus  for 50 years before being sold to Marine Salvage of Port Colborne. The  346 foot vessel was equipped with a crane and often carried scrap steel.  After a long career she was taken under tow on  October 26, 1961 to be  scrapped at Dwor Metal Co. While anchored in heavy weather she slipped  anchor on Oct. 28th and went aground. The decision was made to strip her  in the spring so a crew of men were left on board for the winter. Come  spring a road was built to her and the engines and part of her hull were  removed. She was built in 1901 in Lorain, OH by American  Shipbuilding Co.

I would like to thank Mike & Georgann Wachter  for sharing this bit of history.

news file
news file
wreck 1980's
circa late 1970’s


The road that was built for the salvage operation was left in place and became a walk way to the wreck through waist deep water. You did have to swim the last 20 yards or so. Many times the friendly locals would answer calls for help because some one who was not a strong swimmer or some one who had a little too much libation got themselves out to the wreck, but could not get back in.

spring thaw 2010
the remains after scrapping

In the early 1980’s the price of steel skyrocketed and scrapers went after what was left of the wreck cutting away much of the hull and deck throughout the winter months. They may have removed the whole thing but the bulldozer they were using fell through the ice and caused some setbacks preventing they job from being finished.

A great place to explore with kayaks and paddle boards,snorkel around as well as fish, this old barge attracts visitors every day.

the sherkston wreck as  seen from the air.
the sherkston wreck as seen from the air.

The recent winters have really taken a toll on the old girl. Low water levels,

rear view wreck and prop during low water
rear view wreck and prop during low water

heavy wind storms,

the wreck during high winds
the wreck during high winds
gopro shot underwater

and time have weaken the remaining structure and twisted the bow wreck bow2 wreck bowand rear sections to near unrecognizable forms DCIM100GOPRO underwreck underwreck2

It is only a matter of time before the whole thing falls victim to Mother Natures wrecking ball.

sun set over the wreck
sun set over the wreck
the prop


Below are some recent photo’s from the fall of 2013 and the winter of 2014.

(Thanks to John for the photo’s)

fall 2013
fall 2013
sunset fall 2013
fall 2013
March 2014
March 2014
march 2014
march 2014
Spring 2014
Spring thaw 2014


Finding Mavericks; On the West Coast part 3

Our last couple of days in Nor. Cal. took us down the coast, south of San Francisco

Alcatraz from Golden Gate Bridge
Alcatraz from Golden Gate Bridge


As we wound our way down the coast we were truly amazed at the changing scenery. Beaches, forest lined highways climbing mountains to rocky prehistoric coastline.IMG_4052


A heavy marine fog settled in over the coast make for a cold day and somewhat bland photos.IMG_4010

One amazing stop we encountered was the Devils Slide, an overlook and paved trail up the coastal mountain with unreal views of the ocean


IMG_4030 IMG_4036 IMG_4046

Moving along to our final destination, Half Moon Bay.


pelican landing


We checked out a couple  surf shops, and

mavericks surf

spread the word about the reef warriors.

Then it was on to Mavericks. A short drive and walk to Pillar PointIMG_4137 to see this legendary big wave spot. Now we did not see this monster wave, although we caught a glimpse of what it can be. Our pics can’t capture what we saw so I will try to explain. Past the boneyard, you could see a swell that would start to rise up and almost form. It was a good way out, there was a pulse to it, a rhythm that you could sense. Maybe if we were on the top of the bluff, or had a better camera we could have captured it. But trust me it was out there.

Here are some pic’s of the boneyard. The rocks were at least 30ft tall and the waves crashing around them were huge.

15 ft wave at boneyard
half moon bay pillar point from half moon bay beach 3 miles away
boneyard at a distance taken from Half Moon Bay beach 3 miles away
boneyard waves
mavericks boneyard
waves at boneyard
Waves at Mavericks bone yard



the boneyard
Reef Warriors at Mavericks

After a wonderful dinner at The Half Moon Brewing Co. we took in the sunset. A fitting way to end a great trip.

sunset cali stlye

A quick summary, The whole trip was wonderful, the north California area is a photographers nirvana. Gail must have taken 1500 pic’s. (Thank goodness for digital photos). The food everywhere was outstanding as was the service. Napa valley is a wine lovers dream come true.

The whole water culture was a little different than we see on the east coast but the small surf areas and especially the Half Moon Bay area had a feel to them, much like Hatteras. We saw lots of sups on vehicles, as well as surf boards. If the day was not so cold when we were at Half Moon bay we would have rented some sups to paddle around the bay.

If you ever get the chance to visit this area you will not be disappointed.


Happy Easter to all.

Here is an Easter Seal for you.easter seal

Pot Stills and Paddleboards ; On the West Coast part 2


Exploring the Napa Valley area is tricky, so much to see and do, choosing which winery to start at, a difficult decision for most I am sure, but not for us. We found the only winery with the 200 yr old pot still that makes rum, and we found it at 2100 feet above sea level.

Pot stills
Pot stills IMG_3564 IMG_3562

unfortunately Cali laws would not allow us to taste or purchase this rum at the distillery (but I will find some rum and bring it back for a proper review) we got a great lesson on the stilling process and tasted the wines they had to offer.

Moving on we spent 2 full days taking photosIMG_3646 IMG_3666

IMG_3704 IMG_3755 IMG_3738 IMG_3682


and enjoying many great wine and food experiences.

Finally Wednesday  afternoon we headed down to San Raphael, for a windy Wednesday paddle board trip.

We headed out from 101 Surfsports

down a waterway into the Oakland Bay. We had a nice scenic paddle to the Marin Islands.




where we were greeted by Capt. Drew

Capt. Drew
Capt. Drew




the skipper and 1st mate of the Barbary Ghost

for a boat ride back to the surf shop.

This was supposed to be a “downwinder” riding chop and bump surfing for a mile or so but as you can see IMG_3788the bay was flat and calm. Capt. Drew tried his best to get everyone a ride as he drove around for a 1/2 hr or so creating some bumps.IMG_3779

riding the wake
riding the wake


We got a good taste of the sup culture here learning about racing and bump and glide boards from our guide Derek and the rest of the paddlers on the trip. We also shared our stories of the reef and the  water culture we have on the Great Lakes.


Gidget tried out a Starboard touring board and a SIC Bullet.  Both stable boards that performed nicely in the light conditions we encountered. The Starboard just powered it way through the small waves while the Bullet glided right through them. None of that nose slap we get on our boards when the waves just start to pick up. I chose a trusty old Starboard Atlas, the big bro to the Big Easy.

IMG_3824 IMG_3806

The nite ended with a sunset ride back to 101 sharing experiences and stories with our evening friends



I have some new tasting glasses and I plan on using them. Rum Quest Returns

A while back Michael asked us this question,

Why is the rum gone?

At the time I had no real good answer so I rushed a rum post to quiet the unruly horde and hoped to get back on board with rum quest, but I failed miserably. Life, work and lack of ambition got in the way I guess. It has been great fun tasting all the rums but it is sometimes a real challenge to come up with fresh ideas for posts and new ways of describing what I am tasting. Bottom line is sometimes you just need a break to refresh yourself. I am looking for a thesaurus to find new descriptive words and hope to adventure beyond the old rum quest template and find some new ways to begin the quest again.

One way to shake things up will be to ask for input from you, our drunken sailors, please fell free to request a review or write one of your own.

Rum Quest Wednesday will return.

Hope this video will hold you till then, Enjoy!

Some rum reviews to look forward too are;

Kirk and Sweeney

kirk-and-sweeney-12-year-rum[1]Plantation 20 year


Santa Teresa Selecto