Ah, February, when we are supposed to be overcome with cabin fever and to achieve nothing more than dreams of summer. Seed catalogs for the gardeners, and boat shows for the waterborne.
While the big annual boat/camping/travel show goes on this week at the DECC in Duluth, I've enjoyed my own little neighborhood boat show. My neighborhood happens to include a few of Duluth's biggest boat storage areas. Both a lot of boats and some of the biggest boats lay up at Lakehead Boat Basin and Harbor Cove Marina just a block or two from here.
Under the blue shrink-wrap rest dozens, hundreds, of water craft--powerboats, sailboats, cabin cruisers-- that will bring another season of Lake Superior adventure to their owners and guests.
Here's the Voyaguer II, the friend of Isle Royale hikers who board it in Grand Portage and circle The Island for their favorite beach campsite or trailhead. It looks small in its winter berth, but it's bursting with memories for many outdoor folks. It sits next to the Vista Queen, the harbor party boat that scarcely even ever clears the Aerial Lift Bridge. Do they get along?
Peak down the port side of the Voyageur II and you can see the Blue Heron frozen dockside. This is the UMD/Large Lakes Observatory research vessel, the one that's been discovering all sorts of cool new things about Lake Superior, including new data about how deep the lake actually is (less than we thought, by a few yards).
Walk around a bit more you'll find a shipwreck dive boat and the three-masted schooner Zeeto that cruises the Apostle Islands out of Bayfield. Beautiful island sunsets from the deck of the schooner, sails aloft...now there's a dream for a boat show.
Oh, I've got boat lust. No, not really to own one, thank you. But to ride one of these beauties in our backyard to some quiet cove for a hike, a paddle, a great Lake Superior experience. Dream on!