The Evacuation of Dunkirk
24 August 2011
The evacuation of Dunkirk - Erie, Pennsylvania is a town that may have fallen on hard times but at least we got our laundry done there. Our next port, Dunkirk, made Erie look like Paris.
We stayed at the private marina in Dunkirk, on one side of the big pier. We were on a very large dock, which we shared with a large commercial fishing vessel and one other power boat. We had the rest of the marina to ourselves - we would discover why!
Dunkirk itself is not a "bad town". The downtown is less cohesive than St. Charles or Geneva, for example in Illinois, and everything was closed except their boardwalk, which is a small strip mall. There was a rock concert on the big pier, and the music was pretty good. The people who came were mostly families and the concert ended at 8:30.
Alas, it was only then that we took a good look at the marina. The place looked like a junkyard - for example, in addition to the working live bait dispensing machine that was abandoned, a second live bait machine was leaning against the building, these were two among many items lying around. Someone had vomited in the sink in the small Woman's bathroom and shower, and Merry decided washing up on the boat was not a bad idea. Since the men's bathroom smelled of urine, I skipped the shower too. All but one dock lights was out, which was bad because parts of some of the finger docks were missing, and with all o them, you had to take a step down to get to your boat - and, of course, you couldn't see the step-off (which I experienced - but did not fall into the harbor!)
The “cruising guide” said the place had Wi Fi - it didn’t and shore-power - which did not work.
The next morning there were two colorful older men and a polite young man with three dogs sitting outside the marina office. The concrete block which had been inside the men’s bathroom had now been used to prop open the doorway, revealing the toilet stall in all its glory. Stepping over “deposits from all of the dogs” I decided that I had to use the facilities, and felt that the stall door would at least give me a degree of privacy. Alas, I was disappointed - even in this! While seated upon the j”throne”, one of the large dogs stuck its head under the stall and looked up at me between my legs, only to be yanked out again by the boy, who yelled “BAD BRUTAS BAD!”
We had both been kept up all night by the big fishing boat banging against a steel piling. We were eager to get on our way. However, we discovered that a mat of weed had enveloped the stern of our boat and the fairway. I spent an hour using the dinghy, a boat hook, and an oar to clear a way for our boat to get out. At last, when the dawn had ripened into morning we departed evacuating Dunkirk and not planning to return any time in the future.