We were puzzled by two of the one hundred boats in the Presque Isle State Park Marina. The two were flying black garbage bags from their masts. Was it some kind of garbage sailing club, were they pirates?

Later in the day the answer came in a flash. A flock of thousands of migrating swallows swooped down over the little harbor, lit in the rigging of the boats and began to deposit guano. They had obviously been eating the deep purple berries we saw in the forest. The two boats flying the black bags were the only ones completely free of the birds. We immediately joined the garbage bag sailing club. Possibly the bags looked like hawks or owls, we don't know, but they certainly worked.

We went into town for dinner at Smugglers Cove and watched the ferry boats. After dinner, we went to see the Brig Niagara. This is the restored flagship of Commodore Perry who defeated the British in the Battle of Erie in the War of 1812. This victory gave the US control of Lake Erie, preserved the Northwest Territory, and raised the nation's morale. A memorial to Perry stands on the spot where his fleet was built. It is also the spot where many of his crew were buried in the waters of a little bay named Misery Bay. The Niagara is now the flagship of State of Pennsylvania.

Presque Isle Bay is an interesting combination of industrial city complete with a steel mill, and a beautiful nature preserve. The 3200 acre peninsula contains six distinct ecological zones, each with a different plant and animal community. The extensive wetlands and diverse habitats welcome migrating birds that travel the Atlantic Flyway. Over 320 species of birds have been recorded here, including 39 listed as species of special concern. Other than the swallows, we observed many including four Great Blue Herons.

Early the next morning, we sailed to Dunkirk, New York. From the marina, we walked to the grocery. The economy in this area had obvious collapsed some time ago. In the first two blocks of our walk, we saw a half dozen church and secular aide agencies.

Since a real blow was forecast for midday, we sailed for Buffalo before dawn. The weather did not wait for noon, and we experienced over 30 knot winds and very high seas early. Luckily, we were sailing downwind in our lifevests and harnesses, surfing down the 12 (and occasional 20) foot breakers well over hull speed. Rana sat braced facing aft calling out "BIG ONE" and pointing the direction so that Mike could adjust the wheel to catch the wave just right and avoiding a broach. Sometimes the call was "REALLY, BIG, BIG ONE!"

We had carefully plotted the approach up the channel, but it was still uncomfortable charging headlong into the lee shore. Rana expertly doused the genny as we rounded the breakwater and we arrived in Buffalo before noon. We had to take three approaches to the fuel dock because of the strong wind and large swell. Marina staff were unresponsive to multiple calls but local sailors Mike and Bob came to our aide and caught our lines. We were placed on the wall in a nasty swell zone and spent much of the day replacing and upgrading our chafe guards from leather swatches and plastic tubing we had on board.

We are scheduled to unstep our masts and head down the canal early next week, so we will relax and spend a few days exploring Buffalo, New York.

Lighthouse photos through out our site are of ones we passed and relied on for safe navigation.