“The next line that forms will be for your boat”, she said. We had arrived early to get a better seat. We had been told that the Starboard side of the top deck was the best viewing for the sunset cruise to Pictured Rocks. After forty five minutes ofstanding, we were settled into our seats, three rows from the front on the right side of the boat.
Our boat was parked in the inside corner of an “L”, formed by the two sides of the large dock. Our captain came on to tell us that the 1st Mate, a young woman, would be taking us away from the dock, and heading us out on the first leg of our cruise. As the bow swung to the right, we sensed the practiced feminine touch of a master, as our boat cruised around the open end of the dock, heading for the open waters of Lake Superior.
The captain came on again to tell us we would be cruising for about thirty minutes before reaching the Pictured Rocks. The air moving across our faces
was cool and refreshing, our sweatshirts feeling good against the late afternoon wind.
The captain pointed out a couple of bald eagles in tall trees, and an old lighthouse on the lake. There were clouds to the west, but they were broken with spots of blue showing in between. We started to anticipate a nice sunset.
As we started to see the great cliffs in the distance on our right , we began to forget about the sunset and started to marvel at the light on the approaching cliffs.
Edging closer to the bluffs we began to see the color starting to change in the evening light. The captain was telling us how the different striations of color had developed over time.
We hardly heard his descriptions, as our eyes tried to absorb the bands and stripes of color on the face of the rocks.
After the initial views of the cliff faces, we began to notice the caves near the water line that had been formed by the continuous lapping of the water.
Odd outcroppings of rock added to the incredible scenes as we slowly passed by.
After what seemed to be miles and miles of this fascinating shoreline we began to feel the boat turn and our captain came on again to tell us we had reached the furthest point on our cruise and were turning towards port.
Forcing ourselves to look away from the Pictured Rocks and out over the open water to the setting sun, we noticed that most of the broken clouds were gone, having been absorbed by whatever it is that absorbs clouds just before sunset.
Leaving the boat after a long freezing ride back, we were now anticipating the Hardy’s a few blocks away and some hot coffee.
The coffee was great! As we sat reflecting on our outing to Pictured Rocks, we began the slow process of warming up, with feeling beginning to return to our hands and feet. The day had been an amazing “Retirement Day”…..!