A Day in Muscamoot Bay
Muscamoot Bay will likely be filled with boaters for today's Raft Off. CK previews what first-timers and veterans can expect at the popular destination.
Although it's the destination for such raucous events like the Jobbie Nooners, what's a regular day in Muscamoot Bay like?
On a recent sunny, humid, hot Saturday morning, we set out upon the vessel All Jacked Up to find out.
After a stop at The Wine Dock for the day's provisions --subs, chips, water, a soda, and beer --we are moments away for a refreshing boat ride to the shallow, sandy meet-up haven near Harsens Island known as Muscamoot Bay.
It's the weekend home to boaters of all walks of life, and a more enjoyable environment truly can't be found. Whether one wants to be in the epicenter of the action, on the outskirts and walk in, or tie up in the Tot Lot (for those with wee water babies), there's an area of interest for everyone.
Let it be known boaters are a friendly bunch of folks. Upon arrival to the line of boats tied up, a captain can find help with lines, bumpers, and anchoring without even having to ask.
Dave Efimoff, a seasoned St. Clair Shores boater, is one of those willing to jump in to help create a solid starting point. He often educates new captains on how you tie up in the bay.
"I'd rather have a solid anchor point now than have to push or pull boats into place later when things get going," he emotes. "Showing them how to do it right gives them the skills to do it right the next time."
To say thanks, the new captain offers Jell-O shots to the folks on surrounding vessels as he introduces himself, no longer a stranger.
Those that frequent Muscamoot Bay also get to know each other, with the most visual and oratorical being John Zangara, or The Zman.
He heads the party, volunteering his speakers and music selection --which is constantly changing but always upbeat and party perfect-- and kicking the atmosphere into high gear.
"It's a fun time. It's laid back, about the sun, the fun... it's a daytime party with strangers who want to do the same thing," states Zangara. "Have a good time."
A trip through "The Gauntlet" provides the best entertainment because, as Veronica Chamberlain enthuses, "The people watching is the best in The Gauntlet."
The "Gauntlet" is what boaters refer to as the space between the two lines of boats that are tied together with their sterns facing each other.
People walk or float in the water from one party to another saying hello, sharing adult beverages, playing floating beer pong, showing off crazy headgear, skimpy bikinis, tossing Frisbees, showing off body art, singing, gossiping -- nothing is every the same week to week.
And yes, as the day wears on the party revs up.
Dave Dickens, who's been coming to Muscamoot every weekend for years sums it up, "It's a vacation every weekend.
"It's an escape from reality, from work," the Warren resident said. "Sure some get out of hand, but for the most part it's just folks letting loose."
"Boaters are pretty good at policing each other," states Jack Olheiser, of Clinton Township. "Yes, we come out here to have a good time but we'll take care of business, too. I mean heck! You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning."
Elisha Kolcan, of Shelby Township, likes coming out to see friends.
"I like my friends, the entertainment. This is where my friends hang out all weekend, even the ones I don't particularly want to see," Kolcan jokes. "It's about the tan, the shades, the bikinis... just a great mix between young and old, and 99 percent of the time everyone gets along. Saturday and Sundays are the best in the Bay, rain or shine."
Around six in the evening some captains started packing up their vessels and disengaging from the lines, heading back to St. Clair Shores and one of the waterfront dining spots for a quick bite before land-lubbing it once again.
Some merely dropped anchor to cozily enjoy an overnight stay. Whatever thepreference, a boater always has one thing to look forward to: the next destination on their floating piece of heaven.