photo: WWJ/George Fox

Flooding On Gull Island Threatens Jobbie Nooner Party

June 15, 2019 - 4:22 pm
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GULL ISLAND (WWJ) - One of summer's biggest parties may be under water this year.

The annual gathering of boaters known as Jobbie Nooner is held at Gull Island in the north end of Lake St Clair. The annual party is less than two weeks away, on June 28, but high water levels have many asking: "Where is the island?"

"Well, there is no Gull Island left, basically. It's under water. It is just a couple trees at this point, Gull Island," said Mary Ann Pepp, who works at Emerald City Harbor along the Nautical Mile in St Clair Shores. "Muscamoot Bay is probably chest high, so I don't know if you'll even be able to stand in Muscamoot. They might be using floaties."

The high water might keep some away, but Pepp doesn't think that will put a damper on the party, which usually draws thousands of boats and more than 50,000 people.

"I'm sure the die-hards will make sure there is still a Jobbie Nooner, but it will just be that there won't be an island to go to," she said. "They'll just be lined up and rafted around what was the island -- maybe."

Semo Post, general manager of Jefferson Beach Marina, said the high water might actually be good for the party because people won't be running around.

"It's still going to happen, as it does every year. I'm sure a lot of people will go out there, but it's -- everybody's basically going to go on the hook wherever they can go and just live with it," he said.

So, what exactly is Jobbie Nooner?

The event was started in the 70’s by some of Detroit’s auto industry employees looking for a summer getaway. The workers would typically go out on the Friday following the summer solstice, and the island served as a perfect venue. Lee Odell of Ferndale was part of the guys who started Jobbie Nooner back in 1974.

“Four boats and 17 guys that decided to leave at 11 a.m. and go out to party on the lake,” Odell said. “A lot of guys started bringing their wives and their girlfriends to lunch every day, and they said if you aren’t doing anything then come on out.”

It has grown in popularity ever since and the line of boats just continues to get longer and longer.