The Oxford American Dictionaries defines the word "lake" as a large body of water surrounded by land. Obviously the Oxfords have never been to Michigan. I mean there's large bodies of water surrounded by land ... and then there's sweet water seas, as the early French called the Great Lakes.
The two peninsulas of Michigan, surrounded on three sides by Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron, give the state more coastline than any other in the US, except Alaska.
The Great Lakes system begins with Lake Superior in the far North. Fifty three rivers feed its 31,700 sq. miles of surface water, the combined area of several small US states. Beginning in Duluth Minnesota, Superior ends 350 miles east, at the St. Mary's River, and the City of Sault Ste. Marie MI, where the Soo Locks control more than a twenty foot drop into Lake Huron.
|Split Rock Lighthouse, Silver Bay, Minnesota|
Duluth Minnesota, photo by Jakes18
Ice on North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota taken by Jeff Gunderson http://epa.gov/greatlakes/image/vbig/495.jpg
December, 1999, the motor vessel Oglebay Norton passes safely through the St. Marys River after Coast Guard icebreakers did their job earlier on the river http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:St_Marys_River_winter.jpg
A one thousand foot freighter inches into one of the Soo Locks
Since the French sailing ship Le Griffon, vanished in Lake Michigan in 1679, to the seven hundred foot freighter, Edmond Fitzgerald, lost during a storm on Superior in 1975, there are almost five thousand shipwrecks lying at the bottom of the Great Lakes. Shipwreck tours and museums abound in Michigan.
Just imagine taking on a lake the size of Superior in a canoe, as the early French explorers did.