Friday, August 22, 2014

Lake Superior

After nearly a month without being able to sail because of wind, water, and illness, we were finally able to get some time on our boat. We took the D.Too up to Lake Superior to spend some time in the Apostle Islands in mid-July.

We had to launch the boat at Red Cliff, which is located a couple of miles North of Bayfield, because there was a launch ramp there. Our good friend Jeff helped us rig the boat and shuffle the truck and trailer. Then Donavan motored the boat to Schooner Marina, just a couple of miles North from there. We planned on using it as a base camp while touring through the Apostles, but ended up only staying there for one night. It was a beautiful area, tucked away behind some wooded islands.

Schooner Marina

View from Schooner Marina

This was a logging barge, abandoned at Schooner Marina since the 1920s.

 Our first day we sailed up past Hermit Island to Stockton Island, where we spent some time at the sandy Julian Bay, and decided to stay for the night. The sand makes a strange squeaking noise when you walk in it barefoot! We were greeted by National Park Service Ranger Stu Whipple, who proved to be a vast wealth of knowledge about many things. There were only a few boats there that Friday night, which Mr. Stu Whipple said was unusual. At 7:00 in the evening, there was a park program called The Web of Life that we attended, along with some other visitors to the island. The kids at the program didn't always follow along, which made for an interesting presentation, but we had a fun evening. After an early breakfast the next morning, we headed out for more island hopping.

At the dock at Stockton  Island 

Jane and Ranger Stu Whipple

When we left Stockton Island, we got to sail without tacking nearly the entire length of the island. Then we headed over to Manitou, and met a volunteer park staff named Denise who lives on the island during the Summer.  She gave us a tour of the fishing camp and talked about the island's history. I was more interested in the fact that she lived there alone, and had no electricity until a month ago, when the solar panels were repaired. She had spent the past two Summers on the island, without electricity. No running water. The park had a random delivery service that comes by maybe a couple of times a month, but had no set schedule, so it was a surprise when they showed up. If she ordered food or supplies, it may or may not come in a timely manner. Wild strawberries grew on the island, and they were delicious.

It was a short stay at Manitou, because we wanted to get to Raspberry Island to see the lighthouse. So we sailed some more with good wind. We went by Oak Island, where the rock formation "Hole in the Wall" was supposed to be. But as we learned, the landscape changes at the Apostle Islands. The rock is soft, and the crashing waves are harsh. The Winter months take their toll on the rocky shores as well. Hole in the Wall had crumbled and was a pile of rocks.

We saw a lot of kayakers and birds along the route.

We arrived at Raspberry Island mid-afternoon on Saturday. We toured the lighthouse and looked around the grounds. There was a long animated history about the various lighthouse keepers and their staff and/or families that lived there. Sounded like a hard life.

We decided to head to Little Sand Bay, rather than return to Schooner Marina for the night. En route, a swarm of flies descended upon us, and we couldn't do much but swat at them. They were good at biting ankles and buzzing in ears. Mosquito spray did nothing to keep them away. I guess there's spray for black flies, but we didn't know about that on this trip. As the afternoon progressed, the winds started getting swirly, and kept shifting 90 degrees, and going from 0 to 20 knots at a moment's notice. We headed to Little Sand Bay for the evening. We docked next to a family with a similar size boat that had been at the marina for the past three weeks, and was fun to hear about their sailing adventures.  It was a really nice marina and campground, with a beach, flush toilets, and hot showers! Jane enjoyed every minute of the time spent on the beaches. The water was cold of course, but she waded in the water mid-thigh on a few occasions.

On Sunday we motored to Cornucopia, since there was no wind. It was very hot and humid. Our friend Jeff met us Sunday afternoon at Corny, and Jane and I headed home, while they motored across the lake to Superior, WI, on Monday. We left the boat there since the following weekend we would be back to spend some time with the Northern Lights Sailing Club. Overall it was a smooth trip; however, since there was no wind, they motored the entire 43 miles.

We were all sad that the vacation had to end. But we plan to return next year, and spend more time there.

Our track for this trip

Jr Ranger  Jane

No comments:

Post a Comment