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Author Topic:   Isle Royale - anyone interested?
Plotman posted 01-22-2004 03:10 PM ET (US)   Profile for Plotman   Send Email to Plotman  
Would there be any interest in a trip to Isle Royale next summer?

There are a couple of ways to get there - it is about a 20 mile open water run from the Minnesota shore at Grand Portage, or it is about 70 miles from Outer Island in the Apostles (~100 mi from Bayfield) to Windigo Harbor on the west end of the island.

There is a Small Marina in Windigo, and even a Hotel in Rock Harbor (at the other end of the island ~50 miles from Windigo), but to me the fun part of Isle Royale is "boat camping" at one of the many shelters near docks dotting the island. Many of these are at the locations of old fishing camps from the days before the island became a park.

Gas is available at both Windigo and Rock Harbor.

There is a map here

Buckda posted 01-22-2004 05:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I'd be interested in this run - from Minnesota rather than from the Apostle Islands. The little Intrepid Explorer is ready for a new adventure, and it would be nice to revisit the island.

Of course, I really have to pick my days and am subject to cancellation based on marine forecasts due to the size of my Whaler, but think a trip like this would be great fun.


Plotman posted 01-22-2004 05:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Oh, come on Dave - think of the video of you bouncing off of some nice Superior rollers! You just need one of those air-ride seats like the truckers use....
Plotman posted 01-22-2004 05:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Oh, come on Dave - think of the video of you bouncing off of some nice Superior rollers! You just need one of those air-ride seats like the truckers use....
Buckda posted 01-22-2004 06:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Plotman -
It's not the waves that I worry about..more temperature/precipitation. The boat can handle more than I can (and that's saying a lot)...I just don't want to overdo it. Plus, though I want to get some canvas on the boat this year, the engine overhaul has revised my timelines a bit, so that limits me when/if it's precipitating.

Finally, the big trips can sometimes "intimidate" my would-be navigators...nice weather would go a long way to ensuring that I keep my companion happy.


Plotman posted 01-22-2004 08:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
I was just giving you a hard time.

From what I saw in the video, you can cake a lot more than most humans.

This lake is serious enough I'm seriously considering moving up from my 22.

jimh posted 01-22-2004 08:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I recall some previous discussion (elsewhere) that there were serious obstacles being placed in the path of boaters who wanted to stay overnight at Isle Royale. Any news on this? It seemed like the government managers of this public resource had taken a dim view of personal boats coming out, and instead were giving the place to the Birkenstock sandal and backpack crowd.
Plotman posted 01-23-2004 10:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     

This was not my observation the last time I was up there - the summer before last.

There are quite a number of docks/campsites that are accesable only by private boat, and not on the trail system. These are the places we stayed - no backpacks in sight, but still plenty of birks.

The people I have heard first-hand complaints from about the park service are what I would characterize as Rodney Dangerfield types who were pissed off that they were told to shut their generator off at sunset, turn the stereo down and pick up their empties.

It all depends on what you are looking for in the experience. If you stay on the island, you need to remember that this is a national park. Maybe the best analogy would be the difference between staying in an RV at a campground inside a park like Yellowstone, or at the KOA outside the gate.


Buckda posted 03-12-2004 10:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda thinking August?

I'd like to pick a time with the fairest and warmest weather...August is it for northern Lake Huron...perhaps we can begin to narrow the timeframe?

My July is already shot (Georgian bay trip). Early-Mid August works best for me at this point.

Gep? Interested?

Dave Pendleton?


This could be a really cool adventure run. Isle Royale is beautiful.


David Pendleton posted 03-13-2004 01:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Sure, I'm in.

Depends on the date, of course, but I'd make the run from Bayfield.

home Aside posted 03-14-2004 08:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I'd be interested also....although I don't know if there are as many weekends this summer as there are rendezvous ideas.....would anyone be going from the U.P. side ? I'll have to see how far it is from there. it's been a while since I looked at it.


Plotman posted 03-14-2004 07:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
The water is definately warmest in August - I also love early september up here - the weather is still very nice, and the crowds have thinned out as kids are back in school.

I'm just two over two hours from Grand Portage if I drag it on a trailer, maybe 4 if I make the run all the way by water, so I'm pretty much good to go any time.

I'd also love to make an October run out there - but that is much more of a watch the weather and go on a moments notice sort of thing. Many of my favorite journeys in the apostles have been in October when you can pretty much have the place to yourself.


dfmcintyre posted 03-14-2004 07:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Pat -

We've considered it, but I need a full canvas set (just have the forward shelter and bimini at the moment....) before I'd commit.

It's about 37 miles from Copper Harbor.


David Pendleton posted 03-14-2004 07:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     

I'd rendezvous with you somewhere out on the lake if you like...

BTW, where were you for last year's AI rendezvous?


Plotman posted 03-15-2004 11:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Don - on my maps, it's actually more like a 55 statute mile run across the lake from Copper Harbor to Rock Harbor on the east end of Isle Royale.

I would think that someone coming up through the UP would put in at Houghten or near the north end of the Portage River (the channel through the Keewanaw). From the pierhead, it is ~ 48 statue miles to landfall on the west end of Isle Royale and another 7 or 8 into Windigo where anyone making the short hop from the Minnesota side would be heading.


We made 5 or 6 trips over to the AI last summer, but I think I was in Iowa during the rendezvous (don't ask).


Gep posted 03-16-2004 08:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for Gep  Send Email to Gep     
I'm interested. I just have to see how all of these rendezvous shake out.

Dave, I've been watching this one and the North Channel one that you started and now the Apostle Island one that Dave Pendleton started.

I don't think I have enough August to go around. :)


Buckda posted 03-16-2004 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Mike -

No worries..NC/Georgian Bay trip is in early JULY. Dates to be confirmed, but will include the July 4 holiday. Looks like a 9 day one.

The Isle Royale and NC/Georgian Bay are my two biggies this summer..JULY and August...may try to make the Apostle Islands one if they delay to early Sept.

We're still a long way out on confirmed timings...which is a good thing! I'm almost done with my shelter sketches...will try to see a canvas shop this weekend...and I've tapped a good friend (excellent woodworker) to help me with a platform to span from the Anchor locker to the front thwart seat to make a sleeping platform up front. (for under the shelter).

I hope this Isle Royale trip happens and the weather cooperates...I'd love to do it.


David Pendleton posted 03-16-2004 09:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Dates, dates, dates!

Sure, everyone wants to go to Isle Royale, but we need dates.


P.S. An AI Rendezvous in September is unlikely.

Hoosier posted 12-07-2004 12:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Let's restart this thread for a summer '05 trip. Has anyone done Marquette to Keweenaw to Isle Royale to Apostle Islands and back to Marquette? That should be about the same milage as the '04 Georgian Bay cruise. Mid August should be good for weather.
Buckda posted 12-07-2004 12:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
That is a LOT of open, exposed water. The GB trip was more than 600 miles round trip, with less than 60 of those miles in open/exposed is nearly all behind barrier islands blocking the seas off the Bay.

I'm still interested to go to Isle Royal, and with the new 18, I'm better able to go this year than last.


Hal Watkins posted 12-07-2004 11:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
We would be interested in an Isle Royale trip. Would have to depart from Grand Portage as that looks like an ocean in 15' SS. J-J-A-S?

Hal from Waseca

Plotman posted 12-08-2004 10:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
With what is on the plate for this summer already, I won't be able to make a week long trip this summer, but I would be interested in joining up for a few days. To whet folks appetite for Lake Superior, I have some pictures from our summer adventures with the whaler posted here .

Cruising in and around the Apostle Islands, or even out to Isle Royale is a very different proposition from much of the rest of lake Superior.

In the AI you are typically pretty sheltered from what is going on in the main lake - either by the Bayfield Penninsula or by the other islands. Isle Royale is somewhat the same, in that on much of the Island there are barrier islands and reefs one can hide behind, with
shorter sections exposed to the open lake (once you make the open water crossing over from Grand Portage ~15 miles or the entrance to the Keewenaw ~50 miles.

Much of the rest of the lake can be quite exposed, with places to duck in out of the weather sometimes quite far between. For example, I've run East on the south shore from Duluth to the Apostles, and then on to the marina at Black River. In the 55 miles there are two places a small boat can get off of the lake, Cornucopia and Herbster, about 10 and 20 miles west of Sand Island.

And on the North Shore, in general, there are places to get off of the lake no more than 30 miles apart - of these Knife River, the Silver Bay Marina and Grand Marais are the really the only places suitable for small boats to overnight or pick up fuel - Two Harbors and Taconite Harbor are commercial harbors and as such really only harbors of refuge for small boats (both do have nice ramps, as does Twin Points between Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock.) Knife River and Grand Marais have nice restaurants within walking distance, and there is a restaurant (but not much else) right at the Silver Bay Marina, which is a few miles outside of town. Grand Marais is one of my favorite towns, and definitely worth an overnight stop

Also, out in the main lake and away from shore, the water temperature can be shokingly cold well into summer - the open water surface temperature reported by the NOAA buoys typically doesn't cross the 40 degree mark until early July. Check this out - it is a movie made from a year's worth of Great Lakes surface temperature maps - Superior can still be in the High 30s or Low 40s when the North Channel is in the 60s. The waters in the Apostles warm up earlier and to a greater degree than the main lake, but Isle Royale doesn't warm up till the main lake does.

I guess this is all a very long winded way of saying I wouldn't be too ambitious about traveling long distances on Lake Superior in a small boat on any kind of a schedule. Far more reasonable, I would think, would be to trailer into the Apostles, and then pick your day for a crossing to either Grand Marais (70 miles from Bayfield, the last 45 of it in open water, leaving another 50 miles mostly along the north shore to Windigo on Isle Royale) or a direct crossing (26 miles from Bayfield to Outer Island and then 75 miles more of open water to Windigo). There is plenty to occupy a week in either the Apostles or Isle Royale, much less getting both in in the same week.

Last Summer we spent an extra day on Isle Royale when there were 15 footers on the main lake, and still were one of the only boats to make the crossing the next day because I really had to get back - we figured it would be safe, but not a lot of fun, and we were right.

While I haven't ever made the crossing from the Keweenaw to Isle Royale, I have gone out there several times from Grand Portage and also made crossings of 30+ miles from the North Shore to the Apostles several times, which once you've done it once, is really no big deal.


HuronBob posted 12-08-2004 02:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    

Great photos.....

Makes me want to trade the 13' in for a larger boat..... I'm afraid that Superior is a bit scary for me...


Buckda posted 12-08-2004 08:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David - I Love those photos. Man that Split Rock lighthouse has always been one of my favorite great lakes lights.

Because of trailering distances, I'd probably launch such a rendezvous from the Michigan Upper Peninsula...but meeting out at Isle Royale would be a cool thing I'd think...if there were enough attendees, we'd probably have people leaving from the Apostle Islands, the Minnesota mainland and Michigan...kind of an Isle Royale invasion.

David Pendleton posted 12-09-2004 03:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I figure I'm good for two big trips next year: The North Channel (if there is one), and Isle Royale.

Might be too early to start planning this (or maybe not), but I'd do this trip if it comes together.


Buckda posted 12-09-2004 03:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David -
Can't wait to call your bluff on the NC thing! :) You've been trying to get over there for as long as I've been reading the forum! I do truly hope you make it this summer as it's great boating, and it would be nice to see you and the better half again.

If not, hopefully this trip will come together for Isle Royale and we can meet up then. I'll bring my cheetos for lunch aboard your boat :)


David Pendleton posted 12-09-2004 08:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Bluff, schmuff. I'm ready.

I have wanted to do it for ever. Last year was the closest I came, but the AI Rendezvous was during the same time frame.

If there is a NCR this year, I'm hoping it's late July, early August. I'm going to drag the boat out early next spring for a re-fit/re-finish in DC, just so I'm ready.

Then, I'll be eating Cheetos on your boat!


home Aside posted 12-11-2004 02:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I think there's a lot less protected water in the trip from Marquette Up and back, then there was on the North Channel/Georgian Bay trip, but I've always wanted to make the Isle Royal Trip, I'll be watching....


WSTEFFENS posted 12-13-2004 01:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     

Yes, this is a trip I have dreamed about since I was a young child and saw an OMC cataloge featuring (circa 1958) Isle Royal in the advertising photos.

Please start to figure a "time" frame. I would think you would need a large "window" as I am sure as on Huron you can get wind for days on end!



LHG posted 12-13-2004 06:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Lake Superior, because of its unique location, sitting farther north than the other Great Lakes, is the CALMEST of the Lakes in the summer months, 6/15 - 9/15. This is not from me, but is documented weather data. They say average wave height is 2' or less, which I find nothing short of amazing. Evidently, summer fog, caused by warm, humid continental air moving across the cold Lake water, is the biggest boating hazard on the Lake.

None of this is to say that I still don't find Lake Superior extremely intimidating for offshore cruising, in addition to scarce fuel supplies and places of refuge.

I have been to Isle Royale in my 25, making the passage from Grand Marais on the North Shore. Over the 4th of July weekend, the water temp was 42 degrees, which makes for Mills canvas boating. It was also dead calm for 4 days, so calm that we were able to completely circumnavigate the Island. The best Lake Trout fishing in the world exists here, with native run fish that make a superior meal to those found in the lower Lakes, which are hatchery fish.
Sleeping in the boat, anchored out, did find us dealing with mosquitoes come dusk.

I, personally, would not make the trip across the Lake to Isle Royale except in the company of at least one other Whaler. And one of the boats should have twin engines.
Other than that, it seems like an interesting adventure.
Isle Royale is one of the great boating destinations in the world to visit. It is spectacular, but even in the summer, this is cool weather boating once you get out on that cold clear water. You can see downrigger weights 50' down! Forget your shorts and tee shirts. The scenery is similar to the Georgian Bay eastern shore islands, a much tamer place in my opinion.

Another interesting Superior destination is to cruise the wilderness shore, from Whitefish bay to Thunder Bay, along the Canadian shore. This is also low-amenity, extended cruising, with harbors of refuge, marina stops and fuel in short supply.

It's possible I could be talked into another Isle Royale trip. I'd prefer to drive up the scenic Northern shore for the launching, however. For people in IL, WI and MN this is easy, but for MI people, it's a hike.

Buckda posted 12-13-2004 06:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Larry -

I think we should definitely try this this year - I think that a big Michigan/Ontario/Ohio contingent could cross from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and we could get IL, WI and MN boaters to cross from other areas.

Intimidating, it may be, but if we begin planning early, including in-depth discussions on how the group should be outfitting their boats so no one is ill-prepared, we should have a successful trip.

I for one would be interested in either of the scenarios you describe, however we would lack the benefit of the detailed cruising narrative that JimH provided us newbies for background info as we planned the Georgian Bay Trip...therefore the need for detailed discussions about route, distances, cartography and necessary equipment and fuel ranges.

I would imagine that this is one of those trips where you take on fuel at nearly every opportunity just to be sure.

Isle Royale could be a really great base camp for two or three nights, allowing people to fish, hike or explore at their leisure and as weather permits...


Plotman posted 12-13-2004 10:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Bonnie Dahl's The Superior Way is a must read for anyone who is considering a trip to Lake Superior. It has write-ups of almost every harbor/anchorage. This is the link to the book on Amazon .

I'm sure the great lakes cruising club guides will be excellent too, but harder to come by if you are not a member.

On Isle Royale, fuel is available at Windigo on the west end and at Rock Harbor on the east end, ~50 miles away. I would think that you would want fuel to give you a minimum range of 100 miles for a trip like this.

Larry is right - the lake trout fishing on the island is spectacular - just bring plenty of spare downrigger balls (I always bring at least 3 per downrigger, usually end up loosing 1 or 2).


P.S. And for those who have smaller whalers that would not be omfortable on the open waters of Lake Superior, take a look at Voyagers National Park - Just outside of International Falls. You can either rent a houseboat and drag the whaler along behind, or there is also a plethora of boat-in campsite throughout the park. Think of it as the Boundry Waters in a whaler instead of a canoe.

David Pendleton posted 12-14-2004 11:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Should this trip take place, I'm in.

And, I'll be making the crossing from Bayfield, if anyone'd like company...


WSTEFFENS posted 12-15-2004 08:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     


A brief research of the road milage for me is a break even deal, about 850 miles if you go around from Port Huron thru Ind and Ill, or north to the Sault bridge. Seems 15 hrs (I am guessing more on the line of 18-20) is the best guess. That said, I sitll would vote for the short crossing (around 22 miles) vs the crossing from some place such as Copper Harbor (around 75 miles).

I agree with LHG, (even though I have boated on Huron for almost 20 years and was tudored by people I consider the best (2 generations)), Superior should be approached with caution. The fog and cold water even in late summer are intimidating. I have been on some bad rides on Huron, where it took 3.5 hrs to go 10 miles. Green water all around you. Not fun!

I was also interested that Larry found the lake to be the calmest of the group in the summer months (researach not opinion).

Am I interested?, yea lets get a time line started! I will order my copy of "Richidersons" this week.

Best to you all!

Buckda posted 12-15-2004 08:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
22 miles to Grand Portage, MN (to Windigo Harbor)
73 miles to Houghton, MI (to Rock Harbor)
56 miles to Copper Harbor, MI (to Rock Harbor)

It's 700 miles to Grand Portage, MN from St. Joseph, MI (my point of origin), and 559 to Copper Harbor, MI.

Even though it's 35 miles more of open water - if the forecast is right, and others are considering crossing from Copper Harbor, that would be my vote.

All three routes offer the option of "following" the ferry if you time it right.

I agree that a 20 mile stretch is somewhat more palatable - on a clear day, you'd not lose sight of land, but it's about 4 1/2 more hours on the road versus spending that time in the boat/on the's also about 50 gallons of gas in the car versus about 15 in the boat (all of this is assuming clear weather).

It also appears that late July through about mid-August would be the best time to go, given historical weather and insect reports.

There is a $4 per person per day use fee that can be purchased at any of the three-mainland departure points, or at the ranger station once on the island.

Another interesting statistic to be taken in with the lake water temperature information: for July and August, the normal daily maximum temp is 68 and 69 degrees, respectively...normal daily minimum is 50 and 54 degrees.

What we really need to do is determine how much time we need to spend here, so that we can then determine possible dates with those who are able to take that much time from work...that way we're not bending our schedule to fit someone who may not be able to go anyway.

Looks like I need to go online and get the Lake Superior Blue Chart.


Buckda posted 12-15-2004 08:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Also - given the climate information given in the above post, along with information from the NPS Web site for Isle Royale, if you are lurking and considering this trip, enclosed canvas should be considered a must - not only for temperature protections, but for insect protection.

Just to start a discussion on proper equipment:

"Must Have" Gear
Canvas for weather protection
GPS, Depth sounder and fixed mount VHF
Paper charts
Insect Repellent (chemical)
Insect barrier (physical...mosquito netting, etc)
First Aid Kit

"Prudent-to-Have" Gear
Handheld VHF and GPS as back-up to main-systems

Additional input is welcome and encouraged to build a complete list.

I would also suspect that having your motor checked/inspected by your mechanic would not be a bad idea just prior to this trip.

The NPS site is pretty straightforward about the lack of services available and the wilderness nature of this park.

Also note:
"All dock space and individual campsites (including all shelters) are available on a first-come, first-served basis. ... From mid-July to the end of August, expect to find crowded conditions at docks and campgrounds. Boaters who are already set up at a campsite and who have a valid campig permit must be given prioroty access to space at the dock. ... Generally, only docks which adjoin campgrounds are open for overnight use. The Rock Harbor Marina provides nightly slip rentals with utility service hook-ups. ... Anchoring out is allowed and encouraged; check with a ranger of other boaters for information on good anchorage locations."

Buckda posted 12-16-2004 10:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda who wants to take the lead in setting a date and organizing this thing so it actually happens this year?

...should we make it an official GLBWCC event?

Gep posted 12-16-2004 01:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Gep  Send Email to Gep     
Sounds like you've alreadt taken the lead. :)
Buckda posted 12-16-2004 01:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
One can only lead if others will follow.

Last time I made a statement about a date on a rendezvous, others changed it without my knowledge....and I ended up having to scramble to get the time off I had requested moved.

This time, I'm sitting tight. I'm in - and hopefully we can determine a date before the end of January - because that much lead time is important to getting a whole week off work.

I will, however throw out a recommendation for dates:

August 20 - 28.


David Pendleton posted 12-16-2004 01:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
It'll be snowing up there by then...

I'm in.

Buckda posted 12-16-2004 02:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David - do you think earlier? My data from the Isle Royale NPS site shows that while the normal high peaks in mid-July, the normal low peaks in mid to late August. (meaning that while it may be a few degrees cooler during the day, it will stay a few degrees warmer at night).

It also is supposedly one of the best times to avoid the bugs.

home Aside posted 12-16-2004 02:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Having spent 4 years at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mi on the shores of Lake Superior, I can say that I've seen snow fall in every month of the year.....maybe it didn't stick or stay for long in July & August, but I've seen it snow then.....and there's only a couple of times I've found the water temperature palatable for any length of time, in a very shallow bay a Whitmore's Landing North of Marquette when the air temperatures were in the 90's for several days running.....
I also saw a disabled wooden cruiser blown off it's anchoridge and onto the rocks on the shoreline, I watched the recovery of the boat, a front end loader was used to drag it up on the beach, where the owner recovered his valuables, they then used the front end loader to crush it into little pieces of firewood, put the engine into the bucket of the front end loader and off they went "Recovery Complete". It's a sight I'll not soon forget.....
On mandatory equipment for this trip, you need to wear a PFD on a constant basis, order up those suspender PFD's for Chrismas boys & girls. I kept a PFD at arms reach on the North Channel/Georgian Bay trip last August, but didn't wear it. On a Lake Superior trip I would. Don't want to be in the water for too long in Superior, and if you are you want to be able to float long enough to get back in the boat. In addition to that you'll want to double check your kill switch lanyard system to make sure it's working and above all use it !!!

I'm more than likely in the count for this one.....but I won't know where I stand for time off in August until early summer.....I'll be watching....


Buckda posted 12-16-2004 03:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
So, the interested count is the following:

David Pendleton; 270 Conquest
Home Aside; 17' Montauk
Buckda; 18' Outrage
WSteffens; 25' Revenge
LHG; (Not sure on likely craft)
Plotman; 22' Outrage
Hal Watkins; (Whatcha got Hal?)
Hoosier; 17' Montauk

There may be others - Gep? Eagleman? JimH? Backlash? JimG? DFM? Kingfish?

Pat - great reminder about wearing the PFD on this trip. It might also make it more comfortable temperature wise as well.

Hoosier - when last we chatted, you were outfitting that 17 - how's that coming along?

For a trip like this, I suppose you just pack for every type of weather condition, and re-pack a duffel at the ramp once you've heard the seven day forecast.

Other must have items:
Spare prop and spare pins/nuts etc to install it
all other CG required safety gear
whistle or air horn (in case of fog)
your boat tool kit
Spares (lights, fuses, spark plugs, etc.)

There was a very good article last year in Trailer Boats Magazine called "superior boating" that had tips for small boat travel on Lake Superior. I'll see if I can dig up that article and share some tips.

Plotman and David Pendleton should probably be the ones to chime in most on this topic as that area of Superior is "home waters" for them.

Buckda posted 12-16-2004 03:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David Pendleton posted 12-16-2004 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I was just being a wise-guy. I don't think it'll be snowing in August.

I'm open to any date(s) next summer. August would be fine.

Hal Watkins posted 12-16-2004 04:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
Hal will tag along in a 15' Super Sport..
By the way..Windward marine on Lake Minnetonka was sold and is now Northshore Marina. They will have a full line of Whalers at the Minny Boat show. Said they would send me some free tickets. They would also like to support any rendevous activities in/near MN to include AI and Isle Royale also St. Croix. I live on Clear Lake at Waseca, MN. We finally had ice on the lake on 14 Dec and today, 16 Dec we have our first Ice Fishing house!
Eagleman posted 12-16-2004 09:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eagleman  Send Email to Eagleman     
Isle Royal is a destination that Paula & I would be interested in cruising around. I look forward to this trip, I've never boated on Lake Superior. August time schedule looks good, however need dates to lock in schedules for vacation.


Plotman posted 12-16-2004 09:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Dave, If you were crossing from the Keweenau, I would think that your best route would be from the upper entry of the waterway (either put in at Houghton Marina 10 miles in from the entry, or at the ramp at the upper Harbor of Refuge a mile inside the breakwall) and then make the run to Windigo. This is 46 miles of open water, plus another 10-12 to get into Windigo (at the bottom end of Washington Harbor). This would save you an hour plus of driving (you have to go through Houghton to get to Copper Harbor), plus I would expect anyone going to the island from either the north shore or Bayfield to check in at Windigo.

For those crossing from the Minnesota side, if you run up the shore towards pigeon point before crossing over to the island, the open water run is only 13 miles - still 20+ total, but never more than 6 or 7 from some land.

As far as weather goes, later is better in terms of water temperature. I urge you to check out the movie here to see how much warmer late August is than mid July.

A depth sounder is nice, but not all that useful. For one, you can see a good 20 feet down. And up there you can easily have the bow on a rock while your transom mount transducer reads 50 feet.

I would strongly suggest that each boat have 2 or 3 anchors (I usually run with an 11 lb bruce, a similar sized fortress, as well as a small one from my fishing boat (sort of a mushroom, but with three flukes). This way I can rig things so the boat is held off shore, but close enough such that you can wade to it if you want to go ashore where there are no docks. A couple or three big fenders (I use the orange ball type) are very nice - some of the docks are made of rough timber cribs, other times you might tie off to a rock face or end up rafting up with another boat. If you have hip boots, bring them. Much nicer than wading in cold water in shorts.

A few critical spares are also key. Nearest coast guard is Grand Marais ~50 miles away, and all they have is an inflatable. Nearest marine mechainc is in Thunder Bay. You want to carry spares and tools (props, plugs, filters, maybe even an impeller).

You are also 90%+ likely of seeing fog up there during the course of a week.

Plotman posted 12-16-2004 11:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
From Chicago, it is a easy six hours to drive to Houghton. Going up the north shore to Grand Portage is going to be a solid 10 hours.
David Pendleton posted 12-17-2004 12:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I'm thinking August 20-28 is a good place to start for a date.

Lots of good advice has already been given here. I'm really much more familiar with the AI, than Isle Royale or even the wet side of the Arrowhead.

As we move closer to the date, we should coordinate departures from various points so no one has to make the trip alone. I can leave from Duluth, Grand Marias, or Bayfield. Grand Marias would be my last choice, however, I could rendezvous at GM for the crossing to the island.

David Pendleton posted 12-17-2004 12:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
That'd be Grand Marais, also. At least I mispelled it twice.


banff22 posted 12-17-2004 01:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
I've been following this thread for a while now and I can't take it anymore.

Don't know if I can do it but does anyone know of any shortcuts to get there from Toronto? I've been studying the maps and it sure looks like an awful long trip from here. But it also sounds like a fantastic trip.


banff22 posted 12-17-2004 01:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
Besides, don't you guys need at least one token Canadian for a trip like this.


David Pendleton posted 12-17-2004 01:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
MapPoint tells me it's a 13-hour, 737 mile drive from Toronto to Houghton/Hancock MI.

That's a pretty good haul, but it'd probably be worth it.


banff22 posted 12-17-2004 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
Is that going over the top through the Sault or under Huron?


David Pendleton posted 12-17-2004 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Under Huron.


home Aside posted 12-17-2004 04:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I would think the best traveling highways for you from Toronto would be from Toronto through Sarnia to Port Huron, Mi I-69 west to I-75, I-75 North across the Mighty Mac to the U.P. Then west through the U.P. more than likely via U.S. 28 / U.S. 41 to Houghton / Hancock


WSTEFFENS posted 12-17-2004 06:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     

David, looks as if your the "social director" by proxy. I will help you if I can.

The late Aug date seems a good choice. Still good weather, and from experence in "Canada" less bugs and mosketos (may flys included). The "Copper" Harbor cossing (around 60 miles) might be a workable alternative to the 15 hour truck ride. I still feel that the 22 mile crossing from Minn is a better bet. I have been on some bad rides. I also was tudored by the "best" When the weather is good it is a "no brainer". I once ran "Killarnie to Tobermoery" (lake Huron) in about 3 hours (also stopped off at club island for a swim and lunch). The lake was like a "mill pond". But you can't always count on it.

Just some thoughts!


David Pendleton posted 12-17-2004 07:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
home Aside: that's the route MapPoint has chosen. The numbers I gave were rounded down.

This was the Plotman's idea, and Buckda got it moving again. I'll do what I can to help.

I am going to talk to the (new) local Whaler dealer and see what they had in mind when they told Hal they'd be interested in 'supporting' a rendezvous.

I've organized and planned the last three Apostle Islands rendezvous and sort-of organized the St. Croix rendezvous. It'd be nice to have some 'factory' support.

I'm sure we'll be talking about this in great detail as the winter wears on...


banff22 posted 12-17-2004 08:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
CAA (auto club)in Canada says it's 692 miles to Houghton Michigan going over the top to the Sault. But they also say it's the same 13 hours. Seems like 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other type thing. I think the better time may depend on which roads traditionaly have less tourists in August?

In jest I admit that my boat will be kept at Britt, Ontario in those weeks and I should simply get in the boat and head for Superior. But I think I'm dreaming, although, it certainly would make for an added adventure wouldn't it?

Some here may come back at me and suggest I join the NC & Georgian Bay trip, assuming there is one, but that's where I'll be all summer anyway. It would be nice to meet everyone on that trip but an Isle Royale trip doesn't sound like it will come around very often.

What to do, what to do ---- looks like a very long winter thinking about this one.

I'll keep following the thread.

All the best for the holidays everyone.


Buckda posted 12-20-2004 12:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I'm starting a new thread to separate out the new and the old - and to make it easier to navigate.

Please post to the new will be linked below once I've established it.

Buckda posted 12-20-2004 01:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     

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