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Author Topic:   Isle Royale National Park - 2005
Buckda posted 12-20-2004 01:27 PM ET (US)   Profile for Buckda   Send Email to Buckda  
Isle Royale Rendezvous

Proposed dates: August 20-28, 2005
(August 20 and 28 will likely be “travel days” with the actual rendezvous taking place on August 21- 27)

This thread is a continuation of an idea and discussion of a potential rendezvous discussed here:

It seems there is quite a bit of interest in this trip, so I’ll go ahead and play “cruise director” and try to organize everyone. – That said, I’m open to discussion and suggestions, as I’ve never personally been to the Island, and have limited experience on Lake Superior.

Here’s what we know:
Persons who have expressed interest in this trip and a preliminary response that they might attend:
Buckda – 18’ Outrage
David Pendleton – 235 Conquest
Home Aside – 17’ Montauk
Hoosier – 17’ Montauk
LHG – 18’ Outrage (likely craft due to twin power?)
Eagleman – 25’ Revenge (Twin Motors)
Wsteffens – 25’ Revenge (Twin Motors)
Plotman – 22’ Outrage (will possibly join for a few days of the trip, Twin Motors)
Hal Watkins – 15’ Sport (Hal, you get to be dubbed the brave one this year!)
Banff22 – 22’ Outrage
*Note, I included information about craft with twin motors hoping that the group, if arriving by different origination points, will self-select to cross in groups with at least one person having the benefit of twin motors for safety reasons.

Other attendees are of course, welcome!

The August date is still flexible. It was chosen because it is the best guess about the best combination of warmest lake waters, least fog, fewest insects, etc. In the interest of helping people plan their vacation time with employers, and family outings, etc…let’s set a January 30, 2005 deadline to firm this date up.

While the date will be set, additional attendees are welcome to join at any time.


Information about Isle Royale National Park

General equipment observations
It was stated previously that weather will be a concern on this trip. Canvas enclosures/shelters are highly recommended due to the cool lake temperatures and likelihood of fog and/or thunderstorms/rain.

It is also recommended that your boat be equipped with GPS and VHF, including handheld backup units. Appropriate spares (spark plugs, propellers, etc) and the tools to use them are also recommended, and should be investigated and purchased starting now, in preparation for this trip if you don’t already have them. General maintenance of your boat’s systems should be undertaken in advance in preparation for this trip and suspect or unproven items replaced or eliminated. Lake Superior is no place to be caught with a dead battery, or worse.

Insect barriers (chemical and physical) are recommended. Take the information that the NPS has organized in the above linked site seriously. Isle Royale is a wilderness park. Plan for limited access to services, including mechanical, electrical and medical.

Permits required
There are park use permits that will be required and can be paid upon arrival at Isle Royale. There is a daily use fee of $4 per person. Depending on if we spend the whole rendezvous on Isle Royale you will want to budget for this.

These are still under discussion – there is discussion about the different launch points. The most important logistical question is where to keep your truck/trailer during the trip, and how much it will cost.

I am open to suggestions and any local knowledge on this point. In the past, we have worked with marinas and generally stored the rigs in what amounts to the “winter storage” yard, or an approved overnight parking lot.

Please keep up the good discussions here in this thread.

Buckda posted 12-20-2004 05:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Okay – trying to keep this thread as informative as possible, so I’ve dug up some additional information that might be helpful to those of you mulling this over, and to those of us who are genuinely interested in putting this together/making it happen.

Additional Initial Equipment / Supply Recommendations (from the top of my head)
Richardson’s Lake Superior Chart Book
(Found cheapest ($75 USD), online at an Apostle Island’s Outfitter company located here: )

The Superior Way Cruising Guide might also be a nice investment (also available from the above vendor).

Updated GPS map set

Extra batteries for everything aboard that runs off battery power

Ground Tackle
The previous thread on this topic (See link in initial post) included a recommendation for at least two anchors aboard. This may seem like overkill, however it makes a lot of sense. The materials that I have read caution that dock space may not always be available, and overnight mooring might be necessary – specifically if we have as many boats as seem to be interested in this trip (8 so far, with a suspicion of 3-4 others, and then allowing for 3-4 dropouts – that’s about 8-10 boats). We can raft up if necessary/feasible, which means you should also come equipped with

fenders, at least 2

Updated and stocked First Aid Kit
As mentioned earlier – medical services may be lean – be sure to bring extra medication and check your first aid kit..I know I raid mine from time to time when working on the boat and I knick my finger, etc.

A word on Flexibility
Because we’re planning this trip so far in advance, it’s important, and prudent, to discuss the necessity of flexibility in your planning at this earliest of stages.

If you have very little flexibility in your schedule, you should strongly consider Grand Marais as a departure point for this trip, as any inclement weather forecast at the end of the trip should “send you packing” early…and that’s the shortest run home. The concern is that if a fog or rough conditions set in, it could be a day or so before returning to the mainland becomes feasible/prudent. A quote from Capt. Don Szczech (found here: ) states: "There are days when you would have no problem at all. But on any of those given days, you could end up in some nasty weather. This past weekend, I saw more small boats at one time on the island than I've seen since early May. For example, Saturday was flat calm and very warm, early Sunday morning brought heavy rain and dense fog w/less than 1/8 mile visibility. There has been fog and wind since then. My point is, you would be forced to camp much longer than you would have planned because you can't get off the island. I run a 40' charter boat to the island from May to Nov. and several times each season I cancel trips due to weather. Oh, I'm sure if I had to I could get back and forth, but it wouldn't be any fun and border on unsafe, and my boat is as wide as yours is long. If you want to go, and you can and have a great time, make sure you plan for an extended stay or be ready to race back to the mainland well ahead of any forecasted inclement weather."
*note, it is not clear when (what month) this statement was made.

I’ve been thinking this point through and though it saves me time to go through Michigan, I’m now considering driving all the way to Grand Marais. My final decision will be made at a later date, but keep it in mind….that $50 in extra tow-vehicle fuel might be worth it in peace of mind should the WX forecast be “iffy”.

Note that on this same page, there are reports that weather radios (assume handheld and used by backpackers) don’t work well on the island – I suspect that the radio aboard one of the boats in our group equipped with an arch will get better reception – especially once out on the lake and in open waters, but in any case, it’s prudent to pay attention to WX reports/forecasts whenever/wherever we’re able to get them and plan accordingly.

Showers cost $3 at Rock Harbor (buy a token at the store), and $1 in US Quarters at Windigo.

License unnecessary on the streams and lakes ON the island. A Michigan permit is necessary on the waters of Lake Superior.

Allowed – prepare for COLD water but excellent visibility. There are several marked wrecks around the island, and there are plenty of opportunities for snorkeling/swimming at various campgrounds and coves.

David Pendleton posted 12-20-2004 09:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Excellent job, Dave!

I would only add this:

Please don't lake Lake Superior intimidate you. The lake as a whole is not to be trifled with, but Isle Royale is not the Roaring Forties. Common sense and adequate planning will guarantee a great trip.

As I stated earlier, I am open to departing from Bayfield, Duluth or Grand Marais (in order of preference). I don't want anyone to have to make the trip (over water) alone, so let's coordinate departure points.


Plotman posted 12-20-2004 10:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Don't you mean Grand Portage as a jumping off point from the North Shore? Grand Marais is 35 miles away from Grand Portage, and leaves a ~50 mile trip out to the Island... Definately stop and have lunch/Dinner in Grand Marais (The angry trout is a favorite, as is the Coho Cafe at Bluefin Bay Resort

Permits You can get permits, etc. at the Forst Service headquarters in Grand Marais (Inter-service cooperation at its best!) or on the island at Windigo or Rock Harbor, or at Park HQ in Houghton.

Driving to the North Shore For thos of you using mapping/routing software, some programs want to route you through the Twin Cities if you are heading up through Duluth coming from Milwaukee, Chicago, etc. JUST SAY NO! Get off I-94 at Eau Claire and take US-53 up through Superior. It is 4-lane divided, 65mph the whole way to Superior, and will be 90 minutes faster than going through the Twin Cities.

Places to Stay If you plan to drive spend the night somewhere before launching the next morning, the only place to stay right in Grand Portage is the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino. I've never stayed there, but heard it is decent. If you want a real treat, stay at Naniboujou 15 miles past Grand Marais- it was built as a private club in the 20s for the likes of Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey. This leaves ~20 miles to Grand Portage. Another option is the Lutsen Lodge, about an hour west of Grand Portage, or there are a nunber of motels in Grand Marais (I've stayed at the Best Western, and it was nice.) I would not show up on a weekend in August without a reservation. I made that mistake once and ended up sleeping in the back of my car in a grocery store parking lot :)

Distractions on the Drive upIf anyone finds themselves with an hour or two to kill on the way up, some nautical related distractions I would suggest are:

The Lake Superior Maritime Museum or

And a few hundred yards away is a floating museum - the William Irvin is an ore boat and was once once the flagship of the US Steel Fleet. Adjacent to it is the Coast Guard Cutter Sundew - both open for tours.

About 45 minutes out of Duluth, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is one of my favorite places on the lake. If you want to see it from the water, you can put in at the DNR ramp 5 miles south at Twin Points.

Buckda posted 12-21-2004 10:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Great information, and yes, I guess I do mean "Grand Portage" instead of Grand Marias.

I agree...Superior should not be intimidating, but respected.

Many of you who plan to attend are more experienced boaters than I am - but I want to be sure that anyone planning to attend this rendezvous has opportunity to prepare as thoroughly as the rest of the group. As experienced boaters, we sometimes discount the amount of planning and forethought that comes with experience. Newbies and those in smaller vessels need to plan carefully and thoroughly to accomplish the same results that an experienced cruiser achieves almost by rote.

Eagleman posted 12-21-2004 01:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eagleman  Send Email to Eagleman     
Thanks for posting all this information very helpful with our planning.
Buckda posted 12-21-2004 04:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Alternative Option

While I don’t think that there should be an official or “hard” itinerary, an option is to expand the trip to cover more territory.

This could even be an option for a subset of the group (see below) – again, it’s up to you.

Here’s what I’m thinking: (subject to weather)

August 20 – Travel Day
August 21 – Cross to Isle Royale and explore
August 22 – Explore Isle Royale some more
August 23 – Cross to Thunder Bay, Ontario
August 24 – Tour to Thunder Bay area and return to Thunder Bay for overnight
August 25 – Return to Isle Royale
August 26 – Relaxation day on Isle Royale, exploration, etc.
August 27 – Return to origination point(s)
August 28 – Travel Day

Thoughts are welcome.

*based on previous experiences, “key learnings,” and training in group dynamics

We should “set the tone” of the trip ahead of time. My original expectation is that the group will be moderately cohesive. If we choose to spend the entire trip on Isle Royale (a fine option), I think we should build in discretionary days…in fact, perhaps the two days that could be a side trip proposed above to Thunder Bay (or Grand Marias, or somewhere else!) for some members could be those discretionary days. (i.e. for those staying on Isle Royale, August 23 and 24 could be used at personal discretion – camping, hiking, fishing, diving, personal reflection, etc. The group would regroup on August 25 for dinner and return to “organized” group activities on August 26 and the return trip on August 27.)

This strategy will help keep the trip relaxed, especially if we have a large attendance. (Too many cooks in the kitchen may lead to stresses on decisions about where to go next, etc, utterly defeating the purpose of a relaxing cruise vacation!)

Captains’ Meeting
I also suggest that we determine now to hold a captain’s meeting every evening (probably over dinner) where the next day’s agenda is settled to avoid any miscommunication or misrepresentations about what “the group” is doing next. These meetings could be held in the morning as well as weather or conditions dictate, and would include a review of maps, and suggested courses.

LHG posted 12-21-2004 04:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Dave - I think you're doing a great job getting this trip started.

However, these dates are a conflict for us and we will not be able to make it.

Buckda posted 12-21-2004 04:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Larry -

As stated previously - I'm open to suggestions.

Alternatively, I was also considering Labor Day Weekend - this would allow attendees to take advantage of company holiday time, allowing them to take fewer vacation days.

Please provide alternate date suggestions.

Thanks everyone. In late January, we'll take a poll of available dates and select a date when most everyone can chat with your spouse and families this Christmas and New Year's and find out when that family reunion will help us to set the date when the most people can go!

Happy Holidays everyone.

Plotman posted 12-24-2004 09:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
36 below in northern MN right now. Merry Chirstmas to all....
Buckda posted 12-29-2004 12:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Forum member Don McIntyre posted this advice in another forum for a member who is considering camping out in his 22' Outrage. I thought the advice was sage, and relevant for this trip.

More things to plan to pack!

"Cut cheezecloth into long strips, 4-6" by 8'. Enough strips to stuff along the perimeter of the canvas, where it meets the gunnels. Place the strips into a plastic bag and spray them with some sort of mosquito killer or repellant, and let them "age" for 15-30 minutes. Stuff said "loaded" strips into the gaps and wash hands (or you'll end up rubbing your eyes with the stuff. It was a cognative learning experience....). If you have not yet camped up in the GB region, it's best to do this no later than one hour prior to sunset. Otherwise the next morning, after killing a whole bunch of mosquitos that have already feasted during the evening, the inside of your canvas looks two blind people had a knife fight."

Hal Watkins posted 01-03-2005 01:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
Has anyone stayed at the Rock Harbor Lodge? All I can find is a mailing address. Is it pricy? Difficult to get a reservation? Setting here looking out on 100+ ice fishing houses on 18" of ice. Hal of MN.
Buckda posted 01-03-2005 02:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda

Buckda posted 01-03-2005 03:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Hal -

Sorry for the short reply above..I found that site with lodging info and then had to run to attend to something else...but I didn't want to lose the I just hit send.

It looks like the NPS has licensed out the management of their properties at some parks, including Isle Royale. The price looks not completely unreasonable, however bargain lodging on the island is more likely to be in a tent - and you can reserve campsites in advance. Several of the camping sites include docks where you could keep your Whaler.


Buckda posted 01-03-2005 03:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
One final thought Hal. I recommend you make your reservations as soon as a date is determined, but a conversation with the folks at the reservation line can likely tell you how quickly the rooms book.

If it's at all like the Apostle Islands, you should book as early as Memorial day, it will be way too late.

David Pendleton posted 01-04-2005 05:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
How do I get more information on the campsites with docks?
Buckda posted 01-04-2005 06:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David -

There is a chart on this page that includes information on the docks and the estimated depth at each dock.

It appears that there are a total of 19 docks available for use/access to campgrounds, with depths varying from about 2 feet (at Beaver Island) to about 13 feet (at Belle Isle).

I must correct information given above regarding campsites - you can only reserve group campsites...individual campsites are on a first come, first served basis.

To qualify for a group campsite, and the benefit of the reservations, you must have a minimum of seven people camping.

An excerpt from the above linked page:
"Campsites cannot be reserved, except for group campsites by groups of seven to ten. Shelters cannot be reserved. Individual sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The number of tent or shelter sites are limited. Be prepared to travel to an alternate campground in case the one where you plan to stay is full. At peak times, double up with another party using available tent pads, rather than camping outside established sites and causing campground sprawl, soil compacting, and trampling. Campers must stay in established campground unless they make arrangements for off-trail hiking and camping when the camping permit is issued. Off-trail hiking and camping is difficult at Isle Royale and recommended only for experienced campers."

Others could provide better advice on the likelihood that you will have trouble finding an available campsite at a given campground.


Buckda posted 01-04-2005 06:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I recommend staying for the maximum allowed stay at a given site, and plan to break camp and go on to the next one when you must move. It is likely that setting up your tent is appropriate action to "stake your claim" on a given site...and it would be expected that the campsite generally be empty of people during the day while campers are out hiking and enjoying the leaving the tent pitched for the day while you go out to explore the island with the group would not be a problem, so long as you don't exceed the maximum allowable nights stay at any given site.

offshore27 posted 01-04-2005 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for offshore27  Send Email to offshore27     
Hi Gang,

I been watching this thread for a while and have become very interested in this trip. I decided to see how far from home I had to travel with my boat in tow.
I became discouraged quickly when I realized how far it was. I am looking at a 1800 mile drive each way. Too much for such a quick turn around. I think Georgian Bay would be as far as I could travel due to limited time off.

The link below (if it works) is an overview of my trip!


jechura posted 01-04-2005 09:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     
You can count me on for that trip to Isle Royale. I missed that trip to Georgian Bay in August, but I won't miss this one. In fact I wanted to make the trip last September but my brother and sister in law got the willy jillies. There seems to be a loss of confidence by some when they’re out of sight of land.

Leaving from Eagle River or their about in it’s self should make the start of trip exciting. One thing for sure I’ll be able see if the Hummingbird is as good as they say. With the Garmin and the compass theirs no problem getting to our destination. The only unknown factor is the weather.

You’re the cruise director, put it together.


David Pendleton posted 01-04-2005 10:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I don't plan on camping on the hard, I just wanted easy access to it. I'll be sleeping on the boat.

Of course, I may have my RIB by then, and it won't be an issue.

Let's keep moving towards a date.


David Pendleton posted 01-04-2005 10:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
BTW, Jechura.

If you want to make the drive to Bayfield, WI., I'll make the crossing with you. Otherwise, I could meet you in the middle of the lake...


Buckda posted 01-05-2005 10:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Offshore -

Re: Isle Royale. IS a long way...did you try running the time difference between running trans-Canada and Provincial Highway Routes, vs. Running 401 from Montreal down through to the US interstates (I-94 in Detroit all the way through Eau Clare, Wisconsin, and then running US-53 up to Duluth)? You'll save on fuel costs (cheaper in the US), but you'll likely have more traffic.

Re: the should strongly consider then to meet up with us for Isle Royale, and then take a day or so to explore the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin (David Pendleton might be convinced to play tour guide for that area...and he's a good man for that job!), and then run across Michigan's Upper Peninsula and drop in at St. Ignace for some Mackinac Island boating (you can stay on the Island or on the mainland) sure to include a day trip across (about 20 miles) to the Les Cheneaux Islands, and don't forget a sunset cruise under the Mackinac Bridge with your wife.

If you still need to use more time to make the trip distance worthwhile, haul out and cross back into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie, and you can put in at Spanish to see some of the North Channel.

We can't be with you for the whole time, but perhaps there will be other members who are local who might meet up and play tour guide for different parts of that type of trip.

Just a thought. We'd love to have you.

Jerry -

Welcome to the group!
Re: Georgian Bay. We never left sight of land. Not once...lots of miles, but close to shore. Hope you can make it for the next one.

Back To Isle Royale Planning
I hope you folks have been taking a look at your calendars for availability. I know mine is booking fast, so I need to start to nail this down soon.

There's about 25 days left until we should decide on a date.

Right now, my personal vote is actually one week later, August 27 - September 5 (this is over the Labor Day Holiday Weekend). Pros: More vacation time/company holiday days incorporated to allow more boating. Weather should be good, bugs should be few. Cons: Traffic will be heavier on the way home.

Your thoughts and proposed dates are welcomed...we can take a vote based on dates thrown out....the "election" will be on MONDAY, January 31. ON Feb. 1 We will have an official date.

banff22 posted 01-05-2005 12:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
A little note on travelling from Toronto, Southern Ontario.
The Pension specialist in our office grew up in Nipigon Ontario and is very familiar with this area. He's informed me there is no doubt it is faster and flatter to travel under Lake Huron from here, especially if towing, but still 15+ hours to Houghton.

He also confirmed your suggested timing of the year is the


Cicada posted 01-05-2005 07:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

I didn't see spare bulbs for the navigation lights on your list :-). One of the first things I did when I got back from Chicago was to purchase some for all of the lights.

Suzanne and I have spoken a number of times about taking a trip to Isle Royale. Sounds great. Both of our schedules are open right now so just about any date would be good for us. I agree with setting a date by Jan 31. I wonder how much pressure from campers there is for the island over the Labor Day week-end. The sooner reservations can be made the better.

Another reason to go ahead with the plans for the canvas, deck, etc. etc.

My preference for point of departure would be the closest run to the island.


jechura posted 01-05-2005 10:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

Just wondering what kind of boating pressure they have on Isle Royale Labor day week, 28 to the 5th. That is for most the last week of summer. Maybe the following week is a possibility.

Dave P.

That is a Hundred mile one way trip from Bayfield.


David Pendleton posted 01-05-2005 11:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
So what's a hundred miles between friends?

What kind of boat do you have?

jimh posted 01-05-2005 11:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Fixed extremely long URI.]
jimh posted 01-06-2005 12:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Chris and I have a strong interest in Isle Royal and Lake Superior. We also have a fondness for Bayfield, Wisconsin. Our vacation dates are in limbo at the moment. Chris's job requires a very long lead time to schedule vacations, and that process is still in the works. We don't quite know what weeks we will have available at the moment.

I am also interested in Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keeweenaw peninsula.

Another adjunct location I am interested in is ROCKPORT on the Ontario shore of northern Lake Superior.

Dave--keep up the fine work in organizing!

Buckda posted 01-06-2005 10:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Jerry -

I don't know the boating pressure on the island that weekend...I imagine it is a heavy weekend for campers, and I would expect additional boats those three days as well, however because of the location, and based on my observations at other (Northern Michigan) semi-remote locations, there will likely only be a moderate uptick in boating traffic. I could be completely wrong. Perhaps Plotman or David Pendleton know more about this...I may also call the park office this afternoon when I have a break in my schedule.

100 miles in a 22 should not be a's a long run, but if the conditions are right, with a 77 gallon belly tank, you should have a 200 mile range. (at 2.6 MPG) I can get 4 MPG in my 18 with carbed 2-stroke motor on clear days, but I like to calculate range with numbers more like 2 or 2.5 MPG, which gives the 18 a range of about 150 miles.

Jim - Is Chris able at all to request specific time off this far in advance (i.e. give and take on the schedule, since it would be 6 months in advance)? Hope you guys can make it.


Buckda posted 01-06-2005 11:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Paul -

I now have spares for nearly EVERYTHING, and am working on an efficient container system to store/organize it all aboard when cruising. As you know, space can be at a premium. I think that for this trip, I'll be adding a cooler for storage (bringing the total to 5). It's times like this that I wish I had waited for the 20 or bought a 22 for the extra storage space aboard. Nonetheless, I think I can find some economies based on learning experiences on the Georgian Bay trip....I'll pass along any tips here as I come across them, or figure new things out.

I would definitely recommend calling Mills at least a month ahead of time if that's the route you decide to go with Canvas - it will take them about a week to make the set, and then allow a few days for delivery, and then you will need to find time to schedule a half-day to install it. I highly recommend it, and I'm working on fashioning a privacy curtain similar to what LHG has on his to keep curious docksiders from peering in when I'm sleeping late!!

home Aside posted 01-06-2005 05:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I came across a thread last year here on CW which said if you bought the entire Mills canvas set they would give you a 10% discount. For me that meant I would basically get the Aft drop curtain for free....anyway I called Mills in June 2004 to order and asked them about the 10% discount for ordering the full set. They told me that they only do that in winter months (I believe they said January-February) when there business is way down. So if you can swing it all at once I think you can save some money by purchasing the complete set now. I'd give them a call....


Cicada posted 01-06-2005 09:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

Thanks for the reminder. I'll definitely call them. The money from the discount could go to other things. I was thinking about the stuff that would be needed, or I would want, for the trip and I see a little shopping list coming. I also think that Mills generally has a clearance about this time of year. Worth looking into.

I had some time to look at some of the links about Isle Royale. Beautiful place. It's been awhile since I've been up to Superior but the three things I remember the most are the water clarity, the luminous color that the lake takes on at times and the frigidity. Sometimes that cold water actually hurts.

I guess I'm getting a little geeked.


jechura posted 01-07-2005 09:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

Not worried about 100-mile trip from Bayfield to Isle Royale, it's the 100-mile trip back. The Rush is gone. I'd rather use that extra 100 on a side trip.

I E-Mailed NPS, Houghton, Michigan regarding boating literature for Isle Royale and received it today. The official map and guide must be a later edition than the one on their web site with a “D” marked at campsites with docks. Along with the map came an “ Isle Royale Boating Guide “ and the 2004 “ The Greenstone “ The guide to Isle Royale National Park.


Cicada posted 01-10-2005 07:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
I spoke to Suzanne at Mills today. 10% discount up to January 31st. Asked about 18' Outrage canvas coming up on clearance. Unfortunately, none. Their clearance items should be up on the web about the end of the week.


Buckda posted 01-10-2005 07:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Paul - That's about $300 less than you would eventually spend for canvas that you'll never have to replace. Be sure you order the shelter and top with boot (it's also available w/o). While you're at it, consider the Mills canvas bag to store your curtains and windshield in when not in use. Something I wished I had thought about..I've since custom ordered some "stuff sacks" for these items...but am considering one of their bags to keep it all together.

Jeff - Thanks for the info - I'm going to e-mail NPS tonight to see if I can't get that information too.

20 more days before we vote on dates...anyone else have suggestions?!! I'm happy to organize, but would appreciate the feedback so I don't feel like I'm dictating the trip!


Plotman posted 01-11-2005 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Jim H - do you mean Rossport, Ontario rather than Rockport?

Rossport is on the east side Of Nippigon Bay, about 60 miles NE of Passage Island light if you go the direct route on the outside (south of St. Ignace Island). It is about 75 miles - with about 35 of that open water - if you go through Nipigon Bay. There are at least two marinas in the Bay - Rossport on the east end and Red Rock on the North Shore, as well as countless anchorages. You can also go up the river to the town of Nipigon. Though we didn't have our boat with us when we stayed there, the Rossport Inn is delightful.

The Slate Islands about 20 miles east of Rossport are a great cruising destination - 72 miles direct from the NE end of Isle Royale. Interestingly, the Slate Islands are believed to be the bullseye of an ancient meteorite impact, formed by rebounding molten bedrock. I sailed there close to 15 years ago and kayaked there ~10 years ago, but from what I understand, not much has changed.

For anyone who wanted to drive up there, Rossport is probably 120 miles along the Trans-Canada highway from Thunder Bay, which is not much more than an hour from Grand Portage. Or if you are coming from Michigan and go over the top, it is only about 250 miles from the Soo.

There is some information on marinas in the area here: , though Bonnie Dahl's [I]The Superior Way[/] and the GLCC harbor reports will have the best info.


Buckda posted 01-12-2005 01:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David -
Checked Rossport out on the chart last night - thanks for the additional info.

Jimh - this could either be a possible side trip destination (to be worked out with other folks that want to make that type of run) or a whole other destination for another looks very cool, and bears further exploration and discussion.

I'm voting that we try to include the long Holiday weekend into this trip. I seriously doubt that the boating pressure this late in the season will be overwhelmingly strong - or even really strong enought to detract from our experience....I'm perfectly willing to overnight at anchorages if the marinas are full, or we could raft up at the dock in some circumstances....I'm sure that other attendees will have similar sentiments, and those that don't, won't have to do anything they don't want to.

Look forward to hearing from the rest of you in the coming days...then we can firm up ideas and plans for side trips or anything else in the coming months.


jimh posted 01-13-2005 08:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
ROSSPORT--that is what I meant. Thanks for the correction. I learned about it in connection with the nearby sinking of the yacht GUNILDA in 1911 . The many attempts to dive and recover the GUNILDA by some Rossport locals were documented in a feature-length film, Drowning in Dreams, which aired on CBC-TV a few years ago.


Plotman posted 01-13-2005 11:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
If you want to cross from Isle Royale into Canada, you can get a Remote Border crossing permit for $30 canadian that allows you to cross the border without physically going through a border checkpoint. More details are available here . I've used them wehen crossing out of the BWCA, but they are also good on Lake Superior's north shore.
Plotman posted 01-16-2005 10:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Was up the north shore this weekend - made it as far as Grand Marias and took this picture of the lights. Air temp hit a high of 10 below. We skied yesterday in similar temps, but one day was enough of that...

Interesting that the lake was wide open, as was the water to the boat ramp...

Also, National Geographic has a great map of the island in their trails illustrated series - it is their map #240. It shows all of the the NPS docks as well as interior trails and some depth data.


Plotman posted 01-16-2005 10:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman
David Pendleton posted 01-19-2005 06:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Responding to Dave's email requesting information:

I'm open to any date.
I'll be bringing my 23 Conquest IO/5.7L Mercruiser.

Cicada posted 01-19-2005 08:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
18' Outrage, 150 hp Johnson and probably a kicker of some sort.

I'm still open to any date with a minor preference for the trip occuring over Labor Day. We are talking about spending a number of days at Rock Harbor Lodge on the Island but have yet to contact them. I plan on making the reservations as soon as a date has been firmed up.

Preference for launch is from Grand Portage. Still looking at the overland routes to determine best way to get there. From Detroit it looks like four options:
Up and over along the North Shore.
Up to and through the Upper Peninsula.
Over to Muskegon, catching the ferry across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee and up from there.
Over to Chicago and up from there. (Probably rule this out pretty quick)

Picked up a couple of charts and Richardson's chart book. Alot of nice little bays and inlets around the island. Looks like a nice place to do some exploring.

I ordered the canvas from Mills today. Full set. Also asked about the clearance items again, said it would be a couple of weeks before it's posted on the net.


Plotman posted 01-19-2005 10:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
For the folks in Detroit who are contemplating routes, I can tell you from firsthand experience that I can get from the Mac bridge to Duluth in 8 hours while towing a boat. Been there, done that. Good roads, but long stretches of nothing. Duluth to Grand Portage is 2.5 hours, a bit more with summer tourist traffic.

Manitowoc (where you get off the ferrry from Ludington) and Milwaukee to Duluth are both 6 hours on the nose. Done both many times, with a boat.

Once made the drive over the top of lake Superior on my way to the Quetico from the east coast. Took forever.

Hope this helps.


jechura posted 01-19-2005 10:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     
I’m still with you captain. Either the week before or the week after Labor Day is fine with me. I’ll be using the pioneer accommodations and crossing from the Keneenaw Peninsula. The ride is the old 22 with its old 235 and a kicker.
Hummm, used a couple of them sky hooker’s. Hope their right.


banff22 posted 01-20-2005 10:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
The original quoted dates of Aug 20 to 28 are best. I have back to school duties and Labour Day weekend with the kids.

Equipment is similiar to jechura, old 22, old 225 with matching old 9.9. But wonderful new canvas last week.:-))

Closest launch point to me seems to be Houghton?


And so you know. Despite my initial eagerness, this boat & motor is very new to me and I'm wondering if a trip like this might be biting off more than I/it can chew until I've used it more. So I may be a last minute entry or a last minute decline.

home Aside posted 01-20-2005 11:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I got your e-mail and of course I've been following the thread.......I've got Furlough from Aug 23-Sept 3, 2005 to which I can add regular leave days at each end (Lucky thing is the furlough actually falls during two months so I've feasibly got 9 leave days I could add on each end).
I haven't actually looked at a calender to see what days of the week we're talking about but at least I'm in the ball park.
Has anyone contemplated how many miles might be traveled by water on this Rendezvous ?
So, barring any unforseen problems, I'm in !!!!!


jechura posted 01-20-2005 06:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

Isle Royal is roughly 50 miles in length and circling it around 110 miles. But if you were to cruise the shoreline of the island proper, going in and out of the many coves and fingers, easy 200 miles plus.
This island is one of the last unspoiled wildernesses and I have no intention of doing a drive-by. Undoubtedly the shoreline will be spectacular but you will never know what lies in the interior unless you get out of the boat.


If my old 22 can make it, your old 22 will do as well. My boat hasn't let me down yet.


home Aside posted 01-20-2005 07:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Jerry & Peter,
How old are those "Old Outrage 22's" you're talking about ? My Montauk 17 is a 1982 with original (rebuilt)1982 Evinrude 90. It made the BWGLCC North Channel/
Georgian Bay 613 Mile/8 day with only a minor problem with the starter motor bolts shearing off, the last three days I had to pull start was a riot!!!!!


Buckda posted 01-20-2005 07:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Peter -

If the compression is good on that motor and the other systems seem to be operating well and have been maintained regularly by you, I'd go for it. There is no such thing as a guarantee, but those motors love to run. We never push them too hard on these trips...they just get run a lot.

Jerry -

I totally agree with you, and hope that we get to explore all of the cool little coves around the island, as well as a few stopovers for some hiking and perhaps some snorkeling if the water is bearable. We're looking at probably 300-400 total miles for this trip, depending on departure point and where we end up going.

Keep those votes on dates coming in. I'll start a chart here soon and begin to analyze what seems to work best.



banff22 posted 01-21-2005 09:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
1984 Outrage 22, 1990 225 Evinrude, 1990 9.9 Evinrude, updated VRO, full Mills canvas PLUS new full custom camper back with screens & windows.

You asked.

I think I could sit down with some beer and keep up with the best of you here for quite a while in conversation about our Whalers. You may not have noticed though, that while I've entered and commented in many threads, not one, not ever, has one been about motors. Motors, aren't those the things at the stern with the spinny thing on the bottom and the lunky looking thing on the top?

I've only run this boat for two afternoons at Thanksgiving since purchasing and it ran well from what I could tell. In the fall a service guy from A Whaler dealer (Merc) came to my house to give me an estimate on some gel-coat repairs and when I commented about repowering he had the nerve to giggle at me. Giggle! A Merc dealer. Such nerve. He promptly told me my 1990 Evinrudes are great and should run forever. Seems I've hearing this here too.

I have to go now to meet at the TO boat show. It's minus 35C here this morning and I promised to wear my continuouswave t-shirt as a beacon. What was I thinking!


Gep posted 01-21-2005 01:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Gep  Send Email to Gep     
I received your email and have been lurking on this thread.
I'm not going to express a date as I don't know if I'll make it or not and wouldn't want to sway the dates for anyone else.
I will continue to lurk.
Buckda posted 01-21-2005 02:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Mike -

Thanks for the response...I wanted to keep you in the loop since it's in your backyard.

Plotman is probably only going to join us for one weekend of the trip due to some other commitments he has this year. You might want to hook up with him later this year to see if you both can make the crossing together for a weekend. Just a thought.



Cicada posted 01-24-2005 01:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
Thanks for the information on driving times. Very helpful.

I contacted Rock Harbor Lodge via email over the week-end concerning how far in advance to book. They said their peak times were from mid July to mid August and that people started booking after the holidays. At this point it doesn't seem to be a factor for date selection for those interested in staying at the lodge.


Buckda posted 01-24-2005 06:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Paul -
Thanks for that information, and it's as I suspected...the season in late August is already on the decline, meaning we won't have to contend with major crowds in any of the popular spots on the island, and hopefully also at the lodge for those of us who need land-based accomodations.

Re: The vote.

I've had good response so far - thanks to those who have posted their vote here and who have e-mailed me directly. Remember, the deadline is one week from today, Monday, January 31.

So far, you guys are a pretty easy-going group, and only a few have expressed absolute preferences on dates. I won't tip anyone off to the results, but let me just say that for the ones who did vote preferences, the vote is if you're out there with a strong preference one way or the other, please let me know so that your opinion can be counted.

Thanks everyone.

Eagleman posted 01-25-2005 01:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eagleman  Send Email to Eagleman     
A cruise over Labor Day Weekend works for us. Will follow this rendezvous thread and plan accordingly.
Hal Watkins posted 01-25-2005 09:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
My wife and I are fairly flexible on dates. Using Labor day would save a day of vacation but it's not a limitation. I would yield those with experience in the area.
Over 150 Ice Fishing houses on our lake now...
sportroyalwulf posted 01-26-2005 05:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for sportroyalwulf  Send Email to sportroyalwulf     
I am coming in late on the discussion but I am thinking about participating. Is the Grand Portage absolute as the start point? What is the water distance from Copper Harbor to Isle Royale. Is anyone interested in starting from CH and meeting up with the group at Isle Royale. Not trying to muck up the works here but just thought I would ask?
Buckda posted 01-26-2005 05:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
James -

We're working on dates first. It's likely that we'll probably be departing from at least two points, perhaps three.

David Pendleton is probably leaving from the Apostle Islands, theh longest run.

Others have expressed intereste in leaving from Copper Harbor or Houghton, a shorter, but still long run.

The shortest run is from Grand Portage...and because it is in the lee of the mainland, it's likely to be the smoothest run. Anyone concerned about weather or distance should consider the extra hours in the car to depart from Grand Portage.

That said, I know that I and a few others had originally considered Copper Harbor as a departure point. Again - it will likely be decided later as we get more information and do some research on where we can leave the truck/trailer rigs and how much time/how many miles each departure point is from our homes.

I've got you down in my notes as a possible attendee - please vote on a date for the event. Looks like you and Hal will be the brave ones in 15's this year. I think Hal is departing from Grand Portage though.


Buckda posted 01-26-2005 05:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Rock Harbor to Copper Harbor: 56 Miles
Rock Harbor to Houghton: 73 Miles
Windigo to Grand Portage: 22 Miles
Plotman posted 01-26-2005 09:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
And ~46 miles from the Keewenau west entrance lights to Fisherman's home on the south side of the island. If you leave from Michigan, you can get all of your paperwork in Houghton and so there is no need to check in anywhere on the island.

Copper harbor is an hour drive down the pike past Houghton.

Buckda posted 01-27-2005 01:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Yes. The way I read it, unless we all meet at Windigo on the first and last nights, even the Grand Portage group should add about 30 miles to the total travelled to get to Rock Harbor. But at least it will be near land and in the lee of the island if the prevailing winds are blowing from the NW.

I do like the Houghton idea - hitting the SE side of the island and running up to Rock Harbor. For those in 15's (Hal and James), I assume you're likely to stay at Rock Harbor Lodge?

Either way, it's about 100 miles total distance for the day regardless of starting point (exception of Copper Harbor), which is about 40 gallons of fuel for the 18 (or less, depending on weather) and about 25 gallons of fuel for the 15's (assuming 4MPG which is what I got on my 15 previously. The Grand Portage launch allows the option of fuel at Windigo on the way over too.

Given that the Island is 35 miles long and about 6 wide, a circimnavigation of the island, without side trips to explore coves etc is about a 100 mile day too, when you count running out and around shoals.

Generally, I'd plan on carrying enough fuel for a 120 mile day if possible, so that you're set in case of waves, etc.

jechura posted 01-27-2005 06:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     
Gezz Captian,

Are we talking about the same island? My old Garmin version #5 shows the length of the island proper to be about 45 miles.


Buckda posted 01-27-2005 06:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Jerry -

Was logging in from work (don't tell...I, um, hardly ever do that!!) and did not have access to charts and was working from a not-so-good memory (which is why I write everything down!).

Excellent point, and of course you're right. Fortunately there are two points on the island where you can get fuel. Unfortunately they are not exactly at halfway points around the island.

A total circumnavigation of the island minus trips onto coves, etc is still roughly 100 miles, and those with limited tankage should plan accordingly based on their personal knowledge about the fuel economy of their vessel.

James - if you are serious about making the trip in your 150, and I believe that sober consideration should be taken, then you should very seriously consider the extra towing mileage to Grand Portage, MN as a starting/launching point.

Four more days on the voting guys!


David Pendleton posted 01-29-2005 05:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
After actually *looking* at a calendar, I'd like to know: What dates are currently on the table?

I'm actually more interested in how long people think this rendezvous is supposed to last.

I'm planning on 7-10 days (including time-in-truck; 1 day for me).

Is this what everyone else has in mind, also? Close?

I'm still open to any date, but I'm trying to figure how much food, water, beef jerky, clean underwear, ice, and bourbon to bring...


Cicada posted 01-30-2005 02:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
I believe the dates on the table are:
August 20th. to August 28th. or
August 27th. to Sept. 5th.
including one day traveel time at each end. About 7 days on the water or at the island.

I'm looking at two days travel time on each end from Detroit.

How much food to pack is a tough one. I guess I shouldn't rely on catching my meals. Although Moose tastes alot like beef I think the National Park Service may frown on an impromptu harvest.


dfmcintyre posted 01-30-2005 07:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Paul -

I figured about the same two day drive time from Port Huron. Your about 1 hr south of Flint, I'm one hour east. I mentioned the trip to my father, and he said that his drive time up to Marquette is about nine hours.

Marquette or further west (assuming that we go through upper Michigan) would be a good overnight.


Buckda posted 01-30-2005 07:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     

The date currently on the table are:

August 20-28
August 21 through 27 would be boating days
August 20 and 28 would be travel days…i.e. departure to island on August 21 and departure from island either on August 27 afternoon or early August 28.


August 27 – September 5
August 28 – September 4 would be boating days
August 27 and September 5 would be travel days.


Individuals may choose to join/leave the group at any time – please feel free to vote for the dates that would be best for you to come on up and join the group for a partial timeframe.

Dave Pendleton – I think you’re right on the money in terms of planning for days aboard.

I always pack too much anyway, but I think we can plan some meals if some folks have camp stoves. I know that Russ and Paula will probably bring a skillet, and while I don’t want to volunteer them, I’m sure others will be bringing cooking accessories too.

I usually plan to have food for about a week, and try to pick items that don’t have to be cooked. Therefore, things like cereal and milk are big breakfast things for me, though I’ll probably bring a water-heating device so I can have hot oatmeal, cocoa or tea if it’s cool overnight. I usually bring lunchmeats for lunching (plus snacks), and personally, am happy just having a sandwich again for dinner, although I believe there is a restaurant on the island….and I believe that any fish on the menu will likely prove to be very popular.

I’m buying a fishing license this year and bringing gear, so if I catch a fish and can’t find a skillet to fry it in, I’ll probably go off and find a campsite and fry it up over an open fire for dinner and then anchor out that night….so some oil and lemons will be in my stash.

Gambler will have her full compliment of 4 coolers aboard, and I’m toying with the option of adding a fifth. One cooler is “boat operations and safety”, another is for my personal gear, a third one is for dry storage; foodstuffs or other gear and the fourth is typically for cold storage. Given that I used WAY too much ice last year because of opening and closing the cooler for drinks, the fifth will be used for drinks. I’m not a big alcohol drinker – a six pack will get me through, but I pack TONS of soda and water. In fact, I still have some water bottles in the boat (frozen solid) from the Georgian Bay trip last August.

jechura posted 01-30-2005 10:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

If you can take 5 coolers, you certainly should be able to take 4 more of mine. It would give me more room and ease the strain on the old 22. You could stackem and strapem, making the “Gambler” our container boat. If its not asking to much a couple of 55 gal. Drums of petrol to feed my old guzzler would also be greatly appreciated.


home Aside posted 01-31-2005 11:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Regarding Coolers and storage.....I learned some lessons on last years BWGLCC North Channel / Georgian Bay Rendezvous. I have a 94 quart Igloo Marine Cooler seat forward of the center consol on my 1982 Montauk 17, which I use for dry storage items I might need to quickly access. As my second cooler I took a regular Coleman 48 quart cooler, which I used for dry food storage. Luckily, I removed all my cereals, oatmeal pouches, hot cocoa pouches, bread, crackers, etc from boxes and put them in large zip lock bags, and some in tupperware containers. I used a smaller soft side cooler to keep lunch meats, cheese, yogurt, etc cold, I also kept milk, beer, pop, OJ, adding them to be cooled as needed. This cooler would keep a bag of ice over 24 hours and I usually added ice each morning. Also some of the larger boats (Gep and Buckda) were nice enough to let me have some of their cooler space when things were tight (Which brings to mind another thing learned, this is a great group of knowledgable people who stick together, have fun, and look out for each other, which is a must on these trips). We also split bags of ice to top up coolers when we didn't need full bags individually.

When I fitted my Montauk with a deck extension in front of the center console for sleeping on this trip, I moved the 94 quart marine cooler and the 48 quart coleman cooler to the rear and lined them up behind the RPS, basically leaving them out in the weather. At night we would remove the coolers from the boats and place them on the dock next to the boats for more room on board, also leaving them out in the weather. There has been some discussion in the past reagarding the difference between Marine Coolers and Regular coolers. My lesson learned on this trip was that marine coolers have a lip on the top of the cooler edge which fits up into a groove on the bottom of the cooler lid edge that prevents water with the assistance of gravity from running off the edge of the lid and down into the cooler. The regular coleman cooler lid does not have such a fit and rain running off the lid goes over the edge of the lid and will run down into the cooler. I ended up having to empty about an inch of water out of the coleman cooler after each rain, and of course ended up leaving the drain open on it. As I said I luckily had placed all my dry food in zip lock bags that kept all my dry foods dry.

This year I will have two 94 quart Igloo Marine Coolers with Hall's whaler seat cushions lined up behind the RPS, in addition to having more storage that I won't have to empty water out of, when I have the RPS moved to the rear facing position with two 94 quart coolers and cushions lined up behind it I'll have a nice little lounging area for that afternoon nap after we've rafted up for lunch. They will also make a nice seat during dockside happy hour, scheduling meetings, morning coffee, etc.

Another lesson learned is that it is also very easy to over pack, which I did last year, the one advantage of my over packing was that the extra weight made for a better ride in some of the heavier water, the Montauk didn't bounce around as much. The down side was having to move a lot of things around everytime I wanted to do something. I don't know for sure but more than likely there will be laundry facilities somewhere along the way during the trip, a lot of marinas have these facilities, and I'm fairly confident Isle Royale will have some somethere. So maybe one evening mid-week we play some euchre and drink a beverage for an hour or two while the laundry is running. I plan on traveling lighter and more compact this year......anyway just some thoughts for smaller boat owners and persons new to small whaler cruising.....I look forward to learning more about the subect on this rendezvous.....


Hal Watkins posted 01-31-2005 12:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
I recall a wilderness Hiker sharing with me, "I don't pack what would be nice to have, I pack what I can't live without". In a 15' SS that will have to be our philosophy.
David Pendleton posted 01-31-2005 01:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Your boat will ultimately determine what you bring and what you leave behind, I suppose.

I'm lucky to have a lot of space, and I've always believed it's better to have and not need than need and not have...


Buckda posted 01-31-2005 04:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Jechura -

One of the nice things about my 18 is the custom aluminum work that was on the boat when I purchased her. The leaning post allows me to store a big 100+ qt Igloo cooler underneath. I keep safety gear in the 96 qt cooler/seat in front of the console, and I have aluminum cleats for two Igloo 94 qt coolers in the stern.

I have a SS coleman cooler that I plan to also bring along for drinks, which will sit on the platform in front of the cooler/seat in the bow. This area will also contain two or three dry-bags with clothes.

Regarding laundry facilities on the island - I haven't seen any mention of this service in the literature that I have, so I would not presume that it is available.

Results of the vote are already being tabulated, but I want to wait until tomorrow morning to post the final results. I'll refrain from making any exit poll forecasts on the winning date. (ala "Dewey Defeats Truman" in 1948)

Remember to vote if dates matter to you. Failure to hit "send" does not qualify as a hanging or dimpled chad. :)

Results posted tomorrow.


Cicada posted 01-31-2005 09:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
Canvas arrived from Mills today. Nice.


Checked the routes on Map Source. Flint to Marquette is 391 miles. Marquette to Grand Portage is 398 miles. Marquette is the half way point from Flint.

Marquette Harbour is a pretty interesting harbor from what I remember.

People interested in launching from the Houghton area, Houghton is 99 miles from Marquette. Cuts about 300 miles off of the drive.

Haven't started thinking about coolers yet. I'm still trying to figure out the necessities. This is probably going to end up being the proverbial 5 pounds of stuff in the 3 pound bag. I like the idea of using Gambler as a container vessel. :-) Probably cheaper to run than one of those 1000' barges. Certainly is better looking.


David Pendleton posted 01-31-2005 09:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     

The whole lake is a laundry. Throw 'em overboard, pull 'em out, wring em', repeat. Good as new, with no soapy smell.

You can drink the stuff too, you know...


Buckda posted 02-01-2005 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Well, It's February 1 and the votes are in.

Everyone mark you calendars!

The official date for this event, voted for by you, the likely participants, is August 27 - September 5, 2005.

Many of you did not express a preference for dates, but of those of you who did (5), 80 percent favored this weekend.

Banff22 - I know that you have some obligations over the long holiday weekend, but I hope that you can attend for at least part of the time, or can convince your family to come along.

So! The vacation request goes to the boss today.

banff22 posted 02-01-2005 01:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
Bringing the family should be much easier now that we have the container ship "Gambler" with us.

I, or it will be a long shot for me. I kind of saw the writing on the wall with the dates but I've entered the new dates in the calendar anyway and I'll watch this thread.

All the best


Cicada posted 02-05-2005 06:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
Was surfing the web and found an Isle Royale Boaters Association web site.

Found some interesting historical photos of the island:


Hoping to get things together on the boat before summer.


Cicada posted 02-05-2005 06:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
Try again.

David Pendleton posted 02-05-2005 06:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I found that site also, via Google search.

It's a nice site, but hasn't been updated in years...

Dave--can you post a rundown of where everyone is planning on launching from?


Hal Watkins posted 02-06-2005 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
We will most likely travel to, camp/motel at Grand Portage on Saturday the 6th then cruise to Isle Royale on Sunday. We will camp on shore unless the 1st mate sez she needs a night between real sheets. Conditions will greatly dictate, (15' SS), whether we try for Thunder Bay and cirling the "Isle". It may be a trade off between living with the "bugs" on land and $3.50 gas, cruising. We have already started our packing list. We want to do long weekends at the Aposle Islands, Voyageurs National Park and on the St. Croix River before the Isle Royale trip.
Hopefully a few of us can get together in the Grand Portage area on Saturday night and cruise together on Sunday.
Buckda posted 02-07-2005 09:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Thanks for responding Hal -

Dave - at this point, I don't know where folks will be departing from. I was thinking about my own plans about that on a long drive home from Michigan yesterday evening.

My first thought for me is Houghton. I know that Pat and Paul had thought about that as well...I don't remember if Peter or Don McIntyre were thinking that as well due to starting location (Detroit area), or if they had expressed their opinion.

It will certainly depend (at least in part, to me) on weather. And a departure from Houghton is probably best to be attempted early in the morning while the winds are calm.

For now, I know that I'll probably run over to Michigan to get the boat on Friday night, and tow the boat through Chicago on Friday night late when the tolls are lower. I'll stay overnight at a friend's in Kenosha, WI, and then press onward from there on Saturday morning early.

I know that Walt Steffens (unconfirmed attendee) was thinking Grand Portage. Not sure what Russ and Paula are thinking.

Folks care to chime in?

David Pendleton - I know you want to leave from Bayfield, correct?

The rest are up in the air. Plotman will probably only join us for part of the trip on one of the weekends.

I'll let you know more when I do.

I'm still waiting on permissions from work, but I expect them to be approved.


Buckda posted 02-07-2005 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Hal -

I anticipate that most/all of the attendees leaving from Grand Portage, Houghton or elsewhere will congregate on Saturday and coordinate a departure en masse on Sunday, so you shouldn't need to worry about that - these Rendezvous' are usually about doing things together, and Whaler people are so great, you don't have to worry about ever being "left behind" without help or some plan to get you safely where you need to go.



LHG posted 02-07-2005 01:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    

Crossing north to Isle Royale in early September should qualify you guys for either the Cape Horn Club or the Polar Bear's Club, maybe both! Hope that the "Gales of November" don't come early.
Buckda posted 02-07-2005 02:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Larry -

Typically late August and early September are the best weather in the Northern midwest (you should know this). Part of the reason for the "November Witches" is because of the rapid changeover to fall patterns that typically occur in LATE September through Mid-Late November.

Given that the trip will occur in LATE August and very EARLY September, I'm not overly concerned about this. However, you are right, and as I said, my final crossing decision will be flexible - the plan is for Houghton, but if necessary, it can be changed as late as the day before I leave Chicago to Grand Portage, depending on forecasts.

Finally, we did have some local knowledge bless the dates, so that also adds to my comfort level. In northern Michigan, the absolute very best, consistent weather is in late August - I remember because just as the weather was getting very good and was very consistent at our cottage in the Les Cheneaux, we always had to go back home for school (which always began one week before Labor Day...and we returned for Labor Day weekend to clean the cottage.

I take it from that post that even though the date is changed from the original by one week that you will be unable to attend?

David Pendleton posted 02-07-2005 02:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I haven't decided from where I will depart.

I'm waiting to see what everyone else does. Anywhere from Bayfield all the way around to Grand Portage is accessible to me relatively easily.

Eagleman posted 02-07-2005 04:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eagleman  Send Email to Eagleman     
Got the dates together, haven't decided where the best spot to launch from at this time. Not knowing the area or exact cruise route/destinations we'll play it by ear according to the balance of the group. I assume that most of the Whaler Group will be coming from the South or East to the launch point. Paula like's to trailer to closet point of destination in the event of bad weather on the return side of the cruise.
Buckda posted 02-07-2005 05:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Russ -

Thanks for sounding off.

I believe I stated up higher on this post (but it bears reposting here) that for this trip, it's kind of a trade off. The "closest" departure point for you and me is likely to be Houghton. However it's a long run in open water to either port on the island...and is likely to be an UPWIND run. The other negative - in rough weather, it's a long run back to Houghton...the flip side to that is that it will likely be downwind (primarily) and therefore in following seas (the kind we all like the best).

The only other real option is Grand Portage. Another 3-4 hours of driving (Which will be a real killer on the way home), but it puts you a mere 20 some miles to the nearest port on the island (about 40 miles closer than Houghton) it's a short boat ride home (UPWIND) if it gets nasty.

For me, the Bayfield departure is discounted somewhat due to the distance being really far for my boat's range. In case of weather, I could be really in a fix there, so I don't plan to attempt it.

To compensate somewhat for the potential for a tough time getting home, I've budgeted an extra day that I was hoping to use for laundry and recovery from the long drive home...but can use it as a cushion day from weather, or, I could run the boat over to Grand Portage, hitch a ride or catch a bus to Houghton and run back to pick up the boat, etc...

Those are worst case scenario thoughts/plans, of course.

I think that it's probable that we'll have great weather, and a pretty rough sea will have to be running to keep me off the lake - especially if running downwind. There'd have to be a forecast of 6-8 footers or more. Anything less than 5 feet and I'd probably run it (if they were forecast to be following seas).

Cicada posted 02-07-2005 08:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
We've decided to launch from Grand Portage. Leave Detroit Friday and drive to Munising or Marquette. Drive to Grand Portage Saturday and cross to the island on Sunday.

Would enjoy meeting up on Saturday to prepare for the crossing on Sunday. If the weather's too bad we can spend a day in the casino:-(

Lack of familiarity with the water and weather for the return are my primary concerns. Chances are if we get some kind of westerly blow there isn't enough fetch to build any considerable seas between Grand Portage and the island. I tend to agree with Dave on the stability of the weather that time of year.

Dave P.
I noticed the dating of the Boater's Association site. There seems to be alot of information out there about Isle Royale. Ordered a few of the publications from the Isle Royale Natural History Association. "Fishes of Isle Royale" was one, nice little publication about the different fish species that also contained some information on the geology, topography, climate etc.

I'll start working on a contact for some place to park and store the vehicles and trailers in Grand Portage for the trip.


dfmcintyre posted 02-08-2005 06:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
I don't know about the exact travel days and times, but will overnight around the Marquette area also, and launch from Portage. I'm also part of the launching close to destination group, after some experiences in the North Channel region.

And I know that Superior can index it out a few more data points on what I'd call a rough ride... Easily.


Eagleman posted 02-08-2005 12:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eagleman  Send Email to Eagleman     
Thanks for the input on launch points, "R Time" will be launching out of Grand Portage. We look forward to seeing ole friends and making new ones. Specific travel routes & plans will be determined as the date approaches.I've got to finish a couple of Whaler projects yet this winter.
Sounds like you've been real busy with your new boat, should be looking great when we see it this summer. Don't make your boat to nice however or you won't be able to enjoy Paula's chocolate chip cookie's on board.

Plotman posted 02-08-2005 12:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
When are people thinking of heading back and starting the drive home? My best guess is that I will try to join the group on the tail end of things.

I'll probably make the run over to the Island in the very early morning hours of Friday from Madeline Island in the Apostles - as I expect the boat to pretty much live there for the second half of the summer. Otherwise if the forecast doesn't favor an open water run, I'll likely get the boat earlier in the week and drive up to Grand Portage or at least Grand Marais.

Buckda posted 02-08-2005 01:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
The official dates are below. Individuals may choose to come or go as they wish, and I know that there are travel needs for many attendees, so I’ve tried to budget for travel time.

Saturday, August 27 is a travel day. If members arrive early on Saturday to their departure point and there are other members present, they may choose to depart for the island, or just explore local waters and stay overnight at a marina.

My plan is to arrive sometime late in the afternoon/evening on Saturday and put the boat in and get everything loaded and ready. I’ll probably sleep aboard at a local marina that evening.

Sunday, August 28 would be the day that I would expect folks to rally at either Windigo or Rock Harbor *this should be determined next – where we’ll initially meet.

All of the time afterward is up to the discretion of attendees – we’ll tour the island, explore coves, etc. Some may wish to take a two-day side trip to Thunder Bay as detailed above. This is totally up to the group.

Monday, September 5, I plan to leave Isle Royale in the early morning and haul out. I hope to be on the road by noon or before. This is a holiday (Labor Day), so I expect traffic to be a bit heavier than the trip up. I have requested the following day off work as well, in case I need to stay overnight at a hotel, or need to recover, etc. from the trip on Monday.

That’s my plan for travel.

Departure point and destination are still up in the air.

RE: Rock Harbor or Windigo as initial rally point. (This point may be moot if all attendees end up launching from Grand Portage).

Windigo is only about 20 some miles open water from Grand Portage, however it’s an additional 30 miles or so to Rock Harbor from Windigo, again in open water, but leeward of the island…perhaps more, leaving about 50 some miles traveled if the destination for the overnight is Rock Harbor. Coming from Houghton, which is a closer drive to attendees from Michigan, Chicago and Indiana, both Rock Harbor and Windigo are around 60-some miles in open water.

From my reading, the marina facilities are located at Rock Harbor – meaning that if this is our destination, the folks from Grand Portage will have approximately the same amount of distance to travel as those from Copper Harbor or Houghton…just not all in open water.

The benefits of Grand Portage are that if the weather appears to be moving in, we can adjust our Sunday Night, September 4th stay to Windigo or a nearby anchorage to allow for a quick, 20 mile run in the morning calm on Monday, September 5.

David Pendleton posted 02-08-2005 04:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I'm leaning towards Grand Portage at this point; assuming there is somewhere to put my truck and trailer.

Also, here's yet another IR web site that looks promising:

(Sorry if it's a dupe)

Buckda posted 02-08-2005 06:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Okay...does anyone know or have experience with the local marina in Grand Portage? Perhaps we can use their winter storage yard for our rigs. Most marina's we've used in the past have allowed us to store the truck/trailer somewhere for a nominal fee. In Blind River, I believe it was $21 for the week.

As the date gets closer, we should take another head count and then inform the marina of how many rigs will be there - if we're customers for Saturday night aboard our boats, I'm sure they'll be happy to take our money for truck/trailer storage...but 8 or so rigs could take up a lot of space!

Cicada posted 02-08-2005 07:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
So far I've found reference to two marina's in Grand Portage, both operated by the Chippewa Indian tribe. Grand Portage Marina (218) 475-2476 is located by and part of the Casino development. Voyagers Marina (218) 475-2261 is located on the point. That's as far as I've gone with this. Will call them in the next few days to check availability, costs etc.

I also remember seeing something about a Johnson Outboard dealer in the area but its not listed on the OMC site. Maybe a Mercury dealer around. Might be able to give us another direction.


David Pendleton posted 02-08-2005 07:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I've been rummaging around on the site I posted above, and I found the following interesting tidbit:

A "group" constitutes any party of seven to ten people, including leaders. No group may be larger than ten persons. Consult group camping information to explore the possibilities for separate groups. IF THERE ARE MORE THAN TEN OF YOU, YOU WILL BE BROKEN INTO SMALLER GROUPS and required to go on separate routes. Plan to use your stoves, water filters, and first aid kits accordingly. Have sufficient equipment available. (Moral of the story – do not exceed ten persons, including yourself).

It's unclear if this applies to boaters, but I suspect it does...

Plotman posted 02-08-2005 09:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
That whole group think applies to backpackers using campsites, as only certain ones are designated as "group" sites and can be reserved in advance.

It's a free-for all as far as docks in the park are concerned other than at Rock Harbor Marina.


David Pendleton posted 02-08-2005 11:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I just love a good free-for-all...
Hal Watkins posted 02-09-2005 11:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
here is the link to an official Island map. It shows camping sites, docks, trails, etc...
WSTEFFENS posted 02-10-2005 12:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     
You are doing a great job! The early start makes for very good planning.

The Dates look good to me and are of a time frame of best gress on the weather. If all goes to plan I will travel with DFM from Port Huron.

To Mr. Pendelton, please don't drink the water, it is contaminated with some sort of worm eggs that attack your digestive system and can even go into your eyes. The eggs are passed by the wolf popluation and into the native waters. This was from the NPS, they say that purifacaton tabs and filters are useless, only boiling.



David Pendleton posted 02-10-2005 01:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Tapeworm. Yes, I know. I was referring to L. Superior water, not the inland lake(s) water.

Thanks for the info, though. Other folks might not be aware of it.

LHG posted 02-10-2005 01:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
DaveP and DonM - Are you planning to sleep on the boats for the duration of the trip?
David Pendleton posted 02-10-2005 06:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Yes, Larry. I do plan to sleep aboard for the entire trip.
dfmcintyre posted 02-10-2005 09:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Larry -

Probably not. I'm not yet set up with full canvas. Might have a sleeping platform ready by then in the bow area.


WSTEFFENS posted 02-11-2005 01:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     
Larry (LHG)

Yea I think about overnighting on the boat. A qube electric heater, for the south end of the island and a Cat for the north eas end. I want to circumativate the island which almost makes mandatory a "primitive" mooring site. If possible I think dinning at the "Rock Harbor" lodge is a good deal for one meal a day. That said I will provision for other options.

For what its worth. Again David you are doing a great job!



jechura posted 02-12-2005 10:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

Weather permitting, we plan on leaving from the somewhere on the Keweenaw Peninsula, but will be determined a few days before.


David Pendleton posted 02-13-2005 12:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Okay Larry, I give... Why?
LHG posted 02-14-2005 01:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Dave - I was just wondering, because having been to Isle Royale, the only place to stay on the Island is Rock Harbor.
So it would seem that those not staying on the boats would be confined to spending all nights at that location. Not that it doesn't make sense, since it is really the only amenity out there where a group could dock and have meals. The docking at Windigo is marginal, and usually tied up by sailboaters who stay put and cook aboard, requiring everyone else to anchor out. Facilities there are marginal too. From what I can tell, Rock harbor is going to have to be the nightly home base for this trip, unless other mainland cruising destinations are planned.

I had noticed that when in Door County, you and your wife never stay aboard. I also was wondering whether DonM had added additional canvas to his Whaler to make it "cruisable".

David Pendleton posted 02-14-2005 02:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I see. Thanks for the information. I just assumed everyone not sleeping aboard would camp.

Patricia doesn't like to stay aboard when there's a nice, warm hotel room bed to say in... I like to sleep aboard.

I'll be going solo on this trip.

Buckda posted 02-14-2005 02:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
We do have members who are planning this trip who also plan to stay at Rock Harbor each evening.

I think these folks can easily be accomodated through planning on destinations. Others might consider packing a tent, as there are campgrounds with dock space all around the island.

I expect that there will be several nights when I may be caught on the opposite side of the island from Rock Harbor when the sun is setting and the fish are biting...or something else has my attention (a hike, perhaps?) when I plan to just anchor out and check back in at the marina for fuel and a shower in the morning.

I think it would be prudent for those who plan to attend this rendezvous to give some thought to the possibility that they may not have immediate access to the lodge every day, and either plan a tent, or plan to re-route their day's exploration (i.e - depart from the group and plan to rendezvous at a given point the following day) to accomodate those factors.

Flexibility should be the operative word here. Weather may also alter your plans (a thick fog could make it impossible to get back to the lodge from the far side of the island). We've tried to plan the dates of this trip to provide the best opportunity to miss the black flies, catch the best weather and avoid the bad stuff...but it is, after all, mother nature.

PAUL - did you get your canvas installed?

Everyone - I'm developing a spreadsheet to help plan and keep information organized. The spreadsheet will be printed and distributed to the team when we depart so that everyone has certain information about everyone else. Basically, it will help us keep track of each other, and in the event of an emergency, will give us flexibility and a resource to get assistance/information to the appropriate folks as quickly as possible. Overkill, perhaps...but since I'm organizing..I like to be thorough.

Right now the document is very will grow and become more complete as we get closer to departure, but keep me in mind if you change plans, etc. I'll try to follow along as best I can on this thread, and will send out what I have perhaps a week before departure to allow you to check facts and make edits/changes.

We still need to determine a destination for the first overnight/arrival.

My vote is Rock Harbor. Windigo is closer to Grand Portage, however Rock Harbor is where the hotel/lodge is, and it's a good destination for the first day, allowing us to dine together at the lodge and then hold a captain's meeting with the whole group. It looks like the vast majority will be departing from Grand Portage, and a few (perhaps three) will be departing from Houghton or Copper Harbor on the Michigan side.

Any discussion on this destination is welcome, from comments of agreement to discussion on other options (Windigo?).

Thanks for keeping this topic alive...from the response, I think you guys are almost as excited as I am for this trip (and it's 6 months away!).


David Pendleton posted 02-14-2005 06:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     

This is my plan, also. I've been studying my chart and there are several coves I want to see, and who knows what else?

I plan on overnighting wherever I find myself when it gets dark.

For those sleeping aboard, this may be the best way to see the island. Especially, if we stick together.

Since I'll be alone, I will have a lot of room. I could carry fuel or whatever for whomever. This might allow those with limited range/space to be more comfortable farther from the lodge.

I am also excited, although I will miss the MN State Fair...


Cicada posted 02-15-2005 11:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
I like the idea of meeting up at Rock Harbor. The park headquarters are there and would be a good opportunity to address any questions or concerns. I can't see where we're going to feel like cooking in the middle of meeting up with people and getting oriented to the island.

We plan on spending 3 or 4 nights at the lodge as a concession to creature comforts. Balance of the time anchoring out or camping. I agree with the flexibility.

The "Greenstone" paper that came with the packet of information that I received shows some coves as Quiet/No Wake zones. Maybe something to take into consideration if planning something as a group.

The canvas is currently sitting in Suzanne's garage. The boat is over at the shop waiting for them to get their act together on the electrical mods. I plan on replacing the rub rail and thought it would probably be easier to do without the hardware for the canvas in the way. It'll probably be awhile but hopefully before Spring. (Which is only 30 days away).

From what I can gather the North shore of the island is probably a little more rugged than the South and a little more scenic?

Nice offer on making your boat available to transport stuff.

I called the marinas last week. No answer at one and the other was set up as a fax machine. I guess there's not much boating going on up there. I'll continue to try to reach them off and on here.


Plotman posted 02-15-2005 01:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
If you want to talk to a live body, call park HQ in Houghton.

The north shore is definitely less hospitable than the south shore for boats... there is a stretch of close to 25 miles between Todd Harbor and Windigo without any decent shelter. On the south shore, the longest stretch is more like 15 miles - from Fisherman's Home around to Windigo.

Was in the Apostles over the weekend. Drove my truck from Bayfield to Madeline. Very definitely a weird feeling driving on Lake Superior. I'm not nuts, the ice road is listed on state highway maps, and there is a local construction firm that monitors the road, and even has a hotline set up to tell you the status. Even so, I did drive with the windows down and my seatbelt off.


Cicada posted 02-15-2005 06:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

At least you got out on the water. I hear it's different down in Florida.

The park HQ was one of the calls I made. Talked to a real nice lady there that referred me to the Grand Marais visitors center. She's also sending their boating information.

Was looking at the topography for the island on the charts. Looks like more than 100' of elevation in a short distance along the waters edge in places on the north shore. Water gets pretty deep along the shore also. Nice that that's the relatively protected side of the island.


Buckda posted 02-15-2005 07:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I just re-read this entire thread to make sure that I haven't missed anything and a thought occurred to me that I think the Toledo/Detroit area folks are missing.

I truly think it will be faster to travel around Lake Michigan to the South (on I-94) than to go through the UP.

Last year, Larry and Susan found out just how long and slow of a trip across the UP those state highways can be. I've traveled US 2 myself and would personally much rather travel on an Interstate than those lonely highways.

The cons to this are tolls around the Chicago region, however if you choose your travel times, traffic and tolls are lower.

Taking I-94 to 294 around Chicago and the NW Tollway to Rockford/Beloit should allow you to travel with wider lanes for your trailer, more access to hotels/fuel and faster travel speeds, not to mention avoiding slowing down for every small town along the route. The halfway point would be somwhere around Madison.

Just a thought.

Plotman posted 02-15-2005 10:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
One other option the Michigan folks might want to consider is the SS Badger - the car ferry from Ludington to Manitowoc. Cars are $49 each way, and then $4.75 a foot for boats. People also need tickets. Not cheap, but neither is gas. Manitowoc to Duluth is 6 hours, and another 2.5 up to Grand Portage, or ~5 hours to Houghton.

Schedule and fares here .

Buckda posted 02-16-2005 06:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
...also interesting to note that Mapquest routes folks from the Detroit area up and over Lake Superior, to avoid the backtrack around Duluth.

Given that the US and State highways across Michigan's UP and northern Wisconsin are very similar to the trans-Canada highway in construction, terrain and speed limits, perhaps this is a faster route? (possible exceptions for time spent at the border?)

We took the Badger to a family reunion in Door County Wisconsin one year - it's expensive, and takes about 4 hours. I'm not sure it saves you money or time...but it certainly does save you the aggravation of driving in city traffic in the Chicago region...although early Saturday morning or on Friday evening after 8 pm, traffic should be light, and tolls will be lower in Chicagoland.

jechura posted 02-16-2005 08:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

Driving through Chicagoland could trip my road rage where as the truck knows it way to the U.P. by way of 23 to 75. Once past Flint the traffic lightens up considerably. 5 hours to the bridge and with the boat I guess 6 from Toledo.

We generally make this trip 3 times a year going to our Extremely Rustic and primitive cabin on the Tahquamenon River.

After either making a withdraw or deposit with the Indians in St. Ignac, we take 123 to 28. West on 28, which turns into 41 to Keneenaw. My guess an 8-hour scenic drive. Or maybe at the 123, 28 junction, we’ll go north for a night a cabin and make the drive the next day. Nothing is for sure until we get closer to that date.


dfmcintyre posted 02-17-2005 08:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Jerry -

That's pretty much what Walt Steffens and I are planning on. Walts coming from Cincinatti and we plan on overnighting somewhere in the western UP.


WSTEFFENS posted 02-18-2005 11:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     

Only thing DFM didn't mention was that the trip from Cincinnati, to Port Huron is 6 Hrs. I plan to drive to Port Huron, Rest, and then take the 13 hr hike to The Dulth area and then get a good rest. I want to be on my game for the crossing. Twenty hrs in the saddle is too much.



Hal Watkins posted 02-24-2005 08:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
Just looking at my calender...7 months from today most of us will be converging on Grand Portage to prepare for the trip to Isle Royale. As I look in the garage at my, stripped of all wood, 15'SS I can hardly wait to get on the water. With 20+ inches of ice on our lake it will be few days yet, although the ice houses have to be off the lake on Monday. Really glad we are making this trip later in the season so we all have plenty of time to "shake down" before negotiating such big waters. Hal
Buckda posted 02-24-2005 05:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Point of Departure – Additional Information

I bought a cruising guide over the weekend and have been really enjoying reading it – let me tell you now that there are more than a few additional little coves and harbors on Lake Superior that I now want to make a point of visiting. Seems I’m going to have to negotiate for more vacation at my next employee review!

Anyway – one thing that struck me, which is pertinent to this group – is information about Grand Portage, MN.

First – I’m extremely pleased with the number of folks who are interested in this trip – by my last count, we have about nine boats confirmed…and a few others who are interested…I think it’s fairly safe to assume that given that some may drop out at the last minute, and others might join, a nine boat figure for planning purposes is adequate.

Here’s what struck me: Grand Portage Marina only has five transient slips available, and does not allow rafting.

At first when I read this, my heart skipped a beat – where the heck will we put everyone?! Fortunately, Voyageurs Marina also has transient slips (six)…which puts us at nine total slips available. Additionally, at Voyageurs, we can raft boats, however I’m not sure what their facilities look like and how accommodating the marina would be for this.

The downside to Voyagers is that there are no showers (there are showers at Grand Portage Marina). Alternatively, there are also rooms available at the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino.

That said, I think that we should consider trying to book space at the marina for transient slippage early this summer – like around Memorial Day – so that we can ensure we have enough space. We’ll likely completely fill the port on Saturday night.

Quick Trivia Tidbit:
(Did you know that this small town was once one of America’s busiest ports?! It was the gateway to central and western Canada’s fur industry and was home to the largest, most profitable fur-trading post on the Great Lakes…wow)

So! Think it through for the next few months – we have three options for slippage on Saturday night:
Grand Portage Marina

Voyageurs Marina

Grand Portage Lodge and Casino(on the hard)

If you want, I can call both marinas later this year and try to arrange a group rate for us – especially for auto/trailer storage.

This type of arrangement will make Sunday morning’s departure a tad more complex as we’ll have to round up boaters from two marinas, but it should be doable.

Given the stated plans of Don and Walt, perhaps this is a non-issue, since you’ll be overnighting in Duluth…likely to arrive Sunday morning in Grand Portage? (Did I read that right?)

Also – I haven’t forgotten that there are a few folks who still wish to depart from Michigan’s Keeweenaw peninsula, which will also lighten the load on transient slips at Grand Portage, if they go through with that plan.

For them, the likely stay is at the Houghton County Marina, 906-482-6010, which has 12 transient slips available. For those folks, we should also book early and make arrangements for trailer parking, since this is in an “urban” setting. The other option from this peninsula, but which has received less interest is Copper Harbor. The Copper Harbor Marina, 906-289-4966, has 10 transient slips.

Buckda posted 02-24-2005 05:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Um....make that 11 slips available.
Eagleman posted 02-25-2005 05:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eagleman  Send Email to Eagleman     
Thanks for putting all the effort into this trip information. We've been monitoring the planning and are both looking forward to this trip. I've never boated in this area, but understand from several of our friends that this area is both remote and gorgeous.
Russ & Paula
dfmcintyre posted 02-26-2005 05:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Dave -

I've faced the problem of a full marina when I've towed in the night before. I just sleep in the boat on the trailer.


leapin lunker posted 03-01-2005 09:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for leapin lunker  Send Email to leapin lunker     
If there is still a spot, I am interested as Donna will be in Italy. Count me in. Perhaps the Detroiter's can caravan up to the launch area.
LHG posted 03-01-2005 01:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Are there going to be any women on this trip at all? An inquiring mind wants to know!
jechura posted 03-01-2005 02:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     
A mysterious voice told me that Sheila will be their to probe your mind!
Buckda posted 03-01-2005 04:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Larry –

Sounds like this might be a possibility for you and Susan?

I believe Russ, Don and Walt all plan to bring their wives along – and Hal from MN(?), which makes at least three of the fairer sex in attendance.

I’m still trying to talk JimH into this trip, but of course it’s all dependent on Christine’s vacation schedule – if they can make it, that makes it at least four.

If you and Susan made the trip, Susan would make five – I think that’s in line with the number of women in attendance for the Georgian Bay rendezvous…and I’m still twisting the ears of a few other folks too, which might also include more women.

My hope is to totally sell-out the transient slips in Grand Portage – and would make a great photo op for one boat to run ahead a mile or so and the rest to run abreast for an “invasion” shot as we come up on the island. I think a nice panoramic shot would make a nice header for continuouswave, don’t you? :)

Don – I’d thought about camping in the boat on the hard – and you’re right – that is also an option.

Buckda posted 03-01-2005 04:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Lunker -
Welcome to the bunch!
Please identify which Whaler you'll be in (gonna have that 16/17 restored in time?), how it's powered (brand and HP) and which departure point you're leaning towards - Thanks.


leapin lunker posted 03-01-2005 04:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for leapin lunker  Send Email to leapin lunker     
Probably bring the 24 and hook up with Pat so we can follow each other up. Have no departure in mind as of yet and am flexible.

The Sakonnet will likely not be ready for this trip. May take me a year to put her right.

Buckda posted 03-01-2005 05:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Forgot about Paul (Cicada), who is bringing along his girlfriend. ...

Terry -
Sounds great. I've got you down on the list. We're at a definite 10 boats confirmed now, suspicion of two or three more.

Cicada posted 03-01-2005 07:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

Suzanne will be coming along. She's scheduled the time off so we're all set there.

I like the idea of the transient slip. Maybe sneak a little Saturday night cruise in before the crossing.


David Pendleton posted 03-01-2005 08:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Question directed by anyone familiar with IR...

My Whaler is an IO, and as such has a limited draft. The official number is 27", but because I have to replace/repair $1K worth of stainless-steel props, my number is 48".

At any rate, I have a new Zodiac. Should I bring it along?
Will it prove useful to get in and out of interesting little bays and such?

If I'm anchoring out to sleep, I'm thinking the Zodiac is a must.




Plotman posted 03-01-2005 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Yes, very definately bring the zodiac. There are lots of neat anchorages that do not have docks, and even if you have outboards that tilt up, IR is not exacly friendly to beaching. You will have much more flexibility with a dinghy.

You can get some idea of what much of the shoreline will be like when you notice the depth numbers that are nearest the island - in quite a number of places the soundings immediately offshore are 400+ feet.

For anyone who is planning to fish with downriggers, I highly reccomend a) that you use some kind of breakaway connnector between your downrigger balls and your cable (I use short leaders of 150lb mono - this way when you don't pull the gear up fast enough as you cross over a reef and the ball gets hung up it breaks away without breaking a downriggger or tearing it out of a mount and b) bring extra balls

Hal Watkins posted 03-11-2005 09:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
Just checked with grand Portage Lodge on reservation/cancelation policies. Can make reservations now for Aug, cancel 24 hours ahead of scheduled arrival. PS, we're still making ice in MN. Hal of Waseca
Buckda posted 03-14-2005 03:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Hal -

Is that checking with the casino/lodge directly (I imagine they're a 12 month operation)? I called the Marina number several times over the past weeks and the phone just rang and rang and rang - same for Voyageur's - I imagine they start manning the phones sometime in mid to late April when ice goes out, eh?

Hal Watkins posted 03-14-2005 04:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
Called Grand Portage Lodge and Casino direct @
218-475-2401. Think I will make a reservation for Saturday 27 Aug and Saturday 3 Sep...Hal of waseca

Plotman posted 03-14-2005 08:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Unless you are really into staying at a cheesey casino in the middle of nowhere, I would highly suggest staying 30 miles down the road at Grand Marais.


Buckda posted 03-14-2005 08:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Well, Hal needs to stay in a hotel or lodge, I was planning to stay aboard the boat. No one is answering at either Voyagers or Grand Portage marina's published numbers. Perhaps Grand Portage lodge/casino can take reservations on behalf of the marina, however I have a feeling I ought to just wait until around Memorial day when they're open to make reservations for the group/warn them that a whole bunch of Whalers are likely to show up on August 27, and then re-confirm those reservations in early August.

Hal - thanks for the legwork. I know you're trying to plot ahead of the game because you need to be sure you have a place to lay your head every night. Did you manage to get hold of the company that manages the lodge on Isle Royale to book reservations for the week?

The big lake is ice-free down here now, the lagoons andn marinas have a bit of ice yet but things are looking up...soon Hal, soon!

Shivering Dave...

Cicada posted 03-14-2005 10:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

I wonder what we do with the boats when we stay at the Lodge? Do we need to rent a slip at the marina for the same nights?

We'll be making reservations for Sunday through Friday night at Rock Harbor. We don't plan on staying there every night. Have to get to the North side of the island for awhile and We'll probably make adjustments to the reservations as we get closer.


We're still undecided on staying on the boat on Saturday night.

I thought you'd be in the water by now! The Outrage is still at the shop and I'm getting anxious.


Do you happen to know the typical depth of water and depth of the fish that time of year? I have one of those little sport trolls and don't know if it's worth messing with. If it were to get hung up on a reef and pulled overboard it wouldn't be much of a loss:)

I've been looking at the charts. A few navigation lights. You probably don't need many up there.

Looks like McCargoe Cove on the north side of the island is marked with buoys. Interesting little cove.


Plotman posted 03-14-2005 11:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     

It really depends on so many things, but I'd say somewhere between 60 and 100 feet down for the fish.


Buckda posted 03-16-2005 02:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Paul -

Looks like Gambler will have to go back to the mechanic this spring before I run her - after disconnecting everything electical on the boat last fall, rewiring and reconnecting everything over the winter, everything works, except for what might be the most important: the oil warning horn. I turned the key and it worked, but when I turned the key again for a second test, I got nada. It is quite possible that the horn simply chose this exact moment to die on me,

In any event, I really only have two more major trailer projects to complete and then I'm in business for the year.

If you decide to stay at the casino or at a hotel in Grand Marias on Saturday night (David (plotman) also mentioned a nice hotel nearby Grand Portage, further south on the highway...look higher up on this thread), it will probably be most cost effective to just leave your boat on the trailer at the hotel overnight. But if you get there Saturday afternoon and decide to do some boating first, you may choose to just keep the boat at the marina. Perhaps they can get you a discounted mooring fee for using a dock with no electrical hookups, etc.

The way I figure it, since I'm staying aboard every night anyway, one more night aboard is no big deal.

Now that the ground is finally thawing out, I'm starting to get excited about this trip. It's going to be a long summer!


Cicada posted 03-16-2005 09:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
You'll be in the water before I am. Sounds like you made alot of progress on Gambler.

Interesting article about Isle Royale moose and wolves.


whalersailer posted 03-18-2005 01:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersailer  Send Email to whalersailer     
Ditto what David (Plotman) said about the casino's hotel.

My wife and I stayed there a couple years ago (when she was pregnant), and the whole place (even our non-smoking room) was filled with smoke. I ended up having to stuff towels around the door to stem the flow. Non of this is really a problem if you're a smoker, but we aren't.

One other thing I was noticing that may pertain to this trip (at least those planning to venture into Canadian waters) is that Canada has just enacted (12/04) some very strict laws reagarding alcohol consumption and possession on boats. See:

Additional information can be obtained by contacting the Ontario Provincial Police.

Basically it is illegal for anyone on board any recreational boat underway to consume alcohol, and the only boats that can even have alcohol aboard must have a permanent cabin with cooking, sleeping, and sanitary facilities permanently mounted. One can have a drink in such a vessel only if it is either tied to a dock, or at anchor.

I just thought I'd pass this along, as I'd hate to see someone get nailed with a hefty fine or have their Whaler impounded for having a couple of beers in the bottom of the cooler.


David Pendleton posted 03-18-2005 05:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Not a problem for me. I wasn't planning on venturing into Canada, anyway.

Good information to know, however.

LHG posted 03-18-2005 06:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Boy, that new Canadian rule is sure going to ruin a few things for the BWGL Cruising Club events in Canada, since almost all of us carry some booze on board, usually purchased in the States. None of our boats have permanent cooking or sanitary facilities on board. I guess they want you to spend your alcohol money at the local marina! The drinking underway part of it I can understand.
Buckda posted 03-23-2005 08:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
WS -
Thanks for that link. Even if we don't venture into Canadian water this summer - it's good information to have.


I believe your interpretation is incorrect as written above.

It seems that CONSUMPTION of alcohol is illegal on any boat underway, unless it meets those requirements - meaning that if you have a vessel with permanent sleeping, cooking or head facilities, your passengers can consume alcohol (i.e. - for "cruisers" anchored out - or with passengers who wish to have a social drink while underway). It appears that for our boats, it means that we can't drink a beer if we're anchored out (although I doubt they'd enforce this, since the spirit of the law seems to be aimed at keeping people from OPERATING the boat when alcohol is consumed. We CAN consume alcohol aboard our boats when docked, which is generally how most responsible captains enjoy their alcohol in the first place.

It appears that the TRANSPORT of alcoholic beverages aboard our boats is not restricted other than no open containers...just like in an automobile.

The DUI threshold is .08 percent BAL.

These restrictions are very similar to those in the US, with the exception that at least in Michigan, you can consume a beer while driving (a rediculous law, since it makes DUI enforcement nearly impossible until there is an accident). In the States, they judge your state of drunkenness by the number of empties you've consumed that day, along with a BAL threshold of .08 percent. The "empties" measurement is equally silly as allowing someone to drive with a beer in hand, since it simply encourages littering.

Anyway - unless you operate your boat with beer in hand, it really isn't that strict of a regulation.

...I was really suprised to read your initial post, given the affinity that Canadian citizens have to beer. :)

I just returned from San Antonio, TX where it's been 80 degrees all weekend, and boy, do I have an itch to get the boat in the water...maybe I'll splash her on Saturday....

whalersailer posted 03-24-2005 01:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersailer  Send Email to whalersailer     

That's what I thought too, but a couple of guys at work go to a lodge in Ontario every summer, and were just recently informed by the owner that the law in Ontario is as stated below: no beer in the boats at all. As the linked rules state, the OPP should be contacted for carriage restrictions in that province.

Again, I would encourage anyone whom this might affect to contact the OPP to find out the actual restrictions here.


p.s. I can hardly wait for the water to soften up around here too! Looks like I'm in for a long wait - they are still driving trucks on the lakes.

Cicada posted 03-25-2005 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
This winter stuff has been going on way too long this year.

I made some reservations for Rock Harbor Lodge. A boat slip at the marina is included in the reservation if you let them know you're bringing a boat.

I spoke to Kim Alexander at their winter number (270)773-2191, ext. 119. Pretty nice personable kind of guy and they seem to be accomodating. He mentioned that they run one of the water taxi and charter services on the island. They use the Ranger III to transport their charter boats to the island and suggested shipping boats across from Houghton on the foredeck as another option. Said the Ranger could handle about 4 18' Outrages at a time. Cost in 2004 was $115 one way. I'd rather come across from Grand Portage.

Not that I'm suggesting anybody break any Canadian laws but I don't see where they would be very aggresive about enforcing transporting or consumption laws if things were kept low key. But then again, I've just got this questioning, rebellious nature that tends to get me in trouble at times....

Looking forward to the trip.


David Pendleton posted 03-26-2005 02:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I haven't read all 150+ posts again, but was somebody planning on venturing into Canadian waters for any length of time?

If I'm not mistaken, IR is in U.S. waters and belongs to the state of Michigan.

I'm thinking we don't really need to worry about Canada's liquor laws.


prj posted 03-28-2005 11:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
Good God Pendleton,
are you kidding me?

You're saying that MI owns IR ALSO?

Man, this might make my proposed revolution easier,
in that I (WI) can enlist Minnesotans in my effort
to liberate both the UP and IR!

Buckda posted 03-28-2005 12:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David -

I believe that brief discussion was given for some consideration of a side trip into Canadian water, in which case the new regulations in Canada and Ontario, in particular, would be applicable to this thread.

PRJ - If Michigan really wanted the trifecta of peninsula ownership, they would have lobbied for the Ontario peninsula that is bordered by Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie that includes Toronto and Niagra Falls.

...but Canada wouldn't go for it, since 1/4 of their population lives there. That's the story anyway.


And really - does Michigan own IR? I mean, it is within the boundaries of the state, but it's really owned by the Federal Government, isn't it?

sportroyalwulf posted 03-28-2005 03:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for sportroyalwulf  Send Email to sportroyalwulf     
If you really want to get technical the whole thing should belong to Indiana and Ohio see the attached and the original maps that includ the UP and IR and the cheese state.

David Pendleton posted 03-28-2005 11:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I suppose all sorts of folks have laid claim to the island, but it is considered part of Michigan, even though it is a National Park.

Wisconsin can have the UP. I like it there, but WI has more of a 'proximity' claim on it.

If the IR should belong to anyone, it should belong to Minnesota.

Alas, I don't think Michigan plans on giving either up anytime soon.

Be that as it may, I don't plan on venturing into Canadian waters on this trip; and I do plan on having a cocktail or two.

On my map, there appears to be more than enough to do on IR.

David Pendleton posted 03-28-2005 11:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
And really - does Michigan own IR? I mean, it is within the boundaries of the state, but it's really owned by the Federal Government, isn't it?

I'm quite certain IR belongs to and is administered by the State of Michigan.

Based on your response, I have to ask, what did you think it should be? A 'District', i.e. District of Columbia? Maybe some sort of nebulous quasi-state? A peoples republic?

I dunno. It belongs to Michigan, just as the BWCA belongs to Minnesota.

Buckda posted 03-29-2005 10:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Dave -

Again, modern technology fails us.

That post above was mostly meant to be in a good-natured joking manner.

Being a person who was born and raised in Michgan, and hopes to move back there to raise a family and retire, I can say that I'm very happy that the state maintains control of both the upper peninsula and Isle Royale, and other great locations like Beaver Island, N and S Manitou Islands, the Les Cheneaux, Drummond Island and the beautiful sunset Coast of lake Michigan.

David Pendleton posted 03-29-2005 02:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Mine also. No hard feelings.
Buckda posted 03-29-2005 03:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
No Prob - the only way you can tick me off David, is if you bring Cheetos aboard. :)
Bulldog posted 03-30-2005 09:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
Dave, I've read this thread it sounds like a good time, I'm working on the wife right now. I would be coming from Pa. about nine hours from Detroit, just need a couple more travel days. I'm not in by any means as of now, but would consider myself a definite, possible, probably maybe! I have a 20' Revenge with twins, and have never slept over on a boat, or travelled as far as you guys are, so I'm a total newbie..........Jack & Pat
Buckda posted 03-31-2005 11:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Jack -

Welcome - and feel free to drop in on the trip at any point once you guys have discussed and determined your plans. For now, I'll track you as a "maybe" on my chart and keep you in the loop for any off-forum e-mails that I may send around to attendees.

We'd love to have you both along - as more boats make for more fun!

I see a lot of tolls in your future on the PA, OH, IN and IL tollroads..... :)

Perhaps there are other interested CW'ers out there on the East Coast who might want to convoy with you?! I know Henry (The Yiddil) was considering last year's trip to Georgian Bay from DC - you guys might be able to meet up somewhere in Western PA where the freeway connects to the turnpike.

Welcome aboard.

Bulldog posted 03-31-2005 01:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
Thanks Dave, I'm hoping to run with Yiddil across the Chesapeake at the Chestertown Tea Party in May, I'll talk to him in person then. Tolls are a way of life, they weren't too bad when I picked up my boat from Michigan. The way that the Chestertown party goes will affect how my wife feels about going farther, I'm sure......Jack
Yiddil posted 03-31-2005 11:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
HI all:) Buckda, thanks for the invite:)The only reason I didn't go to last years trip to Georgian Bay from DC(actually Maryland, well, two things stoped me... first off, I was and am still working up the full canvas issue for my Nantucket(Das Boat) Forward dodger is up, connector is ordered with two zippers and trying to work it into a Bimini that came with her(should have had a mills sport bimini) and the trailering up there alone with a ginger back. After last years Chestertown thingie, Im sure the rough water wouldn't kill me...but the ride in a car might...go figure...but then again I dont work and have lots of time so its nice to have Whaler people invite me and who knows I might go..

Bulldog said "I'll talk to him in person then. Tolls are a way of life, they weren't too bad when I picked up my boat from Michigan. The way that the Chestertown party goes will affect how my wife feels about going farther, I'm sure......Jack "

I look forward to seeing and talking with you Bulldog, well see how Chestertown goes and work from there...make us a "Maybe'

Yiddil posted 03-31-2005 11:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
Don't bring planters peanuts on Das Boat! You know the ones with the shells:))))This one is for Buckda:)Nothing like wet peanut shellsall over the decking of a new whaler:) hehe
Yiddil posted 03-31-2005 11:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
By the way, Buckda...its 1305 miles from my home in Maryland to Grand Portage!!!!! Yikes!!!!
Buckda posted 04-02-2005 12:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Henry - two 12 hour probably put more than that in at work on any given week.....


Yiddil posted 04-05-2005 12:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
LOL Buckda...To be honest, I quit working a year and 3 months ago:)))retired early and said sr--w this, I"m buying me a WHaler (Nantucket) and going boating while I is to short! 12 hour work days!!! hahahahahahahah No way! Been there, done that!!!

But seriously, a 12 hour boat trailering ride two days straight, then launch and go long haul boating for days might not be the best thing for my back...but I'll see...

We have a great group of WHaler people here who get together regularly...I might do it if I can find some whalers to take the trip...:)

Hal Watkins posted 04-09-2005 11:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
Here is a link to a live web cam at Grand Portage, MN. It looks out on the big water....enjoy.

Plotman posted 04-10-2005 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Here is real time data from the Rock of Ages light: .

In a few weeks the open water bouys will be back in. Their data will be accesable here

Lake effect is chilling us by 20+ degrees today with the nice east wind today.


Buckda posted 04-19-2005 05:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
That is some chilly water.
Buckda posted 04-21-2005 07:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
You said "retired early and said sr--w this, I"m buying me a WHaler (Nantucket) and going boating while I is to short."

Agreed. Since you're retired, take a day, drive up to Cleveland, enjoy lake Erie, the rock and roll hall of fame, etc. for a day. Then drive on to Chicago. Enjoy a show, take in walk along the waterfront. Enjoy an evening at Navy Pier. Then drive on to the Apostle Islands. Take a look-see at what you missed when working those 12 hour days. Then take a liesurely drive on to Grand Portage. Play a few hands of blackjack and support the local Native American population....then join us for a week of specatcular boating and great camraderie.

You said yourself, after you missed last year's trip that you wished you had made it. You can take the slow road back home...enjoy Michigan's upper peninsula and take in Mackinac Island, run back through Detroit and pass through Canada and see Toronto. Back through the border at Buffalo/Niagra and then down to home.

Unless you're Michael Jordan, you only get to retire once. Enjoy it, and don't pass on with regrets about what you wish you could have done while you were still able.

I'm not trying to pressure you, but I am trying to encourage you - if this is something you really want to do, putting it off only makes it harder to do next year.

dfmcintyre posted 05-02-2005 03:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
I just made my reservation at the Rock Harbor Lodge. We're staying some nights, but hopefully not all, at the lodge. They have two locations, either the lodge or a cabin. Both about the same distance from the harbor. Reserved from 08/27 through 09/02.

The lodge offers a basic plan, no food for $170/night and one with food (breakfast/dinner) for $276/night. The cabins are $165. Those prices include taxes and slip at the marina.

Kim Alexander is the Manager and has some Whaler stories of his own. He's currently in Kentucky (270-773-2191x119), and will be heading up to the island in about a week. I've emailed him the link to this thread, and asked that he look over the thread, and to post any other information he thought everyone should know about.

He's exited to meet all of us, and mentioned that he cannot remember a group made up of just one particular boat coming over in the 25 years that he's been on the island.


dfmcintyre posted 05-02-2005 03:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Ummm, make that excited, not exited....

'Course after meeting with us, he might want to exit....stage left.

Buckda posted 05-03-2005 07:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Don -
Great information, thanks for sharing.

Glad to have some information on the room rates as well, because I had a potential passenger who was not interested in sleeping aboard the boat, and may be interested in that as an option.

Do we know how many rooms are available, and how long they might be available before they book? Perhaps the gentleman you spoke with will log on and comment.


dfmcintyre posted 05-03-2005 07:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Dave (and others)

At this point, there _are_ rooms available (I don't know how many cabins are available or capacity. Some of you attendees might consider a group cabin....), as it's close to the end of their season.

I'd not wait too long though....


Yiddil posted 05-04-2005 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
Buckda, Your killing me buddy!! JUst Killing Me!!!! I've never made that kind of a trip towing "DasBoat", my Nantucket and I guess thats the scarry part for me...doing it alone...although I'm trying to talk others into this expedition! Email me back channel if you have a few moments...I have lots of questions about the trailering trip, were your all meeting, were your all staying overnites...etc.........

As for "Das Boat" shes in the water about 76 miles from my home ina slip....Ill be pulling her for the "WHalertowne Chestertown TeaParty"...crosssing the Chesapeake Bay from Sandy Point and up the chester river to Chestertown and back again that day.. milage is 76 one way...thats not the issue for me...but bad weather, rough seas plays havac on a operated spinal Im a bit leary about playing macho in rough water...What kind of water are we expecting usually up there??????knowing full well, the Nantucket can take it....Canvas issues are still pending ....I hav a Great Bow Dodger, and suntop, and have the connector canvas and still trying to attach them...maybe this month...Not looking to sleep on her though If I can help it...I know my lady dosnt want to do that..........Not being familiar with the water and spots up there, Im sure Id have to pull in and stay close to you or a group for the trip...another issue???So those are the issues Im looking at...Who knows, maybe I can work it out...but there all valid issues for a fair weather me.....send me some maps, info, courage and gas money:) thanks Henry AKA THE YIDDIL

Buckda posted 05-05-2005 12:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Henry -
Can't help with gas money...I'm blowing money right now on engine CPR. It needs 500 CC's of greenbacks STAT! Better stand CLEAR! otherwise it could impact other wallets as well.

..anyway.. you have mail.


Buckda posted 05-18-2005 07:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Yiddil - you should talk to Bulldog and arrange a caravan for the trip.

Your boats are about the same size and you could meet in PA.

Buckda posted 06-02-2005 07:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Now that summer is here, I wanted to bring this thread to the front again. We have 11 confirmed attendees and 3 or 4 on the fence. I'd like to kick this into overdrive and see if we can't hit a solid 15 attendees for this event.

I've developed a quick little powerpoint show to stimulate a little excitement in this trip, along with my contact information about where people can go to get additional information or confirm their intent to attend. If you have any Whaler buddies who are on the fence, let me know - I'll send you this little show as a tool to help charge them up about the trip (because of copyright laws, I've had to leave off the music).

This is going to be a GREAT trip and I hope you guys are as excited as I am about it.

Have a good early season - but save your best fun for Isle Royale!

Remember...Go North+Rendezvous.


Buckda posted 06-02-2005 07:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I just spoke to the former owner of Voyageur's Marina at the number listed above. Please don't call as it is his personal number. The marina is no longer in business as the band of indians that run the Casino has bought them out. Looks like we'll be staying at Grand Portage Marina when we get there. I have a call in to find out just how many slips they actually have, if rafting is allowed, and if there is a place where we can store our tow rigs.

As a plan "B", we could consider having any "overflow" capacity folks stay down in Grand Marias, if they were willing, and they could run up to Grand Portage on Sunday morning to meet the fleet for the departure. It would be a little extra boating for those folks, and require a bit of extra time on the way home as well, but should be "doable" as it is only 35 miles - the boats could leave early in the morning and refuel at Grand Portage, or we could rendezvous somewhere out in the lake on the way to the Island.

Also, we could put departures for some from the Michigan side back on the table.

Let's just see how much room they have at Grand Portage Marina first to see if the listing I saw earlier was correct - but I wanted to keep the group abreast of the latest developments.


David Pendleton posted 06-03-2005 12:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Dave, please send me the presentation.

Zip it up if you can, I'm still running ISDN here...

Buckda posted 06-03-2005 07:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I just got off the phone with the harbor master at Grand Portage Marina.

The basics:
Slip rate is $15 a night, regardless of size.
Launch fee is $7
Vehicle parking is $4 per night

The bad news:
There are 30 slips in this marina. They all belong to season renters and are only rented to transients when they have a vacancy for a night, but the contract holder has rights to the slip when they come back.

He thinks we can probably get space for about 4 boats on Saturday the 27th.

Voyageurs is still “open,” but it’s owned by them (Grand Portage Marina), and there is only room for 5 boats total…and they are currently rented, so it’s unlikely that it is a viable option for slippage.

This is not altogether unanticipated – we’re really getting far into the northwoods on this rendezvous, so we’re likely to stress any of the marina facilities that we descend upon en masse.

This really calls for some re-evaluation on logistics if all 11 boats descend on this little harbor.

There are, however, some options:
You could stay “on the hard” either in your boat or in the hotel at Grand Portage. It would be easy to put in on Sunday morning and just rally the group and go from there. Not the most pleasant opening to a boating rendezvous, but if you feel strongly that you should cross at Grand Portage, this is one way to accomplish that. Leaving from Grand Portage puts you at around 75 miles of boating for the day, but only about 22 miles or so in open water, and around 50 out to Rock Harbor around the lee (of prevailing winds) of Isle Royale.

Grand Marias has a smaller marina than Grand Portage, but they do have a break water wall that boats could moor to. This would require an additional 35 miles or so of boating, as mentioned previously. This would make about 50 miles in open water and 50 miles around the island for the day.

David Pendleton had mentioned crossing from Bayfield (Wisconsin). If there are others with larger boats and a longer range, perhaps you could consider crossing together (I think this is about 100 miles).

Others, including me, had mentioned thinking about leaving Houghton or Copper Harbor, Michigan for the crossing. This is an open water run of about 60 miles (from Houghton), and a 15 mile run along the island, for about 75-80 miles for the day.

Any/all of these crossings will require about 4-5 hours in the boat, and cover between 75-100 miles. The only difference will really be felt dependent on the weather.

That said, I’m back to considering crossing from Houghton or Copper Harbor. If we get up early and leave at dawn on Sunday morning, we should avoid any challenging water unless there is a front blowing in. Leaving after noon is not recommended from this location due to the prevailing winds out of the WNW.

If anyone else is thinking about reconsidering, please let me know and we can discuss offline. (It isn't a commitment yet...just a consideration).

Regards, and have a good weekend.

Dave - I'll send you that PPT show soon..I left it at home today and will have to send it via dialup this weekend.


Buckda posted 06-03-2005 07:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
reconsidering....departure point.

You're not allowed to reconsider attending the trip. :)


jechura posted 06-03-2005 08:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

I haven't considered anything but copper harbor. I estimate cross time at less than 2 1/2 fair seas. If their less than 2's, hour and a half in the old 22.


Buckda posted 06-03-2005 09:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Copy that Jerry, and thanks.

So I think it's fair to say that there will be at least two departure points for this trip - Copper Harbor and Grand Portage?

Based on responses from earlier, I was of the impression that the majority of attendees wanted to leave from the Minnesota shore.

Plotman posted 06-04-2005 10:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
A few thoughts:

Grand Marais: There isn't a huge amount of transient dockage at Grand Marais, but you should be able to get a good half dozen boats or so on the wall on the east side of the harbor, especially if some of the smaller ones raft off. It is too shallow for bigger boats, and as such is usually open. The little marina in the souteast corner of the harbor is private, and there is very limited transient dockage in the marina inside the inner beakwall. Every time I have ever been into Grand Marais on a sailboat we ended up tieing off to the inside of the eastern breakwall.

There is plenty of free parking adjacent to the wall on the east side of the harbor. This is also right in the heart of the "downtown" (must east at Sven and Ole's Pizza) of Grand Marais and withing a few minutes walk of the last decent grocery store you are going to come to heading up the shore.

If you are going to keep your boat on the hard saturday night and launch Sunday morning, I would definately stay in Grand Marais saturday night rather than at Grand Portage. You can park your rig where I mentioned above if you want to sleep on your boat, or there are a couple of decent motels right in town. There is also Nanibijou nearby if you want a real treat.

Here is a sattelite image of the harbor:

Weather: August is definately the calmest month of the year up here. For those looking to make a crossing from the Keewenau, you are going to have decent weather for an early morning crossing probably 9 out of 10 days - at least calm enough to make 15-20 through without beating yourself up too badly.. That said, I have seen some wicked August storms - last summer we had a day of 15 footers on the main lake - unusual for this time of year, but it happens.

Fog: The entire north shore is notorious for fog. Be prepared.

Help: The area is pretty isolated, but there is coverage. The USCG does man the station in Grand Marais in summer - they are called station NORTH SUPERIOR. Station Grand Marais is in Michigan, on the south shore near Whitefish Bay. There is also a station in near Houghton (Station Portage), and the Canadians operate out of Thunder Bay.

Plotman posted 06-05-2005 11:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Use this link to get to ariel photos of both grand marais and grand portage launch areas.
Plotman posted 06-05-2005 11:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
or arial
dfmcintyre posted 06-06-2005 06:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
or aerial...
Sammy posted 06-08-2005 07:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sammy  Send Email to Sammy     
Just a suggestion.....

On the trips we've made to IR there were always multiple boats (anywhere from 2 to 4). Our meeting point was the parking lot of the Grand Portage casino/hotel. We slept in the boat in the parking lot - others opted for a room at the hotel. There was plenty of room in the parking lot and the casino operators certainly didn't mind if we stayed on the boat in the lot. Breakfast in the morning at the casino - then less than 5 minutes to the ramp at the old Voyageurs Marina.

One other item...and Dave excuse me if you've covered this already...but I'd suggest breaking up the group leaving together from Grand Portage a bit when registering with the Park Service at Washington Harbor - rather than arriving and registering en masse. The year that we were in a group of four boats, the Park Service was not overly pleased when we told them we planned on traveling and docking each night as a group. They were concerned about overcrowding at our nightly docking points. Ultimately we were allowed to proceed - but it was clear the Park Service folks had their undies a little bunched up. It's interesteing that in previous and subsequent years two and three boats traveling together did not seem to bother them. I'd recommend against 4, 7, 9 (whatever the #) boats all arriving and registering as a group.

Our experience with four boats was no problem with availability of dock space (we rafted at two sites)and there was a 'lean to' available for those who wanted a camp site. It's a fantastic trip - and it sounds like all of you are doing a good job of bringing it together.

Sammy posted 06-08-2005 07:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sammy  Send Email to Sammy     
What I should have added about staying in Grand Portage:

The launch ramps are not...ah...congested. If the idea of getting a transient slip is to avoid a lengthy wait to launch on departure morning, rest a little easy there. Besides with several boats launching, everyone can help move the process along and it should go rather quick.

Plotman posted 06-08-2005 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
I just double checked, and you do not have to "check in" on the island if you stop at the Gunflint Ranger Station at the top of the hill just before you get to Grand Marais and buy your permit there. This is a Forest Service office who is "helping out" the NPS, and they are much more laid back. The office of open 6 to 6, 7 days a week. 218-387-1750. Those coming up from the Keewenau, can stop at park HQ in Houghton.

Sammy does give good advice about not advertising that we are part of a 10 boat "group". We are just individuals who might be in the same place at the same time...

Right now, my schedule looks like I will head out to the island Saturday morning (probably departing Grand Marais if the forecast is decent) and stay somewhere on the West End, get some fishing in Sunday morning and then meet up with the group for the run up to Rock Harbor, spend the night there, and then head home on Monday.


Buckda posted 06-09-2005 02:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Wow David - Those aerial shots from the MN DNR page are definitely worth 1,000 words. Grand Portage is a MUCH smaller facility than I had in my mind's eye earlier this year. It also appears that parking won't be much of an issue - with that HUGE dirt parking lot off to one side. The suggestion of sleeping aboard "on the hard" on Saturday night is a good one so that we can all still leave from the same port together.

Jerry, give me an e-mail sometime and we can chat about your plans to leave from the Michigan side - were you thinking Copper Harbor or Houghton?

Thanks guys. The planning continues...


Plotman posted 06-09-2005 03:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
One other thing to remember - do NOT count on any cell phone service once you are north of Two Harbors. It is very spotty on the north shore. Grand Marais works for some carriers, but that is really the only place. Grand portage more than likely has none.
Plotman posted 06-16-2005 05:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Just for Fun -

Open water surface temperature:

Lake Superior:

Lake Michigan:

Lake Hiron:

Hal Watkins posted 06-19-2005 11:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
What a beautiful weekend in MN. It's aboot time we started getting some mid 80's in Duluth. If anyone cruises out to Isle Royale, I would be curious as to the price of gas on the Isle?
David Pendleton posted 06-21-2005 12:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I'm nearly certain I will be departing from Grand Marais, MN.

According to the DNR, they have two ramps and parking for 40 Trucks and trailers.

The drive time for me is only slightly longer than Bayfield, it also means two hours less in the middle of the lake, and more importantly--more gas in the tank when I get to the island.

banff22 posted 07-04-2005 02:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
A long way up in this thread Buckda gave the below quote of some advice Don McIntyre gave to me.

Cut cheezecloth into long strips, 4-6" by 8'. Enough strips to stuff along the perimeter of the canvas, where it meets the gunnels. Place the strips into a plastic bag and spray them with some sort of mosquito killer or repellant, and let them "age" for 15-30 minutes. Stuff said "loaded" strips into the gaps and wash hands (or you'll end up rubbing your eyes with the stuff. It was a cognative learning experience....). If you have not yet camped up in the GB region, it's best to do this no later than one hour prior to sunset. Otherwise the next morning, after killing a whole bunch of mosquitos that have already feasted during the evening, the inside of your canvas looks two blind people had a knife fight.

I just spent 4 nights aboard my Outrage 22' with my two boys in the Britt and Bustard Islands area of North Georgian Bay. And I have discovered Mr. McIntyre to be a very wise man. It worked great !!

One spot I discovered the first night. Where the tubing for the fly top enters to the inside at the forward roof line there is a very large gap. Be sure you you don't miss this I did.

All the best

dfmcintyre posted 07-04-2005 08:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Peter -

Hey, glad it worked!

You going back up there again this summer, or over to the North Channel?

How did the battery system for the kids work?


banff22 posted 07-05-2005 12:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
Hi Don,
You're kidding right? I left the boat at it's summer home...Britt. I'll be there every weekend or week. It's now home port and an average 3 hour drive. We were having so much fun we barely made it to the Bustards for a night let alone Killarney and beyond the first time out. The Honda EU1000 worked perfectly... and quietly, everything I hoped for. Now... packing a 22 for 4 to live aboard needs some more experimenting with weight & balance & CG but it will all work out.

Kids were a little PO'd every night when I woke them up to listen to their first whip-or-will but toooo bad!:)

So to answer part of your question, yes I will be there, Killarney, Little Current and North Channel all summer and plan to stop in at Northernaire. Apparently Peter J. is off to someplace else this summer?


Buckda posted 07-07-2005 11:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Has anyone also tried burning citronella in the boat while at anchor under the canvas? I'm wondering if that wouldn't help stave off the insects...I'm considering Don's idea, but also considering using a mosquito tent for the forward shelter while I'm sleeping, and just burning a citronella candle placed on the floor in front of the console. I realize that the Mills Canvas is not impervious to insect invasion, but really am more interested in keeping them out of where I'm sleeping, rather than completely out of the boat, as sealing the canvas at the stern is nearly impossible.

That said, I've noticed that the insects haven't been very bad yet this summer, probably because it has been so dry in the Midwest. A week at fish camp in Northern Ontario only resulted in two insect bites, and I've just returned from a long weekend in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with no insect bites either.

Crossing my fingers...


WSTEFFENS posted 07-07-2005 08:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     

I don't know about the candle, however when at anchor in the NC, I use a mosketo ring burner on a upside down coffee can. Burns all night, and makes up for the fact that the back drop curtain can not be sealed. I also use a mosketo screen on the cabin door. Held in place by velco. Works for me on the 25.

DFM has a good solution if you can button down tight!



Plotman posted 07-07-2005 10:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     

Whatever drought you guys had in Chicago missed us. We had a very WET spring/early summer. Mosquitoes haven't been bad, though. Maybe cold weather got them. Just paid a $300 gas bill for MAY!

I think I'm heading up to IR weekend after next - I'll try to post some pictures.


home Aside posted 07-09-2005 03:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I had a bad experience burning citronela candles in an enclosed area, we were at a lodge and a lot of the windows didn't have screens, so we closed them and only had a couple for ventilation.... anyway citronela minus lack of ventilation equals, nausea, headache, and in some cases retching. It hit me pretty hard.....and I usualy don't get sick easily....Just some thoughts


Buckda posted 07-10-2005 06:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Thanks for that Pat...I just picked up my cheesecloth to follow DFM's suggestions....but I also want to get some mosquito netting to drape under the shelter to cover me when sleeping....

Perhaps Citronella would be more appropriate for an open boat in the evening when star-gazing....could have used that last night...


home Aside posted 07-10-2005 09:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Another of my favorite methods is a cold beer or Scotch on the rocks while enjoying a good Cuban, Dominican, or Nicaraquan Cigar...if your into a good cigar they also work great keeping Mosquitos away while sitting dockside....but never smoke in bed especially while sleeping on your whaler...


Buckda posted 07-12-2005 06:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Hi everyone!

We’re getting close to the Isle Royale trip, and I wanted to just send you all a quick note to update you on where we stand.

Right now, it looks like nearly everyone wishes to depart on Sunday, August 28 from Grand Portage, MN. The challenge with this location, as you will see in the thread, is that there is not going to be enough slip space of all of the boats the night of Saturday, August 27. That said, there is PLENTY of parking for our rigs. Please plan accordingly for either alternate accommodations on Saturday night, or if sleeping aboard your boat, plan to sleep aboard while “on the hard” in the parking lot in case there are no slips available.

It’s time I heard from you! I have a few things that I’m planning to do on your behalf, and your cooperation will help greatly.

I’d like to put together a list of attendees with some basic information that I will leave with a responsible individual. The purpose of this list is so that if I do not check in with them, they will begin to call the list. If there is no response, they can then take action to notify the appropriate authorities and your family members in case there is a problem. What I’ll need from you:
1.) boat Information, including length, engine and state registration numbers
2.) your home “port”
3.) a cell phone number for YOU while you’re up there
4.) an alternative contact number and emergency contact

This will help us in many possible circumstances, including the possibility that one of the group becomes ill and we need to speak with someone who knows you well and can speak on your behalf.

Please reconfirm your travel plans (I’ll ask for this one additional time the week before we leave and distribute to everyone so we know when people plan to arrive). Not specifics…but simple things such as: “I plan to overnight August 27th in Duluth and drive to Grand Portage on Sunday morning,” or “I will not arrive until noon on Sunday, August 28th. Please ask that at least one other boat waits for me to depart to the island.”

We have at least one member who wishes to depart from Copper Harbor, Michigan. If you are interested in this option, please let me know so we can coordinate that group.

We need to decide on a rendezvous point and time, as well as a radio frequency so that we can make sure everyone makes it safely, especially since part of the group will be arriving from the Michigan side.

My vote: we plan to rally at Rock Harbor by 5:00 PM on Sunday afternoon and we agree on a VHF frequency to start the trip (like channel 68). We can always switch frequencies once we’re there if the frequency is crowded (unlikely!). It is a 77 mile day, minimum, for both groups, so please plan accordingly for your travels, once we’ve decided.

On Sunday night at Rock Harbor, I propose a general captain’s meeting. Nothing formal, but just a meeting with the purpose of setting the stage for the week. I know that some of you plan to stay near the harbor/lodge in order to stay overnight most nights there. Others have stated that they wish to do some camping. Still others want to simply explore the island mainly via water. I know I will want to do some exploring inland one afternoon (at least) and do some fishing in the inland lakes…but I want to generally access the island from my boat.

At this meeting we can really hammer out what the week will look like: we’ll have a pretty good idea of the weather forecast, and we can generally set expectations, and make decisions about where we’ll be going when, and with whom.

The word of the week for the trip is flexibility – let’s have fun and relax – we’ll all be on vacation!

Looking forward to hearing back from you.


Cicada posted 07-13-2005 11:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

I'll send you the info shortly.

Rock Harbor at 5 sounds good to me. Do you think we'll be going to the island en masse or in some separate groups? I realize some would like to depart from the Houghton area but was wondering about the group from Grand Portage. How many boats are commited anyway?

Curious as to wether we can access some real time weather information at either the Ranger Station or the Lodge? May come in handy.

I hope the Northern Lights cooperate for this trip. I think they can be really nice up there.


Plotman posted 07-13-2005 11:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Real time weather from Passage Island light, about 5 miles from Rock Harbor .

I'll be up there this weekend, and will try to post some pics.

Buckda posted 07-14-2005 04:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Good suggestion, re: to trickle-in registrations. Here is more information about the registration process:

I recommend those arriving earlier in the day on Saturday, August 27 to make that a critical stop on your way into your departure port (either stop at the ranger station in Grand Marias on the way to Grand Portage, MN, or stop at Houghton on the way to Copper Harbor, MI). The remaining can register on the island….but the advice of not all doing it at once seems sound.

We will need 9 days of clearance (August 28 – September 5), so the park usage fee (at $4 per person/day) comes out to $36 USD per person. (This on top of whatever you contribute in Federal taxes each year.) You may also incur dockage fees (I’m not sure about this, as the Web literature is not clear – it looks like a first-come, first-served basis): And most certainly will incur fuel costs on the island. If you choose to anchor out (which is encouraged) it counts as camping. It is unclear if there is an additional fee or if “camping” is covered in the daily useage fee. But you will need a camping permit:
“All campers and boaters are required to obtain a camping permit on the Ranger III vessel or at Rock Harbor or Windigo upon arrival. When leaving the park, return the permit, with itinerary corrections noted.” – From: [url][/url]… it looks like camping permits are much like parking permits…no guaranteed space, just a license to hunt for a space….

Anyone who is thinking of crossing to Thunder Bay, Ontario; please note that you will have to cross customs twice on the return – once at Rock Harbor (only good for the park) and again at Grand Marias. Failure to report your crossing can result in forfeiture of your boat. (Ouch!)

We are holding steady at 10 members who plan to do the entire trip, and one who will join us for part of the trip. Please let me know if you are truthfully considering this trip and have not yet responded so we can include you in planning and communications.

Here is the breakdown of boats:
25’ Revenge (x2) (WI and OH registration)
24’ Outrage post classic (MI)
23’ Conquest post classic (MN)
22’ Outrage (x2) (MN and OH)
21’ Outrage (MI)
18’ Outrage (x2) (MI and IL)
17’ Montauk (MI)
150 Sport [I]post classic[I] (MN)

209 feet of Boston Whaler hull!

My question is – where is the Wisconsin contingent? So close, and only one member?!

So far, it looks like 9 boats will depart from MN and 2 from Copper Harbor, MI.

Buckda posted 07-14-2005 04:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     

Hal has a 15' SuperSport.

My apologies Hal....

Buckda posted 07-14-2005 04:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Sorry for the triple post...but I found this in my inbox this afternoon and found it interesting reading, and especially pertinent to this trip:
Plotman posted 07-14-2005 05:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Dockage outside the Rock Harbor Marina is free and first-come first-served, as are shelters and campsites. At some of the docks there are specified times that space has to be cleared for the ferries. At docks, people staying in the nearby shelters have first supposedly have first priority on dock space over those sleeping on boats, but I haven't seen anyone get booted.

Folks are pretty accomidating about tying off stern to, rafting, etc. While I think of it, bring good, large fenders. Most docks are timber cribs filled with stone, with wood decking on top. I have some of the taylor made ball fenders on order for use up on IR and when I'm in the apostles.

Things are very spendy on the Island - this is a combination of high transportation costs, the "the only game in town" factor and the fact that a 24% "utility surcharge" is tacked on to everything (This goes to the NPS). At Rock Harbor, dockage is $1.25/foot. Gas is $3.85 gallon. Meals at the lodge are fixed-price affairs. Dinner = $27, Lunch = $15, Breakfast = $12.


Buckda posted 07-14-2005 05:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David -

Great information, and thanks.

Is gas a fixed-for-the-summer price, or does it vary based on prices paid on the mainland?

Looks like I'll have VERY full coolers. Dinner better be good on Sunday....


jechura posted 07-14-2005 06:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     
Wow !

At 3.85 a gal., my 15 hp. Yamaha kicker will definitely earn its keep on this trip.


Plotman posted 07-14-2005 10:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
I think the price changes based on what they pay for it in Michigan. I also was told it is a little cheaper in Windigo.

I just went out and got a pair of 12 gallon Tempo tanks that will fit under my leaning post. I figure at a savings of $1.70 per gallon (between my local gas station and Rock Harbor), they will have more than paid for themselves by the third trip I use them to avoid buying gas on the Island.

Requests for any specific info/pictures before I go? I leave after dinner tomorrow...


Plotman posted 07-20-2005 02:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Had a great trip up to Isle Royale with my 8 y.o. son over the weekend. We had originally planned to put in at Grand Portage, but changed plans on the spur of the moment while gassing up in Grand Marais and put in at the excellent launch next to the Coast Guard station. The lake was as calm as I have ever seen it - all the way up to Rock of Ages I could see salmon surfacing around us. On the way home on Sunday, I really wished I had put in at Grand Portage instead, as we had 50+ miles of open water to cross with a confused & building sea off the bow instead of 15 miles unprotected with seas that would have been aft of the beam if we had stuck with our original plan. The waves were very close together - mostly in the 2 foot range, but occasional trains of waves that had to be pushing twice that - so the most comfortable ride was at about 30mph which let me mostly stay on top, but you had to watch out for the big ones and be prepared to turn closer to parallel to them or I would launch the boat fully out of the water. Thank god my son thought the ride was cool. My wife would not have. The weather was fabulous. I put over 200 miles on the boat and never wore more than a T-shirt. Water temperatures topping 70 had folks talking.

The biggest surprise of the weekend was how few people/boats we saw. I never saw a dock that was full, and the only place where all the shelters were full was Beaver (almost within sight of Windigo) and the single shelter Birch Isle at McCargo cove. Everywhere else ranged from completely empty (0/6 at both McCargo and Belle Isle) to maybe 1/3 full. We spent the night at the Rock Harbor Lodge - I was able to call Tuesday and have my choice of rooms for Saturday night. A grand total of 7 transient boats spend the night in the Marina. I found this all astounding for a Saturday night in July, but the Rangers I talked to said that they thought gas prices were keeping boaters off the lake, though there are still a "normal" number of hikers on the island, and campsites that have trail access were probably not as empty.

On our way up on Saturday, we checked out the camping on the west end of the island, stopped in at Windigo for a quick look around, and then headed up the South Shore of the island. Once you pass Grace Island, it is 20 miles to the first place you can find shelter if you need it. We went a little farther and nosed into Hay Bay. Very pretty, but no shelters and only 1 tent site, probably best for boats that are self sufficient at anchor, and then stopped at Wright Island. There is a new dock (day use only) and the park service plans to preserve the old homestead as a cultural attraction. For now, it is an interesting stop to see how simply the fisherman lived. From there we buzzed out to get a close up look at Menagerie Island light (It was calm enough that we probably could have found a way to land and explore the island, but we didn't try) and then stopped at the Edisen Fishery and Rock Harbor Light (see below). On our last, short leg up to Rock Harbor for the night, we slowed down and checked out a few Docks/Campsites from the water, but didn't get out to inspect more closely.

Sunday morning, we got an early start (well, early for us on central time, as a part of Michigan the park runs on Eastern time, not that this matters outside of Rock Harbor or Windigo) and cruised around to the dock at the end of the Lookout Louise trail, where we ate breakfast before the hike. This is a must do. From there we ran the few miles to passage island, and made another hike to the lighthouse. Then down to check out Belle Isle, and down to McCargo cove, where we took yet another hike to visit the Minong Mine. McCargo is gorgeous, a narrow, deep 2 mile long inlet where the Brits hid a 90 ton ship during the war of 1812. From there, it was the 80-odd miles back to Grand Marais. (Grand Portage would have been 45).

In the end, we traveled 214 miles and burned about 90 gallons of gas. I started out with a fell belly tank and carried 2 12-gallon tempos under the leaning post. I added 20 gallons in Rock Harbor ($73) which in the end I didn't need to get home, but would have been too close to empty for comfort without it. There is no reliable cell phone coverage on the island, and the radio-phone available at Rock Harbor is $5 per call plus something like a buck a minute. I have heard stories of folks using external cell antennas or a garbage can lid (I'm not kidding) to hit towers in Thunder Bay, but I wouldn't count on it. I have a GSM phone, and the last place I had a signal was Two Harbors.

Places to Stay:
Rock Harbor Marina:
The marina in Rock Harbor is quite nice, with 7 or 8 ~40-60 foot finger piers (mostly steel and concrete - all in good shape) arranged in a curve at the base of a bay. Also in the bay are large docks for the ferries, as well as a gas dock and piers for the concessionaire's and NPS boats. There is the Lodge (think 1960 dorm rooms, clean, but tired. Maybe Motel 6 with cinderblock walls.) The view is killer, and the first floor units have a balcony right on the water. Housekeeping cabins are up in the woods, and nice by park service standards. They are actually close to the Docks on the Tobin side. The restaurant provided a good, but expensive meal (fixed price, all inclusive with 5 or 6 choices of entrée. I had locally caught fish, which was excellent. Dinner includes Soup or Salad, rolls, and Dessert for $27 plus tip and adult beverages.) There is also a sandwich shop type place adjacent to it. Similar "only game in town" prices. Bathrooms but no showers I saw at the marina.

There are also quite a number of docks with camping in the greater Rock Harbor area. Tookers (2 shelters), Caribou (2) and Merit Lane (1) are boaters only, while the much larger Daisy Farm (16) and Three Mile (8) have trail access so will likely also have Hikers staying there.

Tobin Harbor NPS docks: These docks are ~ 4 miles from the marina by water, around Scoville point and into Tobin bay, and aren't marked on the map, but really just on the backside of the peninsula that separates rock harbor from Tobin harbor, and probably a 3 minute walk from the marina office. The local area map calls these the seaplane docks, but in addition to the seaplane dock, there are docks for the small motor boats and canoes that the concessionaire keeps over here for rental, as well as 4 ~30 foot long docks that I understand are like other NPS docks in the park an available free on a first come first serve basis for overnight use. Since it cost me $28 to keep my boat 1 night in the Marina, the extra walk would have been worth it. Because of the way the geology on the island works, slopes on the north side of the islands tend to be very steep, while they are more gradual on the south side. Because of this, there is really no space on shore adjacent to these docks, but they would be fine for sleeping on board. The campsites are a couple hundred yards away - past the marina office - and they are usually full of backpackers waiting for ferries out or who are getting ready to head into the backcountry.

Belle Isle: This would make a great base for the group for a couple of days to explore the north end of the island. There is a 5 night limit here, versus a 3 night limit at any of the other NPS docks. I've got a bunch of pictures of this area on my photobucket album. (Album name Plotman). This will be my first choice as a place to stay when I come back here. There is a T-shaped dock with probably 60 feet on the face, 12-15 feet on the ends, and room on the inside for a boat or two in the Montauk/18 size range. On shore are 6 shelters and a picnic pavilion. There is also a beach (sand/ pebble) that would be a good place for overflow boats if the dock fills up. 2 of the shelters and the pavilion are very close to the beach, the other 4 are 75 yards or so back in the woods. There is a volunteer campground host living here for the summer, who is very eager to tell visitors about the history of the resort that was once on the island. About 5 miles toward Windigo is McCargo Bay. Watch out for the entrance shoals - you have to zigzag around the buoys marking them, but don't get confused and go between them. Just inside the entrance is a small dock with a single shelter and a tent site that would also be a great spot for a smaller group. This harbor is completely protected from any wind. There are good spots to anchor/tie up other boats nearby. There is a campground with a dock and 6 shelters down at the bottom of McCargo, but it is 2 miles of no wake to get there, and the shelters have trail access and often have hikers. A mile in from this dock are the historic Minong mine - now mostly just spoil piles and old pits and a few artifacts, but cool when you think Indians were mining copper here thousands of years ago.

Windigo: Other than needing to go in there for gas or paperwork, I wouldn't bother going all the way into Windigo, unless you are a lighthouse buff and want to see the huge Fresnel lens that was taken out of the Rock of Ages light and installed here. There is a dock on Grace island and a couple shelters that IMHO would be preferable to staying in Windigo. There is a cool wreck - the steamer America - who's bow lies just 4 feet below the surface between the main island and Thompson Island in the North Gap. Marked by a white buoy. Eerie to see it just below the surface in the clear water. There is a dock and a couple of shelters on Grace island, that aren't bad. Other than this, the nearest places to spend the night are 22 miles up the north shore to Todd Harbor or 25 miles around the south shore to Hay Bay.

Things to see - certainly far from exhaustive, but a few places to not miss.
Edisen Fishery/Rock Harbor Light:
You can't overnight here, but a must see. The homestead of a couple that fished the island from ~1916 till the early 70s. There is a park person who runs a demonstration fishery (fish are eaten in the Lodge) and tells you all about the place. He's there all the time, but "on duty" till 5pm Wed thru Sunday. Make the walk about 200 yards across the point to the Rock Harbor light. You can go up the tower the gallery for a great view, and downstairs in the keeper's house are some really cool displays on the island shipwrecks. Look for the wooden grave marker on the right side of the trail as you walk towards the light.

Passage Island Light: Passage island is off the Northeast tip of the island, and there is a natural harbor with a dock on the SE side of the island. A mile long trail takes you to the lighthouse grounds. You can't get in the buildings yet (they are in the process of doing lead abatement and restoring them), but a cool site and a nice walk. I left the camera in the boat, but there are write-ups and pictures of all the lights on the lake here .

Lookout Louise: A mile hike in and about 375 feet of elevation, but spectacular views of the North side of the island. The dock is in Tobin Harbor, a bit east and on the opposite shore from the seaplane docks. Plenty of water at the dock itself, but be very careful coming between the little islands 50 yards offshore of the dock as the water is very shallow between them. I tilted my engines almost all the way up and coasted over in neutral. After you leave the dock, you travel along the shore for about 100 or 150 yards until you come to a small bridge that crossed the outlet from Hidden lake. If you go early in the morning and are very quiet as you approach, there is a decent chance you will see moose feeding in Hidden lake. Soon after the bridge, the trail then turns inland, following the shore of the lake until you start to climb. At 0.9 miles you reach a trail junction, and follow the sign the last couple hundred yards to the lookout.


Buckda posted 07-20-2005 05:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David -

Thanks for that report! Looks like you had outstanding weather when you were on the island - great photos!

Just so you know, you have officially caused my mouth to water about this trip..One month, one and a half weeks to go...I hope it goes fast....


Plotman posted 07-21-2005 02:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
There have been some comments in the past and I have received a couple emails since my post questioning whether the NPS management at Isle Royale is "anti-boater". The short answer is not from my perspective. I think that much of this concern stems from some initial proposals that came out in the late 90s as the park developed it's new General Management Plan, or GMP. At the time there were some proposals that recommended banning motorized boats in certain parts of the park and removing beloved docks because backcountry hiker objected to boaters with booze, generators and TV at their backcountry campsites, as well as the perception that maintenance was being deliberately ignored on docks and that permitting requirements were deliberately made onerous for boaters. In the end, the plan was modified to provide some more separation of boaters and hikers, but there were no waters closed to motor boats, and permitting procedures were modified, including the ability to handle paperwork at the Grand Marais station or over the internet for season pass holders.

My latest visit showed that there has been a lot of work done in recent years on fixing up docks, the permit process was relatively painless, and in no way did I feel hassled by the rangers. And as a past avid backpacker, I can completely appreciate not wanting to commingle with the floating equivalent of a KOA campground, or have to listen to someone's generator all night. The GMP calls for some docks and shelters to be moved from mainland locations to offshore islands where boaters won't mix with hikers, but I don't think much has been done here.

The biggest change versus past years is the establishment of several no wake zones. In the zones, the rules state that you must either adhere to a 5 mph speed limit or not make a wake greater than the prevailing sea condition in that area. In other words, if the winds are kicking up 2 footers in a particular no wake zone, you can make a 2 foot wake. I didn’t find the no-wake rules particularly onerous. They exist in certain protected areas that are popular with canoeists and Kayakers, and in areas where loons are known to nest.

The only thing that seemed "anti-boater" to me were the fuel prices. Make no mistake about this, the high prices are driven by NPS policies, not by any gouging on the part of the concessionaire. NPS charges a transportation fee of close to $0.90 a gallon to bring the gas out to the island, which is derived not only of the labor and fuel required to barge gas out to the island, but also by taking a fraction of the maintenance costs of the tug and barge that brings the gas over from Houghton. The fact that this tug and barge would be required to being fuel over for the generators that provide power to Windigo, Rock Harbor and Mott Island (where most of the park workers live) and that the tug is also used principally to move the maintenance barge that is used to fix and maintain docks and transport materials for shelters, etc doesn't seem to matter. So, in essence, boaters are subsidizing the transportation of the gas used by the rangers and of the heavy equipment used to operate and maintain. On top of this, the boater pays the same 24% utility surcharge (another 55c/gal) that is tacked on to everything else on the island to pay for the high price of providing electric, water and sewer service on the island.

Cicada posted 07-21-2005 06:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

Nice narrative, pictures and information. I'm also getting a little geeked up about this trip.

I was at EMS yesterday and was waited on by a gentleman that will be hiking up there the same time we're up there. He mentioned how they were pretty serious about the no open alcohol at some areas on the island. Seems that people from Canada and Minnesota were using the island as a party place for awhile and that it did cause some conflicts. He also mentioned something about bringing a few extra cans of beer in case we saw some bedraggled hikers and not to be too tough on the negotiations.

Picked up one of the National Geographic maps for the island. A little more graphic with the interior of the island than the nautical charts and waterproof.

Looking forward to the trip.


Buckda posted 07-21-2005 09:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Been doing some financial calculations on this does $150 for the week in groceries sound? That is not including ice bought every two days at one of the marinas....

Showers are $3.

I figure I'll pay about $20 in tolls and $150 in gas for the truck each way (@2.40/gal)

With prices for fuel on the island at $3.80 or so, I fifure about $100 per day or maybe a tad more, after refueling from the trip across (between $150 and $200 depending on conditions and fuel usage)....

Sound about right??

David Pendleton posted 07-21-2005 10:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
You didn't happen to record coordinates for any of these places did you?

I can get them from my charts, I know. Just wondering.

Also, did you notice if the marinas sell block ice?

Plotman posted 07-22-2005 12:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Dave P - yes. Email me your snail mail address. I have something I think you will find useful. Dave B, you too. You guys can distribute extra copies to the attendees.

Bonnie Dahl's book also has GPS coordinates.

I would also strongly suggest having a way to keep a paper chart at hand while travelling. I found it better at keeping me aprised of rocks I din't want to hit than my C-Map cartridge. There are definately some sneaky ones, way out away from everything where you wouldn't ever expect them, and in many cases 50 yards from water that is 150 feet deep. It was way weird to be 200 yards off shore and having the sonar come back with "no echo".


Chesapeake posted 07-22-2005 12:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Wow. What an awesome trip. I am most jealous. I only just became an Outrage 19 owner and unfortunately, she is sitting in New Jersey, instead of Chicago.

If you've not been to Isle Royale, you will find it amazing. Bring very good hiking boots. Was there five years ago with my father in law for a four day hike. Plenty of fox and moose - no wolves. Apparently, they hide pretty well.

Hope you all have a spectacular time.

By the way, I understood that the Ferry from Michigan will transport up to 17 foot boats if a Montauk was concerned about making the crossing in Superior.


Bob Weiland "Chesapeake"

Plotman posted 07-22-2005 02:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Kayaks and Canoes only as deck cargo on the ferries, no Motorboats.
whalersailer posted 07-22-2005 02:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersailer  Send Email to whalersailer     

It looks like the Ranger III will take up to a 20' motorboat:

However, based on the transport fees ($260 round trip + people), and the fact that the transported boat can only have 1/4 full tanks, I think it would be a pretty spendy proposition.

With the weather we have been having this summer, it sounds like you all will have a great time up there!


Chesapeake posted 07-22-2005 03:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Whalersailor - Yes, if that is the boat that goes out of Houghton, MI that is the boat that also takes motor boats. Was surprised to see the price and increased size limit (20 ft)...

When I traveled, the max limit was something like 17 foot and the cost was only $50 each way. Looks like they've increased the limit which is great if you have an Outrage. The pricing would seem to suck if you had a Montauk, which would be a great way to explore that island. as I recall, the island is 40 miles long and 6 or 7 miles wide, so if you want to see it all, you need a boat.

Never got to look at the gas limit, but there was a pump to buy gas at the harbor where they unloaded the boats.

Interestingly, the US Fish and Wildlife had three Bertrams up there. Two of them were very classic old 31s. You will like seeing them.

Plotman posted 07-22-2005 04:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
I stand corrected - that is pretty cool. A whaler up through a montauk is $80 each way. Only issue is Tuesday and Fridays up, Wednesday and Saturday back.
David Pendleton posted 07-22-2005 05:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I'm puzzled...

Let's say, you did want to bring your Montauk over on the Ferry. I'm assuming they don't allow private vehicles on the Island.

Would you leave it on it's trailer?
Put it right on the deck?
How would you launch and retrieve it?
What would they do with the empty trailer on the ride back?

Very puzzling, indeed.

Buckda posted 07-22-2005 06:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David -

Picture a Montauk as a dingy or lifeboat....that's the idea. They lift it off the trailer and place it on a cradle on the deck..then reverse the procedure at the island, placing the boat in the water.

David Pendleton posted 07-22-2005 10:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
That's astounding to me! I'm amazed that they (the NPS) would go thorough such trouble to haul a powerboat up to IR.

My boat's way too big, obviously, but I like the fact that they offer this service.

Getting there is 2/3 the fun.

Cicada posted 07-23-2005 12:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
When I spoke to Kim Alexander from the Rock Harbor Lodge earlier this year he was telling me they also run a water taxi service as well as some charters. From what I recall they have slings at both ends of the trip. I believe they ship their boats across this way. Four whalers on the fore deck would make an interesting picture but it wouldn't be much fun.

Has anyone committed to going across from Houghton?

Suzanne and I had talked about doing a trip to Isle Royale for about two years prior to this coming up on the forum. We were thinking about going across on the Ranger and had no idea that we would end up making the trip in the Whaler. Can't think of a better way to go.

What's the accepted pronounciation of Isle Royale? I've always called it Roy-ul but a number of people insist its pronounced as in the French. Maybe its just a midwestern or Mi-shi-gun thing. A little trivia but curious.


Buckda posted 07-23-2005 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I've always pronounced it with the "French" pronunciation.

We have one member who is "determined" to leave from Copper Harbor, and another that will "probably" go with him.

Let me know if you're thinking about making it a third boat from this launch point.


Plotman posted 07-24-2005 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Local pronounciation is definately NOT french. "eye-uhl roy-uhl". Grand Portage is the same way.

No different that Des Moines, Joliett or the Des Plaines river.

Grand Marais, on the other hand, is Grand mar-ay (but you still say grand the american way. Go figure.

Plotman posted 07-25-2005 01:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Something to think about for anyone planning on making the crossing from Houghton -- yesterday was the second Sunday in a row when the ride home on lake Superior turned into a pain in the butt when the winds in the afternoon kicked up significantly above the forecast.

We crossed mid-morning from the North Shore and made the 25 mile crossing to the Apostle Islands for a day of beaches and lighthouses. Forecast was for 5-10 kts out of the south and calm to 2, building to 10-15 out of the west with 1-3 for footers. Nothing in the forecast or on the radar that would stop me from making the crossing. This crossing from the north shore is my preferred MO to visit the apostles as I have a 45 minute crossing after putting in 45 minutes from the house. I can also put in in Bayfield 90 minutes from the house and have perhaps a 30 minute run to the beaches we like, but it is all sheltered if I go that route.

It was a gorgeous day, and we had a blast. Unfortunately, the forecasters missed the afternoon build by an order of magnitude, and by the time we headed back across the lake the winds -- according to the data NOAA recorded at two nearby lighthouses and posted on the web -- had built to the upper 20s. We had spent the latter part of the afternoon on a beach on the downwind side of an island and while I had expected the wind to build as the afternoon wore on, lets just say I was a bit surprised when I found solid 3 footers with the occasional 4 when I poked my nose out beyond the shelter of the islands. Nothing dangerous, but I had to keep the speed down in the 15-18 mph range to keep from knocking my fillings out and occasionally popping the lower units free. This made what would normally be a 45 minute crossing closer to double that.

The other interesting phenomenon was that as the winds kicked up and mixed up the lake, the surface water temp dropped markedly. Temps on the fishfinder were ~68 on the way over in the morning, but down into the 50s on the way back. Fortunately the air stayed warm and the occasional spray felt good.

I mention this really as a reminder for those planning to make the long crossing to at a minimum to leave right at dawn, and to make sure that you have the fuel capacity to make the crossing at a very uneconomical "plowing" speed if necessary.

You may have a little more of this sort of thing when the group heads up to the

This is an interesting article on the impact or warm temperatures on fall weather . Here is a map on surface temps. . By the same author a two part article on an august trip up north - interesting I think for the desription of the seiches and number of days they stayed in port due to the weather.

Buckda posted 07-25-2005 02:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David -

Thanks for that.

I've also made the recommendation that the crossing from Copper Harbor begin before dawn - preferably while it's still very dark out in hopes of beating any wind that might kick up. This part of the crossing is easy: if the wind is hauling that early in the morning, it would be easy to jump in the truck and haul the boat around to Grand Portage by noon. In this case, you have the benefit of flexibility in location to make a good call.

The bigger concern in my mind is the return trip, likely to take place later in the day, and working on folks who are trying to fit the trip into a predetermined timeframe (i.e.: We have to go because I have to be at work, or some other faulty logic).

I've spoken to the folks who want to cross from Michigan and they understand this, and are prepared to make alternate arrangements (i.e., hang out on the island for longer if necessary) to avoid a dangerous situation.

The other benefit is that the seas on a return trip would be largely following, meaning that they'd have to be running larger than 4 feet to make it a really challenging crossing.

I agree, even 20 miles into 4 footers is no fun, and fuel burn can triple in rough conditions, meaning that half-tank of fuel needed to cross on smooth water might take one and a half tanks on a rough day.

David Pendleton posted 07-25-2005 03:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
So, did we pick the wrong dates?

This summer's certainly been warmer than normal...

Plotman posted 07-25-2005 05:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
No, I don't think we necessarily picked the wrong time, it's just that the later you go in the summer/fall, the liklihood of less pleasant weather increases slightly. There really isn't that much of a difference between July and August, and September averages, which are higher, are probably influenced by the end of the month as the air really begins to cool off and the air/water differential really begins to increase.

But for giggles, here is some summary data of 20 yr averages at Rock of Ages, Passagae Island, and the data buoy 20 miles east of Isle Royale. In these plots, the red bars represent 1SD above and below the long-term average for the month. What this means in english is that the readings are inside the red bars 2/3 of the time, above 1/6 and below 1/6.

Rock of Ages - Off SW end of Island. Remember the anemometer here is something like 120 feet in the air, and often reads higher than the surface winds.
Wind Speed:

Passage Island - 3 miles off NE tip of Isle Royale.
Wind Speed:

Buoy 45001
Wind Speed:
Wave Height:

Cicada posted 07-26-2005 12:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

What's you're experience been with prevailing winds and wind directions that time of year? Any particular direction that may be of concern? (The southern end of Lake Huron gets particularly nasty with the NNE blows.)


I was considering Houghton as an option. The thing I find attractive is that the Ranger is an option for shipping the boat if weather conditions warrant it. The idea of shipping the boat doesn't appeal to me at all. Sixty miles of open water? Still need to kick this one around but I'm not too encouraged. I wish I knew a little more about the character of the lake.

I was speaking to a naturalist that does presentations on the island the other day. She's made 14 trips to the island and has never seen a wolf. Apparently the biosphere is similar to what is found in some areas of Alaska. Kind of a fascinating place.

I'm looking forward to hopefully some fresh lake trout cooked up say within a few hours of it being caught. I don't think I can afford the room for the larger downriggers but I've got this little sport troll that may work for some casual fishing. At least work a few of the shorelines casting and see what pops up. Trying to decide what stuff and equipment to bring without it being burdensome.

Are we there yet?


whalersailer posted 07-26-2005 10:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalersailer  Send Email to whalersailer     
Hi Paul,

You probably shouldn't count on having the Ranger shipping option available if the weather isn't good. I'm guessing that she will probably be full with pre-booked boats on the Friday morning before Labor Day.

As far as prevailing winds, it's been my experience that at that time of the year, if it's going to blow (hard), it will blow out of either the WNW (more likely) or the ENE. Earlier in the summer, it can blow out of the SW as well, but by the end of August, there usually aren't many Southerlies with punch left.


Buckda posted 07-26-2005 11:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Hi Paul -

I agree with WS -

You should consider being flexible. Get up very early on Sunday morning and if the weather does not look good, then pull up stakes and drive on over to the North Shore of MN.

You'll have a much better time with this decision as we get closer...the week before should have a fairly accurate forecast to tell you what to expect, and the day before should give you a really good indication. Of course, day-of observations and forecast would be the final decision-maker.

ENE winds would bring larger waves, but quartering you...WNW winds would bring smaller waves (relatively), but you'd be going into them.

Both situations would require additional fuel usage and probably the use of your canvas.

Plotman posted 07-26-2005 12:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Paul -

Even if you can get a space at the last minute, the Ranger only makes trips over to the island on Tuesdays and Fridays. Return is Wednesday and Saturday. If Sunday is a no-go, are you going to wait 2 more days? Copper Harbor is probably 7-7.5 hours by car from Grand Portage.

As far as winds go, probably 2/3 of the time the summer winds are going to be generally out of the South or the West. Conventional wisdom is that the nasty weather on Lake Superior comes out of the NE, but those are typically the fall storms. They can show up as early as late August, but are much more common in October and November. I'd agree with Pat that fair weather blows (high winds, but otherwise decent weather), which are more common in summer, typically come out of the W or NW.

One other thing I forgot to mention in my trip report above was that there were pleasantly few bugs, particularily at the campsites on the peripheral islands, but even hikes in the interior weren't bad.

Some interesting data I dug up is the frequency of waves in a given ranges:

Under 0.4 m (1.5 feet) occurs 74% of the time in July, 56% in August and 26% of the time in September.
Between 0.5 and 1.5 m (~5 feet): 25% in July, 40% in August and 58% in September.
Greater than 1.5 m: 1% in July, 3% in August, 16% in Sept, 28% in Oct and 42% in Nov.

Buckda posted 07-26-2005 02:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Thanks again for the data David. It’s good to see data back up what the locals are saying about the area and de-mystifying it for the rest of us.

That’s a 84-96 percent probability that waves will be lower than 5 feet in height, given the timeframe of our trip. Not that I want to have anything to do with 50 miles into 4 and 5 foot waves, but the probabilities are on waves in the 1-3 foot range, which I can deal with.

Sounds like it’s possible for a WNW blow, but the weather to be most concerned about is from the ENE (as it is on Lake Huron). That would give the longest fetch and allow the waves to build considerably.

I think the biggest challenge/concern from leaving from the Michigan peninsula is the possibility of foul weather on the return trip. I don’t want to become redundant, but that is the biggest concern in my opinion. Second biggest is that distance (about 56 miles) in open water, which means a good 15 or so miles where land will be nowhere in sight (on a clear day) – and it’s likely that you will be operating on a compass heading only for more like 35-40 of those miles. An adventure, to be sure!

The benefit: more boating, less driving. If you left at about 4:30-5:00 AM in the calmest hours, and were able to make 22 – 26 MPH at cruise, you would be in Rock Harbor at around 8 AM with a full-day of exploring ahead of you, and reservations already made for dinner at the lodge. That would be my plan. If things didn’t work out, you’re up at 4:30, can have the boat on the trailer by 5:00 and are in Grand Portage before 1:00 PM for departure to the island with a 4:00 PM arrival – still in time for supper.

Again, for the return, if forecasts are for rough stuff in the day/afternoon, you might be able to escape in the wee hours of the morning and beat the weather in…you have to allow for about 3 hours of crossing time no matter what your departure point (to get to Rock Harbor). GPS would be very helpful for a nighttime crossing such as that, but it could be done if necessary, although the preference would then be to leave a day early, or be willing to stay a day or so later.

With the addition of Paul, it looks like two boats for sure, and two more are considering this crossing from Copper Harbor – all with single engines.

While some very respected and salty members of this forum have chimed in about their opinions of a crossing like this in late August, the “regulars” on the lake don’t seem to have the same reservations. I think this may be due to familiarity?

My guess is that the group from Grand Portage will run hard across the lake to the island, and then slow it down a bit and do some exploring along the way to Rock Harbor. I may be mistaken, but it is a good opportunity to visit the Menagerie Island light, see Siskiwit bay, etc. The group from Copper Harbor can probably hit Rock Harbor, get fuel and then run down the harbor to meet the others at the southern entrance to the harbor. Probably plenty to see and do while they wait…even a run back out to Menagerie Island wouldn’t be bad in that case.

Those guys running from Grand Portage are in a tough situation if the wind is out of the ENE when they round the island – if they go around the southern end if the island, they will be facing about 20 miles into the waves to get to Rock Harbor. It’s a longer route, but probably calmer to run the northern side of the island and then duck back down around the north point of the island into the harbor. If that is the case, the guys from Michigan will have the better run, albeit in open water, with a following/quartering sea.

I think it should be resolved that if any group on the crossing decides that they cannot make it to the Rock Harbor rally point, they should leave word with a park ranger for either me or another member who will be in Rock Harbor. (Thinking of you Hal…I think all the other boats can probably make it unless it is really, really bad). In effect, if you choose to stay over at Windigo, Grand Portage or Copper Harbor on Sunday due to weather, you should get in touch with the group so we don’t mount a search and rescue mission for you, eh!

Plotman posted 07-26-2005 05:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Distance from Windigo to Rock Harbor is within 5 miles whether you go around the north side or the south side.

REMEMBER THE ISLAND IS ON EST, and the Dining room closes at 7:30. Imagine my surprise when I showed up at what I thought was 6:30 and was told the dining room was closed. (they took pity on me and fed us.0

Mott Island (park HQ) has a big antenna and monitors the radio from ~8:00 am to 5:00 pm with an hour off for lunch, and will relay to boats out of range of regular ship to ship range.

Particularily on the north side, you can typically run VERY close to the island to take shelter from winds that are running close to the axis of the island. Yes, there are a few places you need to watch out for offshore rocks, but in a lot of cases you will be in 100 feet plus 100 yards off the beach. Many a time have I found a strip of relatively calm water in close to shore -- it got me home last weekend...

MJS posted 07-29-2005 12:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for MJS  Send Email to MJS     
OK. Here is a challenge.
For those of us who can only imagine a trip like this and must live vicariously through Buckda, et. al., I would like to see 1 picture of the trip for each post on this thread. So far 245!

If you divide that by the number of boats and the number of days, it shouldn't be too hard.


Buckda posted 07-29-2005 01:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     

You've got the need to live vicariously through us!

The 2004 Georgian Bay rendezvous produced 350+/- photos that I later burned to CD and routed to eveyrone. Most of those came from GEP, however Backlash and JimH contributed a great number as well. I'm sure there will be plenty, and I'll do my best to host the relatively good ones on Photobucket as soon as possible (perhaps a week) after our return.

Buckda posted 08-01-2005 06:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
This still sizeable group has lost a member - Don and Gail McIntyre will not be making the trip this year. If you're facing a challenge and may not be able to go, please let me know - we'll help if we can, but it would be nice to know this far in advance to plan accordingly.

Thanks guys!


David Pendleton posted 08-01-2005 07:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
What is the latest tally, and are we going to split into two groups based on crossing speed?
Plotman posted 08-01-2005 08:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Dave and Dave - The reference chart with the GPS waypoints I was sending you guys sat on my desk for a week, but it went out this afternoon.

I'm still in - for the last couple of days. I'm hoping to get on the road early enough after work on Friday the 2nd to make it up to GP in time to get across to the Island and make it up to Belle Isle, or at least to Todd Harbor. Suset is 7:41 (Central, Island time is 1h later), so that might be pushing it. In any event, we're planning on being up for the whole long weekend. I realize you folks will likely be cutting for home either Sunday afternnon or Monday morning, but we should get to meet up for a time.

Buckda posted 08-03-2005 06:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
1. Buckda - 18' Outrage
2. Plotman - 22' Outrage
3. David Pendleton -23' Conquest
4. Home Aside - 17' Montauk
5. Hal Watkins - 15' Sport
6. Eagleman - 25' Revenge WD
7. Terry - 24' Outrage (?)
8. Jechura - 22' Outrage
9. WSteffens - 25' Revenge
10.Cicada - 18' Outrage

(11.) Don McIntyre (UNABLE TO ATTEND)

We've still got a strong group and it looks like a nice long-term weather pattern. I would have considered 5 boats a success for this remote of a location - so having 10 is a smashing success.

I don't recall any discussion from anyone else about crossing groups based on speed, other than Hal being concerned about being left behind due to the size of his boat - I think that if we can all make about 22-24 MPH at cruise, we should stick together.

It DOES, however, appear that there will be a crossing of some boats from Copper Harbor or Houghton, Michigan as well as the main contingent from Grand Portage, Minnesota.

EDST on the Island plus the far westward location means that daylight in the evenings will be plenty, but it will likely be rather dark early in the morning (for those considering early AM crossing from Michigan peninsula). Good tip from David (Plotman) on the dining hall concern. The sun should still be rather high at 6:30 PM.

3 weeks and two days to go....

David Pendleton posted 08-04-2005 07:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
We'll have to see how it goes, I guess. Depending on the sea conditions, my boat is happiest at 28-32MPH.

I will have a 8.5 Zodiac attached to it somewhere, so that might make a big difference.


Shadowcatcher posted 08-05-2005 02:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for Shadowcatcher  Send Email to Shadowcatcher     
Hey, I just tuned in and this is a great trip. You really had me excited about joining up as a side trip from Brainerd, Minn. Then, my hopes of making a whaler renezvous were dashed when I finally got to the real date buried deep in this lengthy thread! Unfortunately, I'm headed back to Colorado August 27.

Thanks for the research and gold mine of information. We will definitely be making the trip on our 1989 18' Outrage with full canvas, perhaps even the weekend of Aug. 22 if things go well on our annual trip north. I have had a mind to do Isle Royal (Big Mac Island in English) for a long time.

Have fun! --Brian

Plotman posted 08-08-2005 12:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Another random Lake Superior anecdote to give those of you who have never been up here a flavor for the lake:

Took two of the kids across from the north shore to meet up with some friends who have a place on Madeline Island. We spent the afternoon on a beach on the north side of Oak Island, where the water temps in the bay were in the upper-70s. Out in the open water between the islands, and even out in the middle of the lake, temps were mid-to-upper 60s.

However, coming back across the lake, when we got within about 3 miles of shore there was a light mist right on the water on an otherwise clear day, and the temperatures took a serious nose dive. I watched the temperature readout on my fishfinder fall to 46 from 67 in the course of about a mile.

Never take it for granted.


whalersailer posted 08-09-2005 03:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersailer  Send Email to whalersailer     
And one more (anecdote)...

We spent a long weekend in the Apostles on my 40' sailboat, and just got back to Duluth yesterday evening. We anchored at Lighthouse Bay on Sand Island Sunday night in preparation for the 48 NM straight shot home yesterday. Before turning in for the evening, I checked NOAA's forecast at about 10 P.M. The forecast was for light and variable winds with a westerly component kicking in late Monday morning or early afternoon. Sounded great for an uneventful ride home (albeit under power). We weighed anchor at 6:45 A.M. As we were pulling out of the anchorage and brewing some coffee, I again checked NOAA for the latest forecast - it was unchanged. We motored along for about 4.5 hours, and were in the middle of the lake between Two Harbors and Knife river when I noticed that there was wind coming that didn't look like the predictions. Since it was just after 11:00 (the time when the forecast is updated), I figured I'd better check in. Much to my chagrin, the first thing I heard was "small craft advisory." Listening to conditions at stations upwind from us, I was hearing wind gusts into the upper 30's and lower 40's (knots). The wind was coming straigh at us with about a 24 mile fetch. Within 1/2 hour, the flat seas had built to solid 2-4 footers that were really stacked up close together. I had to reduce speed because the period was way too short for my boat. 20,000# slamming a big wave is not fun! Within another 45 minutes, we were taking green water over the bow every 5-10 waves, and whenever a set of three sisters rolled down at us, we were looking up at the crests from the cockpit. There were a few sets that were in the 8-10' range. Needless to say, our planned remaining 3 hours home doubled to just over 6. We were never uncomfortable or in any danger, but we were in a big, seaworthy boat. Oh yeah, one other thing - in those seas, autopilot isn't really an option, so I got to hand steer for those 6 hours. We were all pretty beat (no pun intended) when we finally got back home.

Like David said: Never take it for granted...


Buckda posted 08-09-2005 04:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I don’t think anyone planning this trip is taking the big lake for granted. Situations like that happen on the lower lakes as well, albeit often without the cold water temperatures. And boaters on the lower lakes in the spring and fall experience similar conditions. The fact is that NONE of the Great Lakes should be taken for granted.

I’ve sat in at my father’s kitchen table looking out the picture window at southern Lake Michigan and watched it go from flat calm to a squall line out on the lake, and literally watched the wind come across the water and rush up the bluff and hit the house. I’ve seen the picture windows flex inward watched the cruisers run back to the St. Joseph pier chopping through 6 and 7 foot and building seas…all in the span of 45 minutes to an hour.

This is a reality on any large body of water.

The point is that we’ll watch the weather carefully as planned. If it’s forecast to turn foul ahead of our departure, we can either make arrangements to hole up on the island, or make a run for shore. If I have to leave on Saturday, I can tow the boat to Lake Gogebic on Sunday for some exploration there, or perhaps do some exploring in the Apostles. The key is to be flexible. If it’s bad on Sunday when we need to go out to the Island, we can make alternate arrangements until the weather improves and we CAN get to the island. Flexibility is key – but the good thing about powerboats is that a 50 mile crossing only takes about 2.5 hours when underway and cruising.

That being said, when (at what times) are the weather forecasts up there updated? We know that there is one update at 11 AM (Assume Eastern Time) – Is the other update at 5 PM?

David (Plotman) – got the maps – thank you and most helpful. You’ve ruined my evening plans this evening as I will be glued to my computer transferring waypoints to a file to later be dumped into my GPS.


whalersailer posted 08-09-2005 05:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersailer  Send Email to whalersailer     

Sorry if my post came across the wrong way. I just wanted to share the experience as an "FYI" (plus it was VERY fresh in my mind). I'm certain that this group has plenty of experience on the Great Lakes, and will be more than careful on the trip. I will say though, that that is the first time I have been hit that far out with a "nothin' to nukin'" blow from THAT direction. Typically, this time of the year, a blow like that will come from the East. Usually the SW blow gets greatly diminished or shut down by the colder lake...not this year.

As far as the weather reports on the Western end of the lake, they are updated at 0400, 1100, 1600, and 2300 CDT. I'm guessing that on the island, the transmiting station you will pull in best will be in GP: David (Plotman) should be able to say for sure on that account.

I sure wish I could join you all this year, but unfortunately, it just won't work out.


Buckda posted 08-09-2005 07:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Whalersailor –

I didn’t take offense, and I hope that the anecdotes here about foul weather and moods of the lake won’t negatively affect attendee’s intentions. I posted that last remark to remind our group that all five of the lakes have bad tempers from time to time, and yet we manage to get out and explore a great deal of the time.

Perhaps it is the cold waters, maybe the legend of the sinking Edmund Fitzgerald that is burned in people’s psyche, but I think among Midwesterners, there is this awe and wonder about Superior that, while healthy in that it causes folks to think twice and double check their safety plans, etc, goes a little bit overboard, so to speak. Maybe it is the lack of sheltered harbors along the shore, or the number of pleasure boats (fewer) that go boating on Superior…I just wanted to clear it up and remind folks that flexibility is an expectation for the trip so that no one feels obligated to “try and make it” if they feel anything less than confident. As DavidPendleton said, “it isn’t the roaring forties,” but adequate planning and a proper mindset are very important.

This is a HUGE thread, with lots of good information. As far as I’m concerned, anecdotes like yours and Plotman’s above are welcome since they remind us of what could be and help us in these last three weeks as we finalize plans and prepare our boats/gear for the trip, but I’d like to also hear about how you prepare yourselves, your crew and your craft for situations like that – especially since you’re “locals” who boat those waters regularly.

For my part, I think that adequate preparation is important on any/all of the great lakes – and perhaps the most important “upgrade” or “change” in preparations for Lake Superior is provisions/plans to stay dry and warm. This is why I strongly recommended canvas enclosures waaaay up in the early posts on this trip. Good rain gear and rubber boots are important too. Packing in containers (such as dry bags) that keep your clothes dry is important.

Spares are important too. Spare spark plugs, fuses, lamps, fuel filters, prop and the tools to use them are things that need to be on your checklist.

I’m doing a “dry run” this weekend outfitting the boat. Next weekend, I’ll pack the boat and gear so it’s completely ready for me when I pick it up on Friday night the 26th.

We’re almost there. What we need, is a break in this weather, starting this weekend with lots of wind and rain. That will give that pattern enough time to work through and clear up again for the trip. The longer we keep getting this hot, humid and calm weather, the better the chances are for us to encounter some tough stuff. In that regard, I’m actually glad to hear that you got some tough stuff last weekend.

Cicada posted 08-10-2005 12:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

Much of what we learned and most of the tales about Lake Superior and the Copper Country have always had an aura of isolation, wildness and danger. I thinks its probably been this way since before the Voyageurs, forts and frontier. The image persists and I don't think I'll really know anything about the area until I get up there.

I missed the building wind at Beaver Island that others had mentioned. Thinking back on this, that may have been something that I wouldn't have missed on Lake Huron. Some areas you have a feel of what they're like and it's the intuition that comes with familiarity that can make a difference.

Somebody had mentioned bringing two anchors earlier in this thread. Are most of the anchorages rock or are there areas of sand and gravel? I have two Danforth style anchors. The second being what I've used on the 15' Sport which is a bit smaller. Anchoring hasn't been a big part of my boating experience. It's either been put it on the beach or tie it up at a dock. Any thoughts on anchorage up there?

Those of you who are packing heat what are you bringing? (Somehow that doesn't sound quite right!)

I'm having visions of the Outrage becoming a container ship.


Plotman posted 08-10-2005 10:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Pat- I passed the Sand Island light Sunday at about 5:30 heading back across to Twin Points. If I had known you were in the bay, I would have stopped and partaken of one of your beers.

Dave- I don't really do anythig in terms of preparation beyond basic common sense - always have a change of clothes, look at the weather, that sort of thing. That and I swapped my initial boat for one with twins. It is different when buddy-boating or travelling as part of a flotilla, but I would want a good kicker if I didn't have twins and I were going alone.

I think the main difference between Superior and the other great lakes are 1) the cooler water temperatures and the fact that it can be very, very deep close to shore. This leads to upwellings of very cold water to the surface that vary with the winds, which can cause localized fog, 2) the relative isolation when you are away from cities like Duluth, Marquette or Thunder Bay, or the Apostles, and 3) the greater size coupled with the east-west orientation of the lake which makes for a much longer potential fetch with the most common winds.

Minnesota has done a fair amount over the past 10 years or so by way of adding Harbors of refuge along the north shore and making some of the big-boat harbors more small boat friendly - even if it is just putting a mooring bouy or two in a protected corner to give something to tie up to. Now the longest stretch on the north shore without anywhere to duck out of the weather is a little over 30 miles, which means you are never more than 15 miles away.

And as exotic as Isle Royale sounds (and is), for those heading to the Island from Grand Portage, the actual open water part of the crossing is less than 20 miles, and the maximum distance between shelter once you are at the island is 20 miles - heading out of Washington Harbor, towards the north end. Once you make Siskiwit Bay on the south side or Todd Harbor on the north side, there is never more than 8 or 10 miles between shelter, and usually much less.

Paul - anchorages are really a mixed bag, probably not at all unlike the North Channel or Georgian Bay. I definitely think a small bruce is the anchor of choice if you have to pick one, as many anchorages tend toward the rocky side and I think this style does a better job in the "rocks with a bit of sand" you do find up here. I carry an 11 lb bruce copy as well as a a danforth type. Many of the more traditional, sheltered anchorages do have mud bottoms, but there are also plenty of interesting places to stop where the bottom isn't as good and a danforth will just skip. Honestly, I would expect boats to tie up to tie up to docks in many of the places we'll visit. Only a handfull of places to pull up to a beach (Belle Isle being one).

Are you staying in the Lodge proper, or one of the cabins? If you are in the Lodge, the first floor rooms have a balcony right on the water. I prefer the buldings to the right of the Guest House as you face the lodge from the marina.


Cicada posted 08-11-2005 12:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

Thanks for the information on anchorage and the lodge. I will be calling the lodge in the next day or two to see what we can do to get a specific room.

We currently have a room reserved from Sunday night through Thursday night. We do plan on spending at least a night or two out on the boat. We'll have to see how it works out. This will be our first trip on this boat with it rigged for any semblance of cruising. Haven't slept out on the boat yet so we're going into it slowly. Reserving a room gave us the greatest flexibility there.

Our tentative plans are to cross with the group from Grand Portage on Sunday. We're looking at a morning departure from the Windigo area back to the mainland on Saturday morning. The return to Detroit is a good two days of driving and I'd like to avoid the I-75 grind heading South on Monday. Been there, done that a number of times and would like to avoid it if at all possible. Aso gives us a day leeway if needed.

So far, we'll be leaving from the Detroit area on Friday morning. The Sunset Inn in Munising is a nice little place that over looks the bay and Grand Island. Munising is a picturesque little town and is about half way to Grand Portage. Thinking about staying there Friday night if we can get a reservation. The other option we're thinking about is Marquette. Not quite as quaint as Munising but a little closer to Grand Portage.

I know a few of you are planning on making the crossing from the Houghton or Copper Harbor area and I certainly find it tempting but don't feel very comfortable with it right now. Chalk it up to unfamiliarity with the area but I know how rapidly things change on the lakes. Got caught on a small sailboat on Lake Huron once in one of those nasty Northeaster's that come out of nowhere. The ride became a cycle of violent knock downs and struggles to right the boat until I lost the sheet. Then it became a matter of hanging on and paddling. Luckily I wasn't too far off shore, wasn't worried about making it in because I was being blown onto shore but was pretty exhausted by the time I made land fall. Makes for good conversation and memories but not the most pleasant experience while you're out there. Kinda left an indelible impression of pretty raw, indifferent power and what the lakes can do in a very short period of time. Although I've had the Outrage for well over a year I'm still learning how it reacts and acts in different types of weather and water conditions and what my limits are with this hull. I think I'll take the conservative approach this time around.

Does anybody else have firmed up travel plans?

Looking forward to making this trip and meeting some more of the people from this site.


Buckda posted 08-11-2005 10:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
My departure point plans won't be finalized until Thursday, Aug. 25. Based on forecasts (long term and short term), I'll decide if I'm going to go with the boats from Copper Harbor. That is my preference, however I don't want to tempt fate.

If the forecast is fair, I’ll make the run overnight to Copper Harbor after work on Friday, arriving Saturday morning. I’ll spend the day on Saturday in Copper Harbor finalizing preps for the trip/crossing and keeping an eye on the weather. The plan is to leave at or before sunrise on Sunday morning when the water is calmest. Since the WX is updated at 0400, I’ll probably make the run within an hour of that updated forecast. That will put us in at 0800 on the island with the full day to explore, relax and rendezvous with the group from Grand Portage.

If the WX changes on Saturday afternoon or on Sunday morning, I’m prepared to yank the boat and run the 8 hours to Grand Portage in the truck, putting me in the marina by 1 PM or so, allowing the crossing to get there in time for dinner, unless the weather is just going south in a hurry, in which case, since y’all are having dinner at the lodge that night, I’ll leave word for one of you with the lodge and ask that the message of my delay be relayed to you.

What is great is that there aren’t many other boats that make it out to Isle Royale with that kind of flexibility in how they get there. I was looking at the charts again last night and setting up some waypoints in my GPS software and measured it out. The shortest trip is actually from Copper Harbor – 56 miles or so, so running on plane at roughly 3 MPG, that’s around 18 and a half gallons @ $3.90/gal = $72 bucks for the crossing + the $27 dinner at the lodge: $100 bucks for the day.

The difference for me to go to Grand Portage: 407 miles (per Mapquest) @ 12 MPG in my truck = 34 gallons of fuel @ $2.75/Gal = $94 extra in fuel x 2 (return trip) = $188, plus it’s still more than 60 miles total to Rock harbor…it doubles my day total, and when you calculate the return trip, adds an additional $100 to that.

In the end, it will not be a financial decision. But for 16 hours of saved drive time, and the fuel savings; my initial intention is to make the attempt from Copper Harbor pending weather outlook.

To put this in perspective for you Paul – it’s about 20 miles further than the crossing to St. James on Beaver Island, and the water is about 4x as deep You can understand why I’d like to leave at the earliest possible time when the lake is calm.

Cicada posted 08-15-2005 08:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
A couple of sites from the National Weather Service.

Isle Royale Recreational Forecast:

Graphic display of wind and wave data for Lake Superior.


dfmcintyre posted 08-15-2005 01:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Damn....I wish Gail and I were still going. Had a nice four day break up in the Snows though. Either wood or Whalers...take your pick.

For anyone looking for small items to's my contribution:

Buckda posted 08-15-2005 05:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Paul –

Thanks for the links.

Don – We’re sad that you can’t make it too….but we’ll try no to rub it in when we get back :-)

I’ve been working on completely outfitting the 18 for this trip.

For mosquito netting, I found a pretty cool product from Coghlan’s (?) at Bass Pro Shop that should fit well under the forward shelter and provide complete protection. (Hiker’s netting for about 15 bucks) I also have the cheesecloth that Don recommended – just in case.

I also finally pulled the trigger on a camp stove. I’d been hemming and hawing for about a year – having really enjoyed cooking over an open campfire when I go camping, but think this will be nice to have for my fall camping trips when deadfall is minimal and wood is wet. I got the Coleman Exponent Apex II that runs on the same camp fuel that my lantern burns and the claim is that one tank of fuel should provide just over 2 hours of burn time on “High”. That should get me through two days or more per tank…I’m bringing extra fuel.

With fuel prices what they are on the mainland, I expect that I’ll be doing a bit more land-based fishing and exploring on this trip than in past Rendezvous’. I bought a new rod for the occasion and some crankbaits that I’m sure will capture the attention of pike and walleye. The hiking boots too, have made an appearance on the packing list….and also an extra can of bug spray.

I’m really, really looking forward to this trip now. I need the vacation….

Buckda posted 08-16-2005 01:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Regretfully, I must pass on the information that another attendee has dropped out of this trip.

Eagleman will not be making the trip with his 25' Revenge.

Anyone else? We're less than two weeks out.


Buckda posted 08-16-2005 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
The following information is what I have based on conversations, e-mails and the CW thread.

At this point, I am expecting at total of nine boats:

Buckda: 18’ Outrage
David Pendleton – 23’ Conquest
Cicada – 18’ Outrage
Jechura – 22’ Outrage
Wsteffens – 25’ Revenge
LeapinLunker – 24’ Outrage
Home Aside – 17’ Montauk
Hal Watkins – 15’ Sport
Plotman – 22’ Outrage

Departure Plans
For now, it looks like the group is split as follows:
Grand Portage, MN
David Pendleton
Walt Steffens
Terry (Leapin’ Lunker)
Hal Watkins
Plotman (will be departing solo on September 2 to the Island for the weekend only)

Copper Harbor, MI
Dave Buckalew
Jerry (Jechura)

Home Aside – May not make the trip due to work responsibilities
Cicada – May depart from Copper Harbor, but for now, planning on Grand Portage.

Unable to attend
Don McIntyre
Russ Gilson (eagleman)

Anyone who wishes to change their plans – please let me know.

Return Plans
For now – it is my understanding that everyone will be returning from the island on Monday, September 5, with the exception of Cicada, who wants to leave on Sunday morning, Sept. 4.

Rendezvous/Rally Point
The rally point for the group is Rock Harbor Lodge, on Sunday, August 28 at 5:30 PM EASTERN TIME either at the Rock Harbor docks (provided we all get there together/early) or the Lodge dining room, as circumstances warrant. We will have a brief captain’s meeting after supper that will provide general / rough detail for the coming week and to address any concerns and work out any additional details.

Anyone who finds themselves traveling with me should expect this as a routine either the night before or morning of any planned activities; destinations. For instance – if we choose to “go our separate ways” during the day, we may choose to meet at a specific destination for the evening – i.e. “I’m going fishing in XX Lake today on the island. I will meet you at McCargoe Cove at 9:00 PM.”

That’s about it! Only a very few of me have given your boat/registration/phone information – so I’m sorry if we don’t connect on Saturday. I’ve copied everyone on this e-mail so that you can connect with your departure group to make specific plans.

If you have questions – call me on my cell have the number in your e-mail box.

David Pendleton posted 08-16-2005 05:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I also plan on returning Sunday. I don't know when, yet.

I want to use the Holiday Monday as a travel day.

Buckda posted 08-16-2005 05:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David -

I should clarify - I plan to leave very early on Monday morning, so I'm on the trailer before 9AM on Monday, to also use the Holiday as a travel day.

I believe that Paul was planning on leaving Sunday morning early, so that he could at least begin the return trip on Sunday to avoid some of the traffic.



David Pendleton posted 08-16-2005 06:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
That's fine with me. I'm flexible.

jechura posted 08-16-2005 08:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

Our probable departure is Sunday morning, but weather could push it up a day or two and back a day or two. We have a 600 mile drive back.


Buckda posted 08-17-2005 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Leapin' Lunker had dropped out as well.
Walt Steffens e-mail is disabled.

What's goin' on folks?!

I've had active, good interest from the following:
David Pendleton

Hal, Pat?

jechura posted 08-17-2005 09:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     
Looks like I'll have to cut back on the amount of our fabulous Lake Eire perch and walleye that I am going to bring for a big fish fry.


David Pendleton posted 08-17-2005 01:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I'm still in.
kingfish posted 08-17-2005 01:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

Send the excess fish to me - I'll watch it for you until you get back...


Plotman posted 08-17-2005 05:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Do you folks have any sense of where you are likely to be spending the night on Saturday 9/3.

As I've told Dave, I'll either be coming over vary late in the day on Friday 9/2 and spending the night in Washington Harbor - most likely at the dock of a private house of a friend of a friend - or spending the night in Grand Marais and making the run over saturday morning for the weekend. It really all depends on the weather and when we get out of town after work on Friday. Hopefully everyone won't be heading back on Sunday and I'll at least get to meet up with the group for a couple of nights.

I'll try to relay through the Mott Island ranger station if I am out of VHF range of the group, or perhaps someone could leave a message with them for me as to where folks will be. They monitor channel 16 from 8-noon and 1-5 EDT.

Buckda posted 08-17-2005 05:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David -

I'll leave my boat VHF on at all times - you can raise me on 68, as that is the channel we'll likely be using as a "working" channel - or on 16/9. I'll try to remember to radio the Mott Island ranger station on Friday afternoon with destination plans - Hail either BOSTON WHALER GROUP or GAMBLER. I also will carry my handheld VHF at all times when I'm hiking/fishing on the island, but it may or may not be on at a given time.

I have very good range on the VHF, as my antenna is 15-16 feet above water on the arch, and I bought a pretty good antenna (Shakespeare 5225 XT).

I plan to stay all day on Saturday, probably in the Rock Harbor vicinity on Saturday night, and then leave with Jerry on Sunday morning so I don't cross the big lake alone on Monday (If I had repowered this year, I'd do it solo, but with a 20 year old motor..., I'd like to make that crossing in the company of another boat). Again, depending on conditions.

I know that Paul and Hal plan to stay at Rock Harbor at least a few nights (I haven't heard from Hal in quite some time). I believe Jerry and David Pendleton plan to stay aboard the boat or on the hard at shelters when they're available. That's my plan as well, and I know that is what you were thinking. I also don't know about Pat - but am pretty sure that if he makes it, he'll be staying aboard Home Aside.

We'll all monitor the radio...

Plotman posted 08-17-2005 06:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
OK, I'll try to make it up to the Rock Harbor vicinity Saturday night, maybe spending the night at Caribou or Merrit Lane, but I'll stop in Rock Harbor regardless of where we stay.

My antenna sucks - it is just a little 3 db stainless whip mounted in front of the console. I have thought about a better antenna, but haven't gotten there yet.

Good thing the trip dates ended up when they did. This coming Saturday's forecast right now is for 30 knots with 6-9 footers.

If anyone ends up leaving the island early for weather or any other reasons, I would highly reccomend putting in at Duluth and taking a tour of the harbor, checking out the ships and the ore docks, and perhaps stopping on the park point beach. There is a great free ramp under the eastern most of the two big highway bridges (not the arial lift bridge) between Wisconsin and Minnesota. Head over the bridge like you are going to Superior, and take the Garfield Aveneue exit while still on the Minnesota side and the ramp is literally right under the bridge right next to the UPS depot. There is also a free ramp in the Park out on Park Point, and one on Barkers Island in Superior.

Putting in at Twin Points at mile marker 47 on Highway 61 45 minutes up the shore from Duluth and seeing Split Rock light from the water is also fun.

Or you could make the 24 mile run across to Sand Island in the Apostles.

And would also put you close to great sand beaches

or Devils Island

Man, I wish I could swing the entire week...


Buckda posted 08-18-2005 05:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
One more man down. We're going to have to cross the lake in the "missing man" formation.

Pat can't make it.

Hal - you're the only one we haven't heard from. I recommend you contact either myself or David Pendleton soon.

David Pendleton - looks like you (and possibly Hal) will be the only ones crossing from the MN side.

JECHURA, Cicada and I are crossing from the MI side.

Anyone who has been sitting on the sidelines for this one - Gep? - now is the time to sign up.

Since we haven't heard from Hal or Walt in some time, I'm operating under the assumption that they are not attending, and will be pleased if they show up and prove me wrong.

And to think I worried so much about coordinating a whole fleet of boats. With 4 core boats and Plotman joining us at the end, destinations and plans should be easy.

banff22 posted 08-18-2005 07:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
Hmmmm . . . . .!

I'm thinking.... still thinking.....

Buckda posted 08-18-2005 07:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Peter - we'd love to have you guys.

Let me know.

David Pendleton posted 08-18-2005 08:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Dave, welcome to the frustration of trying to plan a Rendezvous.

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

I actually considered driving to Copper Harbor to join you but it's about 2.5 hours longer than my drive to Grand Portage.

Based on your lack of response from Hal, I'm going to assume he cannot make it.

I don't mind crossing alone.

banff22 posted 08-18-2005 09:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
I've found Houghton on my MI road map but Copper Harbour is in the middle of the lake according to this map. Is that a causeway or a very long bridge? And where the heck is Grand Portage MI?

And far are these places from Sault St Marie? Not miles. HOURS.


David Pendleton posted 08-18-2005 09:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Grand Portage, Minnesota. At the tip of the Arrowhead as it is known in MN.

Your map might be a bit screwy. Try Mapquest or some other electronic version.

Like this one:

David Pendleton posted 08-18-2005 09:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Here you go...

Buckda posted 08-18-2005 09:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Peter -
I would guess about 3-4 hours from the Sault.
banff22 posted 08-18-2005 09:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
Well on my map, purchased recently in Port Huron, the land mass ends at Houghton but the roads keep going?

So my question remains . . . how many hours from the Sault?

Did you folks know you an Ottawa National Forest up there. Ottawa? As in the capital of Canada? Where I send all my taxes to.


Buckda posted 08-18-2005 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
....or more like 5 1/2 ....

Mapquest always says it'll take longer than it does. If you stop in the Sault for food/pit stop and then drive straight through, it should only take a bit over 5 hours then. I run 356 miles to the Les Cheneaux in under 6 hours all the time - even towing. That's with only one stop - for gas. More stops add time quickly.

David Pendleton posted 08-18-2005 09:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Look at my second link.

This was generated assuming an average speed of 55 miles per hour on highways, 50 on secondary roads.

There is most definately more soil after Houghton...

banff22 posted 08-18-2005 09:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
I just called some folks in Britt and they estimate 3.5 to 4 hours to the Sault from Britt.
David Pendleton posted 08-18-2005 09:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
BTW, that was generated using Microsoft MapPoint, , a commercial application. MapQuest is a hack for selling ads.
banff22 posted 08-18-2005 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
So best guesstimate is 8 to 9 hours from Britt.
Okay, you have my attention now. I'll be in touch.


Buckda posted 08-18-2005 10:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
If you run 55 on those roads in the UP without snow (heck,even WITH snow), you'll soon have a long line behind you. You can run 60-65 pretty easy on US2 across the lower part of the peninsula - I would imagine it's the same across the top, though I've never gone that route. The towns will slow you down some, but I still think that map is conservative on travel time, provided you don't stop often.

Peter - good to connect with you tonight. Have fun this weekend, and I look forward to hearing what you decide next week.



jechura posted 08-18-2005 10:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

Were going to count you in. I'll meet you Saturday morning at Eckerman Corners, that's state 28 at 123. There is restaurant on 28 just past 123 on the North side. Be there at 12 noon and don't be late.


banff22 posted 08-18-2005 11:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
From the original thread.

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

I'm working on it.

I assume that means you're buying breakfast Jerry.

Cicada posted 08-19-2005 12:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

I hope you make it. Look forward to meeting you.

Don't forget the Walleye. I think if you let Kingfish watch it you may not see it again. I'm sure he'd do the only resposible thing and cook it up rather than run the risk of letting it go bad:)

A week from tomorrow and we're on the road. I've been busy putting some things together on the Outrage. Outfitting for this trip has been pretty enjoyable. Had a dry run on the sleeping arrangements last week-end. Surprisingly comfortable. Going through all of the equipment to make sure it's working, fresh batteries etc.

The Isle Royale chart's been hanging in my office for about a week and it's making it hard to get much work done.


Plotman posted 08-19-2005 12:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
I just thought of something -- For you guys coming from the east, be it Michigan or Ontario, you also have the option to drive up over the top of the lake. From the Soo, Rossport is about 300 miles, really only about 25 miles further than the Sault, It leaves ~70 miles to Isle Royale, but mostly along the shore instead of crossing the main body of the lake. Or you could run through inside on Nipigon Bay, and cut the open water portion to 20 miles along the north coast and a 18 mile crossing. Or you could drive a little further - Silver Islet at the tip of the Sibley Penninula is ~110 miles further, but leaves a crossing of only something like 13 miles to the north side of Isle Royale at Amygdaloid, or 19 miles to the very NE tip of the island.

There is information here: Call Silver Islet to see what the ramp situation is first. There is a good ramp at Nipigon, which would give you the same open water cossing distance as putting in at Rossport, but save the run across Nipogon Bay in the boat.

In any event, I would keep an eye on the wether forecast next week, and make you decision as the weekend approaches. There may be something to be said for not having to worry about making that 50 mile open water crossing, and driving up the Canadian North Shore makes a hell of a lot more sense than driving around the west end of the lake.


Plotman posted 08-19-2005 12:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
I meant Rossport is only 25 miles farther from the Sault than Copper Harbor.
banff22 posted 08-19-2005 12:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
I've re-read this thread, well I tried to re-read it. 293 posts? I have some thoughts/questions before I head out for the weekend.

I carry most of the suggested items onboard all the time anyway for our family camping, but:

I carry a Fortress FX7 with 150' of rode and a Danforth with 100' of rode in the stern. Fine for my uses, but does this seem short given discussions I read about water depths in that area?

I have a handheld VHF and a new Standard Horizon so this seems okay. I only have one GPS, the new Garmin 192C. This is a recent addition and I've only really used it as chart "reader" so far, in waters I already know quite well too. I am not familiar with loading waypoints etc. yet. Too busy having way too much fun this summer.

I made some calls this morning and paper charts of this area are not to be found. Nor is Richardson's. No nothing! Are they more readily available once I cross into the U.S.? Even at this time of the year?

Finally, family and timing concerns. I really need to be back back in Britt by Saturday noon the 3rd. Friday would even be better. I'd hate to be politically incorrect with an early departure. Assuming I'm even able depart with possible weather problems.

I'm gone now on the boat until Monday night. So this leaves me Tues, Wed, Thurs to put this and my business together *IF* I'm able to. So post away if you have time. Emailing me is best since my CrackBerry works from where ever I'll be the next few days.


Plotman, I tow my 22 Outrage with a 1993 6 cyl Jeep Grand Cherokee. There's no way I plan to take the rig over the hills west of the Sault. I drove those roads many times many years ago. This is why I like the Houghton area better, much flatter route. My transmission agrees with me:)

David Pendleton posted 08-19-2005 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Where is everyone getting their weather information?

I want to make sure we're all looking at the same data.

Buckda posted 08-19-2005 12:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Peter -
I can send you some route/waypoint information that Plotman shared with me recently. Do you need .mps files? (Garmin unit) I'm using Mapsource Blue Charts.

I think your anchor will be fine.

You should be able to find a Richardsons and perhaps a cruising guide in Houghton or perhaps at a stop in Marquette Michigan.

Let me know by v-mail on my cell phone - I can pick up a Richardson's for you tomorrow in the morning when I pick up my kicker from the mechanic.

David -
I'm getting my weather forecasts from the NOAA National Data Bouy site...whatever link it takes me to from the two weather bouys in eastern and mid lake Superior. Calls for gales and 9-11 footers this weekend. (whoa), but calming by Tuesday, down to 2 footers.

banff22 posted 08-19-2005 01:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for banff22  Send Email to banff22     
I'm using Mapsource Bluechart v7. The region I've unlocked is US017 though and does not include Superior. So I need to unlock US015. Send what you have and I'll wait 'till I'm 100% to open it up/install.

I like these Canadian weather marks since I can read them on my Blackberry. I'll try the US ones when I have time.

You can also go to the radar imagery and see where the weather is currently headed. That weather band west of Dryden Ontario stretching down to Fort Francis and Duluth does not look promising. Hopefully it's moving fast and will be gone. Actually, I just noticed it's sitting over Ear Falls in Canada where Sue Lodel is fishing this week. oops.


Buckda posted 08-19-2005 01:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Peter - You have e-mail.

Your electronic charts should be enough, but I'm willing to bet that park HQ in Houghton will have charts - at least of the Island. The crossing from the mainland is a straight shot and can be done on a compass heading, or from waypoint to waypoint on your GPS, with no need for a local chart. (But with the shoals up there, I'd want a chart of some kind.)

Peter - agreed on the long grades north of Superior between the Sault and Wawa. I'm towing with a v-6 as well...but if the weather dictates....

That system on the radar shoud move through on Tuesday/Wed Thurs next week. The forecast is already calling for waves to build from calm to 2 feet on Monday night to 2-4 feet on Tuesday. I bet we slide in on Sat/Sunday in between the next system and get by with waves less than 4 feet.


Plotman posted 08-19-2005 01:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Lake Superior Open Water Forecast: (According the the map on the website, the one that matters to the guys crossing is the East Half)

This is the Island forecast:

Near shore for the north shore (Grand Portage):

Near shore for South Shore (Houghton):

Live Data: (Remember lighthouses are measuring wind speeds 100 feet up in the air.)

David Pendleton posted 08-19-2005 01:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I'm bringing a full-size chart, Richardsons and my GPS V with the Superior BlueCharts installed.

If you need .mps files for Superior, I can send them.

Thanks for the weather links. I have been checking those as well.

David Pendleton posted 08-19-2005 01:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Oh, and I'm bringing Bonnie Dahl's Superior Way.
Plotman posted 08-19-2005 02:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Your anchor rodes will be fine. It gets deep very quickly offshore, but the anchorages themselves aren't overly deep.

Most nights, you are going to be able to ties up to docks.

When I was up there, they sold charts at the visitor's centers at Windigo and Rock Harbor. I'm sure you can get one in Houghton.

I have worked out a chart holder for my boat that seems to work really well for a center console boat. The chart gets folded so that it fits on the windsjield. Two strips of thin aluminum from a hardware store hold the map in place. The bottom end slides between the console and the windshield, and the top end is bent to hook over the top of the windshield. Everything is covered in electricians tape to avoid scratching anything.

Hal Watkins posted 08-22-2005 09:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
Just got back last evening from a week at Voyageurs National Park. A quickly planned week with family on a 54' houseboat and our 15' SS. Tried to cover most of Kabetogama and Namakan but afternoon winds got butal in the 15'. We portaged into Rainy one morning...thats a lot 'O water. Since we did Voyageurs, kind of last minute, we will have to pass on Isle Royale. I am increasingly skeptical of my ability to boat safely on Lake Superior. We are looking at a Montauk for next year. I wish you all a great week of safe boating.

Hal of Waseca, MN

Buckda posted 08-22-2005 09:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Hal -

That was my assumption since I hadn't heard from you. Thanks for letting us know - and I'm a little jealous of your fun time at Voyageur's. That's also on my list....

I was thinking about you yesterday out on Lake Michigan with 5-7 footers. (I was testing out my kicker for the Isle Royale trip. I had it in the shop for repair/tuneup, and wanted to make sure everything checked out).


Buckda posted 08-22-2005 06:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Knocking on wood gunwale caps over here, but it looks like we're doing okay on the forecast. Saturday night the winds calm down overnight. An early AM departure on Sunday might be the perfect window of opportunity for crossing.

Bulldog posted 08-26-2005 05:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
I'm excited and I can't even go, have a great time guys! Dave outstanding job doing this as your first time! Maybe next year "Bulldog" will be around, the drive would be long but an extended two week vacation sounds real sweet! Be safe and have fun......Jack
David Pendleton posted 08-26-2005 09:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
As of this writing, all the participants, except myself are on their way to the Keweenaw for Sunday's crossing. I am leaving tomorrow morning for Grand Portage, MN. I'm also crossing on Sunday.

If you've been following this thread: sit back, wish you were with us, and wait for the pictures...


jechura posted 08-26-2005 09:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

I'm not leaving till Saturday morning 5 am.
See You at the Island


jimh posted 08-29-2005 11:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Looking at the forecasted winds, the guys may have had head seas to bash into on the way from the Keweenaw to Isle Royale. I hope the crossing was not too rough. It often happens that the worse seas in the whole voyage are right at the start.
Plotman posted 08-30-2005 10:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
I was on Lake Superior in the Apostles on Sunday (I plan on joining the group this weekend) and I was worried how the crossing went. Where I was, Saturday night was calm, but the winds out of the west were pretty strong by mid morning. After lunch we were seeing whitecaps everywhere and 2-3 footers in the channels between the islands where there was maybe 5 miles of fetch.

I haven't been able to get any data off of the bouys or from the light houses - that part of the NOAA web site has been down for a couple days, but the weather the past two days has been great. At worst they would have had to wait 24 hours and the conditions for crossing Monday AM would have been almost perfect.

jimh posted 09-07-2005 08:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I moved the post-trip comments to a new thread. See:

[This thread closed.]

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