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ContinuousWave: Trips and Rendezvous
NE Shore of Lake Superior - 2009
|Author||Topic: NE Shore of Lake Superior - 2009|
posted 10-18-2008 12:41 AM ET (US)
I am proposing a long weekend (4-day) trip to the NE Shoreline of Lake Superior/Michipicoten Island for the summer of 2009.
This trip would likely launch on a Friday morning from Wawa for a brief tour south to Batchawana/Old Woman Bay and then a run out to Michipicoten Island. The next day would be an overnight at Richardson Harbor and Sunday night would be at another harbor on the return to Wawa. The final day would be a 1/2 day of boating only.
Three nights, 4 days. Remote Whalering on Lake Superior. Likely trip date is some time in late June.
Anyone who is interested is welcome to post here to discuss the trip and details.
posted 10-18-2008 01:08 AM ET (US)
Sounds fun, maybe by then I will have a canvas set and will be able to brave the cold a little better.
That is one of the nicest areas I have ever seen along Lake Superior, should be a good trip!
posted 10-19-2008 08:25 PM ET (US)
hhhhmmmmmm, I'll be contemplating this one....
posted 10-20-2008 10:55 AM ET (US)
How about launching from the Soo, or even Whitefish Point? That way we could make a visit to the site of the Edmond Fitzgerald.
posted 10-20-2008 12:16 PM ET (US)
Some additional information:
You should have comfortable fuel range of at least 170 miles in your boat for this one. Michipicoten Island is offshore and about 60km from the mouth of the Michipicoten River in Wawa, but I’d expect a 70-80 mile day the first day with the side trip south along the shoreline first.
The next day would be about 30 miles around the West (windward) side of Michipicoten Island and up to the shoreline of the Pukaskwa Peninsula and approximately 20 miles up the shore to Richardson Harbour. So another approximately 50 mile day.
The third leg would run back East along the provincial park about 45-50 miles towards Wawa and would end with a chance for showers and a big dinner at Wawa.
Additionally, I believe we will need to purchase crown land camping/use permits for this trip (currently $9CDN/day), or perhaps provincial park day use permits, and be prepared to encounter wildlife. (I’ll check on the permit requirements in the coming weeks/months). There are black bear, moose and wolves in the provincial park, along with a host of smaller mammals (fox, mink, otters, beaver, etc.) and birds. Additionally, adequate preparation for insect protection is a must. The permits can be purchased in Wawa before departure at Young’s General Store, along with last minute provisions and supplies.
There is frequent fog on this portion of the lake as well, so adequate GPS and CHARTS are a must-have. I recommend both GPS Charts AND proper, paper charts aboard the boat.
In addition to the larger, overall Lake Superior Chart; I recommend the following 4 “detail” charts for this area:
An additional chart of interest may be 2310 – which details Michipicoten Island and Caribou Islands – but I don’t plan to visit Caribou Island on this trip.
See: http://www.fedpubs.com/mpchrt/charts/lksuper.htm for more information.
Additionally, for more interesting reading about this Provincial Park, including information on use restrictions and rules, see:
It should be noted that I would like to plan on departing anchorages early to arrive at the destination in the early afternoon. This will allow some hiking and exploring – especially in the provincial park, which is serviced by a coastal hiking trail.
I expect this trip to be a “taste test” for a future longer-format trip that will allow a more leisurely exploration of the area.
posted 10-20-2008 12:18 PM ET (US)
That is a completely different trip that would require a significantly longer time period to complete.
It is like taking a "side trip" from exploration of Beaver Island in Lake Michigan to view Drummond Island in Lake Huron.
I am proposing a much more "focused area" for inspection on an "extended weekend" trip.
posted 10-20-2008 01:07 PM ET (US)
The aforementioned charts, I believe they are Canadian? Do you know if they've been converted to raster?
Don - In interested mode.
posted 10-20-2008 01:21 PM ET (US)
Yes - those are Canadian Hydrographic Service chart numbers.
I'm not tech-savvy enough to know what you are asking about the digital conversion - I do know that my Garmin BlueCharts for Lake Superior include these detail charts for my GPS/chartplotter.
If people are interested, I will entertain the thought of simply exploring the peninsula shoreline, rather than spend time going offshore to Michipicoten Island, although that is on my "list" of places to visit. The shoreline in this area is rugged and beautiful, and I'd be more than happy to slow it down a little and explore more.
I'd also probably bring my dingy so that I could land on shore to explore.
posted 10-20-2008 03:27 PM ET (US)
An additional note:
June temperatures are likely to be cool. The prevailing (westerly) breeze will be coming across a hundred miles or more of cold Lake Superior water, which will form fog; but will also likely cool the temperatures a few degrees (10 degrees F or so) below the temperatures found a few miles inland and therefore forecasted for the towns of Marathon and Wawa.
In June, it is probable that the water temperature will range from the upper 30’s to low / mid 40’s with the air temperature not much more than 20-25 degrees warmer. Canvas will be appreciated by all occupants of your boat (including you) for comfort.
I plan to bring my propane powered camp heater to take the edge off and knock down the moisture in the mornings.
Correction The Pukaskwa Peninsula is a NATIONAL park, not a provincial park. It is Ontario’s largest national park. I’m not sure it matters too much for the purposes of our trip, other than to accurately describe where we are going. Additionally, it probably has impact on certain laws, etc… I’ll do some more research over the winter and report back if there is a significance to this distinction that impacts planning for this little excursion.
For my selfish purposes, I have a major boating trip planned for a week in August, so this one should be done earlier in the year, if possible – I’d be open to entertaining a Memorial Day Weekend expedition, except for the probability of even cooler weather. Probably a GREAT thing in terms of insect control, but overall comfort may be a challenge, and the waves/wind might not be as cooperative either…but I like the idea of taking a holiday to use one less vacation day from work so I can play hookey on a spur-of-the-moment nice day later in the summer.
Anyway – your thoughts/feedback on that are welcomed – and of course, as always, I’ll post more as I come across it or find time/motivation to carry the planning forward. We have some time. For now I’ll settle in the knowledge that there is some interest!
posted 10-21-2008 11:55 AM ET (US)
Some additional information I feel compelled to post based on previous trips:
I strongly suggest you consider the following information:
Believe me when I say to you that you will not regret this purchase if you think that this kind of boating is of interest to you. It is rare that I don’t use my canvas at least one day on a rendezvous in Northern Lakes freshwater…and often I have the canvas up in various configurations for the entire trip.
Contact Mills Canvas www.millscanvas.com or 1.800.477.1535 for an OEM setup, or contact your local canvas shop for something more customized. Plan ahead – it will take at least a week for the Mills stuff to arrive at your door (give yourself two weeks) and then you will need a day to install it. Your local guy may be able to turn it around faster – and design, build and install within a week, depending on the time of year (February is a good time to talk to your canvas shop).
Additionally, consideration should be taken for how to secure items in your boat so that they are not lost overboard in the unlikely event of your vessel shipping water. Your gear should be packed in water-resistant containers (dry bags, etc) and tethered to the boat in some fashion. I like dry-bags because they can easily be snapped to a carabiner or a less expensive carabineer via the D-rings that often are designed right into the bag itself.
posted 10-21-2008 06:29 PM ET (US)
You're starting to make this sound scary. Mustang Survival has a pricey item called the Ice Rider suit. Maybe a regulation Mustang Immersion suit would be OK; what do you think? If one isn't concerned about the boat capsizing, then a normal snowmobile outfit should be more than enough. What type of secondary anchor, a second Danforth, Navy, or plow?
posted 10-21-2008 07:17 PM ET (US)
When you're dealing with cold water, a little fear is a good thing - but it's not likely to be THAT bad - I just want to be sure that folks considering this are adequately prepared.
West Marine has an excellent "West Advisor" about anchors and anchoring. I suggest reading it, and the section of Chapman: Piloting. Both resources have a good deal to say about safe anchoring. What I'm trying to get across is that it is not outside the realm of possibility for there to be significant surge in some of the bays. Besides that, it is not like there is a nearby dock or assistance other than what is available from the party of boats that attend this trip. It pays to be self reliant. I don't know what the bottom will be like in the harbors - but you'll need an anchor that will work in most likely conditions, and a second is never a bad idea. I usually carry three anchors aboard - my 5 kg Bruce, a no-name copycat danforth and a small lunch hook (14lb Navy anchor).
If you thought the North Channel was remote, this place will be like outer space. The nearest dock will be 50 miles away at one point. There are NO houses on shore...all you will find there is a remote coastal hiking trail and some rustic campsites with bear boxes. It is wilderness.
I'm saying much of this now, because I realize that I THOUGHT all of these things before and while planning Lake Nipigon, but I'm not sure that the message got through. I regret not putting some of those thoughts to the thread for that trip. I want there to be no mistake about the area, and I don't want to worry that I didn't accurately represent the area afterwards. The shoreline extends about 120 miles between points of any kind of civilization between Wawa and Marathon. No establishments, no homes, few people (probably a gaggle of kayakers and hikers). There are not even First Nation reservations in the area.
posted 10-21-2008 07:30 PM ET (US)
At the risk of being too descriptive:
Don't beta-test your gear on this trip. Your chartplotter, nav equipment, electronics, etc should be working and in good condition. spend the money to adequately prepare - buy charts. $60 will get you all needed paper charts. $100 will buy the mapset for the lake for your GPS. Barring that, you can get a topographical mapset for all of Canada for $130 for a Garmin System - that map and the paper charts should keep you out of harm's way.
Christmas is coming - these are all things that are priced within reach of even High School-aged children to buy for you. If you're single like me, a chart is something that Grandma can fit into her budget even with 13 grandchildren.
Sorry if I seem to be too sensitive on this topic, but again, I want people to come - I just want them to be prepared for what Lake Superior is likely to and has a history of dishing out - i.e. I want to be able to continue the trip under likely conditions...not turn around because we're not prepared for a scenario that has a strong possibility of being true.
I don't think you will need the mustang suit. If you wish to buy one, then I'll not stand in your way - you fish in cold water early and late season over there near Drummond Island - I think it is a good investment; but is not a necessary cost/investment for this trip.
For you, I'd be more concerned about how to load your V-20 so that you can make headway into a headsea.
posted 10-21-2008 08:06 PM ET (US)
Um, to further Dave's suggestions, for those that think Lake Superior's a nice place and have GoogleEarth installed, Fly to the following: P0S 1K0, CA
Zoom out slightly then click on the little blue squares out at the mouth of the Michipicoten River. You'll know the two that I'm referring to.
posted 10-23-2008 08:49 PM ET (US)
Dave, I started reading this and talking to my wife as I read down the thread. After the first couple we thought, what the heck lets do it, "we are in"! Reading down farther it became, "yeah we are probably going to make it", a couple more postings and we are at "perhaps coming". Going a bit further down we are now at "Thanks Dave we'll see you some other time"...Jack and Pat Mack.
PS All this in ten minutes, oh well, I'm going to follow this thread!
posted 10-23-2008 11:26 PM ET (US)
Dave--Are there any hot showers, good restaurants, and indoor plumbing on this trip?
posted 10-23-2008 11:43 PM ET (US)
Below a link to a graph plotting the significant wave height and maximum wave height in Lake Superior at the Slate Islands, Buoy C45136, for the month of July, 2008:
It is generally thought that in the summer Superior is actually the calmest of the Great Lakes. It looks fairly docile, except on the evening of July 13th. Waves of 16-feet are a bit scary. The buoy is in northern Lake Superior at 48.535 N, 86.953 W.
posted 10-24-2008 08:48 AM ET (US)
Bulldog/Jack - Look for a future thread for later in the summer. That will be a better "speed" for you and your wife. You'll thank me later, and the water is familiar territory for your boat.
Hot showers and good dinner at the beginning and end of the trip (in Wawa). Two nights with no facilities. Think Pothole Portage, but with colder water. I'm bringing a dingy for ferry service to land/shore.
posted 10-25-2008 09:21 AM ET (US)
What is this "major" trip you have planned for August?
posted 10-25-2008 02:45 PM ET (US)
Please, this thread is for a trip to the NE Shore of Lake Superior. If this trip is of interest to you, please post here.
For discussion on any other trip, please use a different post.
posted 10-27-2008 02:48 PM ET (US)
Go as late in the month as you can swing. In shore, temps can obviously be warmer, but offshore water temps on Superior don't ever get out of the 30s in June, and air temps average only about 5 degrees warmer.
My beach house is on the NE side of an island, and we routinely see springtime temps 20 degrees colder than places just a few miles inland. June is not a summer month by any stretch.
The fishing in May and June beats later in the season, hands down. You can do quite well for Salmon with diving baits, dipsies and lead core. Down riggers get used later in the season, and by then we are more focused on lake trout.
posted 10-28-2008 02:00 PM ET (US)
Do you know about this site: http://www.lakesuperiorboating.com/superior.htm
posted 11-05-2008 04:26 PM ET (US)
I recently received an e-mail from a member here who had some good questions about the trip. Since they were good questions, I thought that others considering the trip may have the same/similar questions – and that they could benefit from my answering them here on the forum, rather than via private e-mail.
With the forum member’s permission, I post a (slightly edited) version of his e-mail below:
To the first point: I am still very flexible on this, because really, I was throwing out ideas in the first post. I like the idea of staying out an extra night, however, sometimes, these groups don’t like to get going in the morning – depending on how much time I’ve allotted with work schedules, I will want to be on the road before noon on the final day, if possible. That means pushing pretty hard if we’re not at Wawa already. The e-mail also posted a link to a Google Map with a proposed route of the trip. This is an excellent idea and a great start – I’ll work on this in the next few days and hopefully we can post a proposed course/map for others to review in the next week or so.
To the second point, re: timing: I’m less flexible on this for sheer selfish reasons – I have a big trip in August and a family vacation in early July over the 4th weekend and the following week. I want to spread my time away from clients and the office over the summer – not hit them hard with solid blocks of me being gone.
To the third point: There is currently no alternate plan, though I think this is a good idea. I’m open to suggestions on this front. Ultimately the final go/no go call will be made at Wawa – once local conditions can be observed – but we should certainly have an alternative plan in case the forecast is lousy in general.
To the fourth point: There are indeed strict rules on sanitation in a national park in Canada. However, because there are no facilities provided, I believe based on previous research for the Nipigon trip, that a small spade shovel is a good thing to bring along. Guidelines as to how far off trail, and how far from lakeshores and streambeds you should be when you initiate this procedure.
To sum it up:
More to come...
posted 11-05-2008 04:31 PM ET (US)
I actually thought of another point to make regarding fueling your boat at sea in the area:
The cruising guide I have (Bonnie Dahl's Superior Way) indicates that when the Michipicoten River mouth is closed to large boats by shoaling (as it often is), Bucks Marina in Wawa will bring fuel out to you. If you are fueling a 35 ft. cruiser, you'll likely put at least 50 gallons of fuel in to get to the next port - more than likely, you're pumping in the neighborhood of 200 gallons...meaning that there has to be some kind of allowance for this procedure. A word of caution however: Wawa is not located within the park boundaries.
Just a thought.
posted 11-06-2008 04:50 PM ET (US)
Collaborative mapping on Google Maps is a really cool feature. I am currently collaborating with another forum member to put together potential routes and travel plans. While you must do it without the benefit of NOAA or CHS charts, it is beneficial because others can see an approximation of planned routes, how much distance is to be traveled, and can plan accordingly.
Excellent resource - I encourage you to check it out.
I will be making this available to you to view as we begin to hammer out plans - but as I said earlier - you will want a COMFORTABLE 200 mile range for this trip - including the fuel burned going up, over and through waves....
posted 11-08-2008 09:55 AM ET (US)
I am interested in this trip. However, due to the substantial cash outlay to get my boat ready for such a trip, I cannot make a commitment at this time. The earliest I could commit would be the end of December, and the latest would be the end of February. I have already made a small financial commitment to the trip by ordering Canadian charts 2309 and 2315.
In the meantime, I have been giving a lot of thought to the planning of the trip. I'll share some of my thoughts and ideas with you here.
- When I first began contemplating this trip, I tried to think of scenario that would allow for the most boating and exploring while only taking one day off of work. I thought a good plan would be to leave the Detroit area at about 4:00 p.m. on a Thursday evening, to arrive in Wawa around midnight. The boats could be put in the water on Friday morning, with boating and exploring all day Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, we could boat and explore in the morning, and return to Wawa by about 1:00 p.m. Leaving Wawa by 2:00 p.m. would give me plenty of time to make it home on Sunday, and go to work on Monday as usual. Since most of the other people expressing interest in the trip are from the Detroit area, I assumed this plan would work for them also. When I thought about it some more, however, I realized that two and half days was not really enough time to explore the area. Heck, I would spend almost as much time driving as I would boating. Based on the foregoing, I think you should plan the trip for three full days of boating and exploring, plus a few hours on the morning of the fourth day. Two days off of work shouldn't be a problem.
- Your early thoughts on the trip indicate that you are thinking of beginning and ending the trip at Wawa. I would like to suggest instead that you try to plan the trip so that Wawa is an intermediate stop along the way. This would allow people to refuel and reprovision, thus extending the possible range of the trip. One possibility would be to start and end the trip from the boat launch at Sinclair Cove, at the southern end of Lake Superior Provincial Park. The boats could touch at Wawa during the second day, or even stay at Wawa for the second night. This would reduce the need for carrying extra fuel in jerry cans, and provide an opportunity for a warm shower in the middle of what promises to be some cold boating. It would also give everybody involved an opportunity to check in with their loved ones. I doubt there is any cell phone service on Michipicoten Island. I believe there are some motels fairly close to the Sinclair Cove boat launch. Of course we would have to find out if overnight parking is allowed at the Sinclair Cove launch facility.
- Hiking Trails - In Pukaskwa National Park, it appears that the coastal hiking trail only extends approximately 60 kilometers south from Hattie Cove near Marathon. See: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/on/pukaskwa/activ/activ3a_e.asp . It does not appear that there are any hiking trails along the coast between Richardson Harbor and Wawa. Do you have any hiking guides or other resources which indicate otherwise? There is an additional coastal hiking trail in Lake Superior Provincial Park, which extends about 60 kilometers north from the southern end of the park. See: http://www.lakesuperiorpark.ca/index.php?option=com_content& view=article&id=100:park-map&catid=13:quick-park-information&Itemid=101 . And there is a small hiking loop near Old Woman Bay. You may want to take the lack of hiking trails in certain areas into to consideration while planning the trip.
- Navigable Rivers - Do you have any information concerning navigable rivers or creeks along the Lake Superior shoreline in this area? I have not been able to locate any such resources on the internet. I have, however, seen photos online of some amazing waterfalls. If some of these waterfalls are accessible by a short hike or a boat trip up a river, I would suggest including a couple of the waterfalls in the itinerary.
- Caribou Island - Given its proximity to Michipicoten Island, some consideration should be given to including Caribou Island in the internary. This assumes, however, that there is something interesting to be seen at Caribou Island. There doesn't seem to be much there other than a lighthouse. Also, there isn't much information about the island available on the internet. Maybe a trip to Caribou Island could be included as an optional side trip during the time planned for Michipicoten Island.
- Kayakers - Naturally Superior currently has plans for a guided group kayak tour of Michipicoten Island from July 26 through August 2, 2009. See: http://www.naturallysuperior.com/kayak_wilderness_trips/ michipicoten_island.php . They also have a trip planned for the Pukaskwa region during the same week. Would you be more inclined to have your trip coincide with the kayak tours, or to avoid them? (My vote would be to avoid them.)
posted 11-11-2008 03:25 PM ET (US)
I've been to Caribou Island. I've landed at the light on Gull Island nearby, and been around Caribou Island itself, but didn't land on the main island. There was no safe way to get ashore the day we were there, even though we only had 2 - 3 footers.
Caribou is a long way from anything. We made the 40-odd mile trip from Grand Marais Michigan while coming back from the Soo years ago. In some respects, it made Isle Royale feel downright cosmopolitan.
There is an interesting write up in Lake Superior Magazine from Dec/Jan of 2004. I might have it at home - I'll look. Otherwise, I'm sure you could order a copy from them directly - lakesuperior.com.
The island was owned privately for a time, and as I recall the only reliable way to get there was to take a float plane and land on one of the interior lakes.
Caribou is interesting to me as it plays a significant role in one of the leading alternative theories as to why the Edmund Fitzgerald sank. At the time of the sinking, lakes carried neither depth-sounders, nor any position locating instruments like Loran or GPS. The theory says that the Fitz may have strayed too close to six-fathom shoal off of Caribou Island and ripped her bottom open. More recent surveys also show that the outer reaches of the shoal extend more than a kilometer north of the island than the charts in use at the time indicated.
How well this theory holds up is open to question, as the back third of the Fitz is resting upside down, and it shows no evidence of grounding, though that doesn't mean the bow couldn't have hit in an especially deep trough. In any event, it adds to the intrigue of the island.
That said, it is at least a 50 mile round trip detour from Michipicoten to Caribou across the middle of the lake.
posted 02-03-2009 08:51 PM ET (US)
OK, Dave is this still in the"thinking about it" stage?
posted 02-04-2009 11:40 AM ET (US)
Nice write up on Michipicoten Island Kayaking in Lakeland Boating, January 2009 issue.
posted 02-09-2009 09:46 PM ET (US)
IRNP is still an option...
This would also be in keeping with our every-other-year cycle and we still have yet to visit the SE part of the island...
This is what I am planning for this summer; vacation time is tight, money is tight. The only thing I have plenty of is fuel and food.
posted 02-12-2009 07:13 PM ET (US)
As of today I am turning a maybe on this and other trips into a definite no until further notice as I was activated back onto active duty for the Army this afternoon. Life as I know it now will be put on hold. My boating, school and civilian lifestyle will significantly change coming this April as I will be moving to North Carolina to begin training and reintegration into military life. From there I will stand by to deploy in support of OIF at a time yet to be determined.
I am prepared to do what I have to do in this situation and look at it as an opportunity and honor to serve our nation. I hope you all have fun this summer on your rendezvous and I will be thinking of Whalering when times are tough.
posted 02-12-2009 08:05 PM ET (US)
On behalf of my crew here on the West Coast,
posted 04-02-2009 09:43 AM ET (US)
This trip idea is not dead...just dormant.
Please let me know if you are still interested.
posted 04-02-2009 03:59 PM ET (US)
Still interested, but for later in the "season", June is starting to look real busy.
posted 04-02-2009 04:15 PM ET (US)
Am considering early September....very early September - labor day weekend.
posted 04-02-2009 04:16 PM ET (US)
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