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Author Topic:   Isle Royale Labor Day 2010 - Interest
Buckda posted 08-14-2009 02:43 PM ET (US)   Profile for Buckda   Send Email to Buckda  
Labor Day 2010 is September 6.

I am proposing a trip to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, departing from Houghton or Copper Harbor, Michigan on Sunday morning, September 5 and returning on Saturday morning, September 11.

The primary focus of this trip would be the SW end of the island.

I realize that the date is a bit later than "normal" cruising, but it allows people to take advantage of a 4 day work week for vacation, and takes advantage of cooler evenings and fewer insects...plus less competition for dock space and/or camping shelters.

Not that it makes any difference whatsoever on the island, but for those of us trailering up there, it also takes advantage of the annual post summer fuel price decline.

Detailed planning to follow - I'm just interested for now in gauging interest in this trip.

David Pendleton posted 08-14-2009 03:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I'm in.
home Aside posted 08-14-2009 10:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Me Too,although I think I'd prefer mid to late August

Pat

home Aside posted 08-15-2009 10:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Isle Royal National Park has been mentioned in the news the last couple of days

http:/ / travel. aol. com/ travel-ideas/ domestic/ galleries/ secret-won ders-national-parks?ncid=AOLCOMMtravdynlprim0569& icid=webmail|wbml-aol| dl3|link3|http%3A%2F%2Ftravel. aol. com%2Ftravel-ideas%2Fdomestic%2Fgall eries%2Fsecret-wonders-national-parks%3Fncid%3DAOLCOMMtravdynlprim0569

http://www.freep.com/article/20090726/FEATURES07/907260330

Pat

Hal Watkins posted 08-17-2009 08:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
***Isle Royale***
We have planned a long weekend, leaving Houghton, MI on Friday, AM, 28 Aug 2009 and returning Monday,AM, 31 Aug. Will be in a 2006 170 Montauk, 26 gal fuel tank. Of course in a 170 all is weather dependant. We will be tent camping.
I would like to run out with another boat...anyone going that way?

The trip in 2010 sounds good to us. By going this late the "bugs' shouldn't be bad anyway.

Hal, Waseca, Mn

Buckda posted 08-17-2009 11:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Hal -

As a boater accessing the island, you have priority to shelters in which to camp on the mainland near the dock which you tie up to. That said, bringing a tent is prudent. I think the rangers prefer you use a shelter to a tent (less environmental impact) and no trenching is allowed - even in the case of a strong rain.

Look forward to meeting you in 2010.

Dave

Plotman posted 08-24-2009 10:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Arggh. All sorts of family coming up over Labor Day - otherwise I'd be there in a heartbeat.
David Pendleton posted 08-24-2009 01:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Plotman, not this Labor Day next Labor Day...
Buckda posted 08-24-2009 01:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Plotman is just a visionary. He lives in the future.
Plotman posted 08-24-2009 02:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Oh, that's different. Sweet.
Hal Watkins posted 09-06-2009 09:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
We just returned from an amazing week of high pressure weather boating around Isle Royale and the North shore of Minnesota. Clear skies, light winds a full moon...wow.

We left from Grand Portage, MN Sunday AM 30 Aug. It took us about a little over an hour to get to Windigo. Added 4 gallons of $5.38 gas, checked out the visitor center and headed around the SW end of the island to Moskey Basin for 2 nites of shelter camping. Stopped at Rock Harbor, Isle Royale lighthouse and the fish hatchery. Took on 12 gallons of gas and rounded the NE end of the island to shelter camp on Birch Island in McCargoe Cove. Listening all night to the many songs of the Loon is darn near spiritual. We made a bee line from Todd Harbor back to Grand Portage on Thursday mid day.

Shelter and docks were nicely maintained. As we took the kitchen sink with us, we stayed at sites close to the docks. We purchased NOAA chart 14976 at Windigo and found it easy to stay oriented. Neither GPS had detailed Lake Superior data...used the depth finder more than GPS.

We spent Fri and Sat boating along Split Rock Light house and a day cruising the Duluth Harbor area.

We are already looking forward to a return visit in 2010. If we can just hit a high pressure weather system like that again we'll stay a week. Count us IN.
Hal Watkins, Waseca, MN

Hal Watkins posted 09-06-2009 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
We just returned from an amazing week of high pressure weather boating around Isle Royale and the North shore of Minnesota. Clear skies, light winds a full moon...wow.

We left from Grand Portage, MN Sunday AM 30 Aug. It took us about a little over an hour to get to Windigo. Added 4 gallons of $5.38 gas, checked out the visitor center and headed around the SW end of the island to Moskey Basin for 2 nites of shelter camping. Stopped at Rock Harbor, Isle Royale lighthouse and the fish hatchery. Took on 12 gallons of gas and rounded the NE end of the island to shelter camp on Birch Island in McCargoe Cove. Listening all night to the many songs of the Loon is darn near spiritual. We made a bee line from Todd Harbor back to Grand Portage on Thursday mid day.

Shelter and docks were nicely maintained. As we took the kitchen sink with us, we stayed at sites close to the docks. We purchased NOAA chart 14976 at Windigo and found it easy to stay oriented. Neither GPS had detailed Lake Superior data...used the depth finder more than GPS.

We spent Fri and Sat boating along Split Rock Light house and a day cruising the Duluth Harbor area.

We are already looking forward to a return visit in 2010. If we can just hit a high pressure weather system like that again we'll stay a week. Count us IN.
Hal Watkins, Waseca, MN

jimh posted 09-07-2009 09:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Hal--Thanks for the report. Yes, the weather pattern the last seven days over the central Great Lakes has been fantastic.

Your departure from Grand Portage is an interesting option. Even though it would require a lot more highway driving for me to reach Grand Portage from SE Michigan, it is very attractive that the open water distance to Isle Royal is much reduced compared to leaving from Copper Harbor, Michigan. I measure the open water crossing from Copper Harbor to Isle Royal to be over 50-miles, while from the open water distance from Grand Portage to Isle Royal is less than 20-miles.

The driving distance for me to Grand Portage is 835-miles and 15 hours--clearly two long days on the highway. The driving distance for me to Copper Harbor is 585 miles and 10.5-hours, or one rather very long day.

jimh posted 09-07-2009 01:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The proximity of Isle Royal to Grand Portage offers two advantages to leaving from Grand Portage, as I see it:

--shorter open water crossing so less exposure to open water waves should a storm arise. This is particularly true for the trip from the island back to the mainland, which might have to be made in poor weather if the schedule demands;

--conservation of fuel. Since fuel is limited on the island and apparently somewhat more expensive, transiting from Grand Portage conserves fuel. If you figure a fuel economy of about 2.7-MPG (which would be optimum for my boat when on plane, heavily loaded, and running in small seas), cutting the crossing distance to, say, 20-miles from 55-miles will save 35-miles each way, or 70-miles. This saves

70-miles x 1-gallon/2.7-miles = 26 gallons of fuel

My boat tank is 77-gallons, so saving 26-gallons of fuel would give me quite a boost in my range once I got to the island, before I would need to buy fuel.

I take it you can buy fuel at Windigo. Where else is fuel sold on Isle Royal?

Hal Watkins posted 09-07-2009 03:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
Both Windigo and Rock Harbor have gas and diesel. They both have small stores with essentials. Rock Harbor also had fresh bread, milk, eggs, cheese and ice cream! I was told the reason there gas was $5.38 is that they took on a lot of fuel booked at a higher price and have to work down there enventory before they figure in this years lower prices...so maybe next year it will drop a buck.

Hal

home Aside posted 09-07-2009 04:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Jimh,
coming across from Grand Portage you can't get the exhilarating feeling you get when you stop halfway across from Copper Harbor, cut your engine, & do a 360 without seeing land (not to mention in Fresh water)......about the most exciting thing I've done in a Whaler.....

Pat

Plotman posted 09-08-2009 07:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
This past week was the best weather I have seen all summer on Lake Superior. Only once before have I seen the lake as flat as it was yesterday morning.

We took our outrage up to fish off of Outer Island in the Apostles, and were sorely tempted when the GPS said it was just over two hours to the Rock of Ages light.

Since the folks on the beach had been told we would be back in about 3 hours, spending the day heading up to Isle Royale would not have been cool, but I sure wanted to.

The weather on the big lake is more of a crap shoot in lake August. We can get weeks like we just had, or the blows like we had the weekend before (two days of 30-35 with 8 footers), which we almost never see in July.

Buckda posted 09-08-2009 12:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Jim -
You would spend 33.5 gallons in the truck, plus a lost day of use to save 26 gallons of fuel?!

Sounds like big government thinking to me.

I'll explain -

If you Drive to Grand Portage, you drive an additional 250 miles each way, spending 16.3 gallons of fuel at 15 MPG tow vehicle economy (better than I think you see). Double that as you have to return: 33.5 gallons

At $3.25/gallon, you spend $108.50

Your 26 gallon fuel savings by going to MN has a cost of $139.88 - the cost to fuel those gallons from Isle Royale fuel at $5.38/gallon.

Your savings was just reduced to about $30, plus, you added the "cost" of 2 lost boating days due to additional travel.

jechura posted 09-08-2009 01:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     
Dave, As I recall 2005 that was your intended launch site from Grand Portage and I had only one site in mind. Copper Harbor, with or without you and Paul.
Buckda posted 09-08-2009 01:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Jerry -

You recall correctly. Having done the trip twice now from Copper Harbor and calculating the costs, my position has changed.

I am not too big to admit when I change my mind....

Buckda posted 09-08-2009 01:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I will add: Given the technology we have available to us via the US Weather Service and the free country we live in, it is not difficult, if weather predictions dictate, to change launch points up to and even beyond the point that you launch your boat.

If Jerry recalls, we sat at the Copper Harbor dock for a day "waiting out" the wind in 2005 before we departed for the Island.

There are a lot of alternatives available to trailer boaters and opportunities to remain flexible.

Additionally, there is always the option of loading your vessel aboard the USPS Ranger for the return crossing if the weather is really nasty. Other options include leaving your boat at Rock Harbor Lodge docks for the week and fly back to Copper Harbor, return to work and return the following weekend to get your boat.

Obviously, those are worst-case scenarios - but you are not without options.

I'm just saying that the $30 differential in fuel costs plus the cost of losing two days to road travel should weigh in your decision on where to launch.

On the other side of the scale is the added risk for weather on the return, etc.

Plotman posted 09-08-2009 05:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Jim H-

Your other options are coming up over the top of the lake.

It is ~760 miles or 13 hours to Thunder Bay, with a roughly 30 mile trip to the island, half of which is relatively protected.

Or ~650 miles (11 hours) to Rossport, and then a crossing to Isle Royale of similar length to that from Copper Harbor.

The Rossport area is beautiful, and would offer good cruising options if you were delayed by weather - in fact it could be a worthy destination on its own.

jimh posted 09-08-2009 09:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
According to my research, the RANGER will not load a boat of my size unless it is a "disabled boat," and the charge is $350. So the RANGER haul back is not really an option for my boat--unless we truly are a disabled boat. The RANGER only takes boats to 20-feet as normal loadings.

Yes, I know the extra 500 miles of highway required to drive to Grand Portage will have a cost in gasoline and time. I was just thinking aloud about what options might exist as alternative to Copper Harbor. I had not thought of other departure ports even farther north. Rossport is on the list of places to visit, but, then, so is Duluth.

If you consider that most of the high winds are probably westerlies, having to return to Copper Harbor would mean a following sea, while returning to Grand Portage would be a head sea. It might be easier to make 50 miles downwind in some seas than to go upwind 20 miles against them.

In terms of weather patterns, I think an trip earlier in the season would probably offer a higher percentage of days with calm seas. In July I believe Lake Superior is calmer than in early September. A July trip also offers much longer daylight.

We are very interested in going to Isle Royal, and we would love to have a nice group to go with, as I think there is a great comfort in traveling across a long stretch of open water in the company of another boat or two.

David Pendleton posted 09-08-2009 09:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Perhaps I've just been extraordinarily lucky, but both my trips between Grand Portage and IRNP have been in seas less than 1'.
jimh posted 09-10-2009 07:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Dave--You have a calming influence.
home Aside posted 09-10-2009 08:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I agree with an earlier time frame, I think Mid August as we did in 2007 is better because of cooler evenings to keep bugs away and longer days as Jimh mentioned, and maybe calmer seas

Pat

David Pendleton posted 09-10-2009 09:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
This is from our 2007 trip. That's the Rock of Ages light house at about 1nm.

http://home.comcast.net/~davepen/images/irnp/DSC00851.JPG

Buckda posted 09-11-2009 09:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
quote:
I realize that the date is a bit later than "normal" cruising, but it allows people to take advantage of a 4 day work week for vacation, and takes advantage of cooler evenings and fewer insects...plus less competition for dock space and/or camping shelters.

Not that it makes any difference whatsoever on the island, but for those of us trailering up there, it also takes advantage of the annual post summer fuel price decline.


This is one week later than the 2005 trip, which was at the very end of August and into September.

Plotman posted 09-11-2009 09:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
If you look at the long term history from the data buoys on significant wave height on Lake Superior, the upper end of the 1st standard deviation band rises from 0.6m (2ft) in July to 1.3m (4ft) in August.

That means that 5/6 of the time in August the waves are below 2 feet, whereas that grows to 4 feet in September.

In english it means that you are still pretty likely to have decent boating weather in early September.

However, I will tell you that one or two decent blows in the latter part of August and erly September each year, but I can't ever recall one in July.

One definite advantage is that the water is a lot warmer.

Cicada posted 09-12-2009 08:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
I am certainly interested in this trip next year. The 2005 trip was great!

Suzanne and I departed with the group from Copper Harbor and shipped the boat back on the Ranger III. Our return was time sensitive and the Ranger can take on a little rougher water than what the Outrage will. Logistics of leaving from Copper Harbor and returning to Houghton may need to be arranged ahead of time. We left our vehicle at the Rangers parking lot. The lot is only open during specific hours of the day. A photo here of the Outrage being loaded onto the Ranger III.
I believe that they can load about 4 boats on foredeck.

http://s4.photobucket.com/albums/y108/mottpm/Ranger%20III/?action=view& current=2b471a7d.jpg


I was in the local REI a couple of week-ends ago and ran into this guy, John Dunn, that was distributing these flyers concerning some restoration of buildings on the island.

http://s4.photobucket.com/albums/y108/mottpm/Isle%20Royale%201/ ?action=view¤t=irlflyer.jpg

Interesting guy. He's been going up there for 25 years straight. They use some of the workboats that we've seen up there for the hauling of materials and people.

Don't know which way I'd go on this trip. The trip across from Copper Harbor can be pretty exciting.


Paul

home Aside posted 09-13-2009 09:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Paul,
It's also a longer run from Houghton to IRNP, correct?

Pat

Cicada posted 09-13-2009 09:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
Pat,

I really need to look at a chart and compare distances but I think it could depend on where you're planning to hit the island. The Southwest end of the island as Dave suggested, then Houghton may be closer? If so, that would save some time on the road but it wouldn't be as picturesque.


Paul

David Pendleton posted 09-15-2009 08:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Personally, I think you guys would be better off sticking with a departure point somewhere in the Keeweenaw.

Eagle River and Eagle Harbor would shorten the crossing somewhat depending on what end of the island is your destination. I do not know what kind of facilities they have in either of these places, however.

I wouldn't even consider a Grand Portage departure if I were driving from Detroit. It works great for me, but you're just adding time and many boring miles up the Arrowhead.

Of course, if anyone wants to meet me in Grand Portage, you're welcome to.

K Albus posted 09-15-2009 09:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Dave, I hate to hijack your thread, but in light of the apparent lack of sanity here, I feel compelled to offer some advice. Lake Superior is a very dangerous body of water. This trip should not be made in any boat less than thirty feet long. This trip should only be made in a boat with two or more motors. This trip should only be made in July. This trip should not be made by anybody who has less than thirty years of boating experience and some form of captain's license. This trip should not be made by anyone who has not already sailed around the world at least twice, including at least once solo. No boat should make the crossing unless it has its own back-up boat in tow. And nobody should attempt to make the crossing unless they are wearing a snowmobile suit and a cold-water survival suit. Remember, Lake Superior never gives up its dead. So if you're planning on making this trip, buy plenty of life insurance and prepare a will.

Now, on a more serious note, I'm interested in making the trip, but I'll have to wait and see if I can fit a canvas package into my budget before then.

Plotman posted 09-16-2009 11:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
If you really want to be safe, I'd suggest a minimum length of 730 feet. No boat 730 feet or longer has sunk on Lake Superior.
Buckda posted 09-16-2009 01:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
From Houghton, it is about 75 miles to Rock Harbor/Snug Harbor. I believe it is about 60 to Windigo...but that is just from the pierhead - it's another 10 miles up the river to the marina/town on the Keeweenau.

Dave - last trip, we went down to Eagle Harbor to check it out. The facilities are pretty primitive and the docks are fairly exposed and there is no staff there full time. The state dock at Copper Harbor makes the added 15 miles very worthwhile, plus there is a lot of 'traffic' going there for the lighthouse tour and the gift shop that is part of the office for the facility. The bathrooms and showers are also excellent and a welcome sight after a week on the Island.

I'm happy that we have this much interest in the trip. I realize that there will be some discussion on the dates, etc.

I'll start a thread on planning/logistics in early 2010. We can debate weather, wind, lodging, fuel economy, prices, etc. then and there. Until then - let's limit it to if someone else is interested, to please let us know here on this thread.

Please note that if we have more than 10 people, the rangers will ask the group to split into two parties to limit park impact.

Regards,

Dave

David Pendleton posted 09-16-2009 07:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I would also consider departing from the Apostle Islands if Plotman can keep up...

:)

jimh posted 09-17-2009 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Plotman writes:

quote:
"If you look at the long term history from the data buoys on significant wave height on Lake Superior, the upper end of the 1st standard deviation band rises from 0.6m (2ft) in July to 1.3m (4ft) in August."

I don't believe I have met Plotman, but, from this single sentence, I already sense I would enjoy cruising with him.

:-)

Plotman posted 09-18-2009 01:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Why thank you Jim. I have long thought cruising with you and Chris would be fun.

David

PS I just discovered the iPhone doesn't want to let me type Jimh. Auto correct wants to change it to something else - it made me burst out laughing.

6992WHALER posted 09-20-2009 07:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
We are thinking about Isle Royale next summer. Would love to join you but we need to go at least one week earlier. Need to get back in time to get my daughter to school.

I have been up there several times over the years. I have never been stuck on the island because of bad seas but I have been stuck twice for fog.

I usually cross from Grand Portage.
I am not superstitious but I did blow one of my engines up the last time I was there.
It would have been nice to have had company on that trip.

Hoosier posted 09-22-2009 09:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
For anyone considering leaving from a Canadian port of departure I got this response from US Customs:
While you can go directly to the national park for entry, you are able to be cleared by the National Park Rangers if you enter within their seasonal open season. If you have an I-68 permit, you are able to phone-in your arrival. I-68 permits are available, and can be obtained at the Grand Marais Port http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/contacts/ports/mn/3613.xml until October 15th.
6992WHALER posted 09-22-2009 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
I was talking to my wife last night and she reminded me that last time we were up there was Labor Day weekend. The store at Windago was getting ready to close for the season. It did not have very much on the shelves. It would be smart for you guys to contact the Park Services and find out the date they are shutting down services next fall. The gas dock is managed by the store, so if it is closed I don’t know if you can get fuel.

Plotman posted 09-22-2009 02:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Just hail them on 16 and they will send someone to the fuel docks (either end of the island) if no one is around. 7:30 am to 4:30pm, 7 days. Remember, the island runs on Eastern Time, not Central like MN if you are coming from Grand Portage.

This schedule is good till at least the first weekend in October.

Plotman posted 09-27-2009 09:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
I wish I could run back over and watch this storm in an area with some decent fetch...

LSZ162-280415-
LAKE SUPERIOR WEST OF A LINE FROM SAXON HARBOR WI TO GRAND
PORTAGE MN BEYOND 5NM-
412 PM EDT SUN SEP 27 2009 /312 PM CDT SUN SEP 27 2009/

...GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 2 AM EDT /1 AM CDT/ MONDAY THROUGH
LATE MONDAY NIGHT...

.LATE THIS AFTERNOON...WEST WINDS 15 TO 25 KNOTS. NUMEROUS
SHOWERS AND SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS. WAVES 3 TO 5 FEET.
.TONIGHT...NORTHWEST GALES TO 35 KNOTS. NUMEROUS SHOWERS. WAVES
BUILDING TO 8 TO 11 FEET.
.MONDAY...NORTHWEST GALES TO 40 KNOTS VEERING NORTH BY MID
AFTERNOON. SHOWERS LIKELY...THEN BECOMING SCATTERED IN THE
AFTERNOON. WAVES BUILDING TO 10 TO 14 FEET.
.MONDAY NIGHT...NORTH GALES TO 35 KNOTS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
WAVES BUILDING TO 12 TO 17 FEET...THEN SUBSIDING TO 9 TO 12 FEET.
.TUESDAY...NORTH WINDS TO 30 KNOTS DIMINISHING TO 15 TO 25 KNOTS
BY MID AFTERNOON. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS THROUGH EARLY
AFTERNOON. WAVES SUBSIDING TO 8 TO 11 FEET.
.TUESDAY NIGHT...NORTHEAST WINDS 10 TO 20 KNOTS. WAVES SUBSIDING
TO 5 TO 8 FEET.

David Pendleton posted 09-28-2009 01:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
12 to 17 is pretty respectable. I wouldn't mind seeing that myself.

I'll bet those last few folks heading home from IRNP on the Ranger or the Queen are in for a treat.

Buckda posted 09-28-2009 10:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
The Ranger shouldn't be too bad - she's a sizeable boat. I'm sure she'll pitch and rock a bit though.

Those aboard the Queen are in for a treat. Vomit Comet for sure. Which is worse - being sick yourself, or having to ride in an enclosed space with someone else who was just sick?

Been there - done that on a short ride to Mackinac on the STAR line ferry. 24 Boy Scouts, 22 green faces and 4 sick ones...and that was about 15-20 minutes worth...

Buckda posted 09-28-2009 11:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Incidentally, to give a good descriptor of the short wave interval of the Great Lakes. Southern Lake Michigan buoy (at Mid-Lake) this morning reporting 9.8 ft. waves at 7 second intervals.

How's that for hammering chop?

Plotman posted 09-28-2009 04:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Now even bigger... Ranger not going anywhere...

...GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM EDT THIS EVENING THROUGH
TUESDAY AFTERNOON...

.LATE THIS AFTERNOON...NORTH STORM FORCE WINDS TO 50 KNOTS.
NUMEROUS SHOWERS. WAVES 17 TO 22 FEET BUILDING TO 20 TO 25 FEET.

Buckda posted 09-28-2009 05:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I think this makes an excellent case in point for why you should not scrimp on buying fuel on the island, why you should pack food for a couple extra days, if needed, and why you should pack some extra underwear.

Not that we'd encounter anything like this - but in 2005, we did experience significant wave heights (they stopped running the VOYAGER ferry service due to 11' seas and high winds from a low pressure system that had previously been Hurricane Katrina. That system pretty much "trapped" us in two different places - one boat was down in Chippewa Harbor (and jonesing for cigarrettes as their supply ran out) and the others were up in Rock Harbor and managed to maneuver around in Tobin Harbor for the afternoon. Land-based activities were thrust to the forefront that day, and the dock lines were doubled up that evening. I remember it was hard to sleep because of the "roar" of the wind on my canvas. ...but we managed with the help of Captain Morgan.

Plotman posted 09-28-2009 08:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
I have a couple of friends up fishing on Isle Royale this week. I'm sure they are tucked in safe and sound, and given the winds from the north there won't be enough fetch to get the really big waves the south shore will see. But I bet they'll have some cool pictures.

Right now it's 17 feet at 8 seconds...

Cicada posted 09-28-2009 10:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
Isn't that what you call a "square wave"? Sounds like a brick wall moving through the water.

Paul

K Albus posted 10-27-2009 10:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
As of right now, it looks like I'll be getting my canvas package first thing next spring. If so, I'm in for this trip.

I reviewed the thread regarding the 2005 Isle Royale trip, and I've got a few questions that hopefully some of you guys can answer.

1. Did anybody use the primitive shelters which are available throughout the island on the last trip? If so, were they hard to come by, or could you pretty much find an open one any time you needed one?

2. Fishing - Did you guys spend a lot of time fishing? Although Dave's report made a few mentions of half-hearted attempts at some trolling, I didn't see any reports of any serious fishing. Did you guys take your fishing gear and just not use it, was there no time for fishing, or was there just no interest? The reason I ask is because downriggers, fishing rods, and tackle boxes take up a lot of extra room if they're not going to be used.

3. Daily activities - The reports seem to indicate only a modest amount of mileage traveled by the boats. Is this because a lot of time was spent on land, hiking and such, or is it because you were engaged in a lot of slow, no-wake type boating which limited the miles traveled each day? How much time each day (other than sleeping) was spent on land vs. on the boats? Did you guys do any major hikes, or just a few short ones? How about swimming and/or snorkeling?

Buckda posted 10-27-2009 10:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Primitive shelters are generally available depending on park traffic. If you get there early enough, generally, you can secure one for your use (I can only think of one or two days out of 13 or 14 days on the island when a shelter was not available.

I never actually tried any trolling in the waters of Isle Royale - I did bring my rod and reel for some fishing on inland lakes...it's not a major focus of the trip for me.

I would classify the amount of time on shore as "significant". Certainly more time than on a trip like the North Channel or Georgian Bay's Small Craft Route. The scale of the island is pretty impressive - and even short hikes take a little while to get through and typically take longer because of the terrain (going up to Lookout Louise isn't that long of a hike in terms of distance, but it is a strong uphill walk and winds its way through rocky ground that requires careful footing, etc.

Hiking boots are strongly recommended.

For whatever reason, I've noticed that this trip is much more laid back than others in terms of schedules. I guess it's because you really don't have to make it to a new port every day - there are docks/campgrounds generally available and it is certainly worth the time to stop and smell the conifers, so to speak.

K Albus posted 10-27-2009 12:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
I have now reviewed the 2007 trip report, and I'm with Dave regarding the timing of the 2010 trip - the later, the better. I'd rather risk a slightly increased chance of bad weather than deal with crowds on a trip like this.

During my lunch break today I picked up a copy of the National Geographic waterproof trail map for the island, and a copy of Isle Royale National Park: Foot Trails & Water Routes by Jim Dufresne. And I've already got Bonnie Dahl's Superior Way. I'm ready to go!!!

home Aside posted 10-27-2009 12:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Buckda,
I may be mistaken, but wasn't it so that registered boaters had first crack at the shelters where Park docks were available?

I guess it's in the eye of the beholder and I didn't make the 2005 trip, but I didn't really feel it was too crowded on the 2007 trip. I think I'd rather deal with a few hikers around than have to make the run acoss and/or back in nasty weather later in the season.

We had two nights that I recall that there were quite a few Hikers around. I think that was because they were forced out of the inner island and inland lakes because of a unusually heavy algae bloom that left the inland water completely unusable. Thus Hikers that may generally have not been around the shoreline had to come out for water.

Almost menu and checklist time....Dave, Dave, and I ate like kings in 2007

Pat

K Albus posted 10-27-2009 01:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Pat, the way I read the rules regarding the docks and shelters is that boaters who are set up in a shelter have priority for the adjacent dock, not the other way around. In other words, if you're set up in a shelter, you can leave for the day in your boat, and you will have priority for the dock upon your return. See page 13 of the Isle Royale Boating Guide http://www.nps.gov/isro/planyourvisit/upload/Boating%20Guide.pdf

Regarding the menu, I can live quite comfortably for a week on granola bars, hot dogs, and beef jerky. Of course, I'm not going to pass up any fresh fried perch or walleye fillets if somebody is offering them.

Buckda posted 10-27-2009 05:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Kevin -

I believe you are right about the use of shelters. That is the opposite from how I represented it above.

The way you would reserve your shelter is to arrive at the dock, take your park permit (and twistie tie) and secure it to the shelter door handle. You can then leave and be assured space at the dock that evening.

I've never seen anyone rebuffed for dock space, although I can see how it might happen. We've been at several docks where we were rafted up two or three deep, either with our "Whaler" group or with strangers. This has occurred at Belle Isle, Duncan Bay (mandatory as there is only one space), Caribou Island, Daisy Farm and Chippewa Harbor. The duration of the "rafting" varied from a few hours to overnight.

At this point, I am totally comfortable making the crossing from Copper Harbor day or night. Of course, I'd prefer to do it during the day, but if weather is forecast to close in on me, I'll just as happily cross after dark if that is necessary.

Unless a lake carrier is running "dark" there is not much to run into out there...except for the Keeweenau Peninsula.

David Pendleton posted 10-27-2009 06:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I agree with Pat, it was more crowded than I would have liked in 2007.

Of course, crowded is a relative term when applied to IRNP. The only time it was even mildly annoying was at Belle Isle, where we ended up tied astern of a dive boat.

As Pat said earlier, all the inland water was rendered toxic by algae, so everywhere we went hikers were coming out of the bush to get water from the lake. It only took a half-dozen folks to make a crowd.

K Albus, I don't remember running at-speed much at all on that trip. We weren't in much of a hurry to get anywhere.

Dave and Pat did some hiking and swimming that year, also. I like to hang around the dock, so I stayed behind and read a book, ate, drank, or messed with the boat and my gear.

I would consider a night crossing from the Keeweenaw. I've always wanted to do something like that.

K Albus posted 11-03-2009 08:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
For anybody preparing for this trip, please note that NOAA offers a free online "BookletChart" which can be downloaded, saved, and printed on your home computer. See: http://ocsdata.ncd.noaa.gov/BookletChart/14976_BookletChart_HomeEd.pdf

A similar "BookletChart" for the Copper Harbor area can also be downloaded. See: http://ocsdata.ncd.noaa.gov/BookletChart/14964_BookletChart_HomeEd.pdf

Other BookletCharts are also available. See: http://ocsdata.ncd.noaa.gov/BookletChart/

These BookletCharts are considered "experimental" and are not being updated with the Local Notice to Mariner reports. Nevertheless, they are useful and free.

K Albus posted 11-03-2009 08:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
I should have said the BookletCharts are not being updated on a weekly basis. They are apparently being updated on a periodic basis, with the latest revision dated noted in the booklet.
Hoosier posted 11-06-2009 10:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Maybe. Would someone post or send me the links to the cruise reports from the last two trips.
Buckda posted 11-06-2009 10:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Dave -

The lake trout fishing in and around Isle Royale is world class.

Need I say more...or should I say that to Kathy?

:)

Dave

K Albus posted 11-06-2009 10:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Here's the "planning" thread for the 2005 trip: http://continuouswave.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000484.html

Here's the "trip report" thread for the 2005 trip: http://continuouswave.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000600.html

And here's the thread for the 2007 trip: http://continuouswave.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000884.html

Buckda posted 12-06-2009 12:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Saturday August 28 (Travel Day)
Sunday September 5 (Travel Day)

To acommodate interest in mid/late August expressed by various parties; I'd like to schedule this on calendars for Sunday, August 29 crossing from Copper Harbor with a return on Saturday, September 4 or Sunday, September 5.

I'll start a new thread to begin head counts and planning.

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