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Author Topic:   Apostle Islands (WI) 4th of July
Hal Watkins posted 06-15-2012 09:31 AM ET (US)   Profile for Hal Watkins   Send Email to Hal Watkins  
We will be based, (RV and 205 Eastport) out of Little Sand Bay the week of the 4th.
6992WHALER posted 06-17-2012 09:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     

I think we will be up there July 4-8.

Do you know anything about the ramp at Little Sand bay?


Hal Watkins posted 06-18-2012 09:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
We have launched/recovered at LSB several time. It is well maintained and can handle any trailer boat. Woul be great so see you there...Hal & Maggie
6992WHALER posted 06-19-2012 11:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
Who owns the ramp?
Hal Watkins posted 06-22-2012 10:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
I think it belongs to Russell Township? There is a substantial seawall and harbor. The NPS keeps bosts there.
Hal Watkins posted 06-23-2012 09:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins

Link to Little Sand Bay Facilities.

jimh posted 06-24-2012 04:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Chris and I may be joining you guys on July 6, Friday. We are looking into getting a reservation at the dock so we can stay on the boat for a few nights.

We may also make a run from there to Duluth for a day or two, and then return.

David Pendleton posted 06-24-2012 07:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
It's highly unlikely we will be making this trip. I do not think the boat will be ready.
6992WHALER posted 06-24-2012 08:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
Holly, Emmarie and I can't wait to see you guys


ChrisW posted 06-27-2012 09:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for ChrisW  Send Email to ChrisW     
Dave--It would be nice if you could make one of our trips this summer. We always enjoy your company. Is the boat O.K? It always looks near perfect to me. It's all about the fun anyway.

We'll miss you x2


David Pendleton posted 06-29-2012 01:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Thanks for the kind words Chris, but I just don't thin I can get the boat ready in time. The boat needs work, and the trailer needs work.
jimh posted 07-01-2012 09:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I believe that the Apostle Islands were named with the notion of the number of islands being the same as the number of Apostles of Jesus Christ, that is, twelve. However, it seems like French explorer Etiene Brule might not have noted all the island, as the present day count numbers more like 21.

Brule was the first European in the Upper Great Lakes, that is, above Niagara Falls, and began his exploration c.1610. We followed his path up the Ottawa River in 2009. It will be fun to follow his route to the Apostles. This will be our third visit.

David Pendleton posted 07-02-2012 12:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
There are 22 islands. We've been there 15 times...
jimh posted 07-08-2012 05:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Dave--Help the Wikipedia folks and update their page with your new count of the islands.

Quick trip report:

Wednesday--Encountered severe weather on highway; high winds and intense rain forced a change in plans.

Thursday--Arrived Apostle Island late about 9 p.m. local time. Weather was great. Launched boat. Enjoyed a quiet night in the harbor.

Friday--Weather gone to the dogs. Rain, Rain, Rain, wind, Rain. Gave up on boating. Unhitched the trailer and took truck to town.

Saturday--Weather perfect.

Sunday--Weather perfect.

Enjoyed boating with Hal, Margaret, John Holly, and Emmarie. They left on Sunday. We are still here for a few days.

David Pendleton posted 07-09-2012 08:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I don't need wikipedia to tell me there are 22 islands (which it already does), the placemats at the Portside Restaurant are enough for me.
prj posted 07-09-2012 09:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
I use the reduced laminated charts, obtained from Madeline Island Yacht Club, for navigation up there as the scale of the islands is so massive understanding context is difficult.

In middle June, my son and I met a friend and son in Bayfield and spent the week aboard his sailboat, with my Outrage serving as same-sized tender. Great week, though we also experienced some weather coming through, which created a challenge due to our limited interior space for 4 on a 20 foot sailboat. 2 of us could sedate into a nap, but the boys aren't afforded that luxury and suffered some cabin fever.

I love boating in the islands, though the week's end trip to LaPointe on Madeline is always the highlight. Turns out, I'm an island gypsy-hippie stuck in a city dwelling professional's body.

I'd love to see some photos of your week. Perhaps I'll get a couple of mine posted up and linked here.

jimh posted 07-09-2012 09:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Monday's weather report: PERFECTION. Winds are light, waves are very small. The sun is shining, and there is no rain in sight.

Dave--How about a list of the islands? Maybe they're starting to count big rocks as islands. It is a bit awkward to use the chart plotter for navigation because the scale must be zoomed in and out all the time to get the big picture and the details ahead.

Of course we had to visit MICHIGAN ISLAND today. There is a great lighthouse there--actually two towers, one old, and one newer. But there was no docent or park volunteer stationed there, so they were all locked up. When we came to the dock there was only one other boat--another Boston Whaler, a 21 EASTPORT out of Ashland.

I'll have to figure out how to become the volunteer at that lighthouse next summer. It would be a great place to stay for a month or two.

The harbor we are in tonight has a ton of classic Boston Whalers. From the old work boat 16-footer with blue interior to a 1989 20 OUTRAGE, with many classics of the 1980's at 22 to 25 foot in between.

I have the GRIB forecast and there is no precipitation predicted for a week. The winds are forecast to peak at 5-MPH and basically come from random directions for the next few days.

Gotta go. I have to re-light the mosquito coil to keep the critters away.

jimh posted 07-09-2012 10:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Sorry, Dave (and Wikipedia), but I am not counting GULL ISLAND as an island. It is a rock about 200-yards north of MICHIGAN ISLAND. Also, it is full of gulls and black cormorants, and this disqualifies it as any place you'd want to visit.
jimh posted 07-09-2012 10:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
We have not re-set our watches and other clocks to Central Time while we are here in the Apostle Islands. As a result, we have daylight here to 11 p.m. EDST. We're in latitude 47-North, and that helps, too.
David Pendleton posted 07-09-2012 10:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Okay Jim, I'm going to type this from memory.

Long (not really an island but included nonetheless)
South Twin
North Twin

You are confusing the islands included in the "National Lakeshore" bureaucratic designation with accepted geography. There are 22 islands in the Apostle Islands.

Also, there are four lights...

jimh posted 07-11-2012 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Dave--If you look at the navigation charts for Stockton they show the peninsula that extends to the Southeast from the East side of the island as being disconnected from Stockton Island.

Based on a recent visit, the two appear to be connected. The technical term I belived is a tombolo has formed between them--a sand dune.

Should we count the Presque Isle part of Stockton Island as a twenty-third island based on nautical charts? By the way, the Presque Isle (or false island) is much more interesting to visit than Gull Isand.

jimh posted 07-11-2012 09:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
We are not home yet, but we have done a lot of driving on this trip. We have seen a lot of wildlife along the highway. The current totals are

--nine deer; five of them alive and running along or across the highway or standing in the middle of the highway, and four dead, on the road shoulder; and,

--about a dozen wild turkeys, most all alive except for a couple road casualties.

The best road side sign we've seen was in Wisconsin in the extreme Northeastern portion, in a mining region. It read:


We love the Wisconsin consumer labeling regulations for gasoline, All gasoline containing ethanol is clearly marked as such.

Before coming up here I researched gas stations that sell pure gasoline. I found one in Ashland, Wisconsin that was right on the main road. We bought 50-gallons of pure gasoline at $3.60-per-gallon. That was the first pure gasoline I have been able to buy on the road in about ten years. Why can't Michigan be more like Wisconsin?

David Pendleton posted 07-12-2012 12:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
My (electronic) charts do not depict Presque Isle Point as a separate island, and from what I can find online the tombolo is estimated to be 5000 years old. I'm not sure how they know that.

I hope you were able to make it to both Quarry Bay and Julian Bay. In my opinion, Julian Bay has the finest beaches in the Apostles (seconded only by Big Bay State Park on Madeline).

I'm sorry we weren't able to join you on this trip, but we are planning a Bayfield trip in a few weeks time.

6992WHALER posted 07-12-2012 12:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
Animal sightings on the road,
1 lynx
5 live skunks, 2 dead,
4 turkeys
5 live deer 2 dead
1 fox
jimh posted 07-12-2012 07:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
We visited Stockton Island. We tied to the Park Service dock. There is some shoaling, but it is very visible, and we had at least 6-feet of water all the way into the dock. We hiked over to Julian Bay and enjoyed the expansive sweep of the mile long beach. We had earlier observed it from seaward in the boat.

Forgot this wildlife sighting: bald eagle soaring over the Roadside Park along Hwy-2 in extreme Western Michigan Upper Peninsula.

The drive from our home to Little Sand Bay was 710-miles. The first 275-miles were interstate highway, but after that we were on "blue highways," the old two-lane federal highways of the 1960's.

We decided to break up the drive home into two legs. We moved the boat to St. Ignace, Michigan, which was an eight-hour highway drive. We then cruised over to the Les Cheneaux Islands, where we visited Dave Buckda, who was vacationing at a cottage there with his newly restored Eastport 16. Dave has extensive experience in the Les Cheneaux Islands, and knows the history of almost every cottage and home. We spent a couple hours cruising while Dave gave us a guided tour.

We are heading home today. This last leg will be about six-hours of driving.

jimh posted 07-12-2012 08:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Made the last 275-mile leg to home without any problems. It was a great trip.

It was fun to rendezvous with Hal, Margaret, John, Holly, and Emmarie.

We really liked the Apostle Islands. Although we have been there twice before, this trip was the most fun.

David Pendleton posted 07-13-2012 12:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Did you do anything in Bayfield or Washburn while you were there? Russell and Cornucopia aren't exactly known for dining or nightlife (which isn't a bad thing, it just isn't).
Moose posted 07-13-2012 08:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moose  Send Email to Moose     

Regarding pure gas for sale on the road in Michigan. Charlie's Travel Plaza has it, I-75 and 4 Mile Road just south of Grayling, Exit 251. On June 30 it was selling for $3.99 a gallon. That's the first place I've found selling it on the highway here.

Plotman posted 07-14-2012 08:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     

I'm sorry we missed you - it was killing me not to be on the Island last week.

Our place is on the beach that is on the NE end of Madeline - basically 4 miles SW of the NPS docks on Stockton.

If you are serious about doing a volunteer stint as a guide at one of the lighthouses, the NPS calls the program that staffs those position VIP (Volunteers in Parks).

They have slots at Sand, Raspberry, Devil's and Michigan. They have had volunteers at the light on Outer, but not for several years.


Plotman posted 07-14-2012 08:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Also, there are four lights...

Actually Dave, several more than that.

If you are counting the historic lighthouses, there are 6 (or 7, depending on how you count Michigan):

Michigan (two actually)

I've been to the top of all but the one on Outer.

There is a modern light on Gull and an one on Long several hundred yards from the original.

David Pendleton posted 07-14-2012 09:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I was actually referring to an episode of Star Trek TNG ("Chain of Command") where Picard's torturer tries to get him to agree there are five lights in front of him when there are only four.

A little too obscure, I guess.

jimh posted 07-14-2012 12:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
While in the Apostle Islands, we dined two nights in Bayfield, one night in Madeline Island harbor, and one night out in the islands at the dock.

The National Park Service has some onerous rules about using grills on boats at the dock--they're not allowed. We did manage (somehow) to chargrill a delicious steak on Sand Island. The steak was from a cow owned by Holly's family, and the animal was grass fed while grazing in a open field and kept in the most comfortable and pleasant conditions. Chris said it was the best steak she ever ate. We had brought some Brats to cook, but the steak was so big it fed five of us with ample portions for all.

In Bayfield we went to MAGGIE'S, whose food was delicious but the tables very crowded. You have to go early or late to get a table without a long wait.

On Madeline Island we ate at a little dive right at the ferry dock. We were not into haute cuisine that night.

I'd like to try living on an island at the lighthouse for a week as a trial run, before committing to a longer stay. Also, I'd have to bring my amateur radio gear and be able to put up a good antenna so as to be able to give the radio waves a bit of a workout while there.

Moose--thanks for the tip on the gas at I-75 and Four Mile. We like that place for the CAT SCALE to weigh the boat trailer. Now that they have real gas, we may put some aboard the boat next time we pass on the way up north.

jimh posted 07-16-2012 08:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A surprise for us on this trip was the water of Lake Superior. It was unusual in two respects: temperature and clarity. The water was much warmer than we expected. In some places we found Lake Superior was 73-degrees-F, more than warm enough to enjoy a long swim, which we did several times. Previously when in this area we had encountered water so cold you could barely stand to dip your toe in it.

The water color and clarity was also a surprise. According to reports I heard from other boaters, the city of Duluth had received a very heavy and very fast rainfall a few weeks ago, which caused flooding. The water around the Western Apostle Islands was unusually brown, was not especially clear, and had a lot of floating debris. One local told me a refrigerator had been sighted floating in the Lake. We did not see anything like that, but there were many small logs and other vegetation you don't normally see in Superior. As we moved East, the water clarity improved. When we were out on Michigan Island the water was back to the normal clarity, and we could see the bottom in 25-feet depths.

While staying at Sand Island we were tied to the Park Service dock. Their dock is located at the outlet of a small creek. The creek water has a very dark red color, probably from all the tanin in the water. This gave the area around the dock the appearance of iced tea.

Plotman posted 07-18-2012 09:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     

What happened in Duluth in late June was really unprecedented - at least a 100 year flood, perhaps worse.

This image Satellite%20photo/ shows just how muddied the water became.

We have debris on our beach - sticks, leaves, trees - that one neighbor in his 70s says he has never seen on the island.

jimh posted 07-19-2012 09:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Dave--Thanks for that link. It led me to a longer article at

I did not know of this event. It is a good thing we changed our plans and did not head for Duluth.

I also found this NOAA satellite image of Western Lake Superior on the day we arrived. (It is a very large image; zoom in to see better.)

jimh posted 11-30-2012 01:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have published a narrative of the trip to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore at

The narrative gives further details and includes 34 photographs and illustrations.

David Pendleton posted 12-02-2012 02:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
If anyone's interested, we are planning on celebrating the 4th in Bayfield next year.

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