Monday, July 9, 2007

Do I really have to go home?

I've just returned from a wonderful, idyllic six day paddle in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with 6 compadres'. I can't believe how the wind gods have favored us this paddle season. We arrived at YorkIsland on Tuesday night around 10pm with plenty of light and flat seas and surfed over to Cat Island the next morning with 2' trailing seas. On Thursday, after a rousing celebration of the 4th of July the day before, we had a short paddle to Outer Island, via Stockton for some of us, with negligible wind. GalwayGuy and I went around Outer on Friday, roughly 17 miles and change, and met the rest of the crew on the eastern edge and found one of the sweetest little beaches in the archipelago. Again, only breezes to deal with. Based on NOAA forecasts for 20-25 mph SW winds with waves 2-4' we got up early on Saturday and girded our loins so to speak, for an anticipated slog to Manitou. We were happy that once again, as they had been for the entire trip, NOAA was dead wrong. Bluebird weather and tropical breezes greeted us and we hit Manitou around 11am. On the last day the group split up and 4 of our folks headed down to Red Cliff with a following sea and the remaining 3 of us headed around Pt Detour for Little Sand Bay with a very manageable northwest wind in our teeth. I just felt like I had to have a little bit of wind and waves in my face, just to remember what it was like.

We heard about the 90F readings downstate and the accompanying storms but I don't think we got much over 75F or so. One little shower was all the precipitation and the mosquito's were no shows. The cluster flies (fish flies, black flies, whatever you want to call them) were a different story however. Manageable most of the time and unbearable at others they were pretty dependent upon wind direction.
The sunsets were outstanding and water temp almost bearable to go swimming.....for about 90 seconds. I'll have more on the trip later but now I need to work to switch my brain from the paddle mode to the work mode. It gets tougher with every trip.

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