After a fine Saturday AM breakfast of venison sausage and french toast the kayaking trio of myself, the Voice of Reason, and her sister the De facto Mayor of Turtle River (henceforth referred to as The Mayor) were shuttled up to Horseshoe Bay for a leisurely 7 mile paddle down to Paradise beach which is about 13 miles northeast of Grand Marais. Its a rugged shoreline as is much of the north shore of Lake Superior. We landed on a rock ledge to visit the old family cabin and The Mayor took a very brief, very cold, and very unexpected dip in Gitchee Gumee. 46F in mid July. If those on the South Shore and Apostles are wondering where the cold water went I can tell you we found it. More on that later. We visited the cabin neighbors and the 97 year old matriarch of what used to be a small mom and pop resort, the kind that dotted the shore when I was a kid. Past the classic Naniboujou Lodge and the mouth of the Brule river and we were at Paradise Beach and on our way back to Grand Marais.
When we arrived the art was at a fever pitch. Male members of the family camping group said that they had made it through in 5 minutes. It wouldn't take me that long. The photo below is of the art fair from the Gunflint Tavern Bar.
They have a dozen fine micro's on tap, a very eclectic and interesting menu, the only draft Guiness on the North Shore (I've checked!) and a ban on cell phones. Its the perfect place to savor art. As I was savoring away I noticed a long time acquaintance had a booth right outside the bar. Rudi Hargesheimer had a number of his photos for sale and we picked up a couple gems, Spray Falls in Pictured Rocks and Grand Marais in the fog. The photo below is the VOR with her trophies. The temperature was 58F with a breeze from the northwest. Almost perfect conditions in my book.
As I mentioned before, the water was cold, mid to high 40's even in the harbor. I rolled a half dozen times with my tuliq and my face and hands were a bit numb when I got done. As I was playing, an outfitter (I'm not sure from where; no markings on van or trailer) pulled up with 4 bright yellow CD rotomolded doubles. Eight tourists, clad in shorts, sandals, and identical bulky life jackets trickled out of a van. After roughly 5 minutes of instruction from the 'guide' they were loaded up and shoved into the harbor. No paddle floats, bilge pumps, wetsuits, and not even a guide on the water with them. "Have fun kids, and be careful!". I heard her say that if they wanted to go beyond the harbor mouth to probably go right and paddle into the wind because then it would be easier to get back. The wind was northwest at about 10 knots, offshore, with a bit of a swell. This was not an athletic group and it took some bumper car antics before they figured out that you needed to be moving forward in order for the rudder to work. The VOR suggested that I put my boat back into the water in case they needed to be hauled out but it was apparent that they were not going beyond the harbor. I'll leave the comments on this scenario to the readers. I think you already get the drift of my opinion. Like the guy renting sit on top kayaks on Madeline Island, I find this sort of thing to be bordering on crimminal.