Monday, June 11, 2007

Fair Winds and Insect Drama

I remarked to my paddling companions, the VOR and her son GalwayGuy, that I'd never had such favorable winds in 10 years of kayaking Lake Superior. We left Little Sand Bay for York Island on Friday with a 25 knot west wind surfing us the two plus miles to York Island. The 3 guys from Green Bay that I had been in touch with, the GB Regulators, had said they would be in the vicinity but we didn't see them. This made complete sense given the wind conditions and the fact that they were on . Check their blog for some nice video and commentary on Fridays paddling conditions. On Saturday morning the wind obligingly shifted to the southwest which blew us up to the north end of Bear Island and then over to Devils with minimal effort. The same SW wind allowed us to set up camp, blew the bugs away, and gave us perfect conditions to explore the north end sea caves, which I consider to be the best on Lake Superior.
Upon rising Sunday morning we had - you guessed it - a northeast wind which pushed us down the east shore of Bear, over to Raspberry to check out the new lighthouse remodeling job, and around Point Detour into Little Sand Bay. I think we may have paddled a total of 3/4 miles out of the 32 total miles with the wind in our teeth. Unheard of!

The insects were notable in their absence. Other than a plague of flies when you got near the rocks and cliffs that were leeward (see life jacket and boot pix) the biting insects must have been on break. We never even used the insect repellent or headnets the whole weekend. A couple of mosquitos were swatted but it was unbelievable for mid June. The insect drama I referred to in the title had to do with the butterfly population. Every beach we hit had several deceased Monarchs on them and the bug slicks (ribbons of dead insects floating on the lake - a good place to fish!) had Monarch butterflies floating in significant numbers. One theory was that it could have been the big storms that came through Thursday except for one thing. The Tiger Swallowtails were all over the place, alive and partying on the beach. Click on the images to get a better and larger view.

You never know what you are going to run into on the inland sea which is why its so much fun to keep coming back. Several of our paddling friends are heading to the Inland Sea Society's symposium in Washburn this weekend, both at attendees and instructors. I will be heading up the north shore with the VOR to visit a friends cabin just over the border in Canada. From there we hope to access the Susies and Hole in the Wall on some day trips. Must be summer!


Joshua said...

Apologies for not paying a visit, but with the winds, we decided to stay close to Sand Island. We only had time for a one night trip, anyway.

DaveO said...

It would have been really a good time getting over to York and really a bad time getting back to Sand. I assume you guys were on the south camp and not Lighthouse Bay. I was struck by the lack of people on the water. We kind of had it to ourselves.