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  1. #1
    Senior Member OneClick's Avatar
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    Solo Kayaking Around Grand Island, Lake Superior

    I don't even know what to say, this is just depressing. I ended up losing my phone on this trip which is just a hard pill to swallow. TONS of AMAZING views, gone. It would have made a great Youtube video and I always enjoy going back to look at old photos years later.

    It must have slipped out of a packet when I was getting in, I honestly don't know because the second day took so much effort and concentration in the rough water that I didn't even attempt to record. I really don't have money to replace it now, but don't really have a choice. I think I'll buy the same iPhone SE (2nd gen) because I need that home button


    A short writeup will have to do. Boring!

    Day 1: I left the mainland from Munsing heading NE toward the SE corner of the island, passing an abandoned lighthouse. After a few miles of paddling along the east side I arrived at camp, so it was a short and pleasant day on the water. It only rained overnight so I am thankful for that. I explored the area to find waterfalls, mushrooms, a creek leading to the lake and amazing views of the waves punishing the rocky shore. Fire, dinner etc…

    Day 2: [The hardest day of my life] It was gray and gloomy. The sun almost peeked out at times but failed. The water changed from a beautiful aquamarine to black. The wind shifted to the north-northeast, the worst possible scenario for my long day ahead. I also noticed the large tour boats were not running on the other side near Pictured Rocks. Not a good sign. I waited until 11am to set out northward but there was no change in the water. The NWS open waters forecast was calling for 1’ waves, but it turned out to be 2-3’. With nothing but 150 miles of open water between me and Canada, the lake has plenty of time to build up into a washing machine. With a stiff headwind and waves crashing over me every few seconds, it was exhausting paddling. My sea kayak was mimicking a diving submarine every few wave cycles with the front half of the bow under water. I was becoming dehydrated since I could not stop paddling (mostly for course-correction and to stay upright) for even a few seconds to grab my bottle of water. Eventually I would start scooping up water from the lake and taking quick sips from my hand to at least wet my mouth. After several hours I reached what I though was the NE point of the island which is close to camp, only to find it was just a rock formation that looked that way...I was only less than half way there! Already exhausted, that was a soul-crushing experience. The kind where you just want to give up. With nowhere to stop and rest, or even being able to stop paddling for a minute, I had to keep pushing hard. After 4 or 5 painful hours I reached the NE point and turned into a large bay with a sandy beach. With waves violently crashing into the shore, my exit was anything but graceful. But I finally made it and literally collapsed on the sand face down. I took a 15-minute rest in that position before getting up, covered in sand, to unpack the kayak and find camp. I never experienced that kind of complete exhaustion in my life. After getting set up around 6pm with everything hanging from tree branches to dry, I had dinner, a quick fire then went to sleep for 10 hours.

    Day 3: [The longest day of my life] After checking the open water forecast for the next few days on my radio, it was apparent I had a short window to make it back to the mainland while the weather was acceptable. 25mph winds were coming and that would shut down everything. I planned on 4 or 5 days for this trip, but now realized I had to finish an entire half of the island in ONE day. It was 6:15am and time to go. I knew getting out of the north bay with a north wind would be a challenge. I could hear the crashing of the waves all the way from camp, but down on the beach they were deafening. It immediately reminded me of that part from Castaway where Tom Hanks needed to get his raft past the breaking waves into calmer water. I didn’t think I was going to make it out of there! After paddling north out of the bay, I rounded the NW corner of the island to find more gut-wrenching waves. These were large 3’ waves but at least smooth and somewhat predicable. I’m very thankful I do not get seasick because this was a wild ride. Watching the horizon constantly bounce up-down-up-down was still a bit nauseating. After a while the waters calmed down to a gentle roll. Then for the final 30 minutes heading towards the mainland, it became dead calm from the protection of the island now behind me. After unloading the kayak I decided to make the final 7-hour drive home. I did find time to stop for pasties at Muldoons in Munising for lunch, then a Spikeburger at Spikes in Grayling for dinner.

    OK I see it's almost midnight. Long day indeed. Sorry I couldn't post more. Here is one photo I managed to text to friends on the first day, then another at the end I had a stranger take and email to me. Sorry, I was really looking forward to a nice video.



    Last edited by OneClick; 08-27-2022 at 18:25.

  2. #2
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    I’m glad you made it OK. Like superior is nothing to mess with when she’s angry.

  3. #3
    Senior Member OneClick's Avatar
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    p.s. I checked out the ferry service before I left. I think it's just a pontoon boat for $23/person. Ouch! I'll go back and hike it sometime for another perspective.

  4. #4
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear. I thought “oh good ! OC has a new video!” Then to read this.

    If the phone was in a waterproof case, it should float, correct?
    Somebody may find it washed up on shore?
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

  5. #5
    Senior Member OneClick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gargoyle View Post
    Sorry to hear. I thought “oh good ! OC has a new video!” Then to read this.

    If the phone was in a waterproof case, it should float, correct?
    Somebody may find it washed up on shore?
    Yeah my friend bought me one because she knew I always used my phone for trips. But you can't take videos or photos thru the plastic so it's not always in there. I think it slipped out of my pocket getting into the kayak the second day. It was a rush job since the waves were crashing in and I hurried out. It probably fell out of my pocket, not in a case at that point. Good thing now, because I don't use a passcode and wouldn't want anyone messing around in there. Definitely time for a GoPro or something else.

    What a waste!! That would have been a really fun video to put together.

  6. #6
    Senior Member OneClick's Avatar
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    I guess I could put a map of my approximate route each day.

    Day 1 (red) 4.1mi
    Day 2 (purple) 7.4mi
    Day 3: (green) 11.2mi



    It would have made for better viewing, but the reason why I stayed quite far from the island was because of the waves. They were more chaotic and unpredictable as I got closer.

    On the hammocking side of things, the sites worked fine and I slept well in my 1.6SL Blackbird. I took the Thunderfly tarp since there was only rain in the forecast for the first night. It wasn't very heavy, I'm guessing 0.25" while I slept. No encounters with bears. They have bear poles in the camp sites which makes it easy. I did bring my heater just in case.

    After 10 years of this stuff, I think I'm going to throw up if I have another instant coffee or smores Poptart.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Silverpalm2x's Avatar
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    Sounds like an intense trip. How many miles would you say the trip was?
    "Lets drive up to the Hills and get lost somewhere..." Chinatown by Folk Soul Revival
    Life is a Thru Hike... Hike Well. ΙΧΘΥΣ

  8. #8
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    Brutal but made for an exciting read.
    Shug
    ShugArt Hammock Paintings....https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShugArtStu...platform-mcnav

    Whooooo Buddy)))) All Secure in Sector Seven

  9. #9
    Senior Member OneClick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverpalm2x View Post
    Sounds like an intense trip. How many miles would you say the trip was?
    It was about 22mi total around the island.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shug View Post
    Brutal but made for an exciting read.
    Shug
    After losing my phone on this trip I looked into a dedicated camera. I went to ebay and bid on the Sony you use (or the model after). But I'm actually glad I got outbid because I should probably get something waterproof too. As always...decisions.

  10. #10
    cougarmeat's Avatar
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    Remember, "waterproof" and "floats" are not the same thing. One of my paddling partners has an iPhone - which is waterproof enough for the splashes it might incur. But it doesn't float - so if dropped ... I bought her a floating case - clear plastic for taking (lessor quality) photos - but on sunny days the phone would heat up too much in the case. That is, the phone has its own case and that (with the phone) is inserted in the floating case. The floating cases that are designed to be part of the phone - not something you drop the phone in - are too bulking for day-to-day use. My problem with these devices is that the screen is practically useless in bright sun when viewed with polarized sunglasses.
    In order to see what few have seen, you must go where few have gone. And DO what few have done.

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