Don’t listen to me — I don’t know what day it is!

It is Monday and I am at Mary Rasmussen and Dan Sandin’s home near Fairport, Michigan.   I did the crossing to the U.P today, which I have indeed confirmed with Mary and Dan is Monday, June 26.   I was in a bit of a panic on Saturday when I realized my cell phone didn’t work on Rock Island and the pay phone decided I had made to many calls with my Visa card.  I was tired and concerned about notifying folks in the U.P. that I was going to wait until Monday when the weather was more favorable.  However when I was leaving messages I told folks the wrong day.   When I showed up at Mary and Dan’s at 11:15 AM on Monday they were quite surpirsed!        

To set the record straight my intinerary is now shifted 1 day behind the original schedule.   

Here is a recap of the last few days. 

Day 12 (Thursday 6/22/06) GPS miles 21.0 avg speed 3.9 mph. 

Spent the evening camped at Flentye’s property 10 miles north of Algoma.  Peggy (my wife) helped me load my boat and bid me farewell until mid July when she returns from a seminar in Idaho.  I paddled a line from Flentye’s to Portage Point (7 mile crossing) just past the lighthouse for Sturgeon Bay.  Then I paddled point to point to Jacksonport where Erik Matrejek paddled out to greet me. 

On shore was his wife Lisa and a photographer from the local press.  I had done a phone interview the day before with a local reporter and she was there to photograph my finish.  The photgrapher’s mother had actually seen me stop at one of the points (Whitefish or Cave Point) —  I wonder what she saw me doing?  :-)

Shortly after landing there was one of those wind shifts to the Northeast and whitecaps formed within minutes.  Lake Michigan was reminding us that conditions can change in minutes.  Most of the day the wind was oput of the southwest.

Lisa and Erik welcomed me to Jacksonport and we drove to Lisa’s dad’s place on Kangaroo Lake where we camped.  Lisa made BBQ’d chicken and we had a mini feast.  Her dad spends the summer on this property and lives in a very cool converted stone boat house that has been in the family for quite some time.  Her dad was an interesting fellow and was very entertaining and opened his house to us…  he had a wrap around deck over the water that was a deck to die for. 

Day 13 Friday 6/23/06    GPS miles 20.0  Moving Avergae 3.9 mph.  Erik and Lisa Matrejek joined me for the next two days of paddling.  Today we paddled from Jacksonport to Rowley Bay.   Again the paddling route took us point to point.  We stopped at the point just North of Bailey’s Harbor, paddled past Cana Lighthouse and then stopped again at the point just north of North Bay.  The lake was relatively calm.  We saw white geese near North Bay as well as a couple pelicans.

We arrived in Rowely Bay at the Wagon Wheel resort boat launch around 3PM.  I called Rick Isaacson who had reserved a campsite at the Wagon Wheel campground (perhaps the nicest and classiest campground in the world) and he said he would be there to pick us up in an hour.  He and his friend Jennifer were canoeing on Kangaroo Lake. 

In the meantime, Erik and I siwtched boats and I got to try his new P&H Capella and he got to try my Nordkapp.  The water was warmed enough for me to try a few rolls in his new boat.  The Capella is a Birtish style boat like the Nordkapp, but handled very differently…  a very deep “V” hull that had a totally different feel than the Nordkapp with a more “rounded” “V” and much more rocker than the Capella. 

Rick and Jennifer came by and we were shuttled to the campsite.  We set up camp and then Rick made a phenomenal dinner —   steak and shrimp and aspargus.  Rick is quite the chef!

After dinner we went to Wilson’s in Sister Bay and had ice cream.  Then to bed.

Day 14 Saturday 6/24/06 GPS miles 19.9 moving average 3.7 mph.  Rick joined me and Erik and Lisa for the trip from Rowely Bay to Rock Island.  Dark clouds had formed in the North and the forecast had a possibility of thunderstorms.  We paddled around Newport Bay and then around Europe Bay and past Gravel Island.  Lots of shoals to contend with.  We saw a large flock of pelicans as well as snow geese.  Both very interesting birds.

We watched the sky for lightning and saw none but thought we heard thunder.  It was raining on and off and a little cold out.  We waited a while and then decided to do a crossing from a point just south of Northport to the tip of Detroit Island.  Our route would take us slightly north of Pilot Island and it would be about 4 miles across Death’s Door passage (Porte des Morts Passage).  You got to love doing crossings that have names like that.  We started out with a slight southerly breeze and got about 2 miles into the uneventfull crossing and then the winds changed thru the passage.  The wind was whipping around PLum Island from the northeast at about 15-20 mph with about 2 foot waves and quite a current going south.  Of course the rest of Lake Michigan thought the winds were out of the south making for some interesting conflicting waves.  We paddled to the shoal at the southern tip of Detroit Island…  all of us successfully negotiating the challenging conditions. 

After we got around the shoal we headed for South Point on the southeast corner of Washington Island.  We now had following seas with a wind from the south to push us along to South Point.  We enjoyed the surf and push, but it was still raining and cold.  We stopped along the shore and several of us put on dry clothes since we were feeling the cold and rain.  I was really cold and wet. 

As we passed the shoal by Hog Island we saw lots of very large fish (Carp?) racing thru the shallows.  Their fins broke the surface.

When we got near Rock Island, Rick peeled off for Jackson Harbor (Washington Island) and the rest of us headed for Rock Island State Park.  

We got a campsite.  I joined the ”Friends of Rock Island” so I could use their carts to haul  gear the mile or so to the campsite.  We set up camp and dealt with the on and off rain.    

I listened to the forecast for Sunday and decided to postpone my crossing to the U.P. until Monday. 

Side note:   Lisa and Erik are quite expereinced adventurer’s - ice climbers, mountain climbers and dessert canyon hikers in addition to being sea kayakers.  Lisa has climbed to the summit of Mt. McKinley!  I was thrilled to have their company for two days and Rick’s company for one day.  Always fun to have some paddlers along.  thanks! 

Day 15 - Sunday June 25, 2006.   I paddled with Erik and Lisa to Jackson Harbor on Washington Island where they were to be picked up by Lisa’s dad.  There I met Russ Johnson who had just arrived on his way back from Rock Island.  Somehow we had failed to connect on Saturday or Sunday morning.  He gave me a lift to the nearest hardware store to see if they had any small stoves since my Dragonfly has partially self-destructed where a weld had broken.  They didn’t.  The stove can be used, but only if I have a very flat surface. 

When I was about to depart back to Rock Island to camp, Pat Lutsch showed up at the Ferry launch site and offered me a place to stay on Washington Island at the summer home of Cathy and Mike O’Hara’s.   Given the rain and all the wet gear and my big crossing on Monday, I agreed to break camp on Rock and move indoors.  What a welcome break!  Pat helped me eat some of my remianing food before my resupply in the U.P. and I was able to dry all my gear, do laundry and organize my stuff.  After taking an inventory of everything, I discovered that I had lost my spare hatch covers…  oh well.  At least i hadn’t lost the real covers!

Day 16 Monday 6/26/06 Jackson Harbor, Washington Island to Fairport, Michigan  GPS miles 19.1 moving average 3.6 mph.

The crossing went well.   With Pat lutsch’s help I launched at 5:40AM.   7 miles later I was standing on St. Martin’s Island.   12 miles after that I was on shore at Mary and Dan’s lovely U.P. wood home.  I landed at about 11:15AM.  The crossing started out against about 10mph northeast wind as I headed for St, Martin.  I kept a close watch for the large ships that I had seen going thru St. Martin’s Passage the day before, but there were none today.  With about about 6 miles left the wind died down and the paddle was relatively easy.  The view of Poverty Island, Gull Island, Big Summer and Little Summer was spectacular.

Lots of people are coming tonight to Mary and Dan’s for a BBQ including Jane Blameuser and hopefully John Schubert and Lesley if they get the message that I have arrived.   Tomorrow I head for Portage Bay campground.     

One Response to “Don’t listen to me — I don’t know what day it is!”

  1. Eric and Lisa Says:

    Tom,

    It was great paddling with you the last weekend. Glad the UP crossing went well. Hope the weather is cooperative for the rest of your expedition.

    Good luck,

    Lisa and Eric