Monday, June 29, 2009
Intro to Lake Superior Weekend
Every year in June we offer an "Intro to Lake Superior" weekend for people in the club that want to get out on the big lake for the first time. We use Basswood Island as a destination because its only about a mile crossing, and usually a very protected bay when the wind starts to blow. Unfortunately this time we had an East wind as an unusually strong low pressure weather system came through. We had some new paddlers on this trip so we elected to camp on the mainland for both Friday and Saturday night. We did to the normal clinics on Navigation and map reading skills, along with plenty of talk on weather. Saturday morning we wanted to get everyone out in the wind and waves to get a feel for the lake, and also to let people push their limits a bit. We headed along the shoreline into the wind first, did some turns and maneuvering to get the feel of the wind and waves from all directions. The lake decided to calm down a bit while we were out, so we turned down wind to visit one of the shipwrecks. How long the lake stays calm is anybodies guess, so we then decide to make the crossing to Basswood to maybe check out the sea stack at Basswood. A little more than half way across the lake decides to let the wind and waves begin again. Well, one capsize, and some directional control problems we changed plans and headed back to the mainland. A little towing involved and everyone got a real lesson on how fast Lake Superior can change her mind.Sunday brings about more of the same wind and waves. Everyone who knows the area and still wants to paddle can find a spot to go. It seemed everyone had the same idea. Bark Bay Slough is a secluded place to go when there are small craft advisories and getting on Superior is a bad idea. We did get out for a nice paddle, the wind though was still blowing hard. Along the way we ran across two people who were getting blown along the shore, one of them in a solo canoe. She had almost no control and was getting into trouble. Chris, the good guy he is offered to tow her back to the launch. I really don't know how she would have got back otherwise.