Trip Sponsor: Jim Sprandel
Fortunately, Robert shot quite a few paddling shots. Enjoy.
We met at DH Day campground to form up before paddling out to South Manitou island.
Changed DH Day Camping Arrangements: People staying at DH Day should be advised that it is now necessary to reserve your campsite(s) there using www.recreation.gov. We used to be able to get walk-in (first come-first served) sites but that has changed. The staff did help out when things got unruly but preferred reservations be made directly on recreation.gov. Surprisingly, the campground was fuller than it had been in past years. Note: Unless you have a Senior Pass, visitors are required to buy a $25 pass to enter the park.
Friday, September 6 - Glen Haven -S. Manitou E.Bay Campground
It was raining Friday Morning but it was supposed to clear around 1:00 PM. The wind was 10-15 knots from the SSE shifting to NW in the afternoon. We decided to launch early so that we would get to camp after the rain but before the wind built from the NW.
We launched for South Mantou from the Glen Haven Maritime Museum and paddled a course of 330 (30 degrees west of North). We paddled with rear-quartering swell so we had a nice push to the island. We were able to average about 3.3 mph on the trip out. This was a piece of cake since the waves were rollers (although some were in the 3-foot range.)
The rain had stopped when we got there and we were able to set up camp on Sites 12-13 when we got out there.
Saturday, Sept. 7 --- Day Paddle on South Manitou
The projected wind was strong and from the NW (Small Craft Advisory). Given this, we decided to paddle the East side of the island and then go over to the shipwreck on the Southwest corner as conditions allowed. Due to the wind advisory, all of us ruled out circumnavigation since the west side would probably really be pounded.
We launched at 9:30 am so that people would have time to explore the island after the paddle. We headed south and started facing a strong-ish headwind as we approached the island's SE corner. Since I was not sure what to expect around the corner, 4 of us headed back to camp at that point (3 miles out) and rode rear-quartering seas back to camp. The four of us paddled across the bay which was sheltered and calm. We explored the sand spit on the NE corner of the bay Surprisingly, the shoal there was relatively calm.
The other 3 who didn't turn back continued on the remaining 3/4 mile to the ship wreck and turned back after that since conditions looked iffy around the island's SW corner.
Sunday, Sept. 8 - Our Return to the Museum at Glen Haven
The Sunday forecast was 10-15 knots from the East with up to 2-foot waves. The waves would be hitting us about 60 degrees off our bows - a little broach-ish.
During the night, we heard the wind shift and waves start pounding on our beach. When we got up, we had a 1-2' dumping waves. Not fun but we knew that these waves were probably the biggest that we would see since we would be sheltered by Pyramid Point after a few miles.
David and Arnaldo helped us all launch although. Most of us got some water into our boats while getting through the break and had to pump out. (Reminder to Self: Don't store your purmp behind the seat since it's almost impossible to get to.)'
Since the wind/waves were front quarteing, it was a slower trip back. This was compounded because Robert spotted a lake freighter coming our way from the South We watched it and at some point "slow paddleld" so that it crossed roughly 0.5 miles ahead of us. We also had 3 freighters pass well behind us during the remainder of our trip but no real excitement.
While waiting for the freighter to pass, the wind did take us slightly west so we came closer to the big dunes at Sleeping Bear than we normally do - very cool.
In any case, we landed, carried our gear/boats to the car for our respective drives back to Indiana. A different trip than I have ever had before. A great place to visit