Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club

SK South Manitou Island Lake Michigan

  • September 09, 2022
  • September 11, 2022
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes



Manitou Island Trip, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Friday-Sunday. September 9-12
Trips Sponsor:  Brad Hughey

Trip Level 3-4 Sea-Touring Kayaks

We will be paddling out to the Manitou Islands from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Empire, Michigan.  We will camp at DH Day Campgrounds in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Thursday Evening and then take off for South Manitou Island Friday Morning.   D H Day Campground is about a 7-hour drive from Indianapolis so you can get in at a reasonable hour if you drive after work on Thursday.

Friday morning:  We will leave relatively early for the 8.5-mile open water crossing of Lake Michigan to the Bay Campground on South Manitou island.  This island has everything a paddler could want: beachfront camping, self composting privies, a lighthouse, and old growth cedars.  There are also shipwrecks you can see from the beach or paddle to if it is calm enough.  There are also 300-foot dunes on the West side of the island..

Saturday:   We’ll see what conditions are like and plan accordingly.   Last year, we paddled around the island—we explored the wreck on the south end of the island and saw the huge dunes on the west side of the island.   There is also a foot trail around the island if someone prefers to hike.   If necessary, we could paddle back to the mainland Saturday afternoon if conditions for Sunday are deteriorating.

Sunday morning:  We will paddle the 8.5 mile open water crossing back to the mainland and we should be back to Indy by 8 pm.

Required Paddling Skills:  This trip is for strong intermediate to advanced paddlers.   We can have large wave conditions especially during the 2.5 hour crossing.  In addition, the crossing is through a shipping lane.

  • You should feel comfortable in 2+ foot seas from all directions including broach and rear quartering and be able to land and self-launch in 2+ foot surf conditions.   
  • You should be able to maintain a 3.5 mph pace for the 8 mile crossing without leaving your boat.  We may paddle up to 15 miles on Saturday.
    Conditioning: Participants should complete 3 10-mile training paddles at a 3.3. mph paces in the 2 months prior to this trip.
  •  Self and group rescue skills are required..
  • Some kayak experience on the Great Lakes or the ocean.
  • Recommended Training Paddles:  2 8-10 Training Paddles at 3.5 ph duirng July or August.

Please contact the Trip Sponsor if you are not sure about attempting this trip.  If you have not paddled with the trip sponsor, we may contact to confirm that you can safely paddle this trip.

Required Equipment:  Sea kayaks with spray skirts, fore and aft bulkheads, full perimeter deck lines, pump/paddle float and safety equipment are required. 

You will have to carry your own camping gear, clothes, and food with you in your kayak.  Drinking water is available near the Ranger Station on the island but this is a ½ mile walk from the campsite last year so you may wish to bring a water filter.

Contingency Plans:  If wave and wind conditions are too severe for a safe crossing on either Friday or Sunday morning, there are plenty of good paddling sites in the area.   The Lake is Boss.

How to Sign Up for the Trip: Register on line AND Please e-mail  Brad Hughey, hughey_brad@yahoo.com  to sign up to attend or to get more information.

Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club

Background image provided by Karl Zemlin www.zemlinphoto.com

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