Isle Royale - Day 24
We knew the weather forecast called for 3-6 foot waves with an occasional 8, but the captain had assured us the night before he hardly ever cancels. We loaded having taken a full dose of Dramamine as he suggested. (Flash forward, the actual weather ended up being 5-7 foot seas with an occasional 11 foot wave...and boy did we get it!!)
Knowing the captain knew it would be large seas, I made my way to the back of the boat on the open deck in a seat facing back for the duration of the entire voyage. The roiling seas in Rock Harbor already knew the wind was giving it its all at 29 knots. We were headed straight into the waves for most of the trip, so that would help us most of the way to absorb the waves. Within an hour, we had our first sea sick patron rushing to the back deck to vomit. 7 more people would join him before the end of the journey.
At first, the waves were just jostling the boat and making for a crazy ride, but as we popped out of Rock Harbor and began the journey south around the island open to the full Lake Superior, , that’s when things got interesting. The waves kept getting bigger and bigger and from the back, as we crested and went back frown, waves would exceed the heads of those standing in the back by a good 4 feet. The captain's first mate, his daughter began coming to the back to make sure no one had gone overboard. Father ramping one wave the captain had decided to start cutting the throttle as we headed into a gnarly wave. His first mate informed us we were hitting 10 foot waves head on. The dicey portion however, was when we turned to round the western part of the island, we were part side to the waves and that is when everyone one the boat went form nervous and uncomfortable, to downright hanging on for dear life. It was as if the boat was in a washing machine being towed around. The crest of waves and their white caps were to my right and feet over the back of the boat. Waves were crashing and flooding the back deck. Some people who came to puke on the back were nearly slammed to the deck and I wondered what I would throw to them if they were washed over the back of the boat. The captain dodged and weaved trying to ride out the waves and we just prayed he had the attentiveness to see them all before one capsized us.
We finally tucked into the shoreline and the waves calmed to 3-5 feet and I felt like we could exhale. When he finally came over the speaker, his voice was shaken and we patted him on the back and kissed the shore, alive.
We were treated to a moose visit that night. One strolled right through the creek at our campsite and then moseyed up by our shelter just munching away. We had a great 20 minute encounter before she wandered on her way.
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