Isle Royale - Day 26
We powered past Beaver Island and then hugged the shore as the harbor opened up to the full Lake Superior winds and waves. The rollers and the temperatures change drastically once it opened up. The towering skinny pines poked into the sky and various bald eagles and sea gulls soared above us. Suddenly, my husband called out to me along the shore. I paddled over to find a floating dead moose along the shoreline. The fur and skin had wasted away and it was just a white rotting shell of a moose. It looked like a cadaver lab or some science experiment. It was a lung calf and we pondered on its fate.
We felt ok about the weather and conditions, so we hustled on out to Card Point and nosed our kayaks out for a view of Grace. The spit was just across the opening, so we felt comfortable to make a go for it. In no time we were rounding the spit and exploring the island and shelters. The shelters faced the main island and from the shelters it felt like you had your own little cove to yourselves. Exploring the spit and watching the ducks and waterfowl bob up and down in the harbor was the perk of the paddle. It was full of goose poop, so it was a bit difficult to walk around and keep your shoes clean.
The weather was getting worse and we decided to eat a quick snack and then make our way to the Americas shipwreck. Dark clouds were passing south of us and we heard thunder. It didn’t quite appear like it was going to hit us, but we thought we better hustle on back to the safety of the harbor soon. We shot across the mouth of Washington Harbor to the wreck of the Americas in a southwest chop. The sky had darkened and so had the the water, so as we approached the shipwreck buoys, we weren’t exactly sure what we’d find. Slowly gliding over the area, looking down into the dark waters and wondering what haunted wreckage we would see was eerie. Would our boats drag the bottom? Was there a gnarled pile of metal? Just as we were about to give up, the shape of a crisp V appeared outlining the bow of the Americas. I had found it! Once your eye caught the outline, the dark hull appeared as well and we could see the ghastly site and imagine the passengers trying to reach shore and the safety of the cove in the cold water. The short swim would have felt almost impossible in the cold water and fully dressed. The dark skies had whipped up some winds and the chop was turning into white capping waves. The symbolism of staring into the wreckage while Lake Superior threatened us too was almost too much to handle, so we turned and headed for the harbor. The wind, currents, and waves all converging on the North Gap raised our heart rates. We paddled hard with our eyes focused on every approaching wave. The boats were being tussled and it was hard to dig in and glide. The final big waves pushed us around the point and Washington Harbor immediately began calming the waters and our minds. Every paddle took us closer to safety and we enjoyed the paddle back, avoiding the storm.
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