Boat tour amongst the 22 Apostle Islands

Apostle Islands tour boat the Island Princess

For some reason I was wide awake at 5:30 this morning.  I finally got up and into the campground shower at 6:30.  By 8:30 I was driving to Bayfield to put Ecovision and her precious cargo–Henry Boy–under a couple of large shade trees on Second Street that I found yesterday.  I had the air conditioner blasting on high the entire way to cool it down as much as possible.  Then I completely closed up Ecovision by putting insulating panels on every single window, sun shades on the front window, and turning the ceiling fan on.  Then I had to let the worries go and trust that Henry would snooze and be comfortable. Of course, a couple times during the day I had to reject visions of coming back to a wildly panting or even passed-out dog.

I was one of the first five or six people in line at 9 a.m. for the 10 a.m. cruise on the Island Princess.  We watched this little Yorkie run around a yacht while we waited to board.

Being that early was a good thing because they can only let 50 people on the top deck.  Top deck is necessary to take photographs and in my mind to truly enjoy the experience.  I grew up boating with my family on Lake St. Clair and come alive when on boats of any kind.  Get my sea legs quickly and press my face into the wind.

And yes, another perfect day.  I took over 300 photographs so I’ll only post a few here, and they won’t be fully processed.  I took extensive notes during the narration and think I will be able to identify most of the individual islands, but not tonight.  First, it might be helpful for you to see a map of the tour of the Apostle Islands:

I took the orange “grand tour” and was able to view all 22 islands

This is the view of the hilly and picturesque town of Bayfield as we pulled out of the dock:

Bayfield, Wisconsin

Sandstone cliffs, ledges, and caves are the identifying feature of the Apostle Archipelago.  I believe this is Basswood Island that was extensively quarried.  The second image shows quarry remains.

The islands are so much larger than I imagined and the distance between them wide.  You can a sense of it by finding the powerboat on the left side of this image of some of the islands in the archipelago.  (I should mention that the images in this blog are copyright protected so if you would like a copy please contact me for information on archival-quality prints.)

Apostle Archipelago

The National Park Service has preserved a fishing village where up to a dozen–but more likely two or three–fishers would stay.  Supplies of fresh ice would be brought to them each day, and some diehards would be out there in November for the herring.

Preserved fish camp on Manitou Island

Someone was nice enough to offer to take a photo of yours truly.  So here I am feeling a little lost without my camera, but with notebook in hand.  Forgive the Lake Michigan tshirt while I’m experience Lake Superior islands.

Karen Vigmostad enjoying the Apostle Archipelago aboard the Island Princess
August 14, 2012

I’ll share a couple more before I go to bed.  This shows an island where the sandstone cliffs form beautiful caves that kayakers seek.  This photo also includes one of the six lighthouses in the archipelago.

Unique sandstone caves and an island lighthouse

I’m crazy about clouds and caught many images of the few clouds of the day (I keep meaning to join the Cloud Appreciation Society based in Britain).  This is one image from today:

It actually wasn’t a great day for sailing because there was almost no breeze.  But a few came out toward the end of our four-hour cruise and of course looked as lovely as can be.

All of us on the top deck were a little weary at the end of the cruise.  But satisfied!

As for Henry, I practically ran to Ecovision.  When I opened up the back door Henry yawned, stretched, and wagged his tail.  It was even pleasant inside.  Whew.  So I treated him to a nice walk along the waterfront, and I’ll share this one last not-so-great photograph of him. Tomorrow I may take the ferry to Madeline Island, or I may just head to Duluth then points north!  But for now, it’s our bedtime.

Henry Boy near Bayfield Marina

Big Bay on the Big Lake

It was actually another backwards day.  I headed back east from Ispheming to first go to the Marquette Verizon store to try to set up a 4G Samsung Mifi so I can travel with my own wireless hotspot.  It took two hours, but patience turned to success (and the Mifi enabled me  to update my Grand Island posting from a few days ago with a photo and map this evening so check it out).

Once the Mifi was operational, Henry and I drove to the north side of Marquette to eat lunch sitting in Ecovision while parked at a marina.

The marina is in the shadow of enormous Presque Isle Power Plant built by Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company.  I learned that this one facility powers 90 percent of the Upper Peninsula’s electricity and 12 percent of Wisconsin’s.  I wish I had photographed the gigantic pile of coal.

After lunch we headed north to the town of Big Bay.  The drive takes about a 45 minutes from Marquette with some of the road shoulder-less and rolling.  Probably not that noticeable when driving an automobile, but it kept me on my toes driving my RV.

Big Bay is the town where many scenes in the book and movie The Anatomy of a Murder took place.  There is a Community Presbyterian Church across the street from St. Mary Church below.

St. Mary Church in Big Bay, Michigan

Big Bay was having a Farmers Market and I bought cherry tomatoes and a huge blueberry muffin.  I also bought a Powell Township tshirt with the proceeds going toward parks and recreation.  I even met the artist.

In contrast to the gray and rainy day on Grand Island, as you can see today was clear blue sky and bright sun.  In fact, I only saw one small puff of a cloud all afternoon.

From the town of Big Bay, I wanted to get to the Big Bay Lighthouse.  I remembered how stunning Lake Superior was below the cliff the lighthouse rests on.  The 100-year old lighthouse has been a bed and breakfast, although I’m not sure of its current status because when I was there two years ago it was for sale.

Big Bay Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast

It showed signs of neglect, and the land has been subdivided into lots according to a drawing on a large for-sale sign.  Ah, progress.

But for me the main event was, of course, the Big Lake Superior!  I only snapped a few photos because it seemed like there was a private event breaking up.

View of the long horizon of Lake Superior from Big Bay Lighthouse cliff.

Henry and I then headed back south to Marquette then turned west to Ispheming.  I hooked the water and electric back up and even pulled out Henry’s rug and my chair.  We both ate out there then I read Wild ShoreGreg Breining‘s book about kayaking around Lake Superior–while Henry dozed.

Then I put things away and Henry and I walked around the campground until the chill in the air chased me inside.


Tomorrow: Copper Harbor!


Henry Boy loves his striped rug.

Preview of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron

Life has gotten hold of me as I finally settle into Ann Arbor.  I did take four days over Memorial Day for a photo safari to Tobermory, Ontario.  Tobermory is at the very northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula and the gateway to the Georgian Bay and tens of thousands of islands.  This is also where you catch the ferry to the world’s largest freshwater island, Manitoulin.  It was an amazing trip focusing on endangered coastal wildflowers, rocks, lighthouses, and Flowerpot Island.  I’ll save most of these photos until I circle Lake Huron, but thought I might brighten your day with an image of this classic red Canadian Coast Guard vessel, the Cape Commodore.