Monday, September 19, 2016

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

 After so much time spent around the lake, I was finally able to get in the lake. 

Happy to be aboard. 
Touring the Apostle Islands was high on my list. I opted for a glass bottom-boat excursion that not only gives an overview of the islands, but stops at various shipwrecks. And sometimes even hovers over them like this! 

The Apostle Islands form an archipelago off the Bayfield Peninsula in northern Wisconsin. The largest island, Lake Madeline, is the size of Manhattan. The population of Madeline is about 1.6 thousand versus Manhattan's 1.6 million. 

So we set sail on a three-hour tour. A three-hour tour. 

The weather starting getting rough … wait … that’s not right!  In fact the weather was, once again, ideal at 66 degrees with sunny skies, light winds, and a few clouds.

We wove our way around many of the 22 islands, including 3 lighthouses - some of which date back to the 1860's.

Though operated via electric and solar now, the romance is still there.  The National Park Service takes great care to preserve these historical structures. 

We also saw some lovely sea caves, but my best photos don’t do them justice, so here’s a web shot.

Captain Dave kept us entertained with a narrative of the history and geology of the region. 

This beautiful place was formed from about 4 episodes of glaciation. Most of the islands are completely wild and provide homes for deer, bear, and bald eagles. Here's a shot of Minnesota's North Shore off in the distance. (Especially interesting to me only because I had just come from there). 

Lake Superior really is superior as it contains 10% of the planet’s fresh water (!) with an impressive maximum depth of 1,330 feet.  Throughout the ages, the lake has served as a busy shipping route and its treacherous shoals have made it a graveyard for ships. (More on that after I visit the Shipwreck Museum). 

The remaining bones of this ship are easy to spot. It was purposefully sunk in the early 1900s. 

Tugboat Ottawa sank in 1909. 
Ore ship Sevona sank in 1905 with 7 lives lost. 

Winter is quite an experience around here when 30% of Lake Superior ices over to a depth of 2 – 5 feet. (In case you were wondering as I was, you can drive on 8 inches or more of ice).  Incredibly, during the record winter of 2014, 99% of this massive lake became a solid block of ice! 

The tour was so absorbing, time raced by and soon we returned to the lovely town Bayfield. 

Should you find yourself up this way, I recommend Apostle Island Cruises. From May to October, they offer several types of excursions. 

Next stop: Michigan's Upper Peninsula. 


  1. Fascinating!! I will go see that some day.

  2. Putting this on my UP trip list. Keep the tips coming! Have fun!!

  3. This looks like a wonderful boat ride! If we ever get back up that way it will be on my list of things to do! Can't wait till you get to the UP...I used to live up there in Houghton/Hancock for 6 years in the 80s. Enjoy!!!!

  4. Lots of great information! Loved the facts about Lake Superior. I had forgotten that we have been to the UP on a 7 day bicycle tour 12 years ago. Remember seeing Manistique, Marquette and Pictured Rocks, lots of woods. And everyone held up their palm to show us where they lived in Michigan.
    You are probably blazing the way for a future trip!

    1. So funny about holding the palm up. If anyone were to do that today, I would understand. LOL!

  5. We took the all day kayak tour on a windy day. Our arms were in pain when we returned 5 hours later. I think your idea was much better. Great pictures.


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