Seaplane

Questions about how to get to the island and where to stay near points of departure.

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zims
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Seaplane

Post by zims » Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:05 am

Please excuse me if this has been a topic recently. I am contemplating taking the seaplane to Windigo for the first time. Let me tell you why. I will be hiking solo for the first time on the island and am thinking because of the long drive I may be better off to skip the boat ride and try the plane from Houghton. Question 1- Can I take jet boil fuel? Who has taken the seaplane, I have never flown in a small plane before. Thanks for the advice, usually I feel compelled to give my own advice, but this is a new idea for me.


Tightlines01
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Re: Seaplane

Post by Tightlines01 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:05 am

No. You can't take Ido butane canisters on the plane. Sea plane is fantastic when not delayed. I took it twice and had no issues, fogged in and lost two days of my trip (before finally getting on the boat) last time I tried. I'd still take the plane just understand it's more prone to delays than the boats...

It's so nice having a 45 min flight and pick up or drop off on other ends of the isle. Also I always tried to schedule a 11:00 flight out as I could still do a short hike out on my last day and be in Houghton around noon making a 8-9 hour drive home easily possible for me (saves a hotel compared to copper harbor at 6:00 pm).


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HikerGal
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Re: Seaplane

Post by HikerGal » Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:58 am

I have taken the seaplane 4 times. First trip, no problem with delays at all. The other 3 trips I have had problems with delays probably half the time. One time it was for over a day leaving from the island. What I have found out is book the earliest flight during the day you possibly can take. Then, if you get delayed you are first on the list to leave; unless of course there are delays from the previous day... It really is nice to get to the island in such a short amount of time and still be able to put a full day of hiking in. As with anything in life, patience and flexibility goes a long way....

We did take the Ranger III from Houghton last year and we really did enjoy the ride. If I had more time (ie - not having to take more vacation days to take the boat) and my planned hiking route would allow I would definitely take the boat again.

I really like the Windigo end of the island. So, I always want to start there or end there - or both. From a logistics standpoint it saves a lot of time to go on the plane.

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Base654
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Re: Seaplane

Post by Base654 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:31 am

I agree with everybody above. I have taken the plane once, and the friends I hike with have taken it three times. Two of their flights went without problem. On my way out we were the last flight of a delayed day, the next group didn't make the cutoff. On the way back we were fogged in most of the day and we couldn't get back until the next day. It didn't bother me, it's a free day! My friends were on a tight schedule however...

I love the flight, The staff is great, and if you have the money and the time (for weather delays) it's a great way to go.

The staff works really hard to get get you to where you need to be when you need to be there, and are truly upset when they can't make it happen safely.

The small plane thing is no big deal. The windows are big and the service is personal, not like the big tin cans. It is a well maintained, and I think a pretty, bird. The few seconds of bumps on the runway or water are no problem. I don't think the pilot would fly if the weather is sketchy, he is more concerned with you being safe and having a good time than "making a buck". Bad weather is when you would feel the small plane shakes and shudders that sometimes make small planes scary, not on calm clear days.

(take this with a grain of salt, I jump out of planes for fun)

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Re: Seaplane

Post by Midwest Ed » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:19 pm

I've experienced delays on almost all the ferries and the plane (I've never been on the Wennonah or Sea Hunter). I generally go later in the season when The Big Lake can get a little rougher. I think it can be summarized that the plane service experiences more frequent delays than the boats but they are also much shorter in duration. Morning fog or a thunderstorm usually dissipates or moves on resulting in an hour or two (sometimes longer) nuisance. It takes a longer sustained blow that happens less frequently to hamper the boats but when it happens, it often (but not always) results in a cancellation for the day.
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Re: Seaplane

Post by Jonny Cornbread » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:51 am

zims wrote:Please excuse me if this has been a topic recently. I am contemplating taking the seaplane to Windigo for the first time. Let me tell you why. I will be hiking solo for the first time on the island and am thinking because of the long drive I may be better off to skip the boat ride and try the plane from Houghton. Question 1- Can I take jet boil fuel? Who has taken the seaplane, I have never flown in a small plane before. Thanks for the advice, usually I feel compelled to give my own advice, but this is a new idea for me.
What is/was your workaround for not being able to take fuel for your JetBoil? I am considering taking the seaplane myself, but have the same question.
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zims
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Re: Seaplane

Post by zims » Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:37 am

Jonny Cornbread wrote:
zims wrote:Please excuse me if this has been a topic recently. I am contemplating taking the seaplane to Windigo for the first time. Let me tell you why. I will be hiking solo for the first time on the island and am thinking because of the long drive I may be better off to skip the boat ride and try the plane from Houghton. Question 1- Can I take jet boil fuel? Who has taken the seaplane, I have never flown in a small plane before. Thanks for the advice, usually I feel compelled to give my own advice, but this is a new idea for me.
What is/was your workaround for not being able to take fuel for your JetBoil? I am considering taking the seaplane myself, but have the same question.
I know they sell it at the store as long as they are open when you go.


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Re: Seaplane

Post by Mark_NK8Q » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:12 am

My recent experience with my first trip to ISRO taking the sea plane to Windigo was a great flight, first flight out for the day, giving me most of the day for hiking.

The issue with the JetBoil fuel was not so positive, though. Upon arrival at the store I bought a canister of fuel. The store didn't look very well stocked and I quickly grabbed the one that looked like what I needed. Didn't discover until I got to the campsite at Feldtmann Lake that it was Gaz instead and the JetBoil burner would not screw onto the nipple! Talking with another guy at the campground he said that the lady at the store at Windigo told him "I hope you don't need the kind that screws on!" Not sure if they were just temporarily out of stock or what the deal was. Talked with another guy at a group campsite and he said that the lady at the store is named Eileen (I think, maybe it was Elaine) and that I should go back to see her the next day to get hooked up with a proper camp stove and fuel, but that would have put me back at square one after two days of hiking, but at least with my Plan B route could get me to South Lake Desore camp on Day 3 as per my original schedule, but miss Feldtmann Ridge (which was definitely worth the extra hiking to experience that!).

Miraculously, a medium sized Primus canister was on the floor in the toilet at the campground and was about half full, so I didn't have to hike back to Windigo. It had sufficient amount of fuel for me for the rest of the hike across ISRO to Rock Harbor (well, I made it to McCargoe Cove and took a boat back to Rock Harbor). At Rock Harbor the store there was VERY well stocked, night and day difference compared to Windigo.

My suggestion would be to call ahead to see if they actually have the correct fuel at Windigo, and if so see if they can hold one for you. I was told that they are sure to have what I needed but that wasn't the case. My trip was one month ago, arrived at Windigo on June 25th. Hopefully Windigo is restocked now.

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