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water taxi rates

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:40 pm
by chief54
just got off phone with Rock Harbor Lodge inquiring about rates. I had previously emailed about rates from Rock to Moskey and then next day a pick up at Moskey and dropped off at Daisy. Reason for this is I am going to be base camping around island using taxi and Voyaguer due to fact I will be bring around 35lbs of camera gear and with my camping gear and camera gear just to heavy to back pack. This will be my first time bringing all my camera gear, all times before have always brought point and shoot an disposable cameras cause of weight, but will be doing astro photography, panoramic landscape, etc and some of gear is heavy.
So from Rock to Moskey it is $167, pretty expensive but doable. Moskey to Daisy is $226.50, at first I thought this was a misprint or maybe total cost but when I called and talked to lodge they said thats the cost because of stop at Daisy making it not a round trip between Rock and Moskey, it is just not Moskey and back to Rock which would only cost the $167. Amazing! I ask if there was any leeway and where they flexible and in no uncertain terms they were not. I understand things are a more expensive on the island but to me this is not doable.
I ask about renting a motorboat for 2 days and it is a little over $200, I ask are there any qualifications in renting one and was told yes, the dock attendant would check you out, I then asked could you please send me the list of quals or could I find it on line and was told there is no list. HUh? So that would be an option but because this would be at end of trip would hate like hell to get stuck at Moskey or Daisy, due to breakdown or weather. I could leave a bunch of gear and hike out to moskey for the night, striped down but not sure where I would leave gear esp. some of rather expensive photography gear. Would really like to get some sunrise shots at Moskey
The lodge was not at all helpful and I was taken aback by response's to my questions.

Re: water taxi rates

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:22 pm
by Ingo
I wouldn't worry about the check out for the boat--they're just protecting themselves from complete neophytes. And to some extent the weather also. Be friendly, don't question the rules (like leaving Rock Harbor/Moskey Basin), and it'll be fine. I worked the dock myself, although decades ago, and it doesn't appear that too much has changed in almost 40 yrs. I also like the idea of having the boat so you can go over to the Edison Fishery, Rock Harbor light and Caribou Island if you want.

FYI, their rates are set--or at least approved--by the NPS, sometimes using formulas and rules that create scratch your head results (yeah, I'm scratching my head, too).

Re: water taxi rates

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:37 am
by chief54
you have some good points about being able to visit Edison, Rock Harbor Light and Caribou, the light would be a great place for some Milky Way shots with the tower in the foreground. Not sure though how comfortable I would be trucking across Rock in middle of night.I suppose if weather is nice it should not be an issue.
As for scratching head I am right there with you. You got to wonder why NPS allows such exorbitant rates. As I said I understand its a remote place but it is almost like they do not want anybody to use the taxis. As it stands this is a pretty expensive trip for me coming out from the west cost, but it is what it is.

Re: water taxi rates

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:50 am
by JerryB
I had a similar head scratcher a few years ago. I was on a solo trip and had reserved a taxi to go to Hidden Lake so I could start my hike there. I don't remember the cost. I met two other hikers when we were checking in and they were interested in the same route. I told them to share the taxi with me, which they did. The lodge/taxi charged them the full rate (same as me), but if I had simply noted that there would be three of us when I made the reservation, we would have split it three ways. This is not like jumping into a taxi in Chicago! (Of course, the odds of making it safely to the end of the ride are probably better on the water.)

Re: water taxi rates

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:42 am
by pyrowaves
I'm doing a trip with friends this year and we looked into the taxis. Because of the rates we decided to change our trip up and we're going to stay at Rock Harbor overnight when we get there and then hop on the Voyageur ferry to get to our starting point. It might not be feasible for you, but it works for us and something you might consider if you haven't looked into it yet.

Re: water taxi rates

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:27 pm
by Midwest Ed
Given all your comments so far, I'm guessing you're not a paddler or it probably would have come up already. With either kayak or canoe, the rental costs are certainly less than the small outboard or water taxis but by the time you add in the cost of extra marine safety gear it might be a wash unless you are interested in becoming an avid paddler. You could probably even buy a used 15 foot aluminum canoe for less than your estimated costs thus far. Solo canoeing is harder than tandem but with practice it is not as difficult as it seems. Probably not viable for you but it was just a thought. Plus Rock Harbor channel can sometimes present harsh chop and winds so you'd have to contend with possible delays. Either way, make sure you get good dry bags for your camera equipment.

Harsh weather has stopped the Lodge from renting even their outboard motor boards. It happened to me in in 2013 close to Labor Day, but it was also harsh enough the Queen had it first cancellation of the season a day earlier. There is no official qualification testing they put you through. Their statement was just their polite way of saying they reserve the right to not rent to someone they think is obviously unfit or potentially unsafe.

This last suggestion does not help you with Moskey Basin but you can get to Daisy Farm "on the cheap" by taking the M.V. Sandy tour to the Rock Harbor Lighthouse. It only goes 3 times a week (Tue, Thu, Sat), but it's only $38 and they have always asked if anyone wants to get off at Daisy Farm (in order to walk back to RH). Not sure the potential hassle in asking them to pick you up in 2 days (it's all operated by the same people as the water taxis so I don't see a good outcome from that conversation :oops: ), or you could just get the water taxi back from Daisy Farm. You talked about maybe doing some hiking with a subset of equipment. You could base camp at Daisy and hoof it to Moskey, taking your expensive stuff with you, although they do frown a bit on leaving unattended gear in a shelter overnight.

Re: water taxi rates

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:18 am
by chief54
Thanks everybody for responses. On previous trips when using water taxi coming over on the Ranger I have looked for single hikers to see if they wanted to share taxi to Moskey if I found somebody interested I would tell lodge they screwed up my reservation, that it was for two not one. It worked once, they then became savy. I do not like having to bullshit but in my experience the lodge is not very accommodating. At end of my trips I would wait for last ferry to leave be it Ranger,Queen or Voyageur and see if they had any vacancy, if they did I would make an offer at less the cost,around 75% of rate, but was always told no. Having been in hotel business x amount of $ was better than 0 amount of $. As a young man back in early 70's the lodge always seemed a lot more accommodating to backpackers, but like everything, change, sometimes not for the better.

I am a pretty experienced paddler, but do not like doing it alone and with camera gear would be very hesitant, and then always the weather. I am in my mid 60's and am trying to make this trip as comfortable as possible. I arrive on the Ranger, water taxi to Daisy 2 days later Voyageur to either Malone or Windigo, right now reserved to Windigo but that might change, then next day Voyageur to Rock, then next day to Daisy this is where I want to get into Moskey the 2 days later taxi back to Rock and sea plane to Houghton.

As i said this trip is all about photography, esp. astro photography, panoramic landscapes and birds in flight,images below last week by my home,something I have been wanting to do for years so I am trying to make this as hassle free as possible, but I know that the most meticulous plans change the minute you set foot on IR