Canoeing the NE part of the island

Questions about water transportation and fishing on the island.

Moderators: johnhens, Ingo


Topic author
kolo
LNT Expert
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:48 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8

Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by kolo » Tue May 19, 2015 10:36 am

Hello all,

I am gearing up for a paddling trip around the NE part of the island and have some questions. I have read a lot of useful information in preparing for my trip, thanks to the good people on this forum!

I plan on being dropped off at McCargo Cove and paddling to Birch Island, Pickeral Cove, Belle Island, Duncan Bay, Duncan Bay Narrows, portage to Tobin Harbor, Merritt Lane (if conditions allow), portage to Rock Harbor, Tookers Island, Caribou Island, and finish at Daisy Farm. I plan on spending one night at each campground and paddle early morning, if the weather allows. I am planning my trip to account for possible bad weather days.

I am planning on investing in a VHF radio and read that the Standard Horizon HX300 is a good choice.
My questions are:
1. What thickness wetsuit should I invest in?
2. What are some good waterproof portage packs I should look at?
3. What is the distance from Caribou Island to Daisy Farm and would I have the time to paddle it in the morning before the Voyageur II arrived for my pickup?
4. What do most paddlers where on their feet for paddling and portaging?

User avatar

Ingo
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1301
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:11 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 10
Location: Hillsborough, NC

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by Ingo » Tue May 19, 2015 11:11 am

Great trip! Be careful from Tookers to Pickeral. We got laid over for a day on Birch Island and went the next day when we really shouldn't have--pretty hairy.

I have the HX300 and like it, although I've only used it on 1 trip. Has good weather station reception, which is about all I've needed.

2. I like just a regular portage pack, then use light dry bags for anything that "can't" get a little wet. Find the Sealine type packs uncomfortable and obnoxious to pack/unpack, but it's a personal preference.
3. Caribou to Daisy Farm is easy. 1/2 mile to 1 mile max. Not a problem unless the weather got real bad.
4. I wear waterproof hiking boots, usually loosen at the top when paddling. I need the ankle support portaging, and wearing them in the canoe doesn't bother me. Usually carry Crocs for camp shoes, which I could put on for paddling, but it's never been worth it to take the time to change at portages.

Have a great trip!


Topic author
kolo
LNT Expert
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:48 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by kolo » Tue May 19, 2015 11:39 am

Thanks Ingo for such a quick response to my questions! Do you use a wetsuit and if you do, what thickness do you use?


Midwest Ed
IR Expert
Posts: 883
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:25 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Quad Cities, IL

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by Midwest Ed » Tue May 19, 2015 1:01 pm

kolo wrote:I am planning on investing in a VHF radio and read that the Standard Horizon HX300 is a good choice.
I also have an HX300. It has all the features more pricey units offer. Most "brand name" retailers ask about $150 but I got mine for about $125 at Hodges Marine.

Standard Horizon is running their rebate again this year. $20 off an HX300.
$20 Off HX300
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


Topic author
kolo
LNT Expert
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:48 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by kolo » Tue May 19, 2015 1:32 pm

Thank you Midwest Ed for the information on the HX300! I have been looking for the best price on that radio and have only found it for $150. I will check Hodges Marine.


johnhens
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1434
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:10 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 33
Location: Big Rock, IL

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by johnhens » Tue May 19, 2015 1:38 pm

I wear a 3mm farmer john w/ a capilene type top and either a dry top (when Superior is kicking up) or a windbreaker top and wet suit boots. Neoprene paddling gloves for early season cold weather paddling ( I am in a kayak).


Topic author
kolo
LNT Expert
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:48 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by kolo » Tue May 19, 2015 4:17 pm

Thank you John for your response. So a 3mm wetsuit would be adequate? I have read that you should dress for immersion and had thought 3mm was for warmer water. Would 5mm be overkill for paddling a canoe on Lake Superior in June?

User avatar

head2north
Trailblazer
Posts: 173
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:46 am
Isle Royale Visits: 9
Location: River Falls, Wisconsin

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by head2north » Tue May 19, 2015 4:47 pm

I am not familiar with lake canoeists wearing wetsuits, I would consider overkill as lake canoeing is a totally different animal than kayaking....
But if you feel more comfortable with such protection, it can't hurt.

Sierra Trading Post has a current high discount on the Granite Gear Portage Pack #3.5 at $55. MSRP is $149 so this is the best if have ever seen.
I use and would recommend this product.

Daisy Farm to Caribou very casual paddle was less than 30 minutes in calm weather for two-person canoe for us.

I have seen people portage in flip flops, sandals, tennis shoes, hiking boots, and swamp boots. I prefer the hiking boots for portage
and follow Ingo's philosophy on loosening without removal while paddling.


Midwest Ed
IR Expert
Posts: 883
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:25 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Quad Cities, IL

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by Midwest Ed » Tue May 19, 2015 5:02 pm

kolo wrote:Thank you Midwest Ed for the information on the HX300! I have been looking for the best price on that radio and have only found it for $150. I will check Hodges Marine.
Regular battery is a Lithium Ion with USB charger. Solid battery until you need a recharge. Normal battery life with modest use is not normally a problem, but Standard Horizon makes a battery tray to allow for Alkaline replacement (3 AA I think). Although $20 to $25 is a bit steep for a piece of plastic. A spare LI battery would be about the same price.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


Topic author
kolo
LNT Expert
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:48 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by kolo » Tue May 19, 2015 5:17 pm

Thank you to all of you for your help and information; I really appreciate it! This is a great forum with experienced and quality people contributing to it!


johnhens
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1434
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:10 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 33
Location: Big Rock, IL

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by johnhens » Tue May 19, 2015 6:11 pm

I am good with a 3mm, I wade fish in the Spring using it and am comfortable in the cold water with it. I have never been "in" the water after dumping, but I would expect to be ok if I did. I tend to be a warm person and a 3mm is good for me. The thicker the wetsuit, the more resistance for paddling. I have used it in a canoe in cold water also and have been fine as far as mobility. I see a lot of folks in canoes in the Spring in Rock Harbor paddling towards Moskey w/o a wetsuit or the like but it was in calm conditions. You have to decide what your comfort level is.

User avatar

Ingo
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1301
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:11 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 10
Location: Hillsborough, NC

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by Ingo » Tue May 19, 2015 6:23 pm

kolo wrote:Thank you John for your response. So a 3mm wetsuit would be adequate? I have read that you should dress for immersion and had thought 3mm was for warmer water. Would 5mm be overkill for paddling a canoe on Lake Superior in June?
I've never worn a wetsuit canoeing, just my normal nylon camping clothes. I am also very aware at all times that if I go in, any more than a few yards from shore, odds are not in my favor. So I trust my experience and judgement to stay above water. Haven't had to test whether I'd be able to right and bail the canoe in those conditions (I can in calm warm water), and get to shore. Kinda a philosophical approach, you need to go with yours. But the bottom line is that there is always an inherent risk, and even a dry suit won't keep you alive forever. So it's a question of how much more benefit (i.e. time in this case) you get versus the cost and (dis)comfort. The kayakers should have a better idea, and John H is a good authority!

The good part about your trip is you have plenty of time and short travel days, so if you get laid up due to weather you can make it up. To me, that judgement contributes the most to your safety.

User avatar

head2north
Trailblazer
Posts: 173
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:46 am
Isle Royale Visits: 9
Location: River Falls, Wisconsin

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by head2north » Tue May 19, 2015 6:44 pm

An essential piece of canoeing gear for a soloist traveling cold water is an EXTRA PADDLE. I was lucky to learn the "easy" hard way. My only paddle tumbled overboard while canoeing Lake Richie in July. I had to jump into the water after it. Lucky It was a smaller relatively calm lake that was WARM. Ever since, I carry an extra paddle regardless of lake size or temperature.

User avatar

NancyT
Trailblazer
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:28 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Port Sanilac, Michigan
Contact:

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by NancyT » Tue May 19, 2015 6:47 pm

Mike and I don't use wetsuits when canoeing, we usually go the first and last boat, we are very careful to not paddle in undesirable conditions. We use Kayak paddles for our canoe, MUCH easier and we stay drier.
The radio we use is a Standard Horizon, only the HX370S model. We use Sealine Backpack dry bags as they are easier to portage.
~ISLE ROYALE INFO~
"A Comprehensive Guide to Isle Royale National Park"
http://www.isleroyale.info

User avatar

Ingo
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1301
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:11 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 10
Location: Hillsborough, NC

Re: Canoeing the NE part of the island

Post by Ingo » Tue May 19, 2015 7:01 pm

head2north wrote:An essential piece of canoeing gear for a soloist traveling cold water is an EXTRA PADDLE. I was lucky to learn the "easy" hard way. My only paddle tumbled overboard while canoeing Lake Richie in July. I had to jump into the water after it. Lucky It was a smaller relatively calm lake that was WARM. Ever since, I carry an extra paddle regardless of lake size or temperature.
Absolutely! Velcro straps are handy to tie it to the yoke and thwart--ensures it stays with the canoe in the case of a dunking.

Post Reply