What do you think of the itinerary:
Day 1: Ferry/RockHarbor - Daisy Farm
Day 2: Daisy Farm - Moskey Basin
Day 3: Moskey Basin to Caribou Island
Day 4: Caribou Island to Tookers Island
Day 5: Tookers Island to Rock Harbor/Ferry
I kayak a fair amount in inland rivers and lakes, but never on Lake Superior. This seemed like a safer way to kayak in the safer protected waters. My friends have very little kayaking experience. Does this seem doable?
Do I need a wetsuit/dry suit? Any recommendations on rental places in Copper Harbor?
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Your itinerary is fine for an average paddler.
The waters of Rock Harbor are "protected". That is NOT the same as being millpond smooth. If there is a strong wind, especially from the south, for more than several hours, there will be a significant sea state in Rock Harbor. You should plan for this possibility especially if you plan on camping on some of the island campgrounds as you could find yourself weathered in.
I also concur with the safety statements made by others. Practice before you get to ISRO.
Sounds like I might need to just plan for Daisy Farm and Moskey but maybe skip the islands. Do you think it's a safe paddle around to Chippewa Harbor or is it too exposed to the Big Lake.
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What everyone says about cold water is true. IR is no place to fool around. However, if you use your brains and maintain awareness of where you are, there is no reason that you should get into a life threatening position on this trip.
If the members of your group don't have basic equipment or knowledge, consider a IR trip from Kewenaw Adventure Company in Copper Harbor. It's probably not much more expensive to book a trip with them than to rent the equipment somewhere for that length of time. I was not impressed with the rental kayaks in Rock Harbor. They were basically rec boats and you need a sea kayak with spray skirt, etc.
We spent eight days on the Island last May and paddled 101 miles. We went around Blake Point and investigated all the shore around that area to McCargo Cove, came back around Blake four days later and did Tobin Harbor and went back around Scovill Point and investigated all the way to Moskey Basin and out to Mine Point, Conglomerate Bay. The only time I got wet was when I fell getting out of the kayak at Tookers Island. There are four logs half burried under water to the right of the dock. My foot slipped on them and I went in with a mighty splash, twice.
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I would too recommend a VHF, since it gives you the weather channels and the ability to communicate if you need to. Not essential, and most of my trips have been without one, but I have felt more comfortable since I picked one up (although have never needed it except for weather). I wouldn't hesitate to plan to do the outer islands, just be prepared to change along the way if conditions dictate and stay at Daisy or 3-Mile. And do pay close attention around the ends of islands and channels--the sea state can change quickly as swells off the lake build on the reefs or funnel through a channel, even if the wind is calm. Also remember the islands will be significantly cooler (or cold) if there's any wind at all off the lake.
I really like Caribou, especially sitting on the pebble beach looking out over Middle Island Passage and the big lake. There's a neat little channel between Inner and Outer Islands that's cool to paddle. The Edison Fishery and Rock Harbor light are historically interesting, and you can climb the light. The Peterson cabin is down the shore of Moskey with it's collection of moose antlers.
Given your group's level of (in)experience I wouldn't advice Chippewa Harbor. Completely exposed and limited bailout spots.