August 31: Continued to dry out equipment, including gear in dry bags. Charged up the GoPro. Paddled to Belle Isle. Very nice passage with 2 short and easy portages. Nice protected conditions. Scored a shelter. Continued to dry clothing and gear. Explored Belle Isle. Climbed the "mystery" steps. Saw the former shuffleboard area and fireplace. Went as far as the Ranger cabin by the dock. Really nice campground.
September 1. Weather day. 3 foot breakers on the beach. By afternoon the weather clear and went fishing in Belle Harbor. No luck.
September 2. Paddled to McCargoe cove. Flat water and fair breeze made for an easy passage. No problems at Indian Point. Met Ranger Emily from Amygaloid afloat in the cove and discussed packrafts (She has a Fjord Explorer and I have a Denali Llama). Tried fishing. Still no luck. Very slippery in the water by the dock.
September 3. Portaged to Chicken Bone Lake. Made the mistake of cutting the portage short and had to haul the loaded packraft over downed trees within sight of the portage marker... Very windy on Chicken Bone. Portage marker to Livermore difficult to find. Portaged to Livermore. Paddled across Livermore to the LaSage portage. On the LaSage -- Lake Ritchie portage passed 3 folks portaging sea kayaks. They indicated that it had taken a whole day to portage from Moskey to Lake Ritchie and from what it looked like, it was going to take them a whole day to portage to McCargoe from Lake Ritchie. Finished the day at Lake Ritchie Canoe. I was the only person in the campground. Had to patch a nick in the packraft by headlamp.
September 4. Paddled to the Intermediate Lake portage and portaged to Intermediate Lake. VERY windy conditions on Intermediate Lake. Paddled to the Intermediate Lake - Siskiwit Lake Portage. Passed two folks portaging a canoe the other directions. VERY windy on Siskiwit Lake with whitecaps on the water. Sheltered in the lees behind the islands. Ended at Wood Lake campground. I was the only person in the campground. Nice campground.
September 5. Rain in the morning. Waited it out. 20 minute paddle across Wood Lake followed by a 1.5 hour portage to Lake Whittlesley. Strong SW wind pushed me down the lake. Tried fishing as I drifted down the lake. No luck. Lake Whittlesley campground had at least two tents that I saw and a canoe and sea kayak on the shore. Man on shore indicated that he had caught some perch earlier. Portaged from Whittlesley to Chippewa Harbor. Another long portage -- how a sea kayak made that portage is beyond me. Long paddle to Chippewa Harbor campground.
September 6. Stayed over at CH. Took pictures of the schoolhouse. Picked apples. Made some sour apple pancakes which turned out great! Tried fishing. No Luck.
September 7. Paddled to the CH - Lake Ritchie portage. LONG portage. Paddled to the Lake Ritchie -- Moskey basin portage. LONG portage. Arrived in time to get the Moskey basin group site (the lodge is still running folks out to Moskey basin so no shelters -- I still have not experienced the beauty of Moskey basin from the shelters). Ended up pitching camp after dark.
September 8. Rain in the morning. Launched from the dock area and paddled to Caribou Island. Strong SW wind and got to do some surfing on the waves. Arrived at 2 PM and scored a shelter. Went for a swim when my water filter blew into the water at the dock. Had a chance to air clothing and gear out. It was nice not having to check my feet for leeches. Lots of activity on the water supporting the construction at the Daisy Farm dock.
September 9. Lots of activity on the water as boats and watercraft headed to Daisy Farm. Saw the Mike boat. Talked to the ISRO campsite maintenance folks -- 2 for the entire island??? No wonder TP was in such short supply. Another beautiful day for a paddle with strong SW winds pushing me to Snug Harbor. Made Snug Harbor by 2 and checked into the Lodge. Had a shower. Checked wifi and let my family know that I was alive. Ate a pizza and had a beer. Went fishing at the seaplane docks -- still no luck. Lodge folks are LOUD compared to the backcountry.
September 10. Checked out. The Ranger was full -- exodus day from the lodge. Met Elizabeth from Missoula/Pittsburgh who I recognized from the Siskiwit Lake Intermediate Lake portage and who I had met in 2013 at Chippewa Harbor. Very bumpy ride back to Houghton.
Lessons Learned. Paddling open Lake Superior waters, such as Blake Point or Indian Point can be difficult or dangerous and should not be underestimated. It is very expensive to evacuate non emergency injuries via the water taxi or Voyager II (there were two separate parties at Belle Isle with injuries severe enough to require evacuation). Do not trust "waterproof" with mission essential gear and back up with additional means -- one of the paddlers I met at Belle Isle soaked his waterproof radio and it died. I brought a radio condom for my Marine VHF and it did not get wet, even when submerged in the bottom of my packraft off of Blake Point and continued to function. Given the size of my food pack for the trip, it was not possible to portage everything in one trip, thus the advantages of a packraft over other watercraft during a portage were not realized.
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The canoe you saw on Whittlesley was mine. Saw you drift by as I was doing some chores. The gentleman with the kayak told me he talked some other campers into helping him on the portage.
Fisherman47 -- I talked to the gentleman with the sea kayak during the trip back on the Ranger. He said that you had caught some walleye. I definitely have to hit Lake Whittlesley on the next trip and spend some time fishing it. Where did you catch the fish?
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Here are the 2 photos from Redbad.