Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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canoe1
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Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Post by canoe1 » Fri May 17, 2019 9:02 am

Good Morning:
A group of us are headed to Isle Royale in mid-September. 5 canoes/kayaks with Balogh Sail Rigs. Each of our boats will have outriggers on 10 foot wide poles. We will be putting in at Rock Harbor, and headed Northeast and then West to McCargoe Cove, returning via different channels back to Rock Harbor 8 day's later.
What I would like to know, based on experience, is which campsites would have the easiest landing and launchings for a group of 5 boats with outriggers. We don't have to land all at the same time, but easy access for something 10 foot wide without doing physical gymnastics, or dragging our boats up the sheer side of rock cliffs would be nice.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks, John


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Re: Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Post by Midwest Ed » Fri May 17, 2019 9:53 am

Welcome to the forums,

I'm sure you will get some answers to specific campgrounds but I'd like to offer this resource in case you have not seen it.

Michigan Water Trails has included very high resolution, aerial, oblique photos of most all of the Isle Royale shoreline taken by the Corps of Engineers. To reveal access to the photos, click on "Show Shoreline Photos" under "Show Places on the Map". Click on the thumbnail photo to enlarge it.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013

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Ingo
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Re: Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Post by Ingo » Fri May 17, 2019 10:15 am

First, I must say I am concerned about doing that route in Sept. On my Sept trips I've never seen a weather window where I would paddle around Blake Pt, or outside of any of the protected bays on the NE side. Last year we ran into a group of experienced kayakers that had a couple dump in 6' seas at Blake before turning around, even though they had flat water approaching it. The sea state can change very dramatically in a very short distance, both due to wind and currents around the points, and even make turning around an issue. And the outriggers don't make it any safer in the type of conditions you could see. To the point, the 63 ft Voyageur II ferry even stops doing the north side route in Sept because of the typical conditions. If you plan to portage the rigs and avoid the open water, great! If not, I'd highly recommend staying in Rock Harbor. And even that has provided some exciting paddling and layovers in Sept.

To your question, if you can rig and remove the outrigger and sail on the water, then you could more easily use the docks at most sites. Lake Superior water level is up, so that reduces beaches but makes using the docks easier, which tend to be high for canoes/kayaks. There aren't a lot of good spots for beaching/launching rigs like that. Daisy Farm and Belle Isle come to mind as the most friendly. Caribou has a place to beach but not a lot of room. Moskey to the left of the dock and past the first shelters, although a little rocky as I remember. Duncan Bay and Narrows both have sand shores, but were covered and up to the trees last year.
79: worked RH, 01: BI-DB-RH, 02: MC-LR-WL-CH, 05: MI-CI-MB-DF-RH-TM-RH, 09: MC-BI-DN-RH, 11: WC-HC-WC, 12: MC-CB-HL-TH, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF


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Re: Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Post by treeplanter » Fri May 17, 2019 10:27 am

You should have no problem at both Duncan bay and Duncan Bay Narrows. You may have to jockey for position, but there's ample space to land. Ditto for McCargoe Cove. Merritt Lane could be a challenge because of limited space and a somewhat steep shore. Pickerel Cove has a small shore, but it's "sandy." Birch Island is like Merritt Cove, limited space. No comment on Lane Cove or Belle Island.

I have a downwind sale for my Klepper, but have never tried outriggers. Your planned trip sounds really cool. Just watch the weather while rounding Blake Point.

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Re: Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Post by Base654 » Fri May 17, 2019 11:48 am

Lane cove is shallow enough that you will be able to get out. there are enough places to pull a kayak out, you may have to disassemble the outriggers though. Belle Isle has an long beach of big pebbles. With the water up the beach may be steep. I do backup Ingo, the waves that time of year are rough. The way the water moves around the point drives the waves unpredictable dimensions and directions. some even look like free standing peaks. My trips are usually 2 weeks around Labor Day and I have turned around and stayed in Rock Harbor a couple times. I don't portage Tobin to Duncan unless I have to come back that way, but it is an option to get back into the protected water.


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Re: Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Post by canoe1 » Fri May 17, 2019 1:30 pm

Thank you for all of the advice on potential landing and launching spots for wide boats. It gives me a potential starting point for possible campsites with our rigs. The docks don't work because the center pole of our 3 piece outrigger pole sticks out beyond the side of the boats. Michigan Water Trails birds eye view was also very helpful.
Any other advice would be appreciated, based on experience with the campsites.
Thanks again, John

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Re: Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Post by Base654 » Fri May 17, 2019 7:13 pm

All of the Rock harbor sites are accessible by standard kayak, but with the five footish offset from shore, you might be hip deep on some. Unless you are able to closely pack them (i.e. ovelapping/stacking) you may struggle to get all of them out of the water except at Daisy and Caribou. Tookers has a tiny pull out, maybe three standard yaks. Three Mile will be hard to get out of the water due to a steep/ nonexistent beach. Like Ingo wrote, there are opportunities for pull outs at Moskey, there is one past the shelters by the tent sites too, but again five ten foot wide boats.... Pickerel has two sides. The Superior side has the shore if I remember correctly, the other side is steep boulders where I walked down. I may have pics if you have questions about specific sites.


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Re: Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Post by canoe1 » Mon May 20, 2019 6:51 am

Good Morning:
The potential list I have as of now includes Daisy, Caribou, Duncan Bay, Duncan Bay Narrows one side of Pickerel, McCargoe Cove, Belle Isle, Little Todd, and Lane Cove. Any of those I should eliminate in my planning? Any more I should add in my planning? Any pics would be helpful. Remember, we can pull the outrigger poles and sponsons off once we are on shore, but not before we can land. Landing one boat at a time is also no problem.
Thanks, John

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Re: Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Post by Ingo » Mon May 20, 2019 9:38 am

Note the aerial shoreline pics are from 2012 and water levels are up a couple feet from then. And up from my pics too.
Pics I have easily accessible (i.e. FB).
Belle Isle, not good pics, but maybe a sense of the pebble beach. Beach inside most of the cove.
1935542_1187420319601_1802929_n.jpg
Another Belle Isle. Pebbles may be steep at water level, but bottom is gradual enough to step into.
10547503_10202783728008223_6627942073285538143_n.jpg
Caribou Island. That's the only place to land and that's the width of it, think it drops off pretty quick. You have to navigate around the end of the dock (pic taken from the dock)
10423689_10202783736328431_8452761117761612414_n.jpg
Merritt Lane, next to dock, that rock is slippery and drops off quickly.
10390524_10202783733688365_5081118114868497750_n.jpg
Duncan Narrows, water may be up to/in the trees, but shallow beach.
1935542_1187421119621_3786880_n.jpg
Birch Island, should be pretty good. I don't remember a good spot at McCargoe for your type of rig. I recall doing a side ways entry on a steepish rock.
1917007_1187419439579_8160656_n.jpg
79: worked RH, 01: BI-DB-RH, 02: MC-LR-WL-CH, 05: MI-CI-MB-DF-RH-TM-RH, 09: MC-BI-DN-RH, 11: WC-HC-WC, 12: MC-CB-HL-TH, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF


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Re: Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Post by Midwest Ed » Mon May 20, 2019 3:24 pm

Here are 2 pictures of the pebble beach at Belle Isle taken in early June of 2000. I estimate the water level to be about equal to the long term average minimum for March of 601.1 ft (but 2000 was almost 1 ft below average). The average maximum for August is 602.1 ft. I agree that 2012 was about 2 feet below 2019. The 2012 aerial oblique photos were taken in mid May. My estimates are based on these 2 Corps of Engineers data links. I looks like the COE is expecting some record setting highs coming up this year.
Great Lake Water Levels by Year (Link)
Water Levels Past.png
Forecast
Lake Superior 2019 Projections (Link)
Water Level 2019.png
History
Attachments
12BelleIsleHarbor.jpg
Belle Isle Pebble Beach 1 of 2
Last edited by Midwest Ed on Mon May 20, 2019 3:42 pm, edited 5 times in total.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


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Re: Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Post by Midwest Ed » Mon May 20, 2019 3:25 pm

14ChrisAtBelleIsle2.jpg
Belle Isle Pebble Beach 2 of 2
.
.
And a picture of the Belle Isle Dock. It is normally one of the highest docks above water line.
15JohnRobinPopyeTheSailorAndBoat.jpg
Belle Isle Dock
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


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Re: Landing and Launchings at water accessible campsites

Post by canoe1 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:56 am

Thanks for the recommendations. Our 5 boats with sail rigs has become two boats with sail rigs, as so often happens. In response to the warnings about Blake point and weather conditions in September: I've been to Isle Royale in September. Some of the wildest conditions I have ever seen, or paddled in.
Luckily, my partner and I have a good measure of common sense, knowing when it is best to watch from the shoreline, and when it is okay to be on the water.
Paddle on!!!
John

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