7 Hour Sailing Trip Along the Lake Superior Archipelago

Can you imagine sailing on a boat across the Northern tip of Lake Superior for seven hours straight? Well, I did exactly that a couple of weeks ago. No stops, no breaks, just seven whole hours on a sail boat that was slowly making its way toward our docking point in Rossport, ON.

Seven hours might sound like a long time, but in reality, it seemed like it flew by. I’ve been on countless flights that were just as long, but there is absolutely no comparison. On a flight, you cannot really enjoy the scenery. You cannot really walk around freely. You cannot really have fun. I would choose a sailing trip over a plane ride any day.

We boarded the S.V. Water Walker at the dock of Bowman Island Lodge. We had just spent the night at this lodge, which was a four hour boat ride in, and would now be the seven hour sail out. The lodge was only accessible by waterway, and there was no one else around for miles.

Upon boarding the boat, we were greeted by Captain Richard Harvey of By The Bay Adventures. Captain Harvey treated us to a BBQ lunch, right on the boat, before we set sail for the day. He had cooked shrimp on the grill, and prepared a platter on snacks and fruits for our pleasure. Not only is Richard Harvey a sail boat captain and a mayor (yes!), but he also makes his own wine. We were lucky enough to try both of his peach and strawberry wines along with our delicious meals. It was a great way to start the day.

Captain Harvey explained to us that his boat was a 32 foot Ketch sail boat and then proceeded to show us the ins and outs of becoming a master sailor (or so we would liked to have thought). He showed us which lines to pull, and when, and where to tie them. He told us that we should never call a rope a “rope” on a sail boat–as it is a “line“, unless we wanted to get tossed overboard by the captain (joking, of course).

He had each of us perform different tasks as we got going. We took turns tightening lines, navigating and steering the boat. It seemed that I was volunteered by the others to take over steering for the majority of this time. It was certainly not something I had done before, and I’m not sure why the others were trusting me with their lives. Eventually, I made the excuse that I wanted to go sit on the bow (front) of the boat, and managed to hand it back to our captain.

At this point I hopped over the seat, swung myself around the side of the boat, carefully shuffled along the narrow edge and made my way up to the front of the boat. It was difficult to get proper footing, and I had to grip on to anything I could get a hold of. Eventually I made it to the flat bow and sat myself down at the very front. I grabbed onto the front railing and flung my feet over the edge. I was now the furthermost point East of our boat, as I pointed my toes out in front of the entire vessel.

From here, I could see everything. The enormous lake stretched out in front of me like a vast ocean. I realized at this point, more than ever, why people refer to Lake Superior as an in-land Sea. It really does seem just too big to simply be a lake.

I ended up spending most of the trip up here, and kind of claimed the spot as my own. I leaned over the edge and stretched my feet as far down as they would go. The boat would rise and fall with each wave and I would literally throw my entire body into the swing as we flew upward (as my valiant efforts would make us go higher). My eyes stayed glued to the water in front of us, surveying the sets for larger waves. I started to determine that the more head-on we hit the waves, and the further they were to the front of the boat, the higher we would go.

I called back to the captain to head toward the waves, in excitement, as I was getting a pretty big thrill out of the whole thing. As the waves got bigger, so did the splashing water. Every time the boat flew back toward the water, a great big splash of water would soak my feet and legs. I spent hours up there, and never got sick of watching the waves and kicking my feet up in the air.

Aside from sitting at the front of the boat, I spent some time inside the cabin reading and even had a little nap. I hadn’t had a lot of sleep the previous night, so it was a great place for a little catch up. While time people may be bothered by the waves, I felt like they were rocking me to sleep.

Finally, we pulled into the beginning of the Rossport Island Archipelago. Small islands rose up out of the water as tall tree covered cliffs. The sun was setting beside us, and the entire scene sparkled a fluorescent orange in the light. By this point the wind had died down, so we were using a small motor to navigate into the Rossport Marina.

We docked the boat, enjoyed a glass of port and made our way into town for the night. We had a lovely meal at the Serendipity Garden Cafe, and caught up on our wifi before calling it  night at the Willows’ Inn.

A big thanks to By the Bay Adventures for hosting us, we had an amazing time!

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