Kayaking Rossport Island Archipelago

Photo by Michele Peterson

Last week I went on a two hour kayaking adventure around the Rossport Island Archipelago with Superior Outfitters. It was fun, tiring and an overall exciting way to spend the morning.

We met up at the dock for a quick briefing in safety and instruction before hitting the water of Rossport Marina. We were geared up with life-jackets, paddles and “skirts”. Skirts are the waterproof covers that go around your waste and keep your secured in the kayak and safe from splashing water.

We paired up into teams, and prepared our tandem kayaks for launching. I was going to take the stern (back of the kayak), as the person that would be steering the boat. Karin would take the front, so we both hopped into position.

Once we were both steady in our spots, we pushed back from the dock. I unlocked the rudder, and made our first moves into open water. We wobbled a bit as we first backed out, but soon caught on to the feeling of the kayak.

We waited for everyone to come out to meet up, and set out toward the open Bay. It started out like a race. Everyone was excited to get out in the open, and we all paddled like hyper school children.

We spread out, came back together, and spread apart again. There was no real pattern in our direction, we were just exploring the water around us.

Once we came around the first corner, my arms started to feel a bit tired. I kept complaining to Karin, but continued paddling in the same direction as everyone else. Luckily we made our first quick break to look at a Peregrine Falcon that was sitting in a tree on a nearby island.

While everyone else was looking at the Falcon, I was looking at the water. It was absolutely clear, and the blue sky reflected off of every ripple. I could see straight down to the bottom (which was probably only a few meters at that point), and desperately wanted to jump in.  The floor was flat rock, with nothing growing or swimming in sight. It looked like an enormous swimming pool.

The water along the shore looked even more beautiful. When the sky’s reflection hit it in the right spot, it sparkled a glowing turquoise hue that reminded me of the Caribbean Sea. The rocks below were always flat and white, so it looked rather inviting as a spot to swim. It’s no wonder they wanted to make this the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.

We continued on like this for some time. We paddled around one corner, took a short break and started again. We steered toward the edges, to get views of the shallow waters, and bobbed in the waves from the open water.

Eventually, I couldn’t keep it up much more. My arms felt like they were on fire, as I’m not super athletic, and hadn’t worked my arms in this way.. well, probably ever.

Karin took over a few times as I rested my paddle on the boat, but I felt bad making her do all the work. After awhile, our guide paddled back and attached a little tug rope to our kayak. Yup, we had taken the training wheels of kayaking (my fault!)

I did my best to keep paddling on the way back, but had to take a few breaks. When I continued paddling, I would get excited and wear myself out quickly. I tried to keep a slower pace, and eventually the dock was back in sight.

As we made our way back to shore, I scolded myself for accepting the tug rope, but I was happy that we were back now rather then the three extra hours it probably would have taken me to do on my own.

We got out of our kayaks and pulled them back up onto the dock in the same way as we had loaded them into the water. We took off all of our gear and headed back out to the Superior Outfitters parking lot.

It had been an awesome morning, and I really hoped that I would have a chance to kayak again in the future. Maybe with a little practise I would be able to complete the entire trip all by myself. I hope that I will be able to kayak again soon.

Thanks to Erin Joudrey for the images!


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