We woke to the sound of waves breaking on the shore. This was not good. Winds were forecast to be variable, less than 5 knots for the day and there hadn’t been much wind the day before. We were about to cross 61 nm of open water on Lake Superior, from Grand Marais to Michipicoten Island, and if we couldn’t have a favorable breeze to allow us to sail our hull speed (6 knots), then we preferred flat calm so that we could easily motor the distance.
We departed the natural harbor at Grand Marais just as the sun was rising. We had a bit of a NW swell for the first hour or so, but it flattened out quickly and the Lake conditions were as forecast: variable wind under 5 knots and “waves under 1 foot.” Actually, there were no “waves” the entire 61 nm miles. Lake Superior couldn’t have been more calm.
With 8 nm behind us and the southern shore very much in view, Ron dipped a bucket of water from the Lake and stuck our swim thermometer in it, to check the water temperature. We have some disagreement whether it was 36º or 38º F. Lake Superior is a cold lake. It doesn’t warm up much! If either one of us were to fall overboard, we would be dead. Plain and simple. So at that point, even though it was a calm, sunny, clear day, I insisted we both wear our harnesses and clip on if we’re leaving the cockpit.
We saw 3 freighters as we crossed the shipping lane out of Whitefish Bay: one going west, two coming east. That was it. We saw no other boats until a small cabin cruiser came in from fishing as we made our way into the harbour at Michipicoten Island. The only sound from our VHF radio was the occasional broadcast from the U.S. Coast Guard at the Soo. It sure is quiet up here!
Michipicoten Island has a number of summer residents, it’s not uninhabited. But it is so quiet here. A beaver swam across the cove as we approached to anchor and a loon called out to its mate. We’ll rest up a day here before moving on, further north along the shore of the eastern mainland.