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Kayaking Around Michipicoten Island in Lake Superior

A windy morning on the second day of the Michipicoten Island circumnavigation
A windy morning on the second day of the Michipicoten Island circumnavigation
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One summer our party of five including our guide, Ginny, from Naturally Superior Adventures, completed a 70 km kayaking trip around Michipicoten Island in Lake Superior. Mother Nature cooperated and supplied more sunshine than fog, little in the way of rain and enough wind to keep the majority of biting insects at bay – but not so much to keep us landlocked on shore.

The Michipicoten Island circumnavigation was a great success – no boats or human sightings for four days, wonderful northern scenery, woodland caribou sightings – including the rare albino caribou, enough paddling that you feel you earned your two hour afternoon nap, and delicious food and wine.

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The night before we spend the night at a lodge on Lake Superior
The night before we spend the night at Rock Island Lodge on Lake Superior (owned by Naturally Superior Adventures)
The view out to Michipicoten Island
The view out to Michipicoten Island

Visual highlights of our kayaking trip around Michipicoten Island

The kayaking trip started with a boat shuttle across Lake Superior to the East End Lighthouse, the start of our circumnavigation. There is the option to do an 18 km crossing from Bonner Head to the mainland and back to Michipicoten Bay – for advanced kayakers only who also have great navigation skills.

Boat shuttle from the mainland
The kayaking trip around Michipicoten Island started with a boat shuttle from the mainland
East End Lighthouse and our start point on Michipicoten Island
East End Lighthouse and our start point on Michipicoten Island
Lots of pebbly beaches that are perfect for launching kayaks
Lots of pebbly beaches that are perfect for launching kayaks
Our first camp on a beach past Bonner Head
Our first camp on a beach past Bonner Head
It's daisy season when we kayak in August
It’s daisy season when we kayak in August
Campanula looks stunning beside the yellow lichen
Campanula looks stunning beside the yellow lichen
One of the beautiful Michipicoten Island sunsets we enjoyed
One of the beautiful Michipicoten Island sunsets we enjoyed
A windy morning on the second day of the Michipicoten Island circumnavigation
A windy morning on the second day of the Michipicoten Island circumnavigation
Enjoying an evening campfire on Michipicoten Island
Enjoying an evening campfire on Michipicoten Island
Lake Superior rocks
Lake Superior rocks

The best months to kayak

July and August are the best months to kayak. The weather is more predictable and there are fewer storms. No matter what, go prepared for all types of weather including dense fog. Definitely wait for fog to lift unless you are with a guide and they give the go-ahead.

We paddled to Davieux Island based on a compass setting and the island didn’t come into view until we were within feet of it.

Also build in a day or two for wind. There’s no need to go toe to toe with Lake Superior. It’s a lake that can be more dangerous than the north Atlantic Ocean.

Michipicoten Island kayaking in the fog
Michipicoten Island kayaking in the fog
Peaceful kayaking through Michipicoten Island's famous fog
Peaceful kayaking through Michipicoten Island’s famous fog
Lots of interesting rocks on Michipocten Island
Lots of interesting rocks on Michipicoten – copper staining on this one – a testament to an old copper mine
Beautiful coloured lichen
Beautiful coloured lichen
Michipicoten Island rare albino woodland caribou
A rare sighting of an albino woodland caribou
The skeletal frame of the Billy Blake
The skeletal frame of the Billy Blake
Abandoned building in Quebec Harbour
Abandoned building in Quebec Harbour
Abandoned buildings in Quebec Harbour
Abandoned buildings in Quebec Harbour
Davieux Island Lightstation
Davieux Island Lightstation
The rocks and lichen of Davieaux Island
The rocks and lichen of Davieaux Island
Our campsite by the lighthouse on Davieaux Island
Our campsite by the lighthouse on Davieaux Island
Trails on Davieux Island
Trails on Davieux Island
No bake cheesecake with fresh picked blueberries
No bake cheesecake with fresh picked blueberries
Camping on Davieux Island
Camping on Davieux Island
A view of Cozen's Cove
A view of Cozen’s Cove
The Caribbean looking waters of Cozen's Cove - though the water temperature was only about 58F
The Caribbean looking waters of Cozen’s Cove – though the water temperature was only about 58F
Blueberry picking at Cozen's Cove
Blueberry picking at Cozen’s Cove
Happy hour on Michipicoten Island
Happy hour on the island at our last campsite
Our last sunset on Michipocten Island
Our last sunset on Michipicoten Island
All of us on the last day
All of us on the last day

Facing your fears

All in all it was a great and mostly relaxing week. And I say mostly relaxing because there was the odd bit of fear felt on the water in the face of a few big waves.

Bring it on. I’m ready for more and already thinking of what other paddling trips I’d like to do on the big waters of Lake Superior.

For more reading on the area try: An Introduction to Michipicoten Island – Lake Superior’s Wild Heart by David C. Whyte.

Some other books that might be of interest include: Lake Superior Rocks and Minerals, Lighthouses of Lake Superior’s North Shore: The Historic Beacons of Minnesota, Isle Royale and Ontario and Lake Superior Agates Field Guide

Further reading on things to do in northern Ontario

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Kayaking around Michipicoten Island in Lake Superior, Ontario

 

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