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Old 16-03-2011, 19:43   #1
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Lake Superior Cruise

I would like suggestions for cruising Lake Superior this summer. We will be leaving Milwaukee sometime around mid to late June and need to be back by early August. We plan on hitting the locks around the beginning of July so we will have a couple of weeks to knock around. Originally we planned to head to Isle Royale but with our dog, that doesn't look doable. Are the Apostle Islands worth the trip that far west or should we head for the north shore. We are GLCC members and I have the harbor reports but I would like to hear from someone who has been there.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 17-03-2011, 08:29   #2
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

The North Shore is certainly the highlight of any Superior cruise.
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Old 17-03-2011, 09:16   #3
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

I second Gord's suggestion. You need to be fairly self sufficient on the North Shore as it is rugged spectacular wilderness with considerable distances between towns. Beautiful bays and coves and remote.

The Apostles have more traffic, is more civilized, and does not have much cover. Also, it is long way from the Soo as a destination whereas the North Shore starts almost immediately.
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Old 17-03-2011, 09:35   #4
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

Thanks for the info. I was leaning toward the north shore as well. Any suggestions on "don't miss" anchorages ?
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Old 17-03-2011, 09:38   #5
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

Going up the North shore could allow you to jump over to Isle Royal from Grand Portage. North shore is a unique environment and there isn't much else like it. You'll do legs longer than that going around. Duluth and Grand Marais are places worth spending a little time. If you want to go all the way there are some very wild sections in Canada too.

You won't have to worry about the water temperature as it's always the same At least in the Apostle Islands you might enjoy a little swimming where the water is more shalllow. Minnesota Point in Duluth has a nice sandy beach (one of the few) and the water warms a little bit there too.

Given you are going to be out the summer you could do all these places and still more. Spending a little time in Door County at the end could be nice too. I would take it a little slow in June and let the the northen p[art of the trip warm up a little.

It sounds like a real fun time and I would love to be going too. The big lake is a special place indeed.
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Old 17-03-2011, 10:05   #6
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
Going up the North shore could allow you to jump over to Isle Royal from Grand Portage. North shore is a unique environment and there isn't much else like it. You'll do legs longer than that going around. Duluth and Grand Marais are places worth spending a little time. If you want to go all the way there are some very wild sections in Canada too.
Absolutely illegal to take a pet within the waters of Isle Royale National Park. Pets have the potential to mess up the semi-closed ecosystem of the park. The park extents 4.5 miles into Lake Superior.
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Old 17-03-2011, 11:16   #7
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

You will also need passports to go into Canada. Additionally, you can only clear US Customs in Duluth, Soo, or Isle Royale. In your case Isle Royale doesn't work.

Not sure where you go through Canadian Customs although I know you can at the Soo and Thunder Bay. Depending on where you cruise on the North Shore you can get a Wilderness Pass which does not require you to check into Canadian Customs. Go on-line to get the wilderness pass.
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Old 17-03-2011, 12:07   #8
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
Going up the North shore could allow you to jump over to Isle Royal from Grand Portage...
... If you want to go all the way there are some very wild sections in Canada too...
FWIW:
Americans sometimes refer to their (Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) Lake Superior shorelines as the North Shore; whereas I am referring to the Lake’s Northern (Canadian) shoreline.
The American shoreline is somewhat featureless, excepting man-made harbors (of refuge) and the Apostle Islands.
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Old 18-03-2011, 06:48   #9
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

Isle Royale is out because of the mutt. I think the canadian north shore might be the way to go. I have my Can pass from last summer when we went to the north channel. I think it is good until August. The Nipigon Bay area looks good. Has anyone been there ?
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Old 18-03-2011, 06:59   #10
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

With the time you have you will be better off hanging in Pukasaw Park, Slate Islands (they have caribou), and Pic Islands. That is unless you want to cover lots of ground every day that you are cruising. If you have more time then try to make it all the way to Thompson Island, with stops at Thunder Bay, Tee Harbors, Loon Harbor, Silver Island, Rossport, etc. all spectacular. You will need more time than what you have allocated to just hit the highlights. It would be worth though!!
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Old 18-03-2011, 07:45   #11
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

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With the time you have you will be better off hanging in Pukasaw Park, Slate Islands (they have caribou), and Pic Islands. That is unless you want to cover lots of ground every day that you are cruising. If you have more time then try to make it all the way to Thompson Island, with stops at Thunder Bay, Tee Harbors, Loon Harbor, Silver Island, Rossport, etc. all spectacular. You will need more time than what you have allocated to just hit the highlights. It would be worth though!!
Thanks for the suggestions. Just what I was looking for. Time to check the harbor reports.
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Old 18-03-2011, 09:11   #12
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

The bible for cruising Lake Superior is Bonnie Dahl's "Superior Way" where if it isn't in there it doesn't exist.
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Old 31-03-2011, 08:10   #13
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

Clear Canada customs on the Canadian side of the Soo, best lock to use as well, and many spend several days there awating good enough weather to start north.

Don't miss Otter Cove, Michpichoten Is, the Slates, and if you have a month or more go all the way around. Ft William outside Thunder Bay is a wonderful recreation of the old trading rendezvous site from the fur traping days.

Great Lakes Cruising Club web site forum and harbor reports will add a lot of other ideas, and Bonnie Dahl's book is a MUST have.

We did not take our dogs, and were able to spend several days on Isle Royale where we were visited by moose, and the splendid Northern Lights.

An earlier post seemed to discount the south coast and the Apostles, but if the time is available do those first. The water in shallow bays warms up quite well in settled weather and swimming is definetly possible, but the main lake is always in the mid fifties, so a plan for crew retrieval in cold water is absolutely necessary as hypothermia will incapacitate anyone immersed in 40 seconds.

Copper Harbor, Pictured Rocks, on the south shore are not to be missed as well.

I did the trip in 2007 and would love to be going again.
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Old 31-03-2011, 14:07   #14
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

Is there good VHF coverage with Canadian CG on the north shore?
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Old 31-03-2011, 14:55   #15
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Re: Lake Superior Cruise

Yes, Thunder Bay MCTS covers the Canadian North Shore of Lake Superior using transmitter sites located at: Thunder Bay, Horn, Bald Head, Sault Ste Marie.
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