Kayaking Apostle Islands – Now Just a Bit Safer

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The Apostle Islands have become incredibly popular for kayakers. The ability to paddle among this amazing group of islands is truly amazing. Pinehurst Inn guests continue to enjoy this on the water activity, many taking advantage of our ongoing packages with local outfitter, Living Adventure. But many come with their own boats, ready to make their way on this inland sea known as Lake Superior.

With adventure comes risks. Sadly one of the most common destinations for kayakers, the Mainland Seacaves, has also been the site of a number of deaths. In both cases hypothermia and being ill prepared were a part of the picture. Waves at the mainland sea caves can be particularly dangerous because of the bowl-like rock cliffs that reflect and amplify waves. Two large waves can combine to form an extremely large wave.The National Park Service and Bayfield area are working to minimize these dangers.

With support from Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the Friend of Apostle Islands, kayakers now can check wave heights online before visiting the mainland sea caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Using a smart phone or the Web, kayakers can check the live conditions report at www.seacaveswatch.org. The website lists the wave height for the previous six hours in 30-minute increments. The site also displays water temperature and photos of the waves at the sea caves, and it relays wind speed and direction recorded at Devil’s Island.

“We hope kayakers will use this system to make good decisions before venturing out onto the lake,” said Bob Krumenaker, superintendent of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. “We hope it will save lives.”

The rule many of us follow on Lake Superior is this: “The Lake is the Boss.” We love this grand body of water but we also recognize how dangerous it can be at times. We appreciate efforts such as this one to make the decision making just a bit easier.

 

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