Posted by: kimmeroo | May 26, 2012

Pukaskwa River – Day 8

Day 8 was a mega day, covering about 35km with some strong wind and challenging conditions. We were on the water shortly before 8am, and had about an hour of calm before the headwind started to pick. Took a quick break at Floating Heart Bay, and they stopped for lunch shortly before the cliffs of Isacore. The cliffs had been weighing on us since we got to the lake. Although you certainly can’t become complacent anywhere on Lake Superior, this section involves a few km of exposed paddling along steep cliffs with poor landings. In strong winds things can get pretty ugly.

The waves didn’t look too bad from our lunch spot, but we could see some whitecaps, and we couldn’t see what is was like around the point where the cliffs really started. After hanging out for a couple of hours, we decided it was worth giving it a try. The good news about the wind was that it was blowing mainly offshore, so we could make use of the landings if need be (i.e., the waves weren’t crashing into the shore). Also, based on the wind direction the waves would be biggest at the start and get smaller as we continued along, so we wouldn’t be getting lulled into a false sense of security and then end up way over our heads.

The conditions were quite challenging, but the canoe was remarkably seaworthy. By quartering the waves we stayed quite dry, although we did sponge out once or twice to stay on top of it. That said, it was definitely big enough to be intimidating in a small open canoe, and we were also aware of the closest landing in case we took a big wave and had to limp back to shore! Maybe this is a good time to reassure my parents that I carried the SPOT emergency device in a hip pack that I wore all the time, so if we ever did lose the boat we’d have the ability to alert the authorities.

We felt pretty wiped and pretty accomplished when we finished the cliff section, and stopped for a well earned break in Tamarack Bay.

Looking back towards the cliffs

After a break we paddled for another hour or so to get to Tigger Point and set up camp for the night.

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