Early Spring Swell on the Big Lake

First day of the sea kayaking season occurred today off the township of Silver Islet on Lake Superior. I woke up a little bit hesitant looking out the window to slightly overcast skies and a current temperature of 0 degrees celsius. The marine forecast was 20knots diminishing to 15 in the afternoon. So i knew we would be in for a bit of wind and swell. Also the weather network said it was only suppose to be a high of 9 degrees celsius. All these factors did not make me particularly over-motivated or excited to get out as i usually would be to paddle on Lake Superior. My friend Karina’s determination and the fact that I had my exceptionally kind and awesome friend Darrell’s truck and use of his boats for the weekend, i thought we’d better get out.

When we first arrived in Silver Islet and we saw the continuous white caps and spray coming off the marina dock. We got out of the truck and felt the breeze and how cold it was. My couchsurfer Serena came out with us but didn’t want to paddle so we said farewell to her as she hiked out to the sea lion to get some reading done. Instantaniously the sun came out and we were a whole lot more excited about getting out there… even if it was a bit windy. We scouted around and saw that most of the bay wasn’t too bad so we geared up in our neoprene, boots, gloves and wetsuits and other warm and water-protective layers and were off. It is very important to have the right skill level, experience and equipment to venture on the lake, especially this time of year.

Surprisingly, I believe this was the earliest in the season i had been out on Lake Superior. The sun felt so incredibly nice but was the water every COLD!

We had to continuously take our neoprene gloves off to warm our hands and get the feeling back in them. It was a similar feeling to the so called “screeming barfy’s” you get when ice-climbing, the pain that is sometimes extreme enough to make you barf. In this case it definitely was nowhere near that bad.

We paddled completely around the bay in the more sheltered area before venturing off into some bigger swell in the exposed waters.

Although it doesn’t look it, there was a good 1.5-2 meter swell out there once beyond the shelter of the small islands. There were lots of breaking waves… I noticed some that would have been nice to surf but decided to lay low since the water was so freakin cold and am recently getting over a minor shoulder injury. Got too many great trips in the season to come, just not worth risking further damage to my shoulder.

As we paddled in our friend Andy and another guy who was the son of the owner of Thunder Country Diving were all geared up in extremely thick neoprene to go out for a dive.

Silver Islet is a great little community, unfortunately the store was closed as it is a mostly seasonally operated May through September. They serve amazing corn chowder and biscuits, a great treat for anyone who makes the trip out here. Silver Islet is also home to what was once the richest silver mine in the world! Click here for a historical time-line.

All in all we had a great day and look forward to the many more paddling adventures to come!

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