Letters

Letters 07-25-2016

Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

Mass Shootings And Gun Control The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred December 29,1890, when 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms...

Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

Home · Articles · News · Features · From Sleeping Bear Dunes to...
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From Sleeping Bear Dunes to Cheboygan by kayak

Sandra Serra Bradshaw - August 30th, 2007
It’s not often that we at the Fox Island Lighthouse Association (FILA), are contacted by someone wanting to meet on the island with their own watercraft. After all, the island is 17 miles from the Leelanau peninsula’s tip.
Set in formidable isolation, a lighthouse complex was built on the island in 1867 for obvious reasons. But in early 2006,
John McKinney and I (FILA co-founders, along with H. Joerg Rothenberger), got an e-mail from two kayakers asking for assistance.
Steve Zimmerman and Jim Viviano from Kalamazoo were planning what they termed one of the most important journeys of their lifetime - a 150 mile kayaking sojourn that would take them from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore through the Mackinaw Straits to Cheboygan.
As lay-person keepers of a lonely offshore light, we had to inform them that they were on their own on such a trip, but we sure would try to be there to greet them and help in any way we could.

MAKING PLANS
With weather playing first fiddle in
the endeavor, and safety and equipment closely following, the pair spent the winter training, building up strength and endur-ance for the journey. Their starting point was to be the Cannery at Glen Haven in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
The pair had to face several open water crossings that exceeded five miles - the most formidable of which was the
17-mile stretch between North Manitou and South Fox Island. They felt it crucial
to stay overnight on South Fox to both
lessen any risks and keep their mandatory mileage to a minimum.
One of the main reasons for their trip was an interest in lighthouses, especially the remote ones. They were granted permission to camp on Squaw Island, and they had friends to stay with on Beaver Island. There was no problem staying on the Manitou Islands because they are both part of the national lakeshore.
Zimmerman and Viviano had kayaked the Manitou Islands several times in the past. Mindful of Lake Michigan’s many moods, they coordinated departure and support for the first leg of the trip with the NPS rangers at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Viviano said the duo planned on reaching their destination in six days. “We chose June as our time frame after researching past weather patterns in order to try and predict when we will have the most consistent mild weather, and we have three days for weather contingency built into our schedules.”

GEAR
In addition to the typical safety equipment carried while kayak touring, the pair carried a cell phone and a VHF radio, as well as visual signaling devices. The VHF radio gave access to 10 NOAA weather channels, as well as emergency frequencies. They left virtually nothing left to chance, logging a float-plan with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and maintaining communication with them throughout the trip.
Zimmerman and Viviano did a practice run for the long crossing the day before their embarkment. They paddled the 18-mile stretch from South Haven to Saugatuck nonstop before driving north to begin their trip from Leelanau County.
With perfect weather in early June, it was around three in the afternoon when the pair approached the sandy western shore of South Fox Island. FILA board members John McKinney, George Carpenter and I eagerly greeted the pair as they landed.
Having the kayakers as our guests was fun, to say the least – there was hardly a break in our conversation the rest of the day. After a leisurely breakfast cooked outdoors the next morning, it was all too soon for our kayakers to pack up and continue on their adventure.
“Our trip went better than we could have ever imagined,” Zimmerman wrote when they completed their trip. “Except for Saturday and Sunday morning, the lake was like plate glass. We made such good time that we were able to continue on from our original recovery site and visit St. Ignace, Mackinaw Island, Round Island, Bois Blanc Island and still meet our families on time in Cheboygan!
“Thanks to cooperative weather, we hauled butt wherever we went (except after “shore leave” at the Shamrock in St. James…). The final tally was 150+ miles in six days,” Viviano added in an e-mail. “One of the biggest things I came away with from this trip is a need to go back. I could spend a month out there and not see everything I’d like to.
“The miles paddled had more to do with sublime weather, but it’s still a nice accomplishment for a couple of 30-something, working-stiff, dads/husbands,” Viviano added. “I would have been just as happy with the original 115 to Wilderness State Park and been stranded on one of those gorgeous islands for a few days. You know, after a couple 20-30 mile days, the ‘work’ starts to become irrelevant. Then time and effort just blur. We probably could have done 300, but our wives and bosses might have objected.”


 
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