Perfect Day for a Perfect Paddle

Back in March I looked at my calendar and realized our summer weekends were quickly being booked for various types of events. I knew I wanted to host another “Paddle Across the Bay” so I chose June 27 for a paddle across Death’s Door. As luck would have it, yesterday turned out to be perfect for the event. Blue skies. Temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s. And flat water, although some of the more experienced kayakers in our group might have preferred a bit of lumpy water. Two weeks ago Mary and I paddled a “shakeout” for this same route — Death’s Door to Plum Island to Washington Island. Yesterday our flotilla of 15 consisted of kayakers from Wisconsin and Illinois who responded to my invitations posted on Meetup and Facebook. We launched from the beach next to Northport Pier where the Washington Island ferries load and unload.

Mary Beth Volmer greeted us at the beach of Plum Island.

Mary Beth Volmer greets us at the beach of Plum Island.

We were given an exclusive inside look at restoration progress for the Plum Island livesaving station.

We get an exclusive inside look at restoration progress for the Plum Island livesaving station.

When we arrived at Plum Island, we were warmly greeted by Mary Beth Volmer, a member of the board for Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands. She quickly arranged a tour of the Plum Island boathouse and lifesaving station, which are both undergoing restoration by committed volunteers. We could tell there’s still lots of work to be done. Volunteers are encouraged to, well, volunteer.

Lunch on Washington Island was savored in the warm sunshine.

Our lunch on Washington Island is savored in the warm sunshine.

After an enjoyable alfresco lunch at the Ships Wheel Restaurant on Washington Island, we paddled back to Plum to view the wreck of the wooden schooner Grapeshot, which sank just off the north side of the island in 1867 after running aground during a November storm. (See my video for a good view of the wreck.) From there we paddled to the south side of Plum to view the rear range light and to get out of our boats for some splashing around in the crystal clear blue water. To summarize the day in a word: perfect.

We take a break on the south side of Plum Island before returning to the mainland.

We take a break on the south side of Plum Island before returning to the mainland.

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