Another Trip to Power Island

Because we wanted to avoid weekend boat traffic, Tony and I had planned to do a kayak trip out to Power Island – a 200-acre bump out in the West Arm of the Grand Traverse Bay – in midweek. But, with temperatures in the low 90’s yesterday and with predicted wind-speeds of no more than 5MPH, we decided to go for it.

Driving up the west side of the Old Mission Peninsula, the Bay looked smooth, but not glassy – so far, so good. And then we passed this guy, guarding Bowers Harbor, whose appearance one can only interpret as auspicious.

Looking like he owns the place…which in birdly terms, he does
bald eagle

We parked at the public boat launch, and prepared to embark. A few other boaters (regular boaters, not kayakers) also launched, joining some of their compatriots and jet-skiers. Overall though, the harbor was relatively calm, and we didn’t feel unsafe making the first open-water crossing.

Easy paddling above ~200-feet of water; Power Island in the center

Instead of remaining in potential boat traffic, we crossed the harbor at an angle, and then followed the shore out to the island. As we neared the edge of the harbor, breezes threatened the calm, and the water rippled.


flock of seagulls

As we paddled beyond the seagull rookery, the definitely-greater-than-5MPH winds from the northwest churned the crossing into a motion-sickness machine. Waves spilled over into little whitecaps, and occasionally splashed into our boats. Normally steering is a matter of simply looking where you’re going, but on the crossing yesterday, it seemed like I could not get my boat to go where I wanted it: instead of left paddle, right paddle it was more like right paddle, right paddle, dig in left… We weren’t frightened, but the passage was intimidating – especially when larger boats zoomed by generating additional wake.

Heading into rough waters – compare to the first water pic above for reference
rough pass waters

Last shot before camera was stowed for safety
mainland and seagull islet

We eventually floated into shallow waters again, and chose a point on the northwest side of the island to hop out. Like the last time we paddled to the island, the rest of the boaters remained on the east side, leaving us alone with the swans.

After making sure the kayaks weren’t going to float off without us, we waded out into the cool, clear water.

The bottom was too rocky for playing, and the water is still not what you’d call warm, so we didn’t stay out too long. We perched on some large boulders to dry off, and then climbed back in our boats to begin the return.

This time we skirted the north end of the island, in the shallows, and then paddled across the narrowest part of the pass. There must be more current through there than we at first realized, because heading back across – while not as effortless as slicing through the water in my header would be – steering was not a chore. In fact, the paddling seemed easy.

Water drops and Old Mission Peninsula backdrop – summer kayaking staples
water drips from blade
Old Mission Peninsula in distance

In another move for safety, we chose to follow the shore all around the harbor on the return instead of zipping across the center. The water was still calm, though the surface was riffled this time, but we are wary of boaters who might speed into us.

These lovely craft with whom we shared the harbor did not make us wary…

As we paddled back into the boat launch area, our friend Mr. Eagle flew overhead, winging his goodbye. I’m positive he kept his eye out for us ;)
soaring eagle

Our 6+ mile journey out and back took about 3.5 hours
Power Island paddle

Old Mission Outings

More than two weeks ago, Jess and I took a photography field trip up the Old Mission Peninsula. It was a dramatic kind of day. The temperature was in the single digits, and the wind chill was well south of zero. Parts of the sky were clear with bright sun spilling through, and other parts were heavily clouded with snow pouring down. Since it was so cold out, our field trip consisted of multiple brief stops where we’d hop out of the car, frame a few shots, then run back to the car to warm up.

I intended to share the photos sooner, but with one thing and then five, it didn’t happen. And then I accumulated more. Chances are, since the weekend is ahead of me, that I will be accumulating even more photos, so while Tony and I are out skiing this morning, I’m going to share. This way we can all move on with our lives ;) In addition to this morning’s outing, we’re going to check out a chocolate festival in Boyne City and then maybe go for a hike tomorrow. What plans do you have?

Happy Weekend! Continue reading

Paddling Power Island

Power Island is a ~200 acre speck of land about seven miles up the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay. I’ve taken many pictures from afar, from the top of the Old Mission Peninsula, and last year we took a boat ride out with my brother and his family. You might think that with all our kayaking outings, we’d have stopped by the island by now, but getting there requires an open-water crossing – something we’re not keen to do outside the summer or on windy days. Continue reading

Calm Before the Storm

This is it – the last few hours of our simple life before our schedule explodes into busy-ness. Since things are about to get hectic around here, we’ve been taking it easy. Last night we caught a serene sunset over West Bay in Traverse City. To say “sunset” might be stretching it – there was a tiny hint of pink in the sky, but the clouds were awesome, so there you go.


If you’re thinking it looks stormy, you’re right. We had a lovely lightning show last night :)

Having spent a good part of today freeing our guest rooms from pollen, I rewarded myself with a brief stroll down our road tonight. As I neared one neighbor’s yard, I watched a chipmunk dart behind some freshly shorn grass, I’m sure thinking that if he couldn’t see me, then I couldn’t see him. A trio of deer farther in the distance patiently awaited my approach, measuring my character. The local beagle howled the alarm, and the deer scattered,  having been made aware of my predatory nature. The birds, though, were unfazed, and continued to serenade one another with lilting chatter.

our resident chipmunk – not the one I spotted tonight

Tomorrow we shall make final preparations for our guests, and perhaps sneak in a kayak trip or some beach time. Just a quick preview, so you have an idea of what Casa de Higham will be like this summer (and perhaps why we’ll try to go easier next summer?). Here’s the remainder of our June calendar: Friends and daughter visiting Monday 11th – Thursday 14th or Friday 15th. Trip to Atlanta 17th – 21st.  Friends house-sitting/visiting 17th – 24th. Coworker visiting 24th – 27th.  Maybe you understand why we’re enjoying our “Serenity Now.” ;)

Serenity for you :)