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.
After scouting out a place to put-in (there aren’t many public-entry spots on Bowers Harbor, and we wanted to avoid crossing the whole harbor) last night, we loaded up the boats and packed the car. Expecting wind speeds no greater than 5 mph, we hit the water across from the Bohemian Cemetery at 11 am and paddled south. The stillness of the water seemed to amplify its clarity; we spent as much time gazing through the water as we did across its expanse.
We stopped for lunch on the northwest side of the island just before 1 o’clock, alone save the company of a few ducks and gulls. Empty skies began to give way to clouds in the west as we continued our paddle around the island. Rounding the island’s south point, our solitude fell the way of the clear skies. Well over 50 boats were lined on the east side of the island. Everyone seemed well-behaved, but we are curmudgeonly, so we continued our journey without stopping.
Occasionally rocked by the wake of passing boats, we completed the crossing a second time. The gloom held off until we landed at 3:00. Of all our many kayaking trips, this journey is my favorite. With four hours of near-constant paddling, this trek had a bit of everything. Rocky bottom, sandy bottom, baby sea gulls, a veritable armada of swans, ducklings learning to fly, isolated beaches – all surrounded by various depths of clear blue water. I’d go back tomorrow but with eight miles of paddling, my hands are a little bruised and my arms are a tad sore.