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 πŸ˜‰
soaring eagle

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

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19 thoughts on “Another Trip to Power Island

    • My shoulders aren’t so sure it was fun, but they don’t know what they’re talking about πŸ˜‰
      The eagle was so much fun to spot. We were driving by when I noticed him, and had to turn around to get his picture. Ended up talking to a lady who was watching her grandkids, so I got to share the eagle-moment with her πŸ™‚

  1. Catching up on m reign as Junior sleeps! Wonderful post and pics as always πŸ™‚ I love the journeys you go on – short or long – you always manage to take me along!

    That eagle had me wishing I was there with my camera, although I would probably have abandoned the boat trip to take a million pics of him πŸ˜‰ Those blue waters are something else and the seagull rookery – that must have been noisy?!

    I’m so glad I’ve found you to do all the hard work (read kayaking!!!), so I can snuggle up in bed and enjoy the fruits of your labours πŸ˜‰

    • That eagle was perched on the side of the road on someone else’s property. I snapped a few photos from the pavement and then decided to move on. Besides, it was HOT out the other day πŸ˜‰
      The blue, clear water is something I don’t ever want to become mundane. I grew up in a landlocked area, so I don’t think I’ll ever take it for granted. Hope not! And yes, the rookery was cacophonous.
      After all that time in the sun (read: me out kayaking), you needed to go to bed early! πŸ˜‰

      • Duly noted! I’m exhausted and off to bed πŸ˜‰

        On a somewhat related note (bed – reading, you follow!), I’m on a Dorothy L. Sayers marathon! Am reading and rather enjoying the universe of Lord Peter Wimsey. Have you read her? Although I find her narrative style a little cumbersome as compared to Christie’s skin & bones prose ( in a manner of speaking!), still rather quaint and interesting. Am reading The Nine Tailors at the moment and no it has nothing to do with tailoring or tailors πŸ˜‰

        • I’ve never heard of her…once I get through my current stack, I’ll have to pick one up! I put down a LOTR knock-off, but picked up a Peter Beagle book that I’m loving. Reading is such a nice way to drift off to sleep – first you immerse yourself in someone else’s world, then you slip into your own private one πŸ™‚

          • I know – Google knows everything πŸ˜‰ (which is also scary, but we’ll ignore that!)
            Peter Beagle is an author Patrick Rothfuss recommends. I was in book depression when I finishes his series, and have been gobbling up books he likes as I wait on him to finish the third book in the series πŸ™‚

          • Oh yes! Lets! In interest of our sanity and such πŸ˜›

            Google says his best book is The Last Unicorn. Is that the one you’re reading?

  2. What a lovely way to spend the day! If I lived up there I’d definitely own a kayak! And I bet your shoulders are feeling all better now, ready to head out again!

    • You are right, Dawn! But we have chores that need tackled. No mulching, but still…
      When we moved up, we had a canoe. It wasn’t long before we hopped on Craigslist and found someone selling their barely used kayaks cheaply. It was such a great deal, and we have used the heck out of them. The canoe…three times I think!

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