As we are anticipating this year’s Gales of November photography workshop with pro Rob Stimpson, Lake Superior decided to give us a little show of what she can dish out. Winds were from the west at about 30knots (gale force) and gave us some good wave action. Here are a couple of shots plus a short video taken from the front of the lodge.
…swim with the salmon. It’s one of the great things about this area in the fall. The salmon are running up the Michipicoten river and so you are most likely guaranteed to see an eagle or two or three scouting out the area looking for a feast.
The following shots were taken from some folks doing an Eco-tour via canoe down the river not that long ago.
For those of us who kayak on Lake Superior- weather takes on a new meaning. If somebody asks what the weather is going to be like most of us will start rhyming off that the winds are coming from the southeast at 15 knots and diminishing to 10 overnight. Wave height is under one metre. Sometimes we get a confused look and then the question “well is it going to be sunny?” The thing you have to understand about big water like Lake Superior is that sometimes it’s the cloudy, drizzly days that make for good paddling because there might not be any associated strong winds. Conversely a nice sunny day during a high pressure system might be accompanied by 15, 20 or 25 knot winds. This will probably not make for a fun day’s paddle. A small craft advisory is issued when winds are greater than 20kts.
Generally speaking, winds that come from the north and northeast do not develop big waves on our end of the lake (we are located in the northeast corner). Of course, as you get further south the waves are going to have a chance to develop into something much larger. Our best big waves come from the west-southwest because that is the direction with the biggest fetch.
Fetch is the distance the wind has been blowing over water from the same direction (unobstructed). On Lake Superior, and this is true for the other Great Lakes, waves are primarily wind-driven, with swell being much less significant than on the open ocean.
So how can you determine what your paddling conditions are going to be before you head out? Well if you are prudent you would check the marine forecast first. You can do that a few different ways. The first is if you have a VHF or weather radio you can check the forecast from Environment Canada (typically channel WX9 but it may vary with your location). It is handy to know that the forecast is updated three times a day at 3:00am, 10:30am and 6:00pm. You can also access this forecast at the Environment Canada website.
Another source is the NOAA’s National Weather Service. They have a really good map of Lake Superior weather. It is an American service but it is still quite accurate for our side of the lake. You can see the wave height, wind speed, direction and gusts, weather and temperature for the entire lake and the interactive map allows you to see what the forecast is for up to 5 days in advance.
After you have checked in with the weather forecast, remember to keep the local conditions in mind. Wind and waves may vary considerably due to shoreline effect. Check in with the locals. They probably know the local conditions fairly well. We are fortunate to have our paddling centre located right on Lake Superior’s shore. Our guides experience what this lake has to offer every single day even if they are not out paddling on it. I think it gives us an advantage as a company- after all, we are your Lake Superior experts.
More information can be found in Wind, Weather and Waves; A guide to marine weather in the Great Lakes region. Produced by Environment Canada.
Most people don’t have the luxury of complaining about the lack of traffic on their morning commute to work. I won’t complain either but some days it can get pretty wild. Wild with animals that is. All in total, on my travels to and from work I have encountered a lynx, a bear, bald eagles, two baby foxes, a moose and her baby and just recently this hawk. I was riding my bike and stopped to snap a shot. He didn’t seem spooked in the least by my presence.
I may not have anywhere to buy shoes within 200km but I wouldn’t trade that in for the beauty I am privileged to encounter everyday.
Finally! It took a while to get here but the last few weeks we’ve been blessed with some stellar weather. July was really wet and we weren’t even sure what August was going to bring. I think that we have been in a bubble here in the northeast corner of Lake Superior since folks around us have been complaining of a lot of rain over the last few weeks. We have had some super sunshine with some rain only in the evening.
I don’t want to jinx us so I won’t go on too much. We’ve had some great paddling days of late so I guess we’ll see how long that will last.