2016 Apostle Islands Trip

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2016 Apostle Islands Trip

2016 Trip Summary: Our 2016 Apostle Islands trip was planned for three nights in August 2015 apostle islands groupon Sand Island Group Site "C," August 18, 19 and 20. Prior to launching from Little Sand Bay, we drove to Meyer's Beach and paddled to the mainland sea caves. Paddle conditions were outstanding with very calm water and water temperatures in the high 60's. A few dozen paddlers were on the water in a variety of single kayaks, tandems, sit-on-tops and paddle boards. 

After touring the mainland sea caves, we drove to Little Sand Bay, packed all our gear and paddled approximately 3.5 miles to Sand Island group site "C," just north of the ranger station. The site has been developed as an accessible group camp site with a large wooden deck structure for tents, picnic tables, fire pit and large steel food storage boxes. Raised wooden walkways are partially constructed to an adjacent individual camp site and an outhouse. The wooden walkways will be extended to the the new dock facility, which is currently under construction. Early Friday morning rainfall ended after breakfast.

Friday's main paddle event was a visit to Raspberry Island. After paddling around the north side of York Island, the group landed on the Raspberry Island sand beach and hiked to the lighthouse facility for lunch and a tour. Ranger Fred provided an outstanding tour of the luxurious light keeper's quarters and lighthouse grounds. After returning to Sand Island, some of the group explored the Sand Island sea caves for evening photo opportunities while others relaxed in camp and prepared dinner. Lake Superior was relatively calm and warm.

Saturday morning rainfall persisted and came with a forecast for building winds and waves with the potential for 4-6 foot waves on Sunday morning. Given the forecast for continuing rainfall and challenging wave conditions, the group decided to break camp and head back to the mainland on Saturday instead of Sunday. Some of the group returned to the Sand Island sea caves for a short visit and the entire group crossed back to Little Sand Bay in pleasant rain and slowly building waves. After packing wet gear, the group dried off and enjoyed lunch at Maggie's in Bayfield before driving home.

Some of the participants have shared their photos from the trip:

Read Dave Horst's reflections on past trips to Sand Island, and others. (The photo above shows the 2015 group.)


Trip Plan Information

When: Drive up on Wednesday, August 17th, meeting for dinner at the Deep Water Grille in Ashland, then on to lodging in Bayfield, WI. Launch from Little Sand Bay and set up base camp on Sand Island Thursday through Saturday night, August 20, returning on Sunday, August 21, 2015.

Lodging: Past year groups stayed at the Super 8 in Ashland, WI. The 2016 group had an outstanding experience at the Harbor's Edge Motel in Bayfield and will return there in future years.
Participant Qualifications: To ensure participants meet fitness qualifications and equipment requirements, all participants must make at least one 2 hour group paddle. This will:
  • Expose the participant to the physical requirements of an extended crossing. We will plan on staying in the kayaks for the full 10 miles.
  • Test participant's ability to make the trip.
  • Verify that the kayak and equipment are suitable for a Lake Superior trip.


  • Trip Planning Meeting - Email coordination and partial group meeting 8/12/2016 at Jeff Mazanec's house.
  • Travel to Bayfield - Wednesday, August 17th.
    • Scott's trailer drop-off at Jeff's house Tuesday.
    • Wednesday morning - Jeff pick up Scott; return to Jeff's house; Greg pick up loaded trailer at Jeff's house and all go to Tom H house in Combined Locks.
    • Wednesday noon - Tom W, Tom H, Scott T, Greg and Jeff load and leave from Tom H's house. Tom W's car parked at Tom H house.
    • Fox Cities group meets Scott J in Merrill; transfers boat and gear to Greg's van; leaves car in Merrill. Group continues to Ashland
    • Jim Pechous travels separately to Ashland.
    • Group dinner at Deep Water Grille, 808 Main St W, Ashland, WI.
    • Group travels to Harbors Edge Motel in Bayfield.
  • Launch - Thursday, August 18 - Pick up permit, then morning launch for Sand Island. Arrive earlier to pack and be ready to paddle by 8:30 a.m. Diane meets group at Little Sand Bay.
  • Return - Sunday, August 21st

Lead Paddlers:

  • Trip Leaders Jeff Mazanec and Scott Thomson will designate lead paddlers for specific paddle segments.
  • The lead paddlers will have authority over all participants on water trips or activities.
  • If the lead paddlers believe that due to weather or water conditions it is unsafe to proceed with a trip or activity, they may restrict or cancel that trip or activity.

Water Crossings, Trips and Activities:

  • No solo on-water crossings, trips or activities will be allowed.
  • All on water activities will be done in groups with designated lead paddlers. Groups must be five or greater paddlers.


  • The lead paddlers have final approval of all kayaks and equipment.
  • All kayaks, equipment and clothing must be suitable for Lake Superior paddling. Recreational kayaks and those with only one bulkhead will not be considered suitable.
  • Kayaks must have flotation or bulkheads, deck-lines and be fitted with spray skirts. If the kayak does not have bulkheads the use of and knowledge of how to use sea socks is required.
  • Inflatable PFDs are not acceptable.

Pre-Trip Preparation:

  • Paddle as often as possible prior to the trip.
  • Attempt to participate in the two hour group test paddles
  • Encouraged to be regulars at the Two Rivers Monday night paddle, Elkhart Lake Sunday morning paddles and other paddling opportunities.

Safety equipment and training:

  • Practice self and group rescues; review the video Cold Water Boot Camp.
  • Acquire and become familiar with safety equipment such as paddle floats, radios, tow ropes, spare paddle etc.
  • While no night paddling is planned, paddlers should be prepared to do so. Coast Guard rules require everyone to have a visual light source such as a laser flare or three traditional flares, a sound source (whistle) and a white light source (head lamp) to display in the presence of moving boat traffic.

Paddle Clothing - Lake Superior is COLD!

  • Bring suitable cold water paddling gear, wetsuit, dry suit, splash jacket, gloves, etc.
  • Dress to confidently function in cold weather and in case of cold-water immersion.

Alcohol and Drugs


Camping and Cooking:

  • Participants are responsible for their own camping and cooking. However, arrangements to "group cook" dinner each night are being developed. Individuals are on their own for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Current meal plan for dinners - 
    • Thursday night - chili with noodles and hot dogs; Diane's dessert
    • Friday night - Greg's world famous campfire pizza; Scott's rheubarb sauce dessert
    • Saturday night - Scott J's mouth watering jambalaya; potpourri dessert package blowout
    • Lunches - Tom H has offered to provide pita bread with peanut butter and jelly; Jeff will bring sausage
  • Black bears are active in the Apostle Islands and occasionally present a problem. You do not want any food, toiletry or clothing that smells of food in your tent. Steel bear boxes are provided at the campsite and must be used.
  • Individuals are encouraged to share tents.
  • All Park camping rules will be followed. Specifically no burning of garbage, cigarette butts or other waste is allowed in the fire area.

Trip Goal: The trip goal is to have a fun, safe outing. Because of the nature of Lake Superior, safety will be the primary factor. Due to possible weather and wind conditions on Lake Superior, there is no guarantee that events or activities will happen as planned. Participants must be flexible and be prepared for changes in events and timing. The trip leaders are in charge of this trip and will have final authority over trips, activities, participants and equipment. If a participant's ability, kayak or equipment is deemed not suitable for Lake Superior, the person will not be allowed on the trip.All participants must have and wear a PFD (personal flotation device) while paddling.

* Training Tip! Water jugs can be filled with water and put in your kayak to give the feel of paddling a loaded boat as training for local paddles. Start saving empty milk cartons and other plastic liquid containers of all sizes. One gallon of water weights approximately 8 lbs. Nominal water will be carried during the trip to personal preference. Purified water from Lake Superior is recommended to replenish water reserves during the trip.

Park Rules: All Apostle Island National Lakeshore rules must be followed. All participants will be expected to follow the "Leave No Trace" practices.Questions? Contact Scott Thomson at ScottT@WisconsinPaddlers.org or Jeff Mazanec at JeffM@WisconsinPaddlers.org.

Trip Registration Forms

Trip event form - 2016 Apostle Islands

ACA Adult Waiver

Mail the completed form to:

NEWP Treasurer
1247 E Shady Ln
Neenah, WI 54956

Participants Must:

  1. Be a current ACA and NEWP member.
  2. Have taken a NEWP class or be known by one of the lead paddlers to have the requisite skills and training for the planned trip.
  3. Complete the event form, waiver and submit the $20.00 event fee.
    1. The fee will cover event expenses and purchase of trip safety equipment.
    2. In the event a participant cannot make the outing and a qualified replacement is willing to take their place, the $20.00 fee will be refunded.
    3. If the event is cancelled due to conditions beyond our control, any remaining funds after paying expenses will be refunded proportionately. The participant can choose to donate their refund to the club for the purchase of safety equipment.

2016 Trip Participantes


  1. Scott Thomson, Neenah, WI (tssi@athenet.net)
  2. Jeff Mazanec, Appleton, WI (jmmazanec@gmail.com)
  3. James Pechous, St. Charles, IL (kb9tyk@hotmail.com)
  4. Diane Christel, Green Bay, WI (dkchristel@gmail.com)
  5. Greg Ramsey, Appleton, WI (gsramsey500@gmail.com)
  6. Tom Hanks, Neenah, WI (twhanks@gmail.com)
  7. Thomas Willig, Green Bay, WI (info@willigphotography.com
  8. Scott Johnson (stoneupnorth@gmail.com)