So on day 2,we woke up at around 6.30 AM (If you have not read the part of 1 of this ,please read it here.)and took a stroll near the ferry to Madeline Island. It was drizzling and the sun was not up fully. Bayfield was just getting up lazily on that rainy Sunday morning. The beach was just 50 feet away from the ferry and we went there. I took my first step inside the water and ouch.. it was so cold, temperature might have been 3-4 degrees and within 2 min my feet started getting numb. We came out of the water and walked along the beach. A couple of small yachts were sailing far, with their sails fluttering against the breeze. There was freshness everywhere.. fresh water, fresh air and the freshness of the damp sand below. What else is needed to soothe you more than such a meditative aura!!
We wanted to go for kayaking into the sea caves and booked a slot for the next day. After having breakfast we headed to the Meyers Beach, it was just a 15 min drive from Bayfield. Meyers beach is the place from where most of the kayak trips to the mainland sea caves start. The beach was again mesmerizing.. quiet, calm and except for the kayaking groups, there were hardly anyone out there. We wanted to swim in the lake. It was around 10.30 AM in the morning and was sunny. But still water was very cold. Another group of people came to the beach, ready to swim. We waited to see how they are gonna do that in that chilling water. Yeah, we wanted the motivation!!.They all ran into the beach altogether and splashed into the water. Scream…!!We could feel their limbs going numb! One dip.. that is what they took and all were back on the shore. We were a little disappointed, you know, the lake was so tempting. We decided to go back to the town and got inside the car and suddenly my husband said..”We go to Apostle islands in early September and going back without taking a dip in the Superior..no way!, Let’s do it”. We jumped out of the car and went back to the beach again and decided to wait for another hour or so for it to be a little bit hotter. At around 11.15 AM, we gathered our courage and just ran into the water. Yeah… it was cold, but better this time. After having a couple of dips we were okay and it was not cold anymore. For me it was the first time swimming in a lake as I always had swam in pools only. Here the water was so shallow and we could walk more than a 150ft from the shore into the lake. The water was only neck deep and we could see the bottom, a luxury which we hardly get in normal beaches. First time when the water was going inside the mouth, there was no taste or smell of chlorine.
In the afternoon that day, we took the ferry to Madeline island, the largest of the Apostle islands and the only one having permanent residents. The ferry took us to La Pointe, the capital town of Madeline.They have regular ferry schedule from Bay field to La Pointe from April to December. La Pointe is a beautiful small town with a number of small shops and art galleries which show case the talents of the local people. The main attraction of Madeline island is the Big Bay state park, a 10 min drive from the ferry. It is a big natural habitat area with 2418 acres of land almost 1.5 miles of Superior shoreline. We put our hiking shoes on and got into action. The best part about the Big Bay state park for us was the beautiful cliffs that majestically peep out into Superior, like proud warriors guarding her. The cliffs were not very high and there was a family having vacation on one of them and they were diving into the green waters, one after the other,hooting and clapping!!We so wanted to do that, but we were kind of tired after the swimming in the morning. You know, water drains out almost all your energy and bet me, you would be getting your best sleep after a good swim. Anyhow, we could not resist going down near the water, we hiked down a cliff on to a series of platform like rocks that lead to water. I lied down on one of the rocks and closed my eyes…The only sound I could here was the sound of the water rumbling and echoing against the rocks. Full Stop!!Any further explanation of it would be a crime.
We took the evening ferry back to Bayfield after the most tranquilizing experience there at the Big Bay state park. We wound up the day too excited for our kayaking tour the next day.
The next day we went to Meyers beach again from where our kayaking trip was planned. Before we started ,our tour guide explained us all the details on kayaking, right from how to get inside a kayak to how to get out if incase the kayak flips in water! It was not out first time in a kayak as we had a small trip in Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis. But yeah..,Lake Calhoun cannot be compared to Superior! She is far superior in all the ways. The kayaking started and after the initial hick ups (yeah..we wanted to go towards the right, but our kayak was going to left.:D), we found the rhythm and made our way through the waves towards the sea caves. Ahh.. the sea caves..what do I tell you.. in my last post ,I had mentioned about the sea caves of devils island.I just have one word to describe them. .magnificent. The way nature has carved out the sandstones to those marvelous formations of symmetric arches, big hallways and the meandering corridors. there are only two other thing which took my breath away in the same manner; one the real Grand Canyon,Arizona and the Shravanabalgola temple in India. The caves here have been given different names like the keyhole cave which really looks like keyhole with a wide head, tapering towards the bottom ,the garage cave ,as it was as huge as a garage are a few of the names that I remember now. We kayaked into many of these caves and it was not very easy as we got stuck between the orange tinted walls of the caves many times, had head on collisions with the other kayaks, my hands were so tired of the rigorous paddling…but it was a fun filled and thrilling 2.5 hours.
It was time for us to head back home. We bid adieu to Bayfield and the Apostle islands, promising ourselves to return soon to see Superior and her jewels in another season in a different avatar, may be too soon in fall or in winter.
Now here is the list of a few things which you may want to know if you would visit the Apostle Islands.
Places to stay: Winfield Inn (www.winfieldinn.com/), Old Rittenhouse Inn (www.rittenhouseinn.com/), Gruenke’s inn(greunkesinn.com/) or may find more options at the American Chamber of Commerce website. There are camping options available in many places including the Big Bay state park in Madeline island. Visit the official website of the Big Bay state park for more details.
Places to eat: The Egg Toss (you get yummy breakfasts here. We loved the homemade jams), The Fat Radish (We had a good sandwich), Maggie’s, Gruenke’s, Bayfield Inn. It is tough to get vegetarian food though. Also, if you are driving from the city of Superior to Apostle Island, that 50mile stretch hardly has any good place to eat. So better have food at Duluth or at Superior or carry some food with you.
For cruises: http://www.apostleisland.com/