Skillagallee Trip Report

Alright, more of a trip report on our island venture….

We got up to Cross Village at about 1am – rather late for a four hour drive that was planned to start at 5pm, but that is apparently the way of things. We drove around scoping out the place for a short while before we found the beach and a place we could park for the night. Doug and Josh proceeded to sleep on the beach. I had claim to the back seat of the jeep. I like the ‘romantic’ notion of sleeping under the stars and all, but I also don’t want to wake up covered in bug bites and the simple thought of such would likely keep me from actually achieving sleep. I didn’t really feel like pitching a tent either since there was really no reason.

So, the next morning, we awoke around 7:30 I think – my cell phone was dead because it had been searching for a signal all night :-/. We went into town (ie. the two block stretch that had stuff on it) and got breakfast at a small cafe. I had a Belgian waffle with strawberries and whipped cream, two eggs over easy and some toast. It was damn good, and probably a days worth of food, but I figure paddling out in cold water is justification for lots of available energy.

We departed around 11:30 from the Port of Cross Village – which was a legit boat launch. From the shore we could kind of see the lighthouse – you can make it out in the pic with the boats looking out to the lake, but just barely. The paddle out was a little choppy. The wind was from the Southwest, and we were heading more or less west. Given the choice of wind, this is preferable to me – it makes the going harder, but you see everything coming also.

I think we took about 3 hours to get to and land on the island, but that’s a very inaccurate measure. We circled it near twice to find where we wanted to land. Anything in the Northeast quadrant was right out because it was downwind of the stink of five thousand birds. The little ‘bay’ on the West side was alright, but full of large squirrely carp which I had the fun of stirring up. We ended up beaching at the Northwest point.

First thing we did… hold paddles in the air and charge a flock of thousands of birds. I was attempting to make noises resembling a tuscan raider, not sure how that worked out.

After scaring the shit out of the birds – literally, we did out island exploration. Because of where we landed, we had to cross near the terns nesting area – they didn’t like that so much and took to diving and screeching at us. None actually attacked (apparently that’s more a trait of arctic terns, these were just common terns). The did look cool though.

Near the center of the island, surrounding the lighthouse were the seagulls and cormorants. Generally seagulls are considered to be dirty, but they pale in comparison to the cormorants. Regardless of which bird, there were nests everywhere. We had to be careful not to step on them.

The lighthouse was nothing special really – 30-40 ft tall, white, light on top – the standard. There used to be one tree on the island, but the cormorants shit it to death and it was reduced to no more than a scraggly fallen log.

We headed back after maybe an hour of minor exploration. The gnats by our boats were ridiculous, and nearly impossible to get rid of without mashing into everything. The paddle back was calm, with a warning of night storms coming from the West – which I don’t believe ever hit. By the time we got back to the mainland, the water was completely smooth. I rolled a few times out in the middle just to say I did, but given the completely calm weather it’s not like it was any different than Lake Lansing practice.

Upon our return, we dicked around for a while, finally packing up and heading out near 8pm. We stopped at the Legs Inn for dinner. It was Polish cuisine, which although I joke about, was rather good. Our waitress was Polish and it was her first night working after being in the US for two weeks. I of course received the obligatory shit about hooking up with her – if only I had paid attention to my grandpa’s Polish lessons :-P. We also accidentally learned how to say “shit” in Polish – by Doug mispronouncing a food name – much to her entertainment.

We ended up driving back and got back around 2:30 I think. Doug drove for the first while then I finished off the journey. We all got back undead and such, so I’d say it was a success. The total trip distance was about 14 miles of paddling which is formidable I’d say.

In unrelated news:

I’ve now played Stratego twice in my life – and didn’t suck quite as much at it this time.

I had a 19.1 mph average tonight – which is good for a ride that started out with me thinking about turning around. I need new gloves… will have to look into that. I might need a new route – Marsh road is not the most ass friendly place to ride and the sidewalks are outright dangerous on a road bike.

Kayak trip for next weekend is likely canceled :-(. I could go home for 4th of July weekend, or not I suppose. Should I stay or should I go… I really wish I had a fuel efficient car at times like these.

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About norconkm

I'm a person. I live in Grand Rapids, MI and work as an Electrical Engineer. My hobbies at the time of this writing are kayaking, skiing, archery, photography and maybe biking. As this is my personal blog, my hobbies are likely the primary topics about which you will be reading.

4 Responses to Skillagallee Trip Report

  1. lemonslush says:

    Sad that kayaking is cancelled. 🙁 Explain?
    I think you should go home – then I can still meet up with you while I’m on my trip!

  2. biscuitboy says:

    Please, before you die, use the phrase “shit it to death” at least once more. That was priceless.

  3. surly_bastard says:

    Glad you like the phrase.

    To explain fully – shit to death was the literal end of the tree. When cormorants decide they want to nest somewhere, they will completely take over the tree and as somewhat of a side effect cover it’s leaves in fecal matter. Between the acid on the leaves, the blocking of sunlight and the change in pH of the soil below, the tree doesn’t have long to live.

  4. surly_bastard says:

    Kayaking is nixed because of several reason, which all boil down to lack of participants.

    Josh doesn’t think he can go – not sure of the reason.

    Callum’s girlfriend can’t currently go because she doesn’t have a boat.

    Doug doesn’t think he can go because he has a big review on Monday. Doug was also kind of organizing the trip, so this is an issue.

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