Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Part 1: Cruising the Islands
Our first morning at the Apostle Islands Lakeshore we took a three and a quarter hour cruise that travels a total of fifty-five miles around many of the twenty-two islands. The Lakeshore, which also includes a twelve-mile long strip of the mainland Bayfield Peninsula, protects a diverse plant and animal community, unique sea caves, and a rich historical tradition which includes Ojibwe settlements, fur trading posts, and fishing camps. It’s most famous however for the striking contrast of the eroding red sandstone against the blue water of Lake Superior.
The narrated cruise was both scenic and informative. And since I love boat rides (in addition to lighthouses, islands, water in general, and geology), a real treat. Relaxing on the breezy but sunny upper deck, we were treated to stories of past island inhabitants and ways of life on the Bayfield Peninsula, geological explanations, and information on the numerous animals who make the island their home. Side note here: I learned that Stockton Island has the highest concentration of black bears in North America. I am not ever camping there. We also saw a few of the lighthouses that dot the channels between the islands, including Devil’s Island and Raspberry Island Lighthouses. The highlight of the tour were the sea caves and arches on the northern side of Devil’s Island. Though the angle of the sun darkened the cave interiors, it was incredible to see the patterns and erosion of the rock and view the ledges that descended beneath the blue-green water of the lake.