The Mainship Visits Belle Isle


August 5, 2019. Belle Isle is a former resort on Isle Royal, in Lake Superior. Isle Royal is 56 miles from the Michigan mainland, 18 miles from Minnesota, and 15 miles from Canada. Yet a resort opened here in 1912. Imagine! We got here by comfortable trawler. I wonder how “tourists” got here in those days. Remains of the resort are still visible, such as a large stone fireplace under a pavilion, but our only company today is a lone fishing. We later meet a kayak family in a shelter.

My sister and I plan to stay in the three-sided shelter tonight and leave the boat to the guys. Before we do that, she and Jeff decide to mend the canvas cots. On the dock. It’s quite a sight. They are both “project” people who have to be industrious — even here.

I’m off to explore the startling views, wildlife, and flora. After the unnerving night crossing and then the social life (and noise) of Chippewa Harbor, I’m ready for some quiet time. The fishermen here seem quiet, unlike the ones at our last stop. I’ve noticed during several visits to Isle Royal that fishermen — and motorized boaters of all kinds — are more likely to make noise, while kayakers and sailors are more likely to not. I’ve met great people in both camps, but I prefer the quieter kind. It’ll be easier to find here. My sister and I will likely chatter into the late hours, but we will chatter quietly for the sake of our neighbors.

Neighborliness matters, whether you’re in the wilderness or a city. When you live in a city, you become hyper-aware of this – a consequence of living closely together. I’m grateful to be able to retreat to nature this way. I’m also grateful for my super-friendly neighborhood near Washington D.C. I’ll return there eventually. But today…ahhh. Peace.

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