Early Sunday 7-20-08, Thomas Bamonte, Denise Poloyac, Haris Subacius and Richard Stiers gathered boat, kit and high spirits for an open-ended voyage of discovery on Lake Michigan.
By 6:45am we left shore at 63rd street beach with grey clouds looming and the threat of showers a real possibility. As we continued north along the shoreline we checked our barometers attached to wrists and found them rising. Soon a census was taken for a trip to Four Mile Crib and all were committed. The paddlers struck a heading to Four Mile Crib and with slight chop in the lake, made the trip.
Once at Four Mile Crib we snacked and contemplated the city from a new vantage point.
We made our next heading 260° putting us toward 12th Street Beach with Soldier Field and the Adler Planetarium as our targets to paddle toward.
On the way toward 12th Street Beach we practiced a straight-line tow. Richard on lead, with Thomas assisting towed both Denise and Haris.
Landing at 12th Street we got out of boats, stretched legs, snacked and used the local facilities to relieve ourselves. After a short rest we were back in our boats and heading south back to 63rd street beach. By this time we had been on water 2-1/2± hours. On trip south the cloud were dissipating and blue sky was beginning to show. Thomas suggested we try and make 63rd Street Crib an added attraction on our voyage of discovery. Another census taken and with paddles firm and high we took a heading of 150° toward 63rd Street Crib. Looming small in the distance, the crib took time to enlarge itself on approach. On our journey the skies cleared considerably, and the sun warmed the paddlers. The waters of the lake calmed to the point that the only wave to be found was from passing motorized vessels. A breeze was desired above all.
On the course toward the 63rd street crib we passed over the Hyde Park Shoals and the Clemson Shoal. With waters calm and the sky bright, the lake bottom was clearly visible. Paddling onward the visible shoal dropped off rapidly darkening the waters giving a lake bottom geography lesson to the 4 intrepid paddlers.
Once we reached the 63rd street crib, Haris and Richard decided to tempt the powers that control the real estate as RESTRICTED AREA and VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED signage adorned the brick building and a security camera hung from the metal structure that tied together the stone/masonry circular unit and the steel sea-walled structure.
The protruding landscape on the lake brought to mind something of remote premises used to house society’s misfits.
A seagull announced the DANGER we were in.
Lest we become unwilling inhabitants, a smile for the camera and we circled around and went back to where Denise and Thomas were taking a swim to cool down.
With early afternoon sun bearing down, we took a heading of 270° and paddled toward 63rd Street Beach using the breakwater north end as our point of aim. Avoiding boat traffic around the harbor proved our only diversion on the trip into shore. The bright sun began causing vision to fog as sweat and sunscreen mixed and invaded our eyes.
Once back at 63rd Street Beach we speculated on the length of our journey - hoping the voyage would rank among the historical traverses of the coastline of Chicago. Alas, we may not have made a voyage of historical proportions (at least not in the minds of knowledgeable readers), but our 16+ nautical mile paddle was to those involved, one that we will mark with personal triumph.
MacGPS Pro 8.0 www.MacGPSPro.com and GraphicConverter X www.lemkesoft.com are the Mac programs used to create and edit the map image.
[To view the rest of Richard's photos from this trip, please click here]