One dangerous crossing

Rock Island Wisconsin Travel Blog

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Boat house on Rock Island

I dreaded the five-and-a-half-mile crossing from St. Martin to Rock Island. It would be the most dangerous thus far - not so much for the deepest waters but for putting me out into wide open waters where I'd be exposed to potential winds and waves from any direction.

 

Besides, it was at mid-crossing of this stretch in 1999 that a calm and sunny day turned into an adrenalin-pumping struggle for survival. A September storm hit fast and furious. I fought six- to eight-foot waves from my left side without a rudder, desperately side-paddling to steer into each head on. The Klepper pitched steeply up the face of each. The bow came completely out of the water until their pointed crest passed beneath my butt. Dropping heavily back into the lake, I had to lean back as far as possible to prevent the kayak from 'submarining' into the darkened depths below.

Rock Island dock
More vigorous side-paddling put me back on course for a few strokes toward the nearest island, until the next wave. The cycle repeated for more than two hours when I finally reached the safety of St. Martin. It was one of those situations where you know that if you panic or make a misjudgment, you will die.

 

Well today's crossing was not so dramatic, almost boring in comparison. With light winds from the south only one-foot seas slapped against my bow. I successfully glided across the state line into Wisconsin, and its new time zone, and crossed the major shipping lane between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. But still, I never completely relaxed until reaching wading distance to the Rock Island shore.

alyssa_ob says:
Scary!
Posted on: Mar 12, 2014
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Boat house on Rock Island
Boat house on Rock Island
Rock Island dock
Rock Island dock
Rock Island Wisconsin
photo by: rotorhead85