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Trip Report: St. Clair River Delta

This week we had some calm days, which was a nice change from the higher winds that had been going on. I haven't paddled much on Lake St. Clair yet, which needs to change. I decided to go straight across Anchor Bay to the St. Clair River delta and check out a boat launch I was interested in. I took some compass bearings and planned a general route down one of the channels.

The day started out pretty hot and I wasn't sure a drysuit was the best choice. It became rather humid inside, but I cooled off by jumping in to adjust my footpegs. My boat has a silly feature where you can adjust the pegs closer while in it, but trying to move them farther back requires contorting into a strange position or swimming.

After that was a seven mile or so crossing to the North Channel. There aren't many landmarks to differentiate the channel openings during the crossing, but there is a boating channel marked out with bouys that became visible after an hour or two.

I was looking forward to the lunch break at the boat launch in the North Channel. It was not really dry land like I expected, but no problem. The high water lately (even more so after heavy rain this week) caused substantial flooding. The entire parking lot was under maybe two feet of water. After the break, I paddled upstream for a short ways, then headed down a different channel to try to find Strawberry Island.

The delta is a really interesting place. On maps it looks like there are quite a few medium islands and a clear channel opening up into Anchor Bay. From a low vantage point in the kayak it looks like a million tiny islands, with the main channel not being too clear. It would be an incredible place to explore further. After a while, the fog came in, and there was nobody else around. It got much chillier and I was happy to be warm in my drysuit. Although some of the small islands do have houses on them, I believe they aren't occupied full-time. It really felt very isolated.

After taking a wrong turn at some point, I ended up just cutting across what looked like land on the map, but was really a wetland area with plenty of water to paddle through. By the time I hit Strawberry Island, the rain had started along with a bit of a headwind. The final crossing had very low visibility and hardly any other boats until my ending point.

All in all, it was a really cool way to experience the delta. I always enjoy navigating by compass, and it was a unique experience to feel completely alone in a maze of islands.

Until next time,




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