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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Living Adventure Sea Caves Tour

We took Sherry's recommendation and didn't mess around when making our sea cave tour reservation.  Living Adventure definitely lives up to their description of their tours, everything was very organized and handled professionally. 

2 kayaks unloaded, 5 more to go!

From the minute you pull into the parking lot the guides engage you and get you excited as well as prepared for your trip.  When everyone is assembled they go over the planned trip briefly on a wall map and make sure everyone has water and a dry bag if needed.  Water is not available at Meyers Beach, so make sure to bring your bottle!

Handing out the gear

They shuttle you out in a van to the beach which is about a 15 minute drive.  In the van we all introduced ourselves and talked about what we wanted to get out of the excursion.  One thing I want to make sure to mention that I don't remember seeing on other reviews of these trips is that when you arrive at the lot everyone has to pitch in carrying the kayaks down the equivalent of about 2 flights of stairs.  Not that this should deter anyone at all, especially since I'm sure most people going on a trip of this sort have the ability to handle a little exertion.  Most folks pitched in willingly, and this is the best place to put out to see these caves.

Elena leads the way

After about 10 minutes of basic kayak instruction on the beach our guide Tim was nice enough to shove everyone's kayaks down into the water.  We're not used to that kind of treatment having to get ourselves into the water usually, I felt like a princess!  Our other guide, Elena, was first in the water and led the way about a mile to the sea caves.
Tim points out tiny Eagle Island on our way to the caves

On our way out we saw a bald eagle, a bald eagle's nest, and I even spotted some Fireweed growing in the cracks of the sandstone cliffs.  Wayne and I even saw a hummingbiird who was probably visiting the Fireweed but he was moving too fast for me to get a picture.

If you're not familiar with the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, you're missing out on an area worth exploring.  Whether you walk the trails, kayak Lake Superior, or visit Madeline Island you'll find out about this great collection of 22 islands on Lake Superior.  Our guides passed along some information about the geology of the sea caves as well as some history of the islands.

The first cave we entered was a narrow crevice that we all had to explore one at a time by paddling in and then backing out.  This is the spot where the overlook is located that we visited on our hike previously.
Elena tells us about the geology of the caves as we wait our turn

All that time waiting our turn only gave me the opportunity I was waiting for to photograph some of that sandstone!  You'd think you were in the red rocks of Utah instead of Wisconsin.
Nature's sculpture in progress

I didn't know how much the water would fight us, but it turned out I didn't need to worry.  Wayne did all the steering, I just leaned back and clicked the shutter.  Even when we bumped up against the walls it was no big deal, just a little "kiss" from the cliffside.

Peeking through

I'm sure I was the only one to notice, but there was a good variety of lichen on the cliffside as well.
Lichen flourishing

The hummingbird wasn't the only small bird we saw.  There were small groups of Cedar Waxwing flitting along the crevices as well.  Not being a birder I don't know what the attraction was for them.  Maybe Judy will have an insight in the comments section!

Cedar Waxwing blending well with the lichen covered sandstone

We moved from cave to cave, sometimes passing through little tunnels, and even though the water was a little rougher than on some of the other days we were here it was nice to hear it booming and splashing against the walls.

Carved by water

I got some video of our trip, but I'll save that for the next post.  I took 105 pictures, but only saved 24.  I'm ruthless with that delete button, only the best makes it to the blog.

Since we've been in the area before and have taken the Apostle Islands Cruise we knew some history of the islands already.  The Ojibwe were the most recent Native Americans to inhabit this area, they were not originally from the Great Lakes area but migrated here taking land from other tribes along their way.  Fur traders were some of the first white men to come into the area in the 1600's, but by the 1800's land treaties were being made due to the copper and lumber resources in the area.

I've got a few more pictures, a few more stories, and even a minute and a half movie that I have to put together for the next post about our kayak trip.  If I don't post it tomorrow it will be up on Friday for sure.

Today we left the Bayfield area and made our way south to Council Grounds State Park in Merrill, Wisconsin, instead of staying that extra day to visit Madeline Island again.  We're thinking if we make it up to Bayfield again it will be to take a shuttle out to Stockton Island for some tent camping and hiking or a multiple day kayak trip with Living Adventure.  So many choices!


  1. Sure wish I could learn your ruthless delete technique. These are fabulous pictures. I'm so glad you got to go visit. Apparently today is not my day since I finally posted another blog and it isn't showing up on any of the blog rolls. I'm already a week behind and dropping fast. Glad someone is having fun. Keep it up.

  2. Very cool trip! I've kayaked a couple of times.....and really want to get one of my own.

  3. As a reader of a few different blogs, I really appreciate that you use the delete button. I know we try to just post only one or two of the very best photos. You gave us just what we needed to want to take this kayaking trip ourselves. Sure looked like a fun time!

  4. So, so cool! Although we sold our kayaks, that is one paddle I would like to do.

  5. I hope you took a compact camer with you for that trip. I'd be worried about taking a DSLR out in a canoo and dropping it in the water. Looks like agreat trip that

  6. This is an area we've never visited and is now on our must-see list. Sherry's posts about it were excellent and now you're following close behind. So glad Wayne got his back issues straightened out enough to be able to hike and kayak.

  7. Beautiful cliffs. I'll need to bookmark this!