Slate Islands Expedition
Situated 10-12 kilometres off shore near the town of Terrace Bay the mysterious Slate Islands beckon. Come experience the true wonder of this amazing island archipelago on this 5 day exploratory expedition by kayak. This expedition will be for the more conditioned paddler as we will start out paddle in the ghost town of Jackfish and assess the weather to make the open water crossing. Yes the slates contain what was once the largest concentration of non-predated Woodland Caribou in the world. In recent years their numbers have been down but they are starting to make a come back. More importantly the islands contain a world of fascinating geology, unique flora and fauna, and cultural relics. Standing alone as an isolated circular archipelago, island creation theories abound and often create a sense of awe in visitors. Some speculate the area was created by a 30 kilometre in diameter meteorite impact, 450 million years ago. Others feel the islands were created by other means such as complicated tectonic plate displacement. The mystery provides an enchanting feeling as we explore the area.
The Slate Islands offer some of the most beautiful campsites in the region. If weather allows we will make our way to the south side to explore the light station. At 258 feet, it is at the highest elevation of any lighthouse on Lake Superior. A visit to hike up the trail to the light is a spectacular.
Crossing to the Slate Islands
When crossing to the Slates, paddlers must exercise extreme caution. The shores of Terrace Bay are one of the more popular spots to surf on the north shore of Lake Superior due to frequent high winds and waves. This location has perhaps the longest lake fetch both southwest and southeast on Superior. Many locals are afraid to venture out to the islands. To cross in a small craft one must listen, watch, and most importantly obey and respect the wishes of the lake. This means choosing the safest possible time frame to cross, recognizing that it takes up to three hours of open water paddling to reach the northern edge of the archipelago. A marine radio is a necessity to keep updated with the most recent weather forecasts, yet this is not always reliable. The VHF marine radio can also be used to contact nearby boaters in case of emergency.