paddling the "thumb"

-- Last Updated: Jan-10-06 3:17 PM EST --

Has anyone paddled Wild Fowl Bay and/or Point Aux Barques in Saginaw Bay? How does this area rank as a destination? Are there any opportunities for back-country camping on the islands? Thanks in advance for the advice.

Point Aux Barques etc
I often spend weekends with my in-laws in Port Austin. There are a lot of interesting places to kayak there, provided the weather cooperates.

First, about the weather on Lake Huron. I have often relaxed on the beach enjoying a warm day with calm winds. Then, within about a minute, the wind will come up and we will be subject to a THREE DAY BLOW. So, you better know the weather forecast before going out!

Point Aux Barques is a very interesting section of coastline. There are a number of caves etched into the rock cliffs. It is very scenic. I have paddled this section many times. It is fun to paddle around Turnip Rock, often seen on postcards. But if the wind comes up you’re SOL! There’s nowhere to land! Although the water is deep near the cliffs, getting there from Port Austin can be a real challenge because of all the shoals and islands. Lots of opportunities to scrape bottom, even a thousand feet from shore.

Weather permitting, it is fun to paddle out to the lighthouse. South and East of the Lighthouse you’ll find water a foot deep with several “islands” of rock slabs that barely rise above the surface. Trouble is, the seagulls often stop at these islands and they really smell of fish!

West of Port Austin harbor is “Broken Rocks”. This is a large island formed by a gigantic rock that is split apart into three sections. It’s fun to paddle to, and fun to walk around. The lake is shallow here with a shale bottom. In windy conditions, waves break and it can be tricky getting close.

Between the Port Austin Harbor and broken rocks there are a couple of smaller rock islands which are fun to paddle around. Watch for the large white house on a cliff. There is a large cave under the cliff that looks “really neat”.

If the weather is really windy, you can always go to Port Crescent State Park and paddle down the Pinnebog River. Access to the river is down a short steep hill. The river is usually muddy but a lot of people paddle it with rented canoes.

Sorry, never paddled Wildfowl Bay. Sounds interestng. Let me know how you find it.