The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

If I had known that today was the anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, I probably wouldn’t have gone out.

The storms passing by from the northwest were doing my soul harm. I couldn’t take seeing waves without being out there to at least surf some of them.

I woke at 4:30 AM to a wet bed, Isabella peed her bed, and then crawled into ours and peed that too. Ahh parenting. I meant to get up anyway. So I crawled out of bed and made coffee, after putting Isabella on the couch. I made coffee and toast and was at the corner of M-40 and M-43 for the 5:00 am rendezvous with Jason Roon.

We drove separately and I arrived, suited up and headed out.

Surfing in the dark is harder than it looks on TV. You can’t see the waves coming at all. The only thing you can do is guess by what has the hissing foam sound and what doesn’t. So I was nuked by anything really big that I couldn’t hear coming.

I tried to stay close to the pier to allow the string of lights out to the lighthouse give some texture to the water. But the rip was so strong next to the light house I was actually being carried out with no paddle strokes.

I got hit by one wave I didn’t see coming, and because of my salamander neoprene gloves I couldn’t feel my paddle indexing. So I attempted 3 times unsuccessfully to roll, on the 4th, I went for an extended paddle roll with my hand cupped over the tip, this gave me the feel for indexing and I came right up. I think it would have made a very bad ending to what was only a stupid idea at best. I took off my gloves after this so I could feel the paddle. I could feel the indexing this way, and then had no trouble rolling when I was dunked.

To top it all off, I broke one of my fins on my way out. So I was down to one fin.

Can you say omen?

Waves 6-10 feet, winds 20 knots, 90 minutes of surfing in the dark.


  1. Pingback:Saugatuck Channel Sea Kayak Wave Play Nov 8th 2008 |

  2. There came the sudden gloom that enveloped me when you mentioned the Fitzgerald. I was reading this and I suddenly felt a chill just behind me. And your surfing experience on this day only reaffirmed how bad a day it was then. Let ‘em rip.

  3. Come any time for a dose of humility.

  4. I’d like to have been out there being stupid with you! Sounds like a blast!

  5. wow, soundz like fun. where do I sign up?