Lake Superior Posts

Lake Superior Sea Monster: Three Fatal Encounters

Mouth of the Presque Isle River, Sept. 9, 1987

The cute falls and river here empty into Lake Superior like so many sites along the South Shore: sandy beach, smooth stones, jumbles of fallen half-drowned trees. Depth off shore reaches thirty feet with a sand floor, on the edge of a rock shelf plunging 200 feet.

Statement of first responder on presumed drowning death of Matthew Bruin, 19: “This is not the first drowning victim of the Presque Isle River. It’s important to remember while splashing around in this shallow area by the mouth, that the seabed quickly descends to a couple hundred feet. The warm river water flows over top of the colder lake water, but it’s a conveyor belt to the deep. As the river water cools it sinks, pulling people down. Sadly I think the victim’s body will never be recovered. People say, ‘It’s the Presque Isle monster’ or ‘it’s a sea serpent’, but it is the lake itself, a force of nature that does not care if we live or die.”

Victim’s friend and witness, J.R. Sandvik: “I’m telling you he was pulled under by a large animal… I miss him… I miss you buddy.”

SubSuperior: Day 1


 

Beta-test/proof of concept/first annual; video to come. Making music underwater and projecting it on land with hydrophones.

Lake Superior Aquaman: I just went to Wisconsin for a second

The other day was so warm I didn’t wear a wetsuit, just my Golden Age costume. Didn’t even wear my flippers because I felt natural. I was at the Duluth rock beach called The Ledges — you can see Richardson Island from there. Standing at a sheer drop, in one-foot-deep water, within a step you plunge in @7-8 feet deep. From there, a casual swim to 12-15? I vaguely fear the sight of large fish. Happens sometimes/nothing there this time but the boulders. Loons and mergansers hunt here though. When I came up after a minute my friend Stephen Bockbock said, “I was getting worried about you,” and I said, “I just went to Wisconsin for a second.” Someone said, “Rock.”

I stopped saying I wanted to learn to paddleboard and just did it

After a Saturday fling with a paddle board on Superior Bay, I was smitten. Within an hour of finishing my lesson, I wanted one. I experienced this same love-at-first-try feeling forty years ago when I cross-country skied for the first time and rushed out to buy skis. I used those skis for years.

Algae blooms on Lake Superior continue

The first confirmed sighting of blue-green algae on Lake Superior was in 2012. Since then, scientists have been trying to determine what’s causing it and if it’s linked to climate change.

Seagulls dive bombing my shit

 

Lake Superior Aquaman pink flamingo seagull dive bomb attack, Duluth, Minnesota.

On Patrol

Lake Superior Aquaman on patrol.

Red Flag Warning

It’s almost suspicious how often I happen to be nearby when bodies are pulled out of the water. Am I a jinx or a murderer? No, I just like being by water. And it’s pretty well documented that water is a serial killer.

I’ve already written the essay “Lake Superior Wants to Kill You,” outlining just about everything I want to share on the subject of drowning. There’s one more warning worth putting forward, however, regarding the various ways you can lose your life in the water. So please keep this in mind:

I won’t try to stop you from putting yourself in danger, and it’s unlikely anyone else will, other than maybe your mommy.

Of course, you’ll probably get some general, impersonal warnings. This essay and my other essay, for starters. There are warnings in the media constantly. And then on Minnesota Point in Duluth we have those red flags and warning signs on the beach. But that’s all you get. And it’s not enough, obviously.

Telling someone about the dangers of rip currents is like warning about the potential for pregnancy. The risk vs. reward balance is quickly weighed and then it’s time to get wet.

Lanue – “Mexico”

An excerpt from the WDSE-TV special Northern Rhythms featuring Lanue.

Back at it

Video: Pictured Rocks cliff face plummets into Lake Superior

Jahn Martin and Brad Gustafson, along with two other passengers, were on a pontoon boat in the area between Miner’s Beach and Mosquito Beach at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula last week when a 200-foot cliff face collapsed and slid into Lake Superior. The resulting waves put the boaters into panic mode, but everyone came out unscathed.

Spur of the Moment Road Trip to Two Harbors

If I don’t have plans for the weekend, Friday evening looms like a desert with me standing at the edge sans camel or water or compass. And since the pandemic started, my “plans” consist of shopping for people food or dog food, so I wander the shifting sands of the weekend looking for an oasis.

This Friday when my daughter-in-law arrives to pick up my grandkids, I ask if Clara, nine, can spend the night. Her mom agrees, and Clara agrees, performing a double-fist pump while jumping up and down.

Mysterious timber crib disappears from Canal Park beach

A large timber crib, shown here in 2010, was beached for almost 15 years. City officials said the structure was removed and demolished as part of the recently completed Lakewalk improvement project. (Photo by Kip Praslowicz)

A mysterious wooden structure that had been shipwrecked for years on a Canal Park beach has disappeared following a year-long project designed to improve a popular Duluth walking trail battered by Lake Superior storms.

Lake Inferior: The Underground Lake Beneath Lake Superior

Exploration Timeline

June 1679

I have lost the reference, but I read somewhere that when the French explorer Sir Duluth heard rumors of an underground lake beneath Lake Superior, he quipped in his native tongue, “Lac d’Enfer” (literally: “Lake of Hell”). This nomenclature was mistranslated by English-speakers, becoming anglicized as “Lake Inferior” — an insidious malapropism that replaced the original meaning.

Sept. 8, 1870

Copper-helmet diver William Bitter found an entrance to Lake Inferior. He was working by the breakwater wall for the city of Duluth, offshore of what is now the Lakewalk. A large storm had damaged the wall, and he was conducting an underwater survey at the end of a 20-foot lifeline.

Working the winch and the air pump, his support team on the wall heard Bitter cry out through the speaking tube, then noticed a whirlpool opening up. They winched Bitter out as loose boulders and timbers were sucked into it.

West Duluth kids rarely strayed from neighborhood in 1920s

An article in the Duluth Herald of April 28, 1921 — one hundred years ago today — calls attention to how western Duluth kids seldom ventured to the center of town, much less to the eastern side.

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