Circumnavigating Northern Door By Kayak

By Tom Schemberger

I have been fortunate to experience Door County in many ways – from the cockpit of boats both power and sail, from the saddle of a bicycle and a Harley, as well as just plain running. To me, the most enjoyable was being comfortably seated in my kayak paddling the shoreline with good friends.

What began as a simple kayak outing in Egg Harbor, morphed into a personal challenge. The challenge was to kayak around the entire shoreline of northern Door County. I’m a 72-year-old summer resident of Egg Harbor. On Aug. 28, I completed the 130-mile paddle.

While kayaking around Egg Harbor one day, I thought why not try for Fish Creek? The paddle was incredibly beautiful and a bit of a challenge for me, but I did it. The next week, with friends and fellow Egg Harbor residents Bruce Arduser and Chuck Germain, we paddled from Fish Creek to Ephraim. That paddle set into motion my personal goal. Over three summer seasons and 22 five-to eight-mile sections, the goal was completed.

Every outing was an adventure. Most were accomplished with Chuck and Bruce. When the winds shift and the water gets rough, as it often did, it was great to have friends along.

There were many highlights along the way. We saw twin eagles soaring above Eagle Bluff, 15 EAA airplanes buzz us on their way to Washington Island and miles of beautiful shoreline that can only be observed closely from a kayak.

There were also some dicey elements. We were caught in heavy surf while rounding Cana Island fearing we’d be dashed on the rocks. We also had to hold our position for 10 minutes in heavy surf while two ferries came and went at Northport.

Happily there were no serious incidents – only a lifetime of memories.

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