Monday, August 30, 2010

Au Sable Point hike and swim

Due to the August shows and a busy museum, I have not had a chance to hike for a few weeks. Wendy and I decided to hike west from the Log Slide when I left the museum yesterday. We wanted to return to the beach that we visited a few weeks ago so we could go swimming. I brought my snorkel gear and had a blast. The Jacobsville sandstone shelf extended from the shore around 100 feet. It was shallow enough that allowed me to pull myself across the surface of the water by grabbing hand holds in the rock. Temperatures were in the mid 80s, so the water felt great.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Agate Photos

First of all, friend Andy Mitchell sent me this better photo of the double rainbow we had the other night. My camera would not let me capture the whole rainbow. Thanks, Andy, for allowing me to share this great shot!

The photographer for the book, Tom Shearer, sent me a few photos over the last few weeks. For those who have seen the book and for all of you who view these photos, you can see that Tom is the "go to guy" if you need to get a picture taken of your favorite rocks. If you are interested in hiring Tom to take photos of your treasures, please send me an email to The first two are of a couple of Lake Superior candy stripers. The next two are Fairburn agates.

Here is a nice agate found by Chris Cooper at the mouth of the Two Hearted River. The large 16 pound agate was found in a swamp by the grandmother of Paul Mihelcich. The agate was found a long time ago in the Keweenaw. The agate was cut by the Seaman Museum. Paul does have both halves.

The next series of agates were found this summer by Joel Brussell in the Grand Marais area.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sunsets and Rainbows

We have had a couple of great sunsets in the last few days. Here are a couple of shots taken from my front porch.

When I conducted a lecture the other night and left the museum, I was greeted by one of the best rainbows I have ever seen. It completely arched over Grand Marais bay. It was so big, my camera could not capture the whole rainbow. I think it was extra spectacular because the rainbow happened right at sunset. Thus, the low sun angle seemed to increase the intensity of the rainbow. These pictures don't even do the rainbow justice.

Last night I went over to one of my friend's house. We took a walk on the beach to watch the sunset.

Although you can still see Lonesome point, located on the southeast parat of the bay, it is much diminished from what existed twenty years ago. It has probably eroded back at least a half mile.

This is a shot of the current mouth of the Sucker River. There seems to be a struggle between the river escaping into the bay, the accumulation of new sand.

Soon after the sun set, the full moon made its appearance.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Whitefish Point -- Post 2

Across the parking lot from the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory. Even though the dedicated staff (mostly volunteers) are focused on monitoring bird migration, they also are very helpful to rockhounds. If you visit Whitefish Point, make sure to take time to stop by the bird observatory. Here are a couple of shots from their web page. First, a picture of their sign as well as a photo of their building (which has a nice gift shop and an informational/display room), and then an aerial shot of Whitefish Point.

The mission of this group is reprinted below.

The Mission of the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory is to document the distribution and abundance of birds in the Great Lakes Region, with special emphasis on migration. Research projects focus on assessing the status of bird populations and movements. Information acquired will be used to increase knowledge of bird migration, to encourage public awareness of birds and the environment, and to further bird conservation. Whitefish Point is a recognized Important Bird Area (IBA). Whitefish Point was designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) in 2007 due to the fact that 25-40% of the North American population of Red-necked Grebes are annually observed migrating past Whitefish Point.

The Important Bird Areas Program (IBA) is a global effort to identify and conserve areas that are vital to birds and other biodiversity. The Michigan Important Bird Areas Program officially began in March 2006 with the hiring of a coordinator by four managing partners: Michigan Audubon, National Audubon, Detroit Audubon Society, and Kalamazoo Nature Center.

If you are a bird lover, more information is available on their website

Here are some photos of the owl and piping plover displays, as well as a shot of their bird sighting board.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Whitefish Point -- Post 1

Last weekend I participated in the second annual cooperative effort between the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point and the Gitche Gumee Museum. I set up a mineral art booth on the porch of the gift shop on Friday. I decided to tear down early when the winds picked up. Just as I finished loading things in the car, the storm front came through. The black clouds made an interesting back drop.

Even with the storm, it didn't stop tourists from checking out the beach. The rain didn't hit until a little while after taking these photos.

Here are a few more shots of scenes from Whitefish Point.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Day at Vermilion Point

After camping just east of Grand Marais, Renee and I headed for Vermilion Point, which is located east of Whitefish Point. We first tried to drive down a few of the two-tracks. We had a map that indicated that a few of the roads reached the beach. We were not successful, so we continued down to Vermilion. It was a beautiful day with a slight breeze and temperatures in the high 60s. There is not much slope to this beach so over the years the waves wash over the rocks to beach polish and flatten them. We call this a "cobble stone" beach. We didn't find any fisters but did find several small agates.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Camping in Grand Marais

Since I have hardly had a day off all summer, I was to my breaking point last week (all most). Thus, I asked a couple of friends to go camping. Renee and Wendy jumped at the chance. We two-tracked to a remote beach east of Grand Marais and set up camp. Since we had drizzle, the Noah's Canapy came in handy. We all outfitted our respective vehicles with beds so there were no tents to set up. Of course, soon after we arrived Renee hit the beaches to look for agates.

We saw a few freighters pass by. Here is a photo of one of them.

The three of us pitched for the food and cooking equipment. We had a great chicken stir fry with veggies -- some of which came from our garden!

Unfortunately the clouds did not allow us to see the sun set, but after the wind died down we had a terrific camp fire.