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Saturday, January 15, 2011





Saturday, 10:00 AM.  12.5 degrees, wind W, light but blustery at times.  The sky is partly cloudy  but the morning thus far has been very pretty, the dark clouds having silver linings.  The barometer predicts much the same.
        The ferry made its last run from Bayfield to LaPoint on Madeline Island last night.  I did not make the trip.  The first wind sleds began appearing  yesterday, the one pictured I believe is a rescue sled, although it may have been acting as a taxi at the time.  The wind sled schedule is now posted, with regular passenger trips daily until the ice road is open.  It looks as though there has been some snow plowing done so the road will freeze deeper and stronger, but there are never firm predictions on when the road will open, as there are many factors involved, such as storm surges under the ice which emanate from far out in the open water of the lake, air pockets, currents, etc. In any case it will be a while before cars and light trucks will begin using the road, and the wind sleds will provide interim transportation.
    All the heavy transport, such as oil, propane and gasoline trucks, most food and produce, and yes, beer (I saw a Budweiser semi drive onto the ferry  yesterday) has already crossed over.  The wind sleds carry no cargo other than people, mail and light packages. There will be no further heavy transport to the island until the ice goes out in spring and the ferries run again.  Folks also use their snowmobiles and ATV’s to make the trip, and they can be seen buzzing across the ice even now, somewhat at their own peril. 
    Ice fishermen are out in the channel in force now, the one pictured just offshore from Bodin’s fisheries downtown.  I haven’t heard any fish stories as  yet.

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