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August 6, 2015

Secrets of the Thumb, Part Three

With Guest Blogger, Jeffrey Irwin 

As a versed kayaker living in south Florida, I am accustomed to seeing amazing sights and incredibly clear waters while out in the bay and the ocean.   But after kayaking the tip of the thumb, I couldn't have been more impressed with my kayaking experience.  

It was an especially calm day out on the waters of Lake Huron when we departed from Port Austin State Harbor.  We rented kayaks from Port Austin Kayak, 119 E Spring St., a very quaint business right by the harbor, then started paddling east into the lake.

Our first destination was Turnip Rock.  The rock is a geological formation that has been shaped by waves making it a very interesting top heavy rock just yards away from shore.  The rock is just a three and a half mile paddle from the harbor, but due to the uncommonly calm waters, it was a very easy paddle.  We traversed through clear shallow waters passing through small flooded peninsulas and sandbars on our way to our target.  As we made our approach the beaches became rock walls and we could tell we were heading to something special.
Turnip Rock is on privately owned property, however you are free to kayak around the rock and pull along shore if you need to rest, as we did.  The scenery is simply amazing.  The rock is accompanied by other small outcrops and a wall of stone that encircles around the small tree adorned formation.  After spending some time taking photos and enjoying the scenery we decided to head out to the Port Austin Lighthouse.

The Port Austin Lighthouse was built in 1878, and is about two and a half miles north off the coast of Port Austin.  We were advised not to go out there in our rented kayaks, but due to the calmness of the water, we decided differently.  It didn't take much time to paddle out, and when we arrived it almost felt like we were pulling up to a haunted guidepost.

As no one has manned the lighthouse since 1953, the octagonal building has an eerie feel.  When near the lighthouse your voice echos in all directions.  It towers above the shallow waters and is an incredible feat of engineering.  I was surprised at just how shallow and clear the water was out by the lighthouse.  At times probably only waist deep and there were bricks that littered the lake's rocky floor, remnants of the lighthouse's construction. 
Finally, after spending some time enjoying the light house, we headed back due south to Port Austin.  Our trip only lasted three hours, but I feel like I got a whole new experience out of the Thumb.  I would absolutely love to go back to explore these locations and would recommend anyone in the thumb to check out Port Austin Kayak and take the adventure for them self.