May 29-16

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2016: May: May 29-16
My home on Isle Royale this weekend    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Charlie Hopper
Inside looking out    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Charlie Hopper
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Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, May 29, 2016 - 08:09 pm:

Ever been to Isle Royale? It's like the Keweenaw, but even more so. I mean, Isle Royale is the real deal when it comes to the Northwoods experience.

I've come here this weekend stalking wild bandwidth. Actually, spent most of my time since Friday on top of the water tower overlooking Rock Harbor. The guys here helped me hoist up a giant dish that we secured, pointing to Mount Horace Greeley back on the mainland. We managed to complete the whole installation, in spite of constant fog and rain (which you might be able to see in the top photo of the cabin where I'm staying.) Only problem: rain and high winds back on the peninsula have prevented the Keweenaw crew from completing their half of the job. Hopefully tomorrow morning...

We're here at the request of the broadband-starved island population, limited to satellite and slow boat. (Although I thought the Isle Royale Queen got us here with exceeding haste on Friday.) If the Horace Greeley team can't complete their side tomorrow morning, I may have to come back out here next weekend. As you can see, I'm really broken up about it.

Stay tuned for an update this week on our progress. If this new link is successful, it could bring the scourge of instant communications to this pristine archipelago. But you'll always have a clever way to drop off the radar whenever you visit Isle Royale. It's known as the "power down switch".

Have a good week :o)

By Thomas Baird (Thomas) on Sunday, May 29, 2016 - 08:50 pm:

The more pics I see of Isle Royale, the more I want to visit there.

By jbuck (Jbuck) on Sunday, May 29, 2016 - 09:21 pm:

Wow! That's amazing that you'll be able to do this! Yes, for those who complain, they don't have to use it. For the rest it will be a way to stay in touch with those back home.

Looks like very nice accommodations, Charlie!

By Donna (Donna) on Sunday, May 29, 2016 - 09:37 pm:

Born and raised here and never been "Island
hopping".....but a little cabin like!

By jbuck (Jbuck) on Sunday, May 29, 2016 - 10:14 pm:

And the Keweenaw crew isn't the only one having problems ~ looks like continued challenges for the Roger Blough in getting off the Gros Cap Reef she ran aground on.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Sunday, May 29, 2016 - 11:49 pm:

I feel your pain, Charlie and you have my may just have to spend another weekend on Isle Royale :(

By mickill mouse (Ram4) on Monday, May 30, 2016 - 12:19 am:

I think everybody should 'unplug' once and awhile and enjoy the surroundings, enjoy nature, unwind from cell phones ringing and people talking loud on them while I want to enjoy a quiet dinner at a restaurant or cussing because they can not get a connection to the computer to look at there face book pages or whatever it is they go on.

If it is not an emergency....why stay in touch with people back home when you go to a beautiful place like Isle Royale. Now you can just sit in your cabins or tents and stay on social media telling people how beautiful it is instead of being out there and enjoying it..

Do not get me wrong, I enjoy some modern technology, I just think some places it should be left out of.

Glad to see Charlie. :O) Hope he is enjoying out there on Isle Royale.

By D. A. (Midwested) on Monday, May 30, 2016 - 02:03 am:

I know many hikers and campers that will really
appreciate your efforts so they can more reliably
contact their loved ones after several days being
out of reach, as well as the many staff that live
and work in Rock Harbor. I hope you had a chance
to sample the Lake Trout at the Lighthouse

By Jeffrey Kalember (Jkal) on Monday, May 30, 2016 - 09:39 am:

Funny ..... my son is currently on Isle Royale
and about half way through a 6 week internship
picking up and measuring moose boons, guaging
tree growth, investigating tick populations and
the like ... as of right now we have not heard
from him in 20 days!! Last week both my wife
I sent him a letter via the US Mail, hope he
it? Maybe the new communications setup will
allow those on the island for long time periods
to communicate with the mainland more easily...
but, I have to say that the LACK of
is what draws many to the island. The less
"mainland" convenience you have up there, the

By Helen Marie Chamberlain (Helen) on Monday, May 30, 2016 - 10:13 am:

Kudos, Charlie. Thanks for sharing this.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Monday, May 30, 2016 - 10:40 am:

This is so cool, Charlie!! Good for you for
trying to bring loved ones to those who are there
for long periods of time!!!

By Daveofmohawk (Daveofmohawk) on Monday, May 30, 2016 - 11:00 am:

Not having communications on Isle Royale is fine for vacationers who are only there for a brief time but not good for the many people who spend the entire summer living and working there.

By mickill mouse (Ram4) on Monday, May 30, 2016 - 03:57 pm:

I am quite sure if something happened to a loved one....the people, if you will, in the office would know how to contact family. I am quite sure Coast Guard can be contacted in case of an emergency.

To me, you have so many people who just do not know to turn things off for a couple days, a few days at that, to enjoy the beauty of Isle Royale. Can you imagine seeing a moose with an opportunity for a picture of a lifetime and someone's cell phone goes off and scares the creature?

I do understand having a loved one out there and not hear from them for awhile, I do understand that....

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Monday, May 30, 2016 - 04:22 pm:

Isle Royale is certainly a great place to get away from all that modern technology for a little quiet respite. But having that link to the mainland (and the rest of the world), hopefully with a few wi-fi hotspots (If that's even possible? Probably not many.) would be a great safety factor for the hikers.

I just wish I had visited there while I was in da UP. Too late now, my creaky old carcass isn't up to much hiking these days. 😢

By D. A. (Midwested) on Monday, May 30, 2016 - 06:07 pm:

There already exists internet connectivity in the immediate Rock Harbor central area, but the Wi-Fi signal strength is weak and spotty. The bandwidth is very low, hardly enough to maybe, sometimes send a brief email. Also, it has been password protected and I do not know if that will change now. This upgrade should improve things but only for the immediate Rock Harbor area where it is needed. It's not just the park visitors who appreciate the service when they use it once the night before boarding the boat home, but more importantly it is used by the many men and women who live on The Island all summer long performing their job, much of which can be hard tedious work, most with fairly low or even no pay. Having a little improved modern technology available, for those that desire it, is most welcomed.

Reliable emergency communications is available. The Park and the Coast Guard monitor marine channel 16, but to access emergency communications a hiker must first locate a ranger or a boater or use the very expensive satellite telephone in Rock Harbor or Windigo (not sure Sat. phones are still there.)

I am very certain the park service has no plans to extend Wi-Fi service into the wilderness. Also, there is no cell phone service anywhere except very, very occasionally from atop a ridge.

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