The Sea Caves’ Hollow Beauty

The Bayfield Peninsula’s Sea Caves, a.k.a. the Ice Caves, had their 15 minutes of fame two winters ago when over 120,000 people, bundled up to resemble stuffed penguins, trundled out to see icicles dripping from eroded sandstone cavities. We, too, made the pilgrimage to Cornucopia, Wisconsin, as much to see what twenty thousand people on the ice beyond Meyer’s Beach looked like as to see the actual caves, which were pale in shades of white and gray. When I think of the sea caves, those same caves, I think of sandstone drenched in sunlight, flushed with ruddiness, rising from teal-tinted waters that deepen into emerald in the shadows. On hot summer evenings, when there is scarcely a whisper on Lake Superior– this is key, Superior must be flat–we haul our canoes over to Corny and drop them in the water. The caves are a 20 minute, i mile paddle away. Stunning sea caves, K and G A paddle to the sea caves is not only a visual delight. On a calm lake, the waves are gentle rolling in and the resounding echo they make as they strike the interiors of the eroded cavities makes a round, resonant O that is full wetness. The water sloshing about leaves the caves in irregular confusion creating interference waves upon its exit. For this reason, we usually wear life jackets, even though everyone in our family is a strong swimmer. We visit after 6 o’clock when the lake mirrors the sky and the sun begins its downward path to the Minnesota hills. The rental kayaks have disappeared, their paddlers in Bayfield at Maggies’ or a fish boil, and we have the caves to ourselves. In this magical hour, with the sun’s rosy rays, 120,000 cave visitors inching their way over ice seem almost unbelievable.


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