Folks are swimming in the lake off the North Shore like never before. The water is crystal clear and freakishly warm. The map above is from this weekend, showing water temperatures across Lake Superior. The reds are about 70 degrees, and the purple around Duluth and the Apostle Islands shows water in the mid-70s.
This warm water will go away any day now. All it will take will be a good northwest breeze like the one blowing today. That breeze will blow the warm water away from the North Shore. Up from the depths of the 800-foot deep North Shore trench will come bone-numbing 50-degree water.
If you can swim
While the warm water lasts, get yourself to one of the North Shore's primo swimming beaches for a refreshing dip. Bring your snorkel gear and explore underwater worlds.
My favorite North Shore beach for swimming is the Little Two Harbors beach at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. You need a park permit for this one. From the park entrance off Highway 61 21 miles northeast of Two Harbors, follow the park signs for a quick right turn on to the park road. Turn left into the parking area for the Trail Center. From the Trail Center, find your way past some scenic picnic areas down to the beach.
It's a lovely cobblestone beach protected by a rocky island. The cobblestones drop off quickly. If you swim out a ways from the beach you can see Split Rock Lighthouse looming above the lake a quarter-mile away.
If you can't
If you can't get to the North Shore for a swim, check out this wacky series of videos from Duluth's resident undersea exporer, Jim Richardson: