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BOLD: Unforgettable adventures await at Rossport (12 photos)

Zack Kruzins started Such A Nice Day Adventures to get people out on Lake Superior.

“Nothing’s better than paddling on the north shore of Lake Superior at the heart of the Rossport islands,” says Zack Kruzins, founder and owner of Such A Nice Day (S.A.N.D.) Adventures, based in Rossport, Ontario.

Kruzins is from Hamilton, Ontario, but came to Thunder Bay in 2003 to study Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism, and Geography. While a student, he began working with Superior Outfitters, also based in Rossport, a company that provides kayaking tours and instructional programs, and fell in love with the area.

Since graduating, Kruzins has travelled all over the world working as a paddling guide and enjoying the water, but he still says nothing comes close to the wonders of Lake Superior. “Most people don’t ever venture out into the islands,” he says, “but that’s where the real magic is.”

The islands off of Rossport, two hours east of Thunder Bay, are, according to Kruzins, the best and most protected island group on all of the Great Lakes. “And nobody knows anything about it,” he adds. “It’s pristine, wild and beautiful.”

As a paddling guide, another reason he loves this area is because it is appropriate for any skill level. He takes beginners out in sheltered water close to the mainland, while intermediate paddlers can enjoy half-day excursions. Advanced paddlers can go all the way out to the outer coasts of the outer islands.

One of his most popular tours is an eight-day expedition all the way from Silver Islet to Rossport. “It’s absolutely magnificent,” Kruzins says. “All my expeditions are filled; I have demand to do more, but I don’t have the resources.” During the season, he has up to eight instructors busy at work.

Kruzins founded Such A Nice Day Adventures in 2018 “out of my passion for Lake Superior and to get people out on the water,” he says. He now partners with Superior Outfitters and offers a wide range of classes, short tours and longer expeditions. He also offers a two-day starter course (including accommodations at the Nestled in Nature B&B on Nicols island), which is very popular with people from Thunder Bay.

For the longer expeditions (five to eight days) Kruzins sees many retired or semi-retired people in their late 40s to early 60s. Most are experienced paddlers and many come from Southern Ontario or B.C., but before the pandemic, there were people from Europe as well.

While pandemic travel restrictions have curtailed clients from far away, more and more people from Thunder Bay are booking courses and excursions as they hear about Such A Nice Day Adventures through word of mouth. “It’s quite phenomenal,” he says. “I’m a bit overwhelmed trying to manage it all, but it’s happening and it’s all good.”

“A lot of people are intimidated by Lake Superior because it’s like an ocean,” he says. “You’ve really got to know your weather.” During instructional courses, participants practice decision-making skills based on the weather forecast and the environment. “Heightened awareness and strategizing” are important for anyone out on the lake, he cautions. It may be easy enough to paddle from the mainland to a nearby island, but you should know if the wind is going to make it harder for you to come back later on.

Kruzins feels like he won’t ever get tired of Lake Superior. “I’ve gone to the same places many times. And every time it’s different,” he says. What he loves to do best is to plan expeditions involving long crossings with other skilled paddlers. “A 10 km open-water crossing takes two, two and a half hours. And when you get across, you get this really amazing feeling, I thrive off of it. And I just get that feeling, ‘This is what I want to do with my life.’”

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