A Voyage with Superior Charters
The Apostle Islands, situated in North America's largest freshwater lake, are the setting for a sail in luxury aboard Windwalker, a fully crewed Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 509.
Off the Beaten Track
|Windwalker's crew mate and chef Alee Kalow (raising the main) and captain Steve Frischmanm (at the helm), ready the boat for sail while Mick Groszko looks ahead.|
What with Lake Superior’s reputation for producing sudden, wicked, and deadly storms, particularly in the spring and the fall, we felt fortunate to be in the relative protection of the Apostles, which are situated to the west in the lake, close to Bayfield on the mainland.
And we felt lucky to miss peak bug-biting season by sailing in September. Of the archipelago’s 22 islands, which cover more than 720 square miles, 21 are within the boundaries of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and offer many outdoor recreational options, from hiking and paddling to cruising and camping. Madeline Island, the only populated island, has about 220 year-round residents and as many as 2,500 in summer.
Madeline’s population doesn’t detract from its beauty; for that matter, you’d be hard pressed to complain at all about the scenery anywhere here, from the forests of pine and birch rimmed by red sandstone cliffs and shores to clear waters that appear emerald from a distance. As for the black bears, indeed, there are plenty, and I came as close to them as I cared to, often on beach walks encountering their fresh tracks and scat in the sand.
Our three-night sojourn, alas, came during a week when frequent storms were forecast. With Steve’s help, we studied the charts and came up with a loose sailing itinerary that allowed us to visit Madeline, Stockton, and Michigan islands, truly a stone’s throw from each other, and be well tucked in at anchor or dockside overnight.
So I can’t say the guest crew of Windwalker sailed far, but we sailed well and explored often. We wandered the beaches and trails of Stockton Island, marveling at the diversity of its coniferous-hardwood forest and the pine savannah of the tombolo, a geologic feature that occurs when a bridge of sand connects two pieces of land. Upon our return to the dock, we met up with the crew of a Midship 25, Jim and Mike. Having been “beat up by the cold,” as Jim said, they were headed back to the mainland, to Saxon Harbor. For the record, they didn’t catch any fish, and that, combined with the weather, determined for the pair that enough was enough. We bid our farewells as they cast off their lines, and while we waited for Steve to pick us up in the dinghy, we considered the plush accommodations and, more to the point, the hot showers and heat that awaited us back aboard.