Adventure Bound: A Father and Daughter Circumnavigate the Greatest Lake in the World
By Carl Behrend

Chapter 1—The Spark

A story cannot be told without a beginning.

I guess you could say this story began with a high school friend named Steve Johnson. He had a dream that was sparked by another sailing adventure: the voyage of the Dove. In that story, a teenage boy sets out on a journey around the world. On his way, the boy becomes a young man. He also meets his true love. When the journey is done the two lovers sail off into the sunset to enjoy a tropical paradise. That’s all it took. That story sparked a fire that would burn for years to come-not only in Steve’s life, but also in the lives of many of those around him.

Learning to sail one of my first sailboats on Indian Lake
Steve was a picture of the youth from the hippie days of the late 1960s and early 1970s. His long blonde hair, laid back lifestyle as an artist and sign painter and his seeming lack of motivation to strike out on his own made his family and friends wonder if his childhood would last indefinitely.

The Apostle Islands: a sailor's paradise
But along with that irresponsible attitude, Steve also had a certain charm and talent. In both his artwork and his sign painting, he showed a remarkable genius that often made you overlook his weaker attributes. One would look with wonder at his latest creation, whether it was sculpture, painting or billboard. With that same artistry and style, Steve set out to build his first sailboat.

He made the new sailboat from an old wooden rowboat. Steve made a mast from two-by-fours, which were carefully shaped to not only be useful, but also attractive. He also added artistic touches to the rest of the boat. The wooden rudder, the bow and the sail boom all had his signature of craftsmanship. For the crowning work, he named the boat the Christine Louise, after his girlfriend, Chris Burnis. The boat’s name was painted in Steve’s own unique style of lettering that I’m sure charmed Chris to no end. Together, the couple would sail the waters of Indian Lake, the lake where Steve’s parents raised him.

Captain of my own shipThis first boat of Steve’s marked the beginning of a long line of sailboat ownership that would stretch into the next millennium. And with Steve’s acquiring additional boats, others would follow his passion. The dream of one hopeless romantic is often contagious. Steve’s cousin Kevin would be one of those who would follow the dream and the spark. In pursuing his own “Dove” vision, Steve’s passion for bigger waves and bigger water meant getting a bigger boat.

Soon Steve, with the help of cousin Kevin, would be working on another boat: the Clair Bastian. Well, maybe it wasn’t exactly his next boat. Actually, the next boat was the Christine Louise II, followed by Christine Louise III and then, the Clair Bastian. Steve and Kevin went in together on the purchase of the 26-foot Thunderbird sailboat. They bought the boat for $2,000 from a state police trooper who lived in Munising. The happy pair took the boat 45 miles south to Manistique to prepare it for their dream voyage.

Together, Steve and Kevin were able to restore the old sailboat and give her a whole new look. After about a year of preparation, the two were ready. Their plan was to sail from Manistique, Michigan south through Lake Michigan to Chicago and then through various waterways down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. They would then sail to Florida and spend the winter there on the boat. After Steve convinced Kevin to quit his job at the local paper mill, the two were ready to leave in the fall.

Kevin later told me, “It seemed like the thing to do at the time.” He was referring to quitting his job. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do. But, when there’s a dream to follow and a sailboat to travel in, reason sometimes takes second place.

As it turned out, the pair did make their voyage. It likely was the greatest adventure of their lives. Somehow, this dream of Kevin and Steve would be a spark. And the spark would light a fire. And that fire would continue to burn in their hearts and in the hearts of those who were influenced by their dreams. As far as I know, that fire still burns to this day.

This is the first of a series of excerpts from Carl Behrend’s book Adventure Bound. For more information on how to purchase books, CD’s or to arrange bookings call (906) 387-2331 or visit



All contents are copyright (c) 2007 by Northern Breezes, Inc. All information contained within is deemed reliable but carries no guarantees. Reproduction of any part or whole of this publication in any form by mechanical or electronic means, including information retrieval is prohibited except by consent of the publisher.