Adventure Bound: A Father and Daughter
Circumnavigate the Greatest Lake in the World
By Carl Behrend
Bayfield is a
beautiful place. On any warm summer day, the town is
bustling with tourists, sailors and boaters all
taking advantage of the weather. Naomi and I changed
our clothes and secured the boat. Then we walked
into town, excited as two kids heading to the candy
store. We walked toward the town’s main street and
found a restaurant that served food on an outside
“How about if we eat
here?” I asked.
“Yeah, let’s eat out
on the deck,” Naomi suggested.
being outdoors for most of our trip, it made us
almost claustrophobic to go inside and eat,
especially on a beautiful day like this. After
eating a fish dinner, we took a stroll through the
town and checked out all the tourist gift shops and
bookstores. We felt like tourists. But in our
hearts, we knew we were more than that. We were
sailing around Lake Superior, the first
father-daughter duo to attempt this feat on a
16-foot catamaran. And now, we knew we were in the
After touring the
town and picking up a few items, we made our way
back to the boat and we started re-packing our
supplies. While we were doing this, a couple of
young ladies stopped by to talk to us. They were
curious about our boat. We visited with them for a
while and told them that we were on our way around
Lake Superior and talked about some of our
adventures along the way.
“Where is your
support team?” they asked.
“There is no support
team,” we answered.
“No support team?”
they repeated in disbelief.
“That’s right. Naomi
and I are on our own. There is no outside help.”
They stopped and
thought about that for a moment.
We finished getting
the boat ready and said goodbye to Bayfield and then
“We’ll camp tonight
on one of the islands,” I said.
“Sounds good to me,
I pointed to a forest
of ship masts in the harbor and said, “Let’s get a
few pictures of the sailboats.”
sailboats than I’ve ever seen,” Naomi said, clicking
“We’ll sail until
just before dark, then find a place to camp,” I
We sailed to Long
Island. There we found a sandy shore to camp on for
the night and set up camp and we crawled into the
“I’m going to read my
new book,” I told Naomi.
“What’s it about,
shipwrecks of the Apostle Islands. It’s called ‘The
Unholy Apostles.’ By James M. Keller.”
I flipped the book
open and glanced at the photos.
interesting story. Want me to read it to you? It’s
about the schooner Moonlight, one of the last great
sailing schooners on the lakes.”
“Yeah. Sure, Dad.
Read it to me.”
As I read, we learned
that the Moonlight now lies on the bottom of Lake
Superior about 12 miles east of Michigan Island. The
once proud schooner had set all kinds of sailing
records in her heyday. Perhaps reminded of our
adventure earlier in the afternoon, one story about
the schooner particularly caught my interest. The
Moonlight was once in an impromptu race with another
boat called the Porter.
The captains of the
two boats were leaving Buffalo, N.Y. for Milwaukee,
Wis. at the same time. Dennis Sullivan was the
captain of the Moonlight. He challenged Porter
Captain Orval Green to race. Green accepted.
News of the challenge
was telegraphed ahead. The race gained quite a lot
of attention. At points along the way spectators
watched the two schooners remain remarkably close.
When they sailed through Lake Michigan, a storm
erupted. Sullivan, known to sail through lots of bad
weather, uncharacteristically decided to seek
shelter at Port Washington.
thought. “This is my chance to win the race.”
The next day, as the
Moonlight sailed into Milwaukee and the crew saw the
Porter being towed in by a tugboat with its masts
spars gone. The harbor tugs had found the Porter
drifting helplessly after the gale. The two captains
met at the dock and shook hands. They considered the
race a tie then they then headed down to the bar
together to discuss the race results.
The Moonlight, once a
mighty Great Lakes schooner, eventually passed her
prime. She no longer graced the lake with her sails.
Moonlight had been reduced to a tow barge by the
time she met her demise in a gale off Michigan
Island. Her seams split open and she began to sink.
The steamer Volunteer was able to rescue the crew.
Today, the Moonlight is a piece of Great Lakes
history that lies in Superior’s depths for divers to
Our eyelids were
growing heavy as we closed the book.
“That was interesting
Pop,” said Naomi, blowing out the candle.
We said a short
prayer of thanks for safe travel and the beautiful
“Goodnight, Naomi. I
Little did I realize,
as we drifted off to sleep, that I had just been
inspired to write a new song called “Three Sheets to
This is the tenth 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 www.greatlakeslegends.com.