In the Wake of the Green Storm
A Survivor's Tale
By Marlin Bree
Reviewed by Michele Pufahl
In this, his latest book, Bree continues to take the reader
along as he sets sail on the great lake Superior aboard his little wooden
sailboat, Persistence. His journey on Superior begins on July 4, 1999, the day
that "the storm of the century" blew in and clear cut millions of trees in
Minnesota's Boundary Water Canoe Area.
Bree's plans for his trip are to sail from Grand Portage, Minnesota east to the Slate Islands off Ontario, exploring Superior's northernmost archipelago. Driving his desire to sail in these waters is the beauty and remoteness of these hundreds of islands and the opportunity to sail in the area before it is established as the world's largest fresh water conservation area. An avid historian, Bree plans also a "heritage sail", studying the history of the area and the people along his journey.
His boat nicely outfitted, his course meticulously mapped, Bree concedes that the only aspect of the trip he is unable to plan for is Lake Superior's weather. His conversations with some of the locals confirm that the weather that summer had been unpredictable and atypical. A powerful and unpredicted electrical storm on the eve of Bree's departure seems to confirm this and serves as a portent for what is to come.
Bree's account of the strength and ferocity of the storm and his struggle to keep his boat under control offer the reader a glimpse of the terrifying strength of the lake and its weather and the vulnerability of one man and his little boat. Bree vividly describes the beating that he and Persistence endured and his relief when he finds shelter in an island's cove is palpable.
Bree does a superb job in contrasting the beauty of the islands and hospitality of the people he meets with Superior's power and capricious nature. His historic recounts of boats and men that failed against the big lake's might are an added interest for the reader and further illustrate Superior's unforgiving nature. Bree offers the reader familiarity and connection with the people he writes about and an honest and realistic account of his strengths and vulnerabilities along his journey. It is easy to understand why he has such a deep and lasting respect for Lake Superior.
Wake of the Green Storm is published by Marlor Press. It can be ordered by calling 800-669-4908.