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


-Naomi’s Diary (Editor’s Note: This is first in several entries from Naomi’s travel diary that will be included in this text. The entries will appear in italicized type)

Dori and her family sending us off as Naomi and I begin our journey The following summer found me busier than ever between work, family and home. It seemed I didn’t have a moment of spare time. It was already July 10th. I hadn’t even been out on my boat yet. Naomi was the only one of my three children left at home. She decided she would make the trip around Superior with me.

We were frantically packing and making last minute preparations. Jethro came up to Munising Bay. He helped me set up the boat the night before we were to leave. That’s when we discovered that the control ropes, jib sheets and headgear were missing. The thieves who tried to steal my boat the year before must still have these items. So instead of leaving the next morning as planned, I had to run down to Jethro’s place and borrow the headgear off his boat. Luckily, his was the same as mine. To do this took another three hours. So by the time we got the boat packed and ready to go, it was 5 p.m. Finally, Naomi and I were ready to leave. My fiancé Dori and her two children were there to see us off. We waived goodbye as we sailed away.

Dad and I were planning to start the trip at 9 a.m., but as can be expected, things didn’t work out as planned. Dad had to run down to Fayette to get a part for the boat. Then we spent time packing and dawdling until late in the afternoon. I stopped and said goodbye to Sarah and Tim, and finally Dori, Caleb and Alana saw us off from the mouth of the Anna River. Strong winds helped us reach Grand Marais just after sundown. The waves weren’t very big and the weather alternated between sunshine and clouds.

Would we make it? What perils and adventures would lie ahead? Could I really afford to take the time off? These were all questions that were going through my mind as Naomi and I waved goodbye and sailed into the distance.

We moved slowly out of Munising Bay. We could see Grand Island to our left and the old East Channel Lighthouse standing guard on its banks. The lighthouse is a historic landmark that was help save the lighthouse from the eroding waves of Lake Superior.

Our sails were full as a southwest wind pushed us steadily along. To our right was Miners Castle and the beautiful Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The nation’s first national lakeshore surely is a jewel in the crown of Lake Superior. The sheer sandstone cliffs, with their magical colors reflecting on the blue-green waters of Lake Superior, are one reason thousands of visitors take the tour boat cruises each year. Boaters of all kinds cruise the lakeshore to view these natural wonders.

We sailed on past Portal Rock with its stone archway. It is said that in the 1800s, there was another arch there that was large enough for a schooner to sail through. Erosion would eventually leave only the existing arch, which is smaller, but still majestic. Restoring Seul Choix Point Lighthouse where I wrote my first Great Lakes Song.

Lacking a natural harbor for safety, one of the most tragic early shipwrecks on Lake Superior took place here along the Pictured Rocks. The mishap occurred in 1856. The side wheel steamer Superior, under Capt. Hiram Jones, was caught in a storm blowing out of the northwest. The boat almost made it to the shelter of Grand Island. But the ship lost its rudder and smokestack in high seas. The captain ordered the anchors dropped. But the chains broke, leaving the boat and its crew to be smashed to bits on the Pictured Rocks Cliffs, just west of Cascade Falls. Of the 66 crewmen aboard, only 18 bedraggled survivors made it to shore. Capt. Jones was last seen struggling to make it up onto the rocks. He was washed off by huge waves and was last seen in his beaver skin coat before he disappeared into the waves.

An epic tale of survival would follow. The first mate and the engineer patched a lifeboat they found washed ashore. The two men, with a few others, would make it to Grand Island, to a trader’s cabin. While the others trudged through the forest on foot to be picked up later, two more sailors would die of exposure. This was the worst loss of life attributed to shipwrecks on Lake Superior up to that time.

The wind pushed us east past the Pictured Rocks, along Twelve mile Beach. We could see the Au Sable Point Lighthouse tower. Its beam of light alerts ships to the treacherous Au Sable Reef.

We passed Sable Point Lighthouse on the way here. The water was indescribably purple dabbed with mercury silver and liquid lead. The clouds were a moody blue gray with a bright blue sky peeking through the cracks. And Sable Point stood proud and white contrasting with the dark trees its white tower looking rose-colored. Beyond us stood the great dunes looking white and purple against the dark blue sky.

I think God is blessing this trip. Before we left, we asked him to be with us and we read the sailor’s psalm (Psalm 107). I hope he continues to bless. We are camped on the beach below the campground. I’ve written too much. I’m going to bed.

The reef had often been the scene of shipwrecks and survival struggles. The lonely lighthouses and keeper’s quarters on the Great Lakes were many times used to offer refuge to storm-tossed shipwreck survivors.

Sailing on past the lighthouse, the beautiful Grand Sable Dunes stretched for miles before us. Their sands piled high, they reflected in the golden sunset. No wonder the Native Americans gathered here to fast and pray to the Great Spirit. You can’t help but be awe inspired by the majestic beauty of the dunes.

It was along these shores, from the great dunes to Grand Island, that the tales of the legendary Indian Hiawatha are said to have been handed down. Henry Schoolcraft, U.S. Indian agent, and Lewis Cass, who later would become governor of Michigan Territory, stopped at Grand Island in 1820. It is said that Schoolcraft, while on a westward expedition to find the source of the Mississippi River, was surprised to find no Indian settlement on Grand Island. To his knowledge, there had been a sizeable band of Ojibway Indians living there.

My daughters Sarah and Naomi helped restore the lighthouse.The mainland Indians told him there was an Indian living on Trout Bay. They said he could tell the story of what became of the Grand Island Ojibway band. Cass and Schoolcraft dispatched a canoe and brought back the Indian called Powers of the Air. He seems to have been a “Last of the Mohicans” type of Indian for the Grand Island Band of Ojibways. He was able to tell Schoolcraft the story of how the island band was forced to join a war party from the mainland. They had to fight the Sioux who lived to the west. The Grand Islanders thought war was senseless and did not care to join in. But when threatened with attack from the mainland Ojibways, they finally agreed. But they lost all of their men. Only Powers of the Air escaped. Being the youngest and fastest runner of the band, he was urged by the others to make a break for it and get away.

This story and many other Native American legends were told to Schoolcraft. He wrote them down and would later loan his material to a man named Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Longfellow then wrote The Song of Hiawatha based on some of these stories. Schoolcraft and Cass continued on their voyage only to be caught in a sudden storm, pulling in at the sands of AuTrain, they waited out the storm. While they were there, one of the party members was so impressed with Powers of the Air he carved a likeness of his face in the rock along the shore, and it’s still there to this day! Loren Graham’s book A Face in the Rock chronicles this story in detail. The story also inspired me to write this song:

Face on the rock speak to me Tell me a tale of how it used to be
On your island Grand, you’d run along the sand

He was born long ago to an island band of the Ojibways, Ojibways
Beneath the stars in his mother’s arms
She told him tales, sang him songs of days gone by When she heard him cry

But Powers of the Air he don’t live there no more
He don’t run along the shore
So take me back home, back home to yesterday-hey-hey
Take me back home, back home to yesterday

The ways of peace were always known
But now the talk of war was heard On our island home I was almost grown
Twelve brave men would sail away
But only one returned again Another day, another day

All tribes of men should live as one
Beneath the stars and the setting sun
So take me back home, back home to yesterday-hey-hey
Take me back home, back home to yesterday-hey-hey

The years would pass, the white man came
Life would never be the same On our island home I was all alone

In my dreams, the beaver returned
The sound of song and laughter
Was heard again, was heard again

Tonight, I’ll walk a path of the Milky Way
Gather me there with my family
Take me back home, back home to yesterday-hey--hey
Take me back home, back home to yesterday

Take me back home to my island Grand, where I used to run along the sand
Take me back home, back home to yesterday-hey-hey
Take me back home to yesterday

We hit some pretty strong wind passing the dunes. It made for fast sailing, but a little scary at times. I was steering the boat when we got to Grand Marais we saw a fire and pulled up to it, there were some nice people there and we ended up sitting and visiting with them half the night. They liked to sing, so we sang (of course). One of the girls had a pretty voice, kind of like Sarah McLaughlin. They invited us to breakfast tomorrow. So I will try to get their email address. The one lady is kind of new age. She told stories about her fairy encounters. They seem like nice interesting people. I will never forget the sunset.

Arriving just after dark at Grand Marais we saw a campfire on the beach. Naomi and I pulled our boat up and joined a small group of people around the fire. We told them about our adventure plans of sailing around Lake Superior. We also told them that we sang Great Lakes songs. It was interesting to find out that they were also singers and musicians. I believe they called themselves “The Lakers.” So we pulled out our little backpacker’s guitar and sang a few songs for them. In the glow of the campfire, we told stories and sang songs. It was a wonderful way to start our trip around Superior.

This is the fifth 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