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 deck.

“How about if we eat here?” I asked.

“Yeah, let’s eat out on the deck,” Naomi suggested.

After 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 home stretch.

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.

“That’s amazing,” they said.

We finished getting the boat ready and said goodbye to Bayfield and then set sail.

“We’ll camp tonight on one of the islands,” I said.

“Sounds good to me, Dad.”

I pointed to a forest of ship masts in the harbor and said, “Let’s get a few pictures of the sailboats.”

“That’s more sailboats than I’ve ever seen,” Naomi said, clicking the camera.

“We’ll sail until just before dark, then find a place to camp,” I said.

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 tent.

“I’m going to read my new book,” I told Naomi.

“What’s it about, Dad?”

“It’s 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.

“Here’s an 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.

“Ah-ha,” Green 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 and 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 enjoy.

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 day.

“Goodnight, Dad.”

“Goodnight, Naomi. I love you.”

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 the Wind.

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