Cruising Close To Home
Photos by Michele Bergstrom Courtesy of NOAA
Top left: A NOAA map of Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands. Top right: The Ashland Lighthouse guides boaters in and out of Lake
Superior’s Chequamegon Bay. Above: Waves crash on sandstone rocks rimming Stockton Island’s beautiful Julian Bay.
On a lovely Saturday in early June, Randy fired up
Ka-Ching’s two Ford Lehman diesels, while I opened
windows and filled a vase with daisies and buttercups
picked en route to Ashland from our home in Wisconsin’s
Northwoods. (There’s nothing like flowers to perk
up a boat!) As the motors warmed, Randy unplugged
shorepower, and I unsnapped the wrap covering the
three big front windows. After I untied lines, the
captain backed Ka-Ching away from our slip.
Having a turtle of a trawler, it took us 1-1/2 hours
at 8 knots to reach Madeline Island, 12 miles north
of Ashland. We averaged approximately 3 miles to a
gallon of diesel at $5 per gallon. Madeline Island is the
only one of the 22 Apostle Islands that’s inhabited and
the only one that’s not part of the National Park
System. Historically, it’s where the native Ojibwe
people and European explorers established the fur
trade. The island is named for Madeleine Cadotte,
daughter of Chief White Crane and wife of Michel
Cadotte, a French fur trader.
Chugging through light chop, we snapped pictures
of three sailboats, colorful spinnakers fully puffed.
Automobile ferries crossed wakes in front of us, one
heading for Madeline and the other for Bayfield,
2-1/2 miles away, bringing summer visitors and island
residents back and forth between the two small burgs.
The larger ferry maneuvered into La Pointe, Madeline
Island’s tiny town, as we motored toward Madeline