The Sailing Club Logo

The Sailing Club, Inc.

The Jewels Of Lake Gitche Gumee

Lake Superior

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is at the extreme western end of Lake Superior. It is known for its historic lighthouses, sandstone sea caves, old-growth remnant forests, and natural animal habitats. More lighthouses shine over this section of Lake Superior than in any other National Park. It is at the tip of the Bayfield Peninsula, the northernmost mainland point in Wisconsin. Dedicated to the preservation and public enjoyment of significant historic, scenic, natural, and recreational resources, it's a fantastic cruising area, with sea caves that can be explored by dinghy. Unlike the California's Channel Islands, the caves are not deep and don't have sea lions barking in the darkness.

The crystal clear deep water between the islands, generally more than 100 feet, separates the islands from each other by approximately two miles. The shoreline topography is often rugged and steep on the north end of the island, littered with caves and sandstone bluffs created by Lake Superior. The southern ends of many of the islands are gentle sand spits, which require a wide passage but offer excellent anchorages. The islands are a National Park, so there are no shore facilities for dining, boat services, showers, and the like. The itinerary below includes returning to the charter base mid-week for those things. As the islands are all close together, daily distances are generally not large.

We have reserved two boats for this one-of-a-kind trip, with little chance of getting a third, from Superior Charters in Bayfield, Wisconsin. Both are three-cabin, two head models, with dodger and bimini. The boats will also have motorized dinghies. In addition, linen rental is available for $35 per person. Please indicate on the sign-up form if you want them.

boat blue prints

The itinerary below provides for visiting seven of the islands. The exact sequence may change, and some substitutions may be needed, due to wind and sea conditions.

August 5 (Sunday) - Travel day.
Fly to Duluth, MN (DLH). United (via Chicago) and Delta (via Minneapolis) have several flights. The drive from DLH to the charter base in Bayfield, WI is about 90 miles. I anticipate renting two mini-vans to enable car-pooling, provisioning, and stopping at the Visitor Center in downtown Bayfield (open until 4:30 pm). The vans would be rented for the week and remain at the charter base for our return to the airport. The cost would not be included in the trip price, but would be about $50 per person. Other than driving from home (it's over 1200 miles from NJ), there is no other way to get there.

August 6 (Monday) - Sail to Sand Island
After boat briefings and checkouts, leave Port Superior Marina in Bayfield and head to Sand Island, at the western end of the Apostles, anchoring in Justice Bay, Lighthouse Bay, or Western Bay, depending on conditions. Sand Island Lighthouse, built of stone in 1881, is located at the northern tip of the island, about two miles from Justice Bay. Many consider this Norman Gothic style lighthouse to be the most beautiful in the Apostles. The Swallow Point sea caves on the western end of Justice Bay are accessible by dinghy when the water is calm.

August 7 (Tuesday) - Sail to Rocky Island
After additional shore time on Sand Island, it's a relatively short 14 mile jaunt to Rocky Island, near the northern extremes of the Park. There should be time in the afternoon to go ashore and walk around the island, perhaps to an overlook on its western shore.

August 8 (Wednesday) - Sail to Devils Island and Raspberry Island
It's a short hop to Devils Island, one of the more popular islands in the chain. Arriving in the morning will allow time to visit its famous sea caves and the lighthouse. Waves entering the caves during storms force air up through blowholes, emitting strange sounds. These were interpreted by Native Americans as "evil spirits," giving the island its name. As there is no overnight anchoring, it's south to Raspberry Island, about 11 miles away, where it may be possible to get a Park Service tour of the lighthouse.

August 9 (Thursday) - Return to Bayfield
Even with the most frugal use of the heads, the holding tanks will need to be pumped out. Since there are no facilities in the park for this, the nearest place is either downtown Bayfield, or the charter base a few miles beyond. Since the slips are available at all times, returning to base also allows for a dinner ashore, as well as showers, re-provisioning, etc. Since it's less than 15 miles from Raspberry Island to Pike's Marina, there's no rush, so a 'scenic route' around Oak Island may be possible.

August 10 (Friday) - Sail to Oak Island
Oak Island is the tallest of the Apostles (500 feet above the lake, but 1081 feet above sea level). In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the island was harvested for its timber, especially oak trees, thus the island's name. Many trees remain and can be seen on the many hiking trails. For the more ambitious, a 3 1/2 mile hike (each way) to the northwest end of the island yields magnificent views.

August 11 (Saturday) - Sail to Stockton Island Today's ultimate destination is Stockton Island and Julian Bay, with its singing sands. Along the way, a stop at Michigan Island will be possible, in order to see the first lighthouse built in the Apostles, in 1857. It was apparently built there by mistake. It was used for one year before being shut down. But it was reactivated in 1869, and not deactivated until 1929 when a new, taller lighthouse, and the last built in the Apostles, was built next to it, having been dismantled and relocated from Schooner's Ledge on the Delaware River near Philadelphia.

August 12 (Sunday) - Return to Charter Base
The last of the charter is a 17 mile sail back to Pikes Marina. Conveniently there are pump-out connections at each slip. Fuel is included in the charter fee.
United has a departure from DLH at 6:20 pm, Delta at 5:59 pm (subject to change of course). Given the vagaries of airline schedules this far in advance, the return to the marina would be about 1:00 pm.

Apostle Islands Chart

The cost of this trip is $975.00 per person (Skippers and Trip Leader $488.00). This price covers charter fees, insurance, and dinghy motor rental. Provisioning, fuel, and other incidentals are additional and will be handled by each boat's crew. Car and linen rentals are not included in the trip price. A $150.00 deposit and Release of Liability and Zero Tolerance Form must accompany your reservation form.

Please make your check payable to The Sailing Club, Inc. and mail it, along with your completed reservation and release forms, to Gary Brubaker at the address below. Reservations will be processed beginning April 7, 2018 with a random draw of those received by that date. All reservations received after that date are on a first come, first served basis. A second payment of $425.00 is due on May 15, 2018, and the final payment of $400.00 is due on June 21, 2018. The Club's standard thirty-day cancellation policy applies for this event.

A pre-trip meeting will be held about a month before the trip, at a time and place to be announced. All crewmembers should make every effort to attend in order to meet your crewmates, plan your meals, and make travel plans.

Please note that sailing conditions are dynamic, that your safety, and that of your crewmates, depends on your good physical health and agility.

Trip Leader     

Assistant Trip Leader

Steve Krakauer                      
11 Clark Ct.
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920                      
Gary Brubaker                      
554 Marietta Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081



The Sailing Club home page

Current Trips

Schedule of our trips


On the Water Training
Havre De Grace, MD
June 2-3


Magothy River
June 23-25

Day Sail

Barnegat Bay
July 8

Maine Windjammer

Camden, ME
September 9-14

October Trip

October 5-7

Florida 2019

February 2019