Tonight we fit in one of our planned U.P. adventures – sailing on Lake Superior.
SuperSleuth Colette found a charter (apparently the only game in town!) who offered sunset cruises, and the plans just all fell together.
As we watched Coaster II slowly sail into harbor from her previous sail with very little wind, we decided not to let ourselves be disappointed if the sail was cancelled due to lack of wind. Captain Niko was quick to quash that thought – “if we cancelled a sail every time the weather wasn’t cooperative, we’d not be sailing much at all”. A man after my own heart.
Superior Odyssey is operated by Captain Niko Economides, a true hearty Greek name. As we were soon to find out, the hearty name befits a true hearty man with a big heart who donates time and his vessel to provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences for underprivileged kids. Niko’s wife Jill handles the booking and paperwork, and his son Thanos is his first mate. Not a bad family business to have when sailing is in your blood! An in-depth conversation with Thanos revealed a young man with good sailing skills and a love for the water. As Henry David Thoreau once penned, “One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels”. Hopefully Thanos’ love of sailing drives him to pursue dad’s dream once dad is no longer able to captain the ship himself.
Coaster II is a 43ft mahogany hulled schooner, built in 1933. She is considered a “tall ship”, which Colette and I were both surprised to learn had nothing to do with the height of her masts, rather the rigging of the sails. One of the many nuggets of information that Captain Niko was to share throughout the course of the evening – the man has a goldmine of sailing knowledge and lore packed away between his ears. Niko gave us a brief rundown of their trip back from Maine when they purchased the boat, but not quite the depth found in this story that I discovered through a Bing search on Captain Niko’s name. The boat was built by legendary boat designer Murray Peterson, and was his personal boat. There are two schools of thought here – the first is that the cobbler’s kids are always barefoot, the second is that a noted builder would have his personal vessel be a drawing board and showpiece for the best of the best. I prefer to think of the Coaster II as the second option.
Apparently business is quite good during the summer – Thanos mentioned that they run up to 5 trips a day, and surprisingly the weekdays are busier than weekends due to tourists travelling on the weekends. This week was no different, although the crew had just returned from Duluth MN, where they participated in the Tall Ships Festival. That must be quite a sight to behold, with a large gathering of ships creating a visual time warp to yesteryear.
Mother Nature was not in the sort of mood to provide spirited sailing, so we all relaxed and enjoyed the 1-3 knots that we were lucky enough to have, and just soaked up the peacefulness of the water and the splendor of the sunset. Marquette is a charming little town, and makes for a great skyline when the sun is setting.
I was surprised not to find any reviews of Superior Odyssey on TripAdvisor or Yelp, so we started one for each. The TripAdvisor review takes 48 hours to post since it wasn’t already present, so I’ll repost the direct link once it’s available. If you take a cruise with Captain Niko and crew, be sure to chime in on both sites with your reviews and let them know what you thought!