Apostle Islands (Northern Wisconsin)

July 4, 2016

Joyce and I just returned from a road trip to Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands, off the northern tip of Wisconsin (Bayfield Peninsula). The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore consists of 21 islands known for their sandstone sea caves (see featured image), pristine beaches, cliffs, native wildlife, old-growth forests, and historic lighthouses. The featured image is of the sea caves along the north shore of Devil’s Island. I captured the image during a late-afternoon boat cruise that meandered around all of the islands over a 3.5 hour period.

We arrived at the idyllic town of Bayfield, Wisconsin and settled in to our room at a lakeside hotel. Our room was huge, with a view of the lake, and had opening windows which featured soothing bullfrog conversations all night long from a pond right below us. On our first morning, we caught a ferry to Madeline Island, which is not actually designated as part of the national island complex because it was simply too developed/inhabited to convert to a national park site in 1970 with the other islands. Our visit began with a hearty breakfast in La Pointe, a charming town on the island, followed by a moped tour around the 14-mile-long island. Although Joyce has ridden on the back of my motorcycles for over 30 years, it was her first time riding two wheels on her own. She caught on quickly, and soon we were cruising around the island on a perfect, if not chilly day.



Our rides for the day—Yamaha mopeds. We could have rented bicycles but why go to all of the extra work of pedaling when taking in Lake Superior for the first time? I captured this image with my iPhone, along with a video of Joyce cruising on her red moped. You can find the video on my Facebook page.

After spending much of the day on Madeline Island, we returned to Bayfield to freshen up at our motel. After a lunch of broiled whitefish sandwiches, we headed to the marina where the cruise boat awaited. We had to stand in line for an hour because I wanted to be the first one on the boat to get the best seat for photographs. The weather was perfect so the wait didn’t seem bad, and yes, we ended up in the first row of seats with a ton of room in front of us to stow all my camera gear.

The cruise through all the islands was not only beautiful, but informative as well. The pilot told us stories about every island we encountered, ranging from interesting eccentricities of original island inhabitants to encounters with murderous pirates by local sailors. The highlight of the trip, from a photography standpoint, was a close-up view of the sandstone sea caves along the north shore of Devil’s Island.



A closer look at the sea caves around Devil’s Island. The sandstone was bright red in the late-afternoon light. The saturation on this exposure was set to zero. By the way, all of the sea cave images were shot with a 70 – 200/2.8 lens.



A long shot of Devil’s Island with its beautiful sea caves and lighthouse.



A historic fishing camp from the 1930s on Manitou Island. The camp is maintained in its original condition and a caretaker stays on the island throughout the summer to educate visitors. She came out and waved to us from her lonely post when we passed the island.



Speaking of fishing, we passed several commercial fishing net markers out on Lake Superior. Gill nets and trap nets are widely used on the lake by commercial fishermen.



The Raspberry Island Lighthouse was a stunning work of architecture. Unfortunately, we caught it during a period of upkeep which required a scaffold. Darn!



A closer look at the Raspberry Island Lighthouse.



After working our way around the islands for over three hours, we finally returned to Bayfield at dusk. I made this image from the boat as we re-entered the harbor. I’m serious folks; this place was sublime! I could really see myself living in a town like this but I might change my tune in the dead of winter!

Our visit to the Apostle Islands was only part of our Wisconsin roadtrip, which also included a couple of days at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin School in Spring Green. When we finally set a course south for Missouri, neither of us was quite ready to come home. On our way back, we stayed at a motel in Springfield, Illinois, and upon waking, I mentioned to Joyce how nice the place was. Her response was that she couldn’t hear any bullfrogs out the window, and that actually the window didn’t even open! I think it will be a while before we find another place as relaxing and wonderful as the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. I’m sure our minds will drift back to Bayfield when we open the first package of smoked whitefish we brought back in our cooler.

Thanks for looking,


Email:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery of Images and Print Information:  DannyBrownPhotography






5 comments on “Apostle Islands (Northern Wisconsin)”

  1. Thanks for the tour, sounds like a wonderful place. Did you hear much talk of Small Mouth Bass fishing up there. bruce

  2. Looks like a great adventure, what made it more fun was sharing with someone that was as equally excited about the journey.

  3. Thank’s for sharing your pictures, of Apostle Island, with all of the sea caves, and shore line. Its looks so beautiful. It looks as though you really had a GREAT Time. I am glad you had a safe trip.

    Art Tilley

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