When I started researching places to visit in Wisconsin for a Midwest road trip, I had no idea I’d fall in love. But that’s exactly what happened when I discovered the Apostle Islands off Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shoreline. And, apparently, I’m not the only one. Captain Paul Bratti of Animaashi Sailing Company did, too. Almost thirty years ago. He’s been sailing in Bayfield, Wisconsin ever since.
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The Animaashi Sailing Company
When you visit the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, you have to do one of two things—sailing or kayaking. Preferably both. Sadly, the #AdventurePartnerForLife and I only had a limited amount of time, so sailing it was. That’s how I discovered Animaashi Sailing Company.
“Animaashi” is the Ojibway or Chippewa word for “to sail away.” And that’s exactly what we did almost as soon as we arrived in the Apostle Islands. We met Captain Paul on the Bayfield city dock and were immediately introduced to his 34′ sailing yacht, “Sarah’s Joy.”
I was pleased to learn that additional measures were being taken to ensure the health of customers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Captain Paul was very conscious of this. The measures included face masks, reduced capacity for some level of social distancing, and elbow bumps instead of hand shakes.
It’s an added bonus—and worth mentioning—that Animaashi Sailing belongs to the Travel Green Wisconsin program. This program was developed by Wisconsin’s Department of Tourism to encourage sustainable travel and green initiatives. It’s the first of its kind in the United States and offers certifications to its participants.
Our Apostle Islands Sail
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is actually celebrating its fiftieth National Park Service birthday this year. Comprised of some 21 separate islands, it’s known for its sandstone sea caves, old-growth forests, and historic lighthouses. A couple-hour sailing trip is really just an introduction to the area, but still enough to experience some of its splendor.
We sailed south towards Madeline Island where we were able to see the red rock shoreline and catch a view of several islands all at once. We learned about the history of the area—how Native Americans still live in the region and how French Canadian fur traders later came to explore. Captain Paul let us steer the yacht for a bit and offered a touch of sailing know-how to the husband as we moved along. We even learned a bit about the captain himself.
About Captain Paul
As a kid, Paul Bratti was lobstering in Hyannis Port, Cape Cod. As a teenager, he was swimming competitively in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He joined the US Coast Guard after high school and spent the next twenty years working on the water. Among his duties were search and rescue operations, drug interdiction, and most notably, icebreaking and diving in Antarctica.
He’d eventually become the head honcho at Bayfield’s Coast Guard station and, well, the rest is history. He fell in love with the Apostle Islands. And then fell in love with a local girl. Nowadays, Captain Paul runs the Animaashi Sailing Company in the summers, while teaching special education in the off-season.
Apostle Islands Sailing Options
As mentioned before, we only did a two-hour sailing excursion, but there are plenty of options available. Take a 3-hour ride or a full-day trip. Do a sunset cruise or even get a gift certificate. Sail yourself, learn how, or just sit back, relax, and enjoy the water. Captain Paul is flexible.
“Sarah’s Joy” can accommodate up to six passengers—with some restrictions—to allow for social distancing. Reservations are encouraged, though not required, and require a 50% deposit.
A Recommendation for Animaashi Sailing Company
A quick sail with Animaashi Sailing Company was the perfect way to start our time in the Apostle Islands. I really appreciated the Coronavirus measures implemented, not to mention the company’s green initiative. And Captain Paul was awesome—accommodating, friendly, and a great representative of the city of Bayfield. I’d highly recommend Animaashi Sailing Company for your next Apostle Islands excursion.
|Animaashi Sailing Company|
PO Box 1395
Bayfield, WI 54814
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