(Written by Kristen Sandstrom)
It’s been a while since we’ve talked about “the ferry.” It’s no secret that our family has been riding the Madeline Island Ferry for many many years now. Of course, Nancy remembers riding the original Nichevo which you had to back off of! I personally remember riding on the Nichevo II as a child, but to this day I have a soft spot for the Island Queen. The Queen has this little deck off of their passenger cabin that can only seat about 5-6 people comfortably. My sister and I would always race up there – to “our spot.” I still to this very day, love sitting there. It’s as if we have our own private balcony for that 25 minute ride.
Today is one of those days that I’d really rather be riding the Ferry. From Bayfield the lake looks like a field of diamonds with all of those sparkles. It’s virtually impossible to capture those diamonds in a photo, but trust me, they’re there. I see this lake everyday, yet days like today make me feel so very fortunate that I live here. It makes me want to be a “visitor” again. I want to go down and hop on the next Ferry scheduled. I would start by staying on the main deck of the boat. I would lean over the edge to see the bow of the boat breaking through the calm waters – creating its beautiful wake. If I’m lucky enough to be riding on the Island Queen, I would run up to “our spot” and sit and enjoy the cold (and it is cold at this time of year) wind on my face. From the boat you can see a few of the Apostle Islands: Basswood Island, Long Island, Ashland and more. Look at a map and try to identify which is which.
So, yes, the Ferry is for many simply a mode of transportation – a way of getting from the mainland to Madeline Island, and back. No matter how many times I ride those boats though, it’s more than that for me. It’s a short and sweet adventure. It’s 25 minutes where I can just sit and enjoy the view! Which is something we all could do a bit more of.