Welcome to "Little Dipper"
A small boat on a big lake and the search for a sense of place in Lake Superior's Apostle Islands. Will you join me on the journey?
Anchor the Little Dipper in a small cove that has no name on the maps of the Apostle Islands. Slip into a wetsuit and step carefully down the swim ladder into the blue-black water so cold it takes your breath away. Remind yourself to just breathe in and out. It is not yet 4 am. You are floating alone in the largest lake in the world in the pre-dawn light, suspended it seems between light and dark. Slowly, your breathing begins to even out. There is the faintest hint of color in the east, just enough to give you hope. Put that light at your back and swim towards the darkness of an Apostle Islands sea cave, the velvety blackness of the water smooth against your skin.
At the entrance of the nameless cave, you hesitate, but only for a moment in case all your resolve fades away. Deep breath. Swim. Move deeper in the cave until you have seemingly left all the light behind. There is only the restless sloshing of the black water rising and falling like something breathing. Drips from above like shards of falling stars. Stars, that seems the right image here, alone in a place that is as dark as outer space. Almost. Slowly, your eyes adjust to the darkness, pupils opening as if to the memory of light. And then you see it - even here, far back in the cave, the growing sunlight out over the lake is finding a way into the cave, coloring the moment with beauty. Within minutes the cave is lit like a diamond, light dancing, flickering off the water, off the walls, into your soul. It is morning and you understand why it is you have come. You begin to photograph.
Several years ago, my wife Jill and I purchased a small C-Dory christened the “Little Dipper.” It has become a vessel of exploration into our chosen place: the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior. This exploration of a single place is new to me after decades of skipping like a stone across the world as a full-time travel writer. Now, I will stop skipping and instead sink down deep, using the Little Dipper as a vessel of discovery, seeking out the beauty, moods, meaning, and stories of this chosen landscape.
And this collection of writings and photographs will chronicle the journey aboard the Little Dipper and into the heart of the Apostle Islands. If you too are looking for moments of flickering beauty, seeking a connection to your chosen landscape, a connection woven with the threads of writing, photography, and adventure, then come along for the ride aboard the “Little Dipper” and join me in the journey. – Jeff Rennicke
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