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A family's story of transporting passengers across Lake Superior to Isle Royale

Captain Benny Silence prepares for a trip to Isle Royale on the Voyageur II. Photo by Matthew Baxley
Captain Benny Silence prepares for a trip to Isle Royale on the Voyageur II. Photo by Matthew Baxley

Transporting passengers from Grand Portage to Isle Royale on Lake Superior is a family activity for Captain Benny Silence. His great-grandfather, Roy Oberg, drove the original transportation line from Grand Portage to Isle Royale for decades, dating back to the late 1930s. In 2021, Silence’s daughter, RaeAnne, is occasionally on board working as a deckhand.

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the Isle Royale Transportation Lines operating out of Grand Portage for all of the 2020 season. With a return to service in 2021, passengers are quickly booking tickets to visit Isle Royale National Park and business is returning to normal. That being the case, passengers are required to wear face coverings while on board the Voyageur II or Sea Hunter III this season.

Isle Royale, located about 22 miles across Lake Superior from Grand Portage, is where the transportation line recently took WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs and other passengers en route to the remote island on the massive freshwater lake. The audio below was recorded during the trip.

Click here to learn more about the Isle Royale Transportation Line.

Click here to watch a video from a trip aboard the Voyageur II.

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