Meet the Escapade Captains

14 Aug, 2018

Have you hopped on board one of our Green Lake sightseeing cruises or maybe one of our special event cruises such as a beer or wine cruise? If so, you have met at least one of our captains! Our captains ensure the comfort, safety and entertainment of all passengers on our cruises. Since passengers only get to meet one at a time, we thought we would ask them a few questions so you can get to know them all a little bit better.

The Escapade gives tours daily in the summer and hosts a variety of special events throughout the season.

The Escapade gives tours daily in the summer and hosts a variety of special events throughout the season.

Captain Ken

Captain Ken is a familiar face on the Escapade as he has been a captain for four years now. It is hard to believe that he was not a captain previously but he says that his experience working on a farm driving machinery and being a school teacher for 38 years led to a natural ability to drive a large vessel while presenting information to passengers. Captain Ken has known the Green Lake area all his life as he grew up just down the road in Ripon, WI and he currently lives here with his wife. He refers to his favorite spot, the Anne Hathaway bed and breakfast, as a “hidden nugget” because it is tucked back behind the trees. He slows the ship down but you have to look quick as there are only two chances to get a glimpse of the unique, European hatched roof of the B&B. Growing up, he developed a love for the water and one of his favorite parts about being a captain is getting to share the love and passion that he has for the water and the area with other people.

Captain Mike

Captain Mike just joined the Heidel House team as a Yacht Captain in May 2018. Although he has only been a captain on the Escapade for a couple months, he spent his summers at his family cottage on Green Lake where he learned to drive all sorts of water craft. Captain Mike’s connection to the area runs deep; he was born and raised in Princeton, WI where he practiced law for 41 years. He also served as the Court Commissioner for Green Lake County for 15 years until he retired last year. As mentioned before, his family cottage was originally purchased in 1919 and has been passed down through the generations. Norwegian Bay is his favorite spot on the lake for a number of reasons; 1) as a former certified scuba diver, he found the underwater structure simply breathtaking, 2) it is a great area to fish, and 3) the far west side has a wonderful shallow, sandy bottom that lends itself as a great place to play and picnic right on the water! When asked what he likes the most about being a captain and giving tours, he said, “It is refreshing to share my love and respect for Green Lake with folks who seem genuinely interested in the area and its history. Being a captain on the Heidel House Yacht allows me to encourage people to enjoy the natural beauty of the area as well as to make new and hopefully lasting friendships.” Captain Mike likes to end his cruises with a Lehner proverb that really expresses his feelings. It goes something like this, “We did not inherit Green Lake from our grandparents – we are borrowing it from our grandchildren.”

Captain Gary

You may have had Captain Gary before if you’ve been on board an Escapade cruise as he has been with us for three seasons. While he is not native to the Green Lake area, he is an avid fisherman and he has been fishing Big Green for over 30 years. It is difficult for him to pick a favorite spot on the lake as he loves the entire lake for the wide variety of topography and depth. If he had to pick one area it would be Sugar Loaf. “My brother Kevin caught an 11 pound walleye on our first trip to Big Green in 1985 on Sugar Loaf,” he said. Captain Gary has two things he likes most about being a captain and giving tours. “First of all, the guests that tour on the Escapade are so friendly and polite, it is very heartwarming. The interaction with the guests and meeting people from all around this great country and indeed the world makes captaining a pure joy (I get teased a lot from my friends on how I got such a job.) Secondly, working with my fellow captains and co-workers at the Heidel House is just plain fun. All the people that work for the Heidel House are very professional and help me tremendously with my position as captain. I feel very honored to be a captain and love my job. Happy Sailing!”

Captain Cletus

Captain Cletus has been captaining boats for a majority of his life – 39 years to be exact! He has lived and worked in Green Lake County since 1985 and settled into retirement here in Green Lake. He refers to Green Lake as a “hidden gem in the Southern hemisphere of Wisconsin.” Captain Cletus cites the views of the Native American mounds on South Shore as his favorite spot on the lake. When asked what he likes the most about being a captain and giving tours, Captain Cletus said “I enjoy the privilege of sharing some of my ‘limited’ knowledge on the history and heritage of Green Lake.”


Obviously, the best way to get to know more about the captains is to get on one of the cruises! Daily cruises are available at 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. until September 3, 2018. Fall cruises are available at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday and at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday starting Friday, September 7 and ending on Sunday, October 28. There is a fall Dine and Sail Experience on Thursday, September 13 and a fall Beer Cruise on Friday, October 19. For more information on our sightseeing cruises or special event cruises, please visit our website.

We hope to see you on board the Escapade soon!


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