Our Story

Mark and Katya Gordon met in the north woods of Minnesota while working with troubled teenagers.  Mark was directing a correctional wilderness program for boys called Thistledew Camp.  Katya, employed by Amicus, Inc.,  was directing a restorative and gender-specific program for serious and chronic girl offenders in the state of Minnesota.  They were soon married.  Four years later, parents of a baby girl (Lamar) and a toddler (Cedar), they moved aboard Amicus, the 34-ft. steel ketch they'd bought along the north shore of Lake Superior.


The Gordons lived aboard for a year and sailed to the Bahamas and back, a tale that is chronicled in Big Waves, Small Boat, Two Kids.  Discovering that "there is no place like home," they returned to the Minnesota and moved to the town of Two Harbors along the north shore.   Three years later they bought Amicus II and founded Amicus Adventure Sailing, a small family-owned charter sailing business that operates, then and now, out of Knife River, MN.


Homeschoolers and adventurers still, they returned to the trip-leading for young people in 2010 with Operation Bill Tilman--authentic high-adventure voyages for young adults.  This was so successful that when they left Lake Superior again--once more heading south--they had crew with them for all major legs of their journey.  When they returned a year later, their sense of urgency around the growing crisis of climate change led them to a new passion:  climate engagement through sail.  Sea Change Expeditions was born in 2014, circumnavigating Lake Superior over three years and engaging citizens in climate solutions at every port.


Mark, Katya, Cedar, and Lamar still live in Two Harbors, still host potlucks and invite newcomers into their world, and still part-time homeschool.  They strive to live Arctic Explorer Will Steger's words that "the solution to climate change is social engagement."  They believe that today's problems call for radical changes in lifestyle and community, and they try to live intentionally, even (or especially) when it takes them far from the beaten path. 


Today, they are both land and boat-based, depending on the time of year.  Katya's blog covers both sailing stories and family lore,  and she is now writing a second book.  The girls are working hard at growing up, and Mark teaches celestial navigation at the North House Folk School.  But they still take off together every year with young and old crew members, trying to live up to the legacy of Amicus II, which means "friend."