Shuttling passengers to Discovery World, gathering water samples from Milwaukee Harbor using homemade plankton nets, high tech Hydrolab equipment and Ekman Dredges, boarding the S/V Denis Sullivan for the very first time, claiming one of the below deck bunks that were described as making a coffin seem spacious, practicing tying knots, learning how to don personal flotation devices and get into our “Gumby” suits (immersion safety suits)describing the difference between lines and ropes, saying goodbye to flushing toilet paper town the toilet in the head as it may plug the plumbing, raising sails while learning sailing terms like throat, peak, belay and dealing with the loss of one of the vessel’s engines, learning about invasive species such as Quagga Mussels and the archaeology of the over 700 shipwrecks in the Wisconsin Great Lakes were just a few of the items we touched upon prior to docking for the evening in Port Washington! (And this run on sentence only covers the PARTIAL list of what transpired on this day!!)
Today was truly the start to what I imagine most of us fortunate enough to be a part of this wonderful opportunity believe to be a wonderful experience. There really was SO much that happened in this day that it is hard to capture in just this snapshot blog. All of the above, and then some, really occurred during the course of this amazing day. I can’t express how wonderful it was to launch from the dock at Discovery World, motor out of the harbor and then put up the sails!! It felt as though we were showing off this beautiful vessel for the whole city of Milwaukee to admire! All of the teachers had an opportunity to partake in raising the sails and assist the wonderful S/V Denis Sullivan crew in performing all of the tasks necessary to make this happen.
While sailing to Port Washington, we discussed topics from shipwrecks to sea lampreys and learned that once we departed the dock, we really were existing on a floating island. That may not seem relevant but it really generated great discussions on energy use, water consumption (hence the licking of plates and bowls clean of any morsels in order to ease water use for dish washing as well as our waste generation!), waste generation and the storage of that waste. We take everything with us and need to be conscientious of how much and what we use (much like a microcosm of our planet-our own floating bio dome if you will). The crew is wonderful, friendly and more than willing to teach landlubbers like myself how to tie a knot or coil a line-their patience and understanding is greatly appreciated!
As we neared Port Washington and I looked back on all that happened prior to and throughout the course of our sail, I was amazed at how much we accomplished and learned-and this was only our first day on the vessel! I am really looking forward to the upcoming days sailing and the continued networking and learning I will be doing with colleagues and the crew of the S/V Denis Sullivan. It is now time to turn in for the night for what I hope will be a peaceful and refreshing sleep in my snug little bunkhouse with my 14 bunk mates! What an outstanding day-I can’t wait to see what adventures tomorrow will bring!