Day 3 on the Denis Sullivan: Janet’s View (August 14, 2016)

August 14, 2016

After 14 hours of “about to release the contents of my stomach”, I finally woke up feeling wonderful! I was able to eat a small breakfast and get to work. The weather today is beautiful! Clear sky, low seventies, fair winds. The sails are up and we are cruising at a comfortable 5.8 knots heading toward the Mackinac Bridge. It’s wonderful to have sea legs!

First order of business after breakfast was a water quality test and taking zooplankton samples. Currently we are doing a count on populations among various zooplankton taxonomic groups (cyclopoid copepods, calanoid copepods, and cladocerans) as well as invasive species such as the spiny water flea. We will take several samples every day from various sites to compare with Lake Superior.

The crew on this ship are wonderful! They are very helpful and patient if you have a questions about the head, our course, “are we there yet?” and various other things. Tina keeps us fed well and Captain Tiff is a plethora of knowledge about the sea (as well as all of the crew). I was able to drive the boat and discovered it is more difficult than the crew make it look! It was awesome!

Some lessons today included information about the sunken ship Atlanta, star constellations in the Ojibwe culture, and a lesson on ROVs including a prototype challenge in which we split into groups and designed, built and test drove our own ROV using a coat hanger, Popsicle sticks, various weights, a small motor, and tape. Our designs were tested in a small kiddy pool that later proved to be a valuable bath tub for one teacher! Rub a dub dub. Where is that giant Rubber Ducky when you need it?

Our day rounded out with a wonderful supper and a happy chance meeting of the Viking ship Draken Harald Harfagre at Mackinac Island. It is a beautiful ship and I feel very privileged to have seen it given my Norwegian heritage! I also feel very privileged to be upon this sailing Vessel. She is beautiful and I am leaning nautical terms, how to tie various knots, and the parts of a sailing ship. I may be a teacher, but I am always a student!

Until next time, sails up, run the course, and fair weather! Cheers!