Day 3 SV Denis Sullivan told by Kris

August 16, 2017

Day 3 Port   Washington to Sheboygan

Horror stories of sea sickness, using the “head” and sleeping in “your own personal coffin” were some of the worries of the previous days but today I woke after a good night sleep, no sea sickness and everything going “down” in the head. I am looking forward to another day on the Denis Sullivan and what it may have to offer.


James gave the 6:00am wake up and mentioned an “interesting” sunrise, so I quickly made my way to the deck to a calm and peaceful start to the day as the sun made its way to the sky. One by one people began to emerge from various parts of the boat, some looking rested others looking rusty. If only more days could start with such a sane beginning.   Breakfast was an “all hands” breakfast meaning we could eat together rather than in shifts. Wynn (the ship’s cook) whipped up a perfect breakfast of eggs, bacon, grits and watermelon.

2017 Denis Sullivan

After breakfast and before getting on the move, the ship got a little lovin’. We are all given jobs including cleaning the galley, mopping the deck and “soles and bowls”. My group is given “soles and bowls” which is cleaning the floors and bathrooms in the main hold. Again, the stories were more daunting than the task.   Mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms is something that we have all done and it’s really no big deal.


After we complete our chores, captain Tiffany gets us moving back out on the water. As we exit the break wall, we are met with some waves which could possibly interfere with Wynn’s perfect breakfast. There is no conversation but I am considering the possibility of sea sickness so I am certain there may be others “in the same boat”.   The crew proceeds to set the sails with whatever help we can provide and just like that we are headed to Sheboygan.

Cory “Paddle to the Sea”

The morning lessons are being presented by our mentor teachers, Bo and Cory. Bo’s lesson is centered on bio accumulation and Cory introduces “Paddle to the Sea” and how it could be used as a springboard to science and other possible teaching topics. While they are giving their presentations, I am reminded of Bruce’s comments during his introduction yesterday. He mentioned that his goal of this trip was to bring enthusiasm about the Great Lakes into his classroom. I have been considering his remarks and I am impressed by both Bo and Cory’s enthusiasm about their lessons.


The seas are calmer and Wynn’s lunch of beef and soba noodles with a side of green beans is welcomed.  We eat in shifts this time. We again break into our smaller groups and my group is led by the ship’s educator, Alex and in 30 minutes he tries to explain the physics of sailing. He does a great job and has props to help explain some basic concepts. I may need a few more lessons before I embark on a sailing career.


The captain lets us know that she will slow the boat so we can take a few water samples. We all hurry to our stations and try to collect the data we are set out to collect. The crew is great and they move the boom so that we can get the zooplankton/phytoplankton catcher out away from the boat. We are struggling to collect water samples with the hydolab at varying depths because the boat is still moving and the lines are not going straight down. The Secchi disk was out of sight because it went under the boat not because of lack of clarity of the water. The sampling methods could be ridiculed but non-the-less we practiced using the equipment.


We can see Sheboygan and the crew brings in the sails. The call and response of the commands used to move the sails is a song of its own. “Idle hands” is my favorite part of the call.   Could it be used in the classroom?  Immediately after we dock, we do a bit of sampling . I believe the sampling methods are more reproducible. We will look at the samples tomorrow because we need to disembark the boat to allow for tours and an evening sail of the Denis Sullivan for the public. It turns out that 600 people came aboard the ship tonight.

We walk to the Lottie Cooper about a mile away and Tori, our WISCONSIN shipwreck archeologist, gives us the low down. It is great to see Tori’s enthusiasm. There is no way she can mask her excitement about sharing her knowledge of the shipwreck.   Sarah also shares a fun lesson on run off contamination while we eat a second lunch that Wynn kindly prepared for us

Sarah contaminating run off

and Titus shows us how to use a seine with minimal success. All of us take a little dip in the Great Lake Michigan and make our way to the YMCA for a hot tub, sauna and/or shower.

Titua and seine fishing

Our day is almost complete. We mosey to Sprecher’s for beers, dinner and lots of laughs. The waitress is great and adds to a perfect day. The ship is back at the dock and since that is our home for the week, we head back home. Thanks to all for making this a great day.