I woke this morning to the sound of shuffling feet above, we were within minutes of land, our families, real toilets… excitement was in the air. We pulled into Duluth’s harbor and welcomed aboard a crew for the Parade of Sails. Watching my fellow teachers move around the boat with confidence and neat coils was awe inspiring. We sailed under the Aerial Lift Bridge and out to the bay to wait for our turn in the procession. Our wait was filled with beautiful sights of Duluth and a thorough introduction to the large variety of watercraft. After riding the wave of the Parade of Sails, the educator crew helped tie down the boat and didn’t miss a single opportunity to spread excitement for tall ships, yay!
The Great Lakes Awareness Day event was next and our educators were ready to show off their (Lake) Superior Great Lakes knowledge. Educational activities included Great Lakes Literacy Trivia with beautiful handmade watercolor trivia cards, Seeing Under the Water with 2D and 3D rovers and microscopes for viewing Great Lakes life in new ways, Introduction to the Great Lakes with a large map to inspire questions and impart information, Dichotomous Key of Great Lakes Fish to get to know our finned friends better, Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes to spark interest in what our lakes hide, and Invasives and Management to show how our lakes are changing and how GLIFWC approaches management. It was a packed two hour event with lots of inquiry, conversations, and education.
With GLAD finished, we separated to meet up with family and friends, took long awaited showers, and wandered around Canal Park with the intention of reconvening at Green Mill for a final dinner together. After ten minutes of table tetris in Green Mill’s conference room, we settled in for a meal filled with great conversation, shared appreciation, warm thoughts of tough times on the boat, and a lot of tears. We wrapped up our meal by sharing our favorite or most meaningful part of the trip. It was wonderful to recall moments that we all loved and to really see how different aspects of our journey contributed to each of our development in variable ways. Small events I barely noticed changed the course of the trip for others; it showed the true strength of our diverse curriculum and experiences. We left dinner with a new increased appreciation of our fellow shipmates and being granted this opportunity.
Dinner was followed by much needed sleep for some and much needed beer and socializing with the ship’s usual crew for others. Eventual retreat to the boat was another night’s sleep in bunks for some and others gave up their bunks for hammocks and camp mats on deck. Our last night on the boat was a perfect combination of bugless, still water, ideal temperatures, and reflections on our amazing journey.
-Katie and Christina