Today was the day we have been looking forward to for weeks! A sailing field trip aboard the Denis Sullivan, an educational sailing vessel. This three-masted replica of a 19th century Great Lakes cargo schooner is 137 feet long. When we arrived we were greeted by who we thought was the captain. Turns out we were wrong. He was part of the crew, but not the captain.
On board, the captain (in the green jacket) went over safety rules before we started. She seemed young to be captain!
This ship was built in Wisconsin, in 2000. It's summer home is Pier Wisconsin on the Great Lakes. It winters in Florida.
The kids were broken up into groups and were given many hands on learning experiences. Here, Eli and Zack are checking the depth of visibility.
Zack was the record keeper for their group. (Zack initially wasn't to go on this trip. When I realized he was off school today I asked if there were any openings and there were! He literally joined us at the last minute! I was so excited for him to be able to join in on the fun! This stuff is right down his alley!)
This contraption is lowered into the water. When it hits bottom, the trigger releases the pin, and the jaw closes around whatever it can and they haul it up to the top and dump the contents to study.
Hauling up the trap.
Lots of stuff to look at!
This group of gals, including Rebecca, were doing a number of things including measuring the levels of oxygen and salinity in the water.
This robot (worth $45,000-$50,000) was sent down to the bottom to explore. The kids watched on a big screen. The operator didn't travel too far with it because we were docked and they didn't want to tangle the cable around any pilings. But the kids were able to see sheep heads, tiny crabs and fish and coral.
The girls turn to send down the trap.
This crew mate in the red jacket was a lot of fun. He taught the kids some chants used by sailors when raising and lowering sails.
It was extremely windy, so they put up the smallest sail and promptly lowered it.
Down in the vessel were the bunks, galley, and engine room. This crew member is explaining what the trap in the floor is for. (It holds the contents of the "head".)
Behind the water-tight door is the engine hold. There are 2 diesel engines down there and this YOUNG lady was in charge of them. She just changed the oil on one of them yesterday.
There was a mini lab set up and the kids were able to view freshly caught plankton. The dark-haired lady you see in the upper right corner was 1st mate. She had a broken foot and was trying to stay off her feet!
Whatever was on the microscope could be viewed on the screen nice and big.
The mega downer to the whole day? It was too windy to sail! This vessel is too big to sail in the river and the seas were too high today. Mainly, though, the wind was coming straight at the boat and with the current direction and lower tide they didn't think they could safely get it away from the dock and out the inlet.
The upside? They are letting us come back! We get to come back with other groups and hopefully then we'll get out on the ocean! I'm praying that the weather will cooperate next time and we can experience sailing for the first time!