Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year - Almost

Well this is it, the last day of 2010. I hope it was a good year for you. It was for ISEA. Here are two ways to end the year on an up note:
1. Click here to make a year-end donation to Inland Seas!
2. Check out the beautiful underwater photos of Grand Traverse Bay taken by freediver Chris Morley.

Happy New Year, and be careful driving tonight. Tom Kelly

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Inland Seas Summer 2010 Sailing Schedule Announced

Today ISEA announced its 2010 summer public program schedule. After a busy spring with school classes, the schooner Inland Seas will commence with public programs in July.

The Family Ecology Sail is designed to make "scientists for a day" out of the entire family, from grandparents to youngsters. The Gull Island Birding Cruise returns to the schedule on June 14. Our Maritime History Under Sail program honors the life and work of ISEA Volunteer Instructor Claudia Goudschaal and will sail from Suttons Bay to Omena and return. The Explore Power Island trip takes us to the crown jewel of Grand Traverse Bay, and gets us ashore to hike and see the natural wonders of the island. Our most popular program is always Astronomy Under Sail. We have two Astronomy programs this year, on August 9th and 10th. And a special all-day program for community leaders is called Day on the Bay, and features presentations and demonstrations in the Education Center and an afternoon on the schooner.

ISEA also has programs for teachers. Call the office or contact our Education Director Christine Crissman for details.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Sea Gypsy by Richard Hovey

Here is some poetry for mid-winter dreaming. Enjoy.

The Sea Gypsy, By Richard Hovey

I am fevered with the sunset,
I am fretful with the bay,
For the wander-thirst is on me
And my soul is in Cathay.

There's a schooner in the offing,
With her topsails shot with fire,
And my heart has gone aboard her
For the Islands of Desire.

I must forth again to-morrow!
With the sunset I must be
Hull down on the trail of rapture
In the wonder of the sea.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Asian Carp Update

Asian Carp Found Just Above Lockport Lock in the Des Plaines River, Dec. 3, 2009 Rotenone poisoning of 5.7 miles of the Des Plaines River and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal turned up only one Asian carp, although DNA testing of water samples came up positive for Asian carp in the Calument Sag Canal near the confluence with the Des Plaines River and below the Obrien Lock. See maps of the DNA sampling area. A description and photos of the carp barrier and maps of the pre and post construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal are at
Additional information, including maps, can be found on the Great Lakes United web site.
I'll keep you posted as new information is avaiable. --Tom K.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Creatures of the Great Lakes on TV - 2 this week.

Denise Baker, Tom Kelly and Rich Brauer enjoying memories of underwater film making in the 1980's.

Watershed Moments premieres on Up North 2 with a retrospective look at the 1984 film Creatures in the Great Lakes

Creatures in the Great Lakes features a cast of "underwater stars" from yesteryear and offers insight into why the clear water we see today is less desirable than the turbid water of the past. The 1984 film was originally intended to serve as an educational tool for classroom use, yet has become a baseline for the state of affairs in the Great Lakes.

Watershed Moments is a public access television program by the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay that explores all facets of Grand Traverse Bay, the heart of our region. Its debut revisits Creatures in the Great Lakes with the film’s creators, Rich Brauer of Brauer Productions and Captain Tom Kelly of the Inland Seas Education Association.

Host Denise Baker delightfully navigates a scientific and technological inquiry of underwater cinematography and environmental education. Longtime friends, Rich and Tom reflect upon their early exploration of the aquatic world and the changes it has endured during the past twenty-five years.

Watershed Moments premieres on Up North 2 this Sunday November 15th at 8pm, Monday November 16th at 10pm, and Saturday, November 21st at 9am.

ISEA Great Lakes Seminar on Tuesday Evening

R/V Northwestern (foreground) Watching bottom profile output onboard the R/V Northwestern
The Inland Seas Education Association will present a seminar that focuses on the on-going survey of the bottom of Grand Traverse Bay at 7:00pm on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at the Inland Seas Education Center in Suttons Bay. The seminar, "Hydrographic Survey of Grand Traverse Bay," will be presented by Hans VanSumeren, Executive Director of Northwestern Michigan College's Water Studies Institute, and Mark Breederland, Extension Educator with Michigan Sea Grant. This seminar is free and open to the public. For more information click on

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Inland Seas Covered for the Winter

Schooners in their winter dress. Inland Seas in foreground, Manitou in distance.
Snug conditions under the cover.

Inland Seas is now wearing her new winter coat, made of white plastic. A brief window of good weather this past week allowed the crew (Remy, Allen and Jan) get the cover on before the next round for rain and high winds. Nice work guys. -Capt. Tom

Monday, October 26, 2009

Inland Seas Heads to Traverse City for Winter

Don Goski takes us around Stony Point
Allen Wolfe on the foredeck, dressed for the weather.

Captain Remy, also dressed for the weather!
R-4 buoy, Lee Point
Today the crew (Tom Kelly, Remy Champt, Allen Wolfe and Don Gorski) took Inland Seas to Traverse City (Greilickville) for winter lay-up. The passage was pleasant dispite the rain and mist. Upon arrival we pumped the holding tanks and took on 145 gallons of diesel fuel. Thanks to Centre Pointe and Harbor West 45 LLC for hosting Inland Seas for the winter. Remy, Allen and volunteer helpers will put on the winter cover in the next few days. -Capt. Tom

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Waterlife Film Benefit, Saturday Oct. 19, 2009

ISEA's benefit showing of the Canadian film Waterlife attracted 200 supporters on Saturday evening. The evening began with a outdoor cookout followed by the film at the Bay Theatre. After the film the audience participated in a discussion with our panel of Great Lakes experts (Tom Kelly, Andy Knott, Scott Blair & Greg Goudy). Over $13,000 was raised toward ISEA's shipboard education programs. Many thanks to all those who donated, attended, organized and helped serve this event. Special thanks to our event sponsors, Northwestern Bank and an anonymous ISEA donor. Thanks also to Peninsula Title for providing the challenge matching funds.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Liberty Comes Home From Charlevoix

Liberty at Northport
Our Friendship sloop Liberty is back from her visit to Charlevoix this summer. While there she was operated by Sea Ports/Great Lakes. She is now at Northport Marina awaiting de-rigging, haul-out and storage by Northport Bay Boat Yard. Many thanks to NBBY for helping out with Liberty again this year.

Inland Seas is De-Rigged

How she looks with sails, booms and topmasts removed.
Allen up the foremast taking off blocks.

Remy and Allen have completed the de-rigging of the schooner and now are doing some refinishing work as the weather allows. Next will be construction of the winter cover frame before we take the ship to Centre Pointe for the winter.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pandora's Locks' Author To Speak at ISEA

Join us for the first Inland Seas Great Lakes Seminar of the Fall 2009 series. Jeff Alexander, author of Pandora's Locks: the Opening of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway, will speak at Inland Seas Education Center Tuesday, October 13 at 7:00 pm. This seminar is free and open to the public.

Invasive species are the biggest threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem to date. Alexander chronicles the implications of invasive species since the opening of the Welland Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Threats and challenges to water quality, public health, power generation, fisheries, recreation, shorelines and wetlands, marine life, birds, mammals, and more are part of the chronicle. Jeff Alexander is an award winning author and former environmental journalist. He covered Great Lakes issues for the past 20 years for several Michigan newspapers, most recently for The Muskegon Chronicle. He currently works for the National Wildlife Federation.

Fall Lay-Up in Progress - AIS Operational This Fall

Captains Remy Champt and Allen Wolfe this morning as work continues on de-rigging the schooner Inland Seas.

Our new AIS (Automatic Identification System) transponder installed in the captain's cabin. This unit sends and receives position information of commercial ships in the area.
Our array of antennas on the lazy board: From left to right: GPS for pilot house display, GPS for AIS, LORAN C, weather sensors, GPS for outside chart plotter, VHF for AIS transmit and receive. The yellow opject in the foreground is our EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Season Finale...Kalkaska Middle School - Oct. 6, 2009

"Up behind." Trawl coming aboard. Lots of Chara, and a diverse catch of fishes (trout-perch, 3-spine stickleback, brook stickleback, round goby, white sucker & native crayfish).
If the ship is made of steel and weighs 45 tons, how can it float?

We were wet, and cold, and wind-blown. But smiling. Thanks Kalkaska Middle School Blazers for another great fall Schoolship season with your three classes! -- Capt. Tom

Monday October 5, 2009 - Benzie Central MS

A cool but sunny day for Benzie Central MS's last sail of the season.
A NW wind gives us a good close reach toward Omena Bay.

OK, the main sheet mechanical advantage is 7:1.

Thanks Benzie, and Larry G. - Capt. Tom

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October 1 Schoolship and Boat Shop News

This morning began with ice on the deck and dock. Fortunately the sun came up and melted it all before our students (Kalkaska MS) arrived. We picked up lots of Chara in the trawl but unfortunately no fish. We had a good variety of fish yesterday (rock bass, small mouth bass, white sucker, round goby), but nothing today. However the weather was wonderful with light winds and sun...much better than last Monday and Tuesday's gales.
The next canoe has gotten underway in the ISEA Boat Shop with students from Suttons Bay Middle and High School doing the construction. Stop in and see their progress!

-Capt. Tom K.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

More from the Michigan Schooner Festival

Sunday at the Michigan Schooner Festival

Early Morning Calm. From the left: Madeline, Appledore V, Inalnd Seas, Dennis Sullivan

Capt. Tom giving the pre-trip Safety Briefing

Sailing dory on West Grand Traverse Bay

Returning to Clinch Park on our final sail of the Festival. Appledore V is dockside in the photo.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Schooner Festival - Sept. 11, 2009

Dennis Sullivan missed the Parade of Sail, but made a fine sight on Saturday
The littlest schooner?

Arcturus, MHA's H-28


Conditions were perfect for the first Michigan Schooner Festival in Grand Traverse Bay.
-Capt. Tom

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 10, 2009 - Donor Sail and Appledore V

"Come and get it"...Greg is ready to serve.
ISEA held a dinner sail for its donors (Captain Circle and above) on the evening of Sept. 10. We had 25 guests and a fine dinner prepared by Inland Seas' chef Greg Hatfield. It was a wonderfully warm evening filled with good friends and good conversation.

After we arrived back at out dock, the schooner Appledore V from Bay City came alongside to spend the night. She will join Inland Seas tomorrow for the Traverse City Schooner Festival (along with Dennis Sullivan, Welcome, Madeline and others).
Appledore V rafted off alongside Inland Seas. Capt. David Leanza is standing with the flag.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Student Ideas for Protecting the Great Lakes

Here are some suggestions from students in the Fresh Water Studies (ENV 105) class at NMC yesterday following Tom Kelly's session on the Environmental History of the Great Lakes:

1. Try to get the local golf courses to not use fertilizers.
2. Pick up any trash you find.
3. Use environmentally safe pesticides or none at all. Same for fertilzers.
4. Plant trees.
5. Stop over-fishing. Follow fishing rules.
6. Don't mow lawns. Convert to low maintenance vegetation in your lawn.
7. Be aware of your water use. Try to use less around your home.
8. Drive less. Ride your bike or walk.
9. Enroll in NMC's Fresh Water Studies Program! Share knowledge and raise awareness.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


ISEA has had a long working relationship with Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. This has continued this week as NMC's Watershed Studies Class, lead by Prof. Colleen Masterson Bzdok sailed aboard the schoolship Inland Seas on Tuesday morning. The class trawled for fish, took samples of the bottom sediments, hauled a net for zooplankton, and used an Alpha Bottle to collect water samples for pH, D. O. and temperature determinations. They also measured the water transparency with a secchi disk (12 meters). We had very little wind to work with, but we did sail, and it was a beautiful day to be on the lake. A second Watershed Class will sail with us on Monday September 14th.

NMC's Water Studies Institute project finds the wreck of the Lauren Castle in Grand Traverse Bay. The tug Lauren Castle, which sank 5 November 1980 off Lee Point near Suttons Bay, lies in water more than 400 feet deep. For details go to

And, finally, ISEA's Executive Director Tom Kelly will present a program today for NMC's new Freshwater Studies program entitled "An Ecological History of the Great Lakes."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Maintenance Work Continues

Bob and Allen exercising the portable bilge pump, drying out the forepeak. Remy drilling holes in the steel roof frames to fasten the plywood.

Plywood piece in place, with epoxy and fiberglass coating.

As the week ended Remy and Allen had the cabin top repair completed and put on a coat of primer paint on Friday afternoon. The deck was ready for our full Family Science Sail on Saturday morning. Greg was busy steam cleaning all the matrasses and painting the waterways. Bob H. also did a lot of painting. --TK

Watershed Center Uses ISEA Whaler for Aquatic Macrophyte Survey

Last week the Baykeeper John Nelson and the Watershed Center's Program Director Sarah U'Ren borrowed ISEA's 13' Boston Whaler for use in their macrophyte study of Grand Traverse Bay. They worked the east side of Suttons Bay and the Stony Point area. They will soon begin work on East Bay using the Bay Monitor tug.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Reflections on the Astronomy Cruise

Pastoral Reflection
I had the recent opportunity to be a part of the Inland Seas schooner night cruise in order to study the stars from Suttons Bay. It was a wonderful experience which will take me a long time to ponder and digest deep within.

I could not help but to experience my littleness within God's greatness. I understood much more graphically what the psalmist would pray as he sings of the praises and the greatness of our God who is able to count the number of the stars, calling each one by awesome, power-filled image of the singular, magnificence of our God. I'd highly recommend an Inland Seas schooner adventure at night. In one sense, it could only have been better if there were no instructor, only pure experience the vastness and greatness of our God. It was almost the feeling and experience of the prayer "Oh Lord, your seas are so vast, my boat so small.." Yet, He holds us safe within Himself.

I am grateful for the gifts we have at our fingertips here in Leelanau County..."Ask, and seek and you will find...knock and it will be opened for you." (Matthew 7:7-11)
-Fr. Jim Doherty, St. Michael Church, Suttons Bay

September 2, 2009 - 0730

No words are necessary. -Capt. Tom