Monday, June 15, 2009

Spring Schoolship Aboard Manitou

2009 Schoolship Memories
Aboard the Two Masted Gaff Rig Schooner Manitou

by ISEA Lead Instructor & Board Member Sally Somsel

Lead Scientist - Dr. Bill once again led the opening day activities on Manitou as the first students crossed the deck of the tallship. The opening day otter trawl launch was the only dry net launch for the season. It came back up after the ten minute time period with fish, new old Chara and no slime. Fishing was good this year and then the goby moved in. The big catch of the year was the huge glob of quagga mussels weighing over 250 pounds.

The secchi disks hit bottom that first day out at 20 meters & our water temperature was in the low to mid 30’s. While anchored, we determined that the VanDorn bottle line was coming up short & was missing 25 feet. After much discussion between the leads & double checking the measurements - we finally convinced the office we needed a longer line. It arrived at some point in the season, & then we broke the VanDorn bottle, luckily Dr. Bill reached into his towel sack & pulled out a VanDorn for us to use. The water temperature in a month had only warmed up 10 or 15 degrees depending upon which thermometer you were using. It is still not warm enough for the quagga and zebra mussels to have sex yet.

The weather was mostly – “not snowing”. But there was the morning when we arrived and found that the deck was pure ice. As we moved across the bay we ended up being the “Grand Traverse Bay Ice Breaker.”

Captain Dave has a GREAT crew this year. The crew is experienced, helpful & dedicated to the upkeep of Manitou & to the ISEA program. The schooner looks spectacular! The Manitou is really in ship shape condition this season, & we can’t say we have ever seen all the brass so polished & bright this early in the spring. There is either a paint elf onboard Manitou this year, or we Leads have been more careful this spring & are not gouging the PONAR dredge into the nicely painted rail. The crew is taking greater care in bringing the otter boards back on the deck. The crew was pleasant & jovial: Jovial can be translated into: cheerful, jolly, good-humored, fun-loving, full of beans, happy, buoyant – just take your pick

It was a very cold spring; hats, mittens, gloves, & winter coats were the garb of fashion. Captain Cheyenne didn’t dress in 7 layers this year, but she was bundled up. There were a few days when the students showed up in T-shirts and shorts dressed for a pleasant sail in August, even though the temperature was fifty and the wind chill thirty below. After dressing them in yellow jackets and we got their brains warmed up, we had a few students where the “light” kicked “on” and maybe a future sailor or scientist was inspired that day.

While the 80,000 Schoolship student walked across the deck of Inland Seas this spring, that number wouldn’t have been reached without the use of the “floating classrooms” Malabar, Westwind and the magnificent Manitou and their Captains & crew. Even though Inland Seas got a cake, Captain Dave got Birthday Donuts and a rousing chorus of that traditional sea shanty - HAPPY BIRTHDAY !

Brendan and Cheyenne get the Seamanship Instructor Award this year. It was a cold “rainy” day on Monday and I have never seen such big smiles back there at the wheel. The students and the crew/instructors were having a great learning experience. Cook Tina kept the galley warm & toasty and her hot coffee saved the life of many an instructor this spring. Tina’s grub was reputed to be spectacular. Glen and Caleb’s Facebook pages should have been filled with “Friend requests” from many of the eighth grade girls that sailed with us. Delvon came to the Tallship Manitou from the Highlander Sea. (You know that boat that has these deep pockets for all sorts of maintenance projects--). D is currently sailing on a schooner that counts its nickels & dimes & after all these years the Captain finds that he has to spend some cash for the replacement of the rotted out wood plank on the docking platform. Sometimes accidents happen, & Captain Matt & Crew operated under very stressful conditions regarding a head door accident, but they got us back to the dock in record time & the crew handled the situation magnificently. THANK YOU by the way. Sally was busy with teacher #2 who faints at the site of blood & a missing plankton instructor who she thought had a head emergency and he thought he had the break Sally found him sipping a cup of coffee and eating a cookie he got from Tina.

Very noticeable was the line thrower and catchers this year --Wendy and Laura have the biggest smiles in the world that light up even the darkest and dreariest days. OH - Captain Dave, we will be taking our trawl net with us when we leave, but we are leaving Kara (chara) behind on the deck.

WHAT A GREAT TALLSHIP, WHAT A GREAT CREW, WHAT A GREAT SPRING SCHOOLSHIP on the Schooner Manitou. Have A GREAT SUMMER. Thank you all for sharing your days with us and for your hard work and dedication to the ISEA program.
Christine Jerry Len Pete Sally Dr. Bill 0

Monday, June 8, 2009

1,000 Mile Beach Walker Walks into ISEC

Loreen and Phil pause at Inland Seas, Monday June 8, 2009
Earlier today Loreen Niewenhuis walked into the Inland Seas Education Center on her way from Chicago to Chicago, covering all the beach front on Lake Michigan. For the full story see Loreen's blog at Loreen and her brother Phil toured the Education Center and the schooner Inland Seas before departing to take up her walk south of Suttons Bay, heading for Mackinac City and the UP. Good Luck Loreen! -Tom K.

June 1 - June 5 Schoolship

The Seamanship Station in windy weather. Long Lake Elementray students at the helm.
Reefed down - 32 knots by the late afternoon.

The first week in June gave us some strong winds (two days with gusts over 30 knots) and cool weather. Air temperatures were generally not above the low 50's, except for Thursday afternoon when we finally saw a 70 degree reading. Round goby continues to be the dominate fish in the trawl catches. The mean secchi disk reading this week was 17.5 meters (the Friday afternoon reading was only 10 meters due to rough wave conditions and was not factored into the average.) Schools sailing this week aboard Inland Seas were Eastern 5th (TC), Central Grade (TC), St. Peter Lutheran (St. Johns), Mancelona MS, Tappen MS (Ann Arbor), Kennedy Elem. (Manistee), Traverse City West MS, and Long Lake Elementary (TC) -2 classes.

Schoolship aboard the schooner Manitou had Eastern 5th (TC), Mio Au Sable 4th, Central Grade (TC), Mancelona MS - 2 classes, and Tappen MS (Ann Arbor) - 2 classes.

Student Canoe Builders Honored

Students from Suttons Bay Middle School were honored today (May 28) for their work on ISEA's Abenaki canoe #7. The students with the most hours in the construction process were awarded their own paddles for their efforts. Congratulations Jesse Fox, Graham Kelly and David Burton for all your work this spring. Congratulations also to Chuck Dickerson and his crew of volunteer Boat Shop instructors.

Spring Schoolship May 26 - 29, 2009

Hauling back the trawl

This week the water warmed slightly in Suttons Bay (47 - 50 deg. F), and the round goby has re-established itself in the near-shore waters. Goby catch per 10-minute trawl averaged 34, with a high of 70 in one trawl. We also caught 68 spottail shiners in that same trawl. Secchi disk transparency averaged 17 meters, down from last week due partly to some very windy days. Schools this week included TC Central Grade School, Clare 4th grade, Van Hoosen 7th (Rochester) - 4 classes, Interlochen Elementary, Trinity Luthern (Toledo) and St. Mary's (Hannah).
We hosted 8 classes aboard Manitou this week: Central Grade School, Lakeland 4th (Elk Rapids), Van Hoosen 7th (Rochester) - 4 classes, Glen Lake 8th, and Mason 5th grade.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Schoolship 2009, Week 3

Northport MS included our 80,000th Schoolship Student
Waterford Mott 10th graders after their trip. It's still not summer!

This week we had 10 school groups aboard Inland Seas (Waterford Mott, Our Savior Luthern, Clare Elementary - 3 classes, Bear Lake 8th grade, Northport MS, Crestwood 6th, Interlochen 4th, & Evart 6th). Surface water temperature was 44 deg. at the beginning of the week and 46.9 deg. at the week's end. The trawl catch included brook stickleback, rock bass, round goby, three spine stickleback, white sucker, spottail shiner, and native crawfish. Round goby was the dominate species. Secchi disk transparency was 18 - 20 meters.

Aboard Manitou we hosted 8 programs: Traverse City East 6th, Leland, Evart 6th (2 classes), Grayling 5th, Central Lake HS, Central Grade School TC, and Ludington 6th.

Wednesday June 10 Seminar on Changes to Lake Michigan Lower Food Web

2008-2009 Great Lakes Seminar Series: "Changes in the Lake Michigan Lower Food Web"
The Inland Seas Education Association will present a seminar that focuses on changes in the Lake Michigan food web at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, June 10th, at the Inland Seas Education Center in Suttons Bay. The program will be presented by Gary Fahnenstiel, senior ecologist at the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory’s Lake Michigan Field Station in Muskegon, Michigan. This seminar is free and open to the public.The quagga mussel invasion has resulted in tremendous, unprecedented changes in Lake Michigan over the past few years. Fahnenstiel will present results from 30 years of monitoring changes in plankton abundance and composition and will discuss the effect the quagga mussel invasion has had on the plankton population in Lake Michigan.Gary Fahnenstiel obtained his PhD from the University of Michigan in Aquatic Ecology, and has been employed by the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory since 1982. Fahnenstiel has been the senior ecologist at the Lake Michigan field station of the NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory for the past 15 years.