Thursday, October 31, 2013

Micro Plastics in the News

The Traverse City Record Eagle ran a story yesterday on micro-plastics.  You can expect to hear a lot more about this issue in the future.  ISEA is involved the the research effort by collecting samples for Dr. Mason at SUNY and training our older students on how to collect these samples using the manta trawl. 

Manta Trawl being towed from Inland Seas, summer 2013

ISEA Ship Lay-Up Report

All ISEA vessels are in lay-up mode.  Inland Seas is at Northport Marina, ready for haul out next week at Northport Bay Boatyard.  Our whaleboat Lake Sturgeon was hauled out Tuesday (thanks to Bob Joyce & his big truck).  Our Boston Whaler is on its trailer in the parking lot.  We still have lots to do before winter, but we are roughly on schedule (barring a sudden arrival of winter weather). 

If you would like to help get the boats ready for winter, please call the ISEA office at 271-3077. 

ISEA's Boston Whaler workboat

Motor whaleboat coming out for the winter at Suttons Bay

Thanks for visiting....Capt. Tom 

Christine Crissman will be the next Executive Director at The Watershed Center

Congratulations, Christine!

Christine aboard Inland Seas

Christine Crissman has been named the new executive director of the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay. She most recently served as director of education and conservation at the Grand Traverse Conservation District. Prior to that, she was education director and chief scientist at the Inland Seas Education Association.

Her first day on the job is November 13. She replaces Andy Knott, who left the organization in September to work for the Sierra Club in St. Louis, Mo. 

The Watershed Center has done amazing work in Suttons Bay this summer, installing a state-of-the-art stormwater management system. Read more about this by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Update from Sleeping Bear Dunes NLS on Waterfowl Mortality

Hello All,

The first real increase in observed mortality for the fall season seems to be underway. AMBLE monitors at SLBE reported Oct.17-18 about 24 red-breasted mergansers, 6 white-winged scoters, and a few cormorants and gulls, one dead loon, and a sick loon reported. These reports from Platte River area to Empire, and Sleeping Bear Point (approx. 15 miles of beach). Yesterday I assisted on Transect 5 (1.8 miles) near N. Bar Lake, where about 18 more mergansers were found, mostly red-breasted (some still out in the heavy surf from our ongoing strong winds), a scoter and a loon were also collected. Preliminary observations this morning at Good Harbor Bay and Glen Haven showed only 1 horned grebe found dead .

As these observations coincide exactly with the timing of heavy loon, scoter, and long-tailed duck losses last year during this week, we will be paying close attention during the next few days. 

In comparison to last year, our annual mortality is way down. We had some anecdotal reports during the shutdown (seems some citizens are ever vigilant) which indicated the continuation of the previous trend of relatively light mortality along the lakeshore, there was fairly light mortality observed during  monitoring trips in Aug. and Sept.of this year on the Manitous, and with these recent additions from mainland transects, we probably still are below 200 total birds (3 loons). Last season end of year total approx.1500 (580 dead, 4 sick loons). Several days of strong winds and waves were a common factor last year and this year during these observed events.

We will keep you informed.



Dan Ray
Avian Botulism Monitoring Project Lead
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630    
231 326-5834 x606

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Whaleboat Color Tour is a Big Hit with Passengers

The whaleboat Lake Sturgeon was very busy this past weekend, with severn full trips on Friday afternoon and Saturday.  The weather was near perfect, and everyone aboard had a great experience learning about the fall colors and the changing Great Lakes.  Book your trip for this Saturday October 19 by calling the ISEA office at 231-271-3077.

Leaving the dock


Suttons Bay from the water

Mate Bob Hagerman

Mate Allen Wolfe

Hope to see you again soon on the motor whaleboat Lake Sturgeon

Capt. Tom Kelly

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Schoolship Season Ends With A Bang

ISEA’s last Schoolship Program of the 2013 season (our 25th!) was on the morning of October 3rd with Kalkaska Middle School.  We had a great trip with light winds and warm temperatures.
This final trip brought our total student population for this season to 4,119, giving a total of 98,809 students since our founding in 1989.
The rain held off for the final trip of the season, but it soon began to rain and thunder, and this weather continued off and on for the next four days.  Around 11 pm on October 3rd, Inland Seas was struck by lightning.  Our deckhand, Ben Clark, was asleep in the foc’s’le, just a few feet from the foremast that was hit.  He awoke to a huge BANG and then the sound of objects hitting the deck above.  He went into the pilot house where he could see the deck and rig.  Nothing looked out of the ordinary, so he went back to bed. 

The next morning it was obvious that we had sustained a lightning strike to the foremast.  Little pieces of the R. M. Young Wind Monitor (anemometer) were scattered on the deck and dock, and the wooden disc that supported the anemometer was lying on the deck, blasted from the masthead by the strike.

All that remains of the Wind Monitor after the lightning strike


As we began a thorough inspection of the vessel we found no structural damage except to one of the topmast shrouds. The bad news was that many of our electronic instruments no longer functioned, including the radar, the pilot house VHF radio, the graph depth sounder, the wind and weather instrument displays, the pilot house GPS and inverter.  We may have to replace the compasses also.  This will run in excess of $9,000, and should be covered by insurance after our $4,500 deductible is paid.
If you would like to make a contribution to help replace the damaged instruments, you can send ISEA a check (write Schoolship Fund in the memo line) or use our secure web site at (type Schoolship Fund in the Special Instructions box).  Any funds received over our deductible will be used for future maintenance and upgrading the Schoolship Inland Seas.

Thank you for your help with keeping our ship sailing and safe. 

Best regards,
Tom  Kelly

ISEA Executive Director
Master, Inland Seas