ESCANABA - For many, setting sail on the high seas may be just out of reach, but for those who wish, sail on the schooner Inland Seas through the Inland Seas Education Association will have a special chance to do so this week.
Residents will have an opportunity on June 25 to sail Lake Michigan aboard the schooner Inland Seas as part of the ISEA's Great Lakes Discovery Sail Program. Sailors aboard the 77-foot tall ship will collect and identify samples from Little Bay de Noc, join in hoisting the sails of the three-mast schooner, and take a turn at the ship's wheel.
"They'll be trolling for fish, testing water quality, collecting plankton and looking at them under a microscope, and learning just to be stewards of the Great Lakes," said Emaly Panek, marketing and communications intern for the ISEA.
The Great Lakes Discovery Sail program will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The cost of participating in the Great Lakes Discovery Sail is $35 for adults and $25 for children. The program is a three-hour sail and is open to the public age five and up.
The Inland Seas will be making a series of excursions with various groups while it ports in the Escanaba Municipal Marina June 23 through 29. Sailors from Bay Pines, Delta Force, Three Lakes Academy, and Hannahville will have special sailing opportunities through their respective groups.
Participants are encouraged to be at the dock one half-hour before the ship is scheduled to leave for their tour. Sailors should wear good, non-skid shoes - no flop-flops - and bring a jacket, because temperatures are cooler on the water.
Those who would prefer to examine the schooner without leaving the dock can enjoy dockside boat tours on June 25 and 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.
"Our volunteers and our captain can tell you a little bit about the boat," said Panek, noting that the public was welcome to take dockside tours and that merchandise may be available for those who wish to commemorate their experience on the boat.
This year, the ISEA is commemorating an event of its own. The non-profit organization just marked 25 years of providing educational activities aboard tall ships to teach students from all walks of life about the Great Lakes, ecology, history, geography, geology, biology, chemistry, and meteorology. More than 100,000 students have participated in the ISEA's shipboard programs.
"We were founded in 1989 and we've been doing Discovery Sails ever since," said Panek.
For more information about the ISEA or the schooner the Inland Seas, visit www.schoolship.org. To register for the Great Lakes Discovery Sail call (231) 271-3077.