Friday, February 17, 2017

Ray Hall and the Bellingham Kiwanis Club Look to the Sea

In May of 2014, Ray Hall—a Kiwanis Club Member and Bellingham resident—stepped aboard Adventuress for the first time. His wife had seen a post in the local newspaper about a Public Sail out of Bellingham’s Squalicum Harbor Marina; she bought tickets to celebrate his birthday. It was his first time on a tall ship.

Says Ray, “We put all the sails up. It was a gorgeous day. The sky was clear, with the perfect amount of wind. I thought, ‘My gosh, I have to find a way to share this experience with others.’ Because I’m a Kiwanis Member, and because I was absolutely thrilled by the experience, I wanted to connect Kiwanis and Sound Experience in some way.”
Shortly after the Public Sail, Ray met with then-Education Director Megan Addison. He was straightforward. “I basically said, ‘I want to use your boat for young people from Bellingham,’” recalls Ray. “And I wrote a check. At the time, the money wasn’t from Kiwanis. It was from me. I wanted to make it happen. I’m a blue-collar, impatient guy and I figured I would get things moving.”

The Bellingham Kiwanis Club did end up generously funding the trip, and eventually Ray’s broad vision took on the detail of reality: students from Bellingham’s Sunnyland Elementary came aboard for two 3-hour Sound Studies trips in both 2015 and 2016. Two more programs are scheduled for spring of this year and will include Sunnyland students and additional young people from K-Kids, a Kiwanis-sponsored after-school activity group.

Writes Sunnyland principal Trina Hall, “Though our PTA works hard to provide opportunities for our students, being a Title I school means that a sail aboard Adventuress would be beyond our reach had it not been for the generosity of the Bellingham Kiwanis Club.”

For Ray, the driving force behind his mission to get kids on Adventuress is the value he places on fun. From delivering dictionaries to schools to sponsoring youth leadership training to funding the fight against neonatal tetanus in developing countries, Kiwanis International is dedicated to serving children. Explains Ray, “In our Bellingham chapter, there’s a lot that we do within the traditional school structure, which is absolutely great. But my thinking behind bringing kids onto Adventuress is that we want to offer learning that is unique and fun. Kids remember fun.”

Ray still remembers his fourth-grade teacher, who sent him a card while traveling in Mexico: “Keep in mind, this was in the 1940s. But I still remember that sense of amazement. I still have the card. I want to offer something like that to these kids—a sense of the bigger world that they will always remember and someday reach on their own.”

Despite growing up beside Bellingham Bay, many of Sunnyland’s students have never been on the water before. Says Ray, “These are kids from a Title I School. They wouldn’t have this opportunity without community support.” Having sailed alongside students during several of the Sunnyland programs, he especially remembers the shipwide enthusiasm for sea chanteys: “The kids sang along with glee. They love the sea chanteys because they get to participate and have fun. All of the happy stuff, that’s what really matters.”

Writing about the experience, Ray ends with encouraging words and a fragment of his own poetry:

Perhaps someday a marine biologist will be participating in a Kiwanis meeting and will be daydreaming of Adventuress and the experience that started his or her journey from a day on the water to a lifetime of joy. As Kiwanians, we too reap the harvest of such an excursion. The sight of wonderment felt by these young seafarers reminds us that we are on the right path.

As children we look to the sea and the stars
And as children we will always be
As Kiwanians we will always reach for the stars
But first we must go to the sea

*****

Is your club interested in sponsoring a trip aboard Adventuress for young people in your area? For more information about how you can make this possible, click here to read about our Educational Programs or contact Education Coordinator Amy Kovacs at amy@soundexp.org or 360-379-0438 x2.



Friday, January 13, 2017

Winter Mate Jesse Wiegel on Sailing in Service to Something Bigger

Jesse under Adventuress' cover
during a previous Winter season.
Jesse Wiegel’s first exposure to Adventuress involved his job at a coffee shop near Port Townsend’s marina. Every so often, a distinctive group of customers would pass through: happy young sailors who delighted in each other’s company. That was how Jesse first became acquainted with the Adventuress crew and, through this connection, how he first began sailing. Starting as an Intern in 2011, Jesse has served as Relief Galley Coordinator, Educator/Deckhand, and Relief Engineer. Last year, he came aboard as Chief Mate for the first time. When the sailing season came to a close at the end of October, he stepped off for a few days and then came straight back to the boat to spend the winter working and living aboard Adventuress as the Winter Mate.

Although Jesse grew up in Sequim, sandwiched between the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, he didn’t start off with an immediate connection to the natural world. The North Cascades Institute, where he worked for a time, introduced him to the majesty of the land; Adventuress introduced him to the beauty of the Salish Sea. Says Jesse, Adventuress opened me up to the idea that I could connect to this place by being on the water. The first time I came aboard, it felt really natural. It felt like something I’d been looking towards for a long time. I didn’t want to leave.”

Jesse directing participants on last
year's Fantastic Voyage Level 2.
And he didn’t. Over the next five years, as he sailed in many different roles, Jesse became deeply familiar with the ship and organization. He speaks with ease about the different programs that take place aboard Adventuress, from Sound Studies and Sound Explorations (programs for schools and youth groups) to Public Sails to summer overnight trips. His favorite is Fantastic Voyage, because it brings together a brand new group of teenagers each year. Says Jesse, “On Fantastic Voyage, all these strangers come aboard and in the course of six days they coalesce into a powerful group. Every time I see it happen, it works.”

A lover of music, Jesse takes a break on deck.
Jesse also has experience on other boats, including Lettie G. Howard, Pride of Baltimore II, Clearwater, and Picton Castle. His time sailing on other ships gives him a unique perspective on what sets Adventuress apart: “On many other boats, people enjoy crushing it on a big ‘ol ship. And that’s a lot of fun. But on Adventuress, our culture comes from the fact that we sail in service to something bigger. We’re exposing participants to the Salish Sea. That’s the most powerful thing we do. The result is that we produce people who care for this place.”

As for what he’s planning when he leaves Adventuress at the end of the Winter Season, Jesse isn’t sure of the details, but he knows the path he hopes to follow. Says Jesse: “What’s next? The short answer is: getting people outside. I want to continue to work with outdoor programs that expose people to their environment.”

Before he sets off on a new endeavor, though, he has several months left on Adventuress. As Winter Mate through the beginning of March, he’ll continue managing maintenance projects while overseeing Winter Crew and Winter Work Weekends (WWW). The upcoming WWW is this weekend—January 14-16—and Jesse encourages you to attend: “It’s a whole lot of good people taking care of the ship we love. We have this great sense of accomplishment from so many hands working together. The Winter Crew could not do this without your help.” He pauses for a moment, then continues. “And I just want to add that the food is delicious.”


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Joseph Pearson Steps onto the Schooner and Steps into the Maritime World

Joseph learns the ins and outs
of line handling on FV 2.
After sailing on Adventuress as part of our 2015 Fantastic Voyage (FV), Sixteen-year-old Joseph Pearson returned this July on a Sound Experience scholarship to participate in the inaugural Level 2 program. In the six months since, the connections he built on Adventuress have allowed him to continue exploring the maritime world. On an invitation from former Adventuress Captain Wayne Chimenti, Joseph—a homeschooler from Portland—is currently living in Port Townsend and serving as an intern and apprentice at the Community Boat Project and Force 10 Sailmaking and Rigging.

Joseph describes Fantastic Voyage Level 2 as a “homecoming.” In addition to new crew and participants, Joseph returned to find many familiar faces, as well as the steady presence of Adventuress herself. Says Joseph, “FV 2 makes you feel very powerful. You’re dealing with this enormous vessel. At first you feel very small, but then you’re able to work as a team, manipulate the sails, and go wherever you want to go... The crew gave us a lot more freedom to control the ship.”

His favorite memory from FV 2 is closely tied to this deepening sense of competence and control. He recalls sailing one day with the ship heeled over: “I was on Bow Watch and manning the foresail lifts when we tacked. Jesse [the First Mate] was directing crew and participants on deck and I could hear him saying, ‘Joseph has the bow figured out.’” Asked what he learned during his time on Adventuress, Joseph lists skills both large and small: “Manning a very large ship, making Ballantine coils, understanding the shape that a sail wants to be in, working vigorously with people I’d just met, and being ready and willing to jump in and help on deck.”

An assortment of images from the 2016 FV 2.
During the trip, Joseph shared his desire with Captain Wayne to someday build and sail his own boat. Wayne, who spent thirteen years as one of Adventuress’ main captains, is an expert mariner, rigger, sailmaker, and educator who took the helm once again for FV 2. He currently lives on Marrowstone Island and runs the Community Boat Project (CBP)—a nonprofit that partners with local schools to offer shop space and various accredited maritime-themed and on-the-water programs for young people, including a multi-day longdory journey called Summer at Sea. Wayne and his daughter Nahja also own and operate Force 10 Sailmaking and Rigging, a traditional sail loft with a reputation for excellence.

At the end of FV 2, Joseph signed up for an email list to receive information about the Community Boat Project. A few weeks later, he received an invitation from Wayne to serve as an intern at CBP and an apprentice at Force 10 for several months this winter. As a homeschooler with a deep affinity for boats, Joseph had the flexibility and the passion to take Wayne up on his offer. He arrived in the Port Townsend area in early November and has since assisted with CBP classes and helped make sails for the brigantine Matthew Turner, a sustainable tall ship being constructed in the Bay Area. Lately, Joseph has been using the industrial sewing machine, doing handwork, making eyelets, and attaching reef nettles as he learns how to draft and cut out sails. Summing up the experience, Joseph says, “I get to make things. I get to learn more about how boats work. And I get to meet new people.”

He also gets to sail on the CBP longdories—the same craft that are used for the Summer at Sea program that will set out from Anacortes directly following the end of the 2017 Fantastic Voyage Level 2. The longdory used for Summer at Sea is 30’; it has both rowing and sailing capabilities and a centerboard rather than a dedicated keel, which means that it’s much more sensitive to the movements of those aboard. Says Joseph, “You have to keep a lot of variables in mind. Rowing is a very different experience—following the lead and getting into the rhythm. On a longboat you feel closer to the water.”

Joseph paints the anchor chain at
the recent November Work Weekend.
As Joseph gains experience on different vessels, he recently had a new experience on Adventuress. Helping at the November Work Weekend, he saw the ship in her “unmade” state—no booms, no rigging, no deck boxes. Says Joseph, “Adventuress felt so open… [The Work Weekend] was very relaxed, a nice small community. And the food was delicious!”

During his two days aboard, he cleaned and repainted the anchor chain and helped clean the forepeak. Looking ahead to the summer of 2017, he describes the nature of the two vessels—schooner and longdory—that will once again set out on the waters of the Salish Sea: “Adventuress is a large vessel with lots of people and lots of work to be done. Once you start sailing and exploring, you feel a whole lot of teamwork and community. On the longboats, you have to find the perfect balance. There’s no engine, so if you want to go somewhere, you have to row or sail. There’s not many people, so you get to know them really well.”
****
Fantastic Voyage Level 2 is back for 2017! Teens will live, sail, and learn aboard the historic schooner Adventuress as they voyage through the islands and choose a different anchorage each night. This Level 2 program is designed to offer returning teens a chance to expand their sailing skills and knowledge of the marine environment. Participation in a previous Fantastic Voyage is encouraged, but not required. The program runs August 6-11 out of Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes. Click here to sign up!

This year, we're excited to announce another on-the-water opportunity for young people between the ages of 14-21. The Community Boat Project, a like-minded nonprofit helmed by past Adventuress Captain Wayne Chimenti, is offering Summer at Sea, a 12-day longdory voyage that departs from Anacortes and takes place directly following Fantastic Voyage Level 2. Preference on this program will be given to those who have sailed on an overnight voyage aboard Adventuress in 2017. The trip runs August 11-22, allowing teens to step off of Adventuress, spend a night in Anacortes under the supervision of Summer at Sea, and embark the next day. For more information about Summer at Sea, click here.



Thursday, November 17, 2016

Marianne Wells, Two Daughters, Five Trips

Marianne and Matt Wells’ daughters Emma and Eliza have sailed aboard Adventuress a grand total of five times. Emma, now seventeen, first came aboard in 2012 for Girls at the Helm (GATH); in the intervening years, she returned for GATH, sailed on the 6-day Fantastic Voyage, and served as an Apprentice on one of our Road Scholar IntergenerationalVoyages. Most recently, thirteen-year-old Eliza followed in her sister’s footsteps and joined us for our 2016 GATH trip.

Emma on the 2012 Girls at the Helm.
Both parents worked aboard fishing boats in Alaska in their twenties. Recalling that time in their lives, Marianne says, “We wanted our girls to have the same experience of living and working on the water and being part of a shipboard community.” Additionally, Matt grew up sailing in Cape Cod, and he hoped that his daughters could share in that important part of his childhood. Explains Marianne, “Even though we can’t live back there [in Cape Cod] and we don’t sail here, we want our girls to recognize how amazing it is to live so close to Puget Sound.”

If a love of the water runs in the Wells family, so does a dedication to educating and empowering women. Marianne mentions a sister, Lisa, who lives in New York and runs a nonprofit that offers long-distance support to current and future women leaders in Central Asian countries like Mongolia and Afghanistan. Says Marianne, “My girls have grown up with that ethic. We really value educating and empowering women.”

As siblings with a four-year age difference, Emma and Eliza reached Adventuress in different ways and had different experiences aboard. The father of one of Emma’s school friends once worked on Adventuress, and this connection was how Marianne and Matt first heard about the program. Describing her older daughter, Marianne says, “Emma has always had an adventurous spirit, but the trip really sealed it for her. [Girls at the Helm] took what was already part of her character and really solidified it. She loved it so much.”

Eliza on this year's GATH trip.
Eliza grew up hearing about Emma’s experiences on Adventuress, but Marianne and Matt didn’t initially think that she was interested in following her sister aboard. She didn’t have much experience with overnight camps, so it was a surprise to her parents when she announced at the end of her 7th grade year that she and a school friend had been talking about the program and wanted to attend. Eliza and her friend Bailey sailed together that summer on the August GATH. Says Marianne,“She really took the initiative in choosing the trip for herself.”

Why Girls at the Helm? Marianne reports back Eliza’s words: “Being on Adventuress sounded way more cool than a normal camp.” Part of this had to do with size: Girls at the Helm unites twenty young women, three to four mentors, and roughly thirteen crew. For an introvert like Eliza, the smallness of the community—and the fact that it’s all women—made the jump to an overnight camp much easier to handle. Both Emma and Eliza go to co-ed schools, and, says Marianne, “They never have the chance to do things with just a group of women… I know that for Eliza’s first year aboard, the female crew made her feel more comfortable. It was a great first step.”

Eliza wears a harness after climbing aloft.
Why Adventuress? Marianne speaks movingly about the programs that she loves: It’s a very unique opportunity for young people to get away from an urban environment and really live with a group of people working on the water. Partly it has to do with the historic nature of the ship and partly it has to do with a deep love for Puget Sound. Who wouldn’t want that for their kids?” Asked what she hopes Emma and Eliza gain from the experience, she says, “I hope that my daughters develop deep roots to our beautiful Puget Sound and consider the possibility of their work and livelihood being connected to the ocean and the marine environment.”

A good sign that this has happened: Eliza is planning to return.

*****

The 2017 schedule for summer overnight tripsincluding trips for teens, girls, women, adults, families, and Sound Experience Membershas been posted on our website. Click here to find out more!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Teacher Ron Witter on the "Discovery" of Interconnection

Ron Witter’s first exposure to Adventuress was during a day sail designed to introduce teachers to the educational programming that takes place aboard the ship. A fifth-grade teacher at Discovery Elementary in Gig Harbor, Ron was quickly sold on the idea of bringing his class out on the water: “I immediately thought, This is something that I need to share with my students.”

Ron proved to be a winning advocate; fifth graders from Discovery stepped aboard Adventuress this September for the fourth straight year. For Ron, one of the great values of Adventuress is the way in which shipboard learning clarifies and connects with classroom curriculum. Says Ron, “Adventuress provides a platform that helps students truly understand the concepts that we teach.”

Students learn about the pH scale in the deck house.
As an example, Ron mentions a lesson on Ocean Acidification in which students test the pH of Puget Sound water and then add carbon dioxide by blowing into the water with a straw. Following the addition of carbon dioxide, the test shows a more acidic pH—a microcosm of what is happening to the world’s oceans as they absorb an unprecedented amount of human-generated greenhouse gases. Not only does this tie into the “Earth and Human Activity” aspect of Next Generation Science Standards, but it also makes the base concept of pH visible and relatable to students. Says Ron, “With the Ocean Acidification lesson, I think they finally gain an understanding of what pH really means.”

Curriculum at Discovery Elementary also centers around the concepts discussed in the best-selling book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” The sixth habit, “Synergize,” teaches that positive teamwork allows people to combine their strengths, making goals achievable that would not have been possible otherwise. Certainly this is true of Adventuress; no single person—no matter their skill as a mariner—could sail Adventuress alone. Says Ron, “When our students come aboard Adventuress, they look at the crew and they see a representation of leadership and working together.”

When students from Discovery step aboard Adventuress, they are also reading about Theodore Roosevelt, who served as president around the time of Adventuress’ maiden voyage to the Arctic (Roosevelt was president from 1901-1909; Adventuress made the journey shortly after her 1913 launch). As they read about Roosevelt’s efforts in the early twentieth century to establish more National Parks, they have an incredible opportunity: the chance to step aboard a vessel that originated in the Roosevelt era while they learn about preservation from a twenty-first century perspective. Ron explains that this type of synergy has a powerful effect: “With the trip on Adventuress, and with the curriculum in the classroom, students experience an awakening of consciousness about the environment.”

An example of the visual map that the Program Coordinator
created with students from Discovery Elementary.
Reflecting on this year’s trip, Ron describes a powerful moment in which students grasped the interconnection of the curricula. Towards the end of the sail, the Program Coordinator gathered students together in the main cabin and used a whiteboard to draw a visual map of all the concepts that students had learned about during their three hours on Adventuress: Marine Life, Life Aboard the Ship, Ocean Acidification, Plankton, and Nautical Skills. Recalls Ron, “All of a sudden, one of the students said, ‘Oh my gosh, these ideas make a great big web.’ She finally understood how all of these pieces fit together and how cooperation and teamwork enable us to help the environment and Puget Sound.”

Coming from Gig Harbor, Ron is deeply aware that he lives in an exceptional place. Still, he says, many students haven’t had the chance to build a connection with the environment around them: “It’s unbelievable to me how many kids haven’t been out on the water. A lot of times Adventuress is their first experience… When kids come back to visit after they’ve left Discovery, they still ask if we sail on Adventuress. It’s important to them to continue this tradition.”

Keeping the tradition alive is important to Ron, as well. Summing up the difference that Adventuress makes, he says, “Kids learn through experience. Some of the most vivid and meaningful learning happens outside of the classroom… There aren’t many places on Earth that have a resource as powerful as Adventuress. I am truly grateful that my students can have this opportunity.”



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Past Participant Jenny Smith Returns as Program Coordinator to "Pass the Spark and Plant the Seed"


Jenny poses aboard Adventuress during a Girl Scout trip in 2004.
Jenny Smith, current Program Coordinator (PC) extraordinaire, first came aboard in 2004 to participate in a 4-day Girl Scout trip. She was twelve-years-old, and although she can’t remember many concrete details, the sense of Adventuress’ community stayed with her: “I know I had an amazing time. I came home and made a photo album of the trip… Afterwards, whenever tall ships came up in conversation, I was super enthusiastic about Adventuress.”

In the twelve intervening years between participant and PC, Jenny attended Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University. Although she originally planned to study Marine Biology, she decided that it wasn’t the right fit. Still, marine science was close to her heart. Recalls Jenny, “My grandpa is a retired marine fisheries scientist, so he inundated my dad with information about marine science. My dad did the same for me.” Jenny ended up majoring in Environmental Education with a minor in Environmental Science. Describing the skills that led her to this path, she says, “Everyone always told me that I would make a great teacher. I can speak the language of Marine Science in a way that allows me to serve as an interpreter for others.”

Before and after: Jenny climbs the rigging as a participant
in 2004 and as Program Coordinator in 2016.
When she saw the job listing for Program Coordinator aboard Adventuress, she was ecstatic: “I thought, ‘This is perfect. This is exactly what I want to do.’ I had all of the qualifications. I applied immediately… [the PC role] aligned with my goals and values in a way that my previous job didn’t.” Describing what she does aboard Adventuress, Jenny presents herself as a teacher of teachers: “I teach and guide the crew about how best to teach and guide participants.”

This spring, Jenny came aboard for a trip with the Sussex School to shadow the Season 1 PC and learn more about her future role. On the final evening of every overnight program on Adventuress, crew and participants have a chance to share anything they want—be it stories, songs, skits, or skills—as part of a tradition called Party Piece. It was Jenny's first time participating in Party Piece as an adult, and it made an impression. Says Jenny, “Being able to sit back and watch Party Piece gave me an overwhelming feeling of returning to a community where I belonged. It was a total joy.” 

Asked about her favorite moments aboard, she first landed on the 4-day Boy Scout trip last month. During the daily navigation lesson, crew members Arthur and Tom had the brilliant idea of gauging Adventuress' speed by dropping an object in the water (fear not, marine debris watchdogs: it was a piece of toast) and measuring how long it took to travel the length of the deck. Recalls Jenny, “All of a sudden these boys were yelling math equations at each other. I was amazed—they were excited to be doing math in summer.”

Wayne Chimenti returned as Captain for Fantastic Voyage
Level 2 and Jenny had the chance to sail with him again.
Jenny also loved the Road Scholar Intergenerational trips, which unite grandparents and grandchildren for six days on Adventuress: “[Road Scholar trips] are a really cool opportunity for grandkids to relate differently to their grandparents. We could see the growth in their bond from day to day. All of the crew agreed that we wished we could have shared a similar experience with our grandparents.”

For the first Road Scholar trip in July, she came up with a new activity: she presented participants with a blank chart of the San Juans and they worked together to fill in the chart with place names and pertinent information as they traveled through the islands. On that particular trip, participants hailed from all over the country: California, Colorado, Georgia, Oregon, Tennessee, and Virginia. Says Jenny, “We only had one local family on that trip, but everyone was so delighted to fill in the chart and learn about this area.”

With summer programs wrapping up and less than two months left in the sailing season, Jenny is excited to turn to a schedule full of Festival Sails, Public Sails, Member Transits, and day-long and overnight trips with schools. Summing up why Adventuress matters, she says: “As important as it is that we teach about conservation and show people how to change their habits, the bigger picture is that we’re sharing a passion for the marine environment with everyone who comes aboard. We’re passing on the spark. We’re planting the seed. People might not realize how much lives in the water until they’ve spent time on Adventuress.”





Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Shelly Ballering Connects on Many Levels aboard the Members Only Expedition

Last August, my mother, Shelly Ballering, stepped aboard for the Members Only Expedition. She’d only sailed a handful of time on small boats, and joining me and 34 others on Adventuress was an act of love, curiosity, and apprehension. She had many of the questions that come up for first time sailors who have never seen Adventuress in the flesh. My mother lives in Portland, and her knowledge of the ship was confined to the handful of postcards I had sent. When it came to assuaging her fears, I was at a surprising disadvantage. She was my mother, after all, and she seemed to believe that I’d tell her anything to make her join me on the trip. “What would the heads be like?” She asked. Would she be able to climb into her bunk? Would she be seasick?

Mama at the Helm! My mother takes the helm
under the guidance of Chief Mate Esther.
I still remember my own highlights: porpoises past our bow as we returned to Anacortes, a blazing orange sunset, and a platter of dolma that the Galley Coordinator, Frankie, created as a last hurrah on her final trip.

My mother’s fondest memories came from Anchor Watch. Under the guidance of Drew, the shipboard Engineer, we stood Watch together, took navigational readings, listened to the breathing of an invisible harbor seal swimming somewhere nearby, and tiptoed all over the ship. Says my mother, “Anchor Watch was amazingly tranquil—a space in-between sleep and waking that puts you in a calm and centered place.”

Because the Members Only Expedition brings together Members of every stripe, the participants aboard were amazingly diverse. They included a grandmother who sailed on Adventuress many decades before and wanted to share the experience with her two young granddaughters; a long-time volunteer who brought along the friends she met on Liberty Clipper; two Sound Experience Board Members; and a young woman from an earlier teen trip who returned to sail with her father.

The full "crew" for the trip—36 wonderful individuals who
created a vibrant shipboard community in three short days.
Counting crew and participants, there were 36 people aboard. My mother, a psychologist, was impressed by the dynamic created by a relatively small number of people living and working together in such a unique environment. “I got to know fellow participants while I was on  Adventuress more deeply than I would in other circumstances,” she says. Recalling the aforementioned grandmother, my mother adds, “I met a woman, Carol, who was close to my age and who also lives in the Portland area. We connected over what we had in common—some of it having to do with recent challenges in both our lives—and ended up communicating for several months after the trip.”

My mother was also enchanted by the educational aspects of the program. On the second day, two naturalists from KwiĆ”ht, a nonprofit dedicated to tracking the human ecology of the Salish Sea, gave a detailed presentation on the structure and society of the Coast Salish people. My friend David, a meteorologist and fellow participant, spoke about barometers, drawing with chalk on deck to further illuminate his points about air pressure and high and low systems. As with all trips, we did a plankton tow and studied the contents of the water under the deckhouse microscope. Recalls my mother, “I was surprised by the sheer number of living creatures in just one bucket’s worth from the Sound… Being on Adventuress gave me a sense of all the life both in the water and along the shore. I had a sense of how essential it is to preserve the life that surrounds us.”

My mother and I gave this Adventuress quilt
to my Grandma for her 90th birthday.
When my mother and I talked recently about the trip for this story, we were sitting at a kitchen table in Wisconsin. We were visiting for my grandmother’s 90th birthday, and as one of her presents we gave her a small quilt showing an image of Adventuress rendered from one of photographer Elizabeth Becker’s stunning images. As a lifelong Wisconsinite, my grandmother loves the boat—to her it represents the beauty and promise of a place she's never known. My mother feels similarly about the ship: “I’m from Wisconsin originally and I chose to head West when I was young. Being on Adventuress reminds me of why I love living where I do… The trip offered me pure physical beauty, interest and learning, and the chance to connect with myself, with others, and with the amazing world of nature.”

The year’s Members Only Expedition is from August 26-28. I’ll be aboard again (my mother, sadly, will not) and I would love to meet you, sail and learn with you, and capture your memories of what it's like to step aboard. The Members Only Expedition is open to Sound Experience Members only; children 8 and up are welcome when accompanied by an adult.