Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sound Experience is HIRING


The Schooner Adventuress

Join the Sound experience community and work as crew aboard the historic schooner Adventuress. Our mission is to Educate, Inspire and Empower youth of all ages to learn to protect Puget sound.

Sound Experience is accepting applications for all Crew positions aboard the Adventuress for the 2010 sailing season.

We are a non profit organizations that sails the tall ship Adventuress, offering environmental education programs throughout Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.

Our programs work with people of all ages, including schools, scouts, corporate team building, day sails and overnight voyages.

Crew positions include:
First Mate
Second Mate
Program Coordinator



We use the Adventuress as a metaphor for our planet: a closed system that requires understanding and care, and sails best when all aboard are working together.

Our focus is education because we believe that people will protect what they learn to value. As they voyage through the Puget Sound basin, Sound Experience participants are encouraged to realize that their daily actions make a difference. And they respond with a growing spirit of cooperation, community, stewardship and responsibility.

Come Work With Us!

For application or questions:
Phone: 360-379-0438
Contact: Captain MB Armstrong

Mail application, resume, cover letter and references to:

Sound Experience
PO Box 1390
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Attn: Crew 2010

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Remodeled Homes Tour Benefits Sound Experience and other Nonprofits

The 2009 Remodeled Homes Tour & Benefit is happening in Seattle this weekend, sponsored by the Master Builders Association. Thanks to Mike Vacirca, President of Lastingnest and former crew member aboard Adventuress, Sound Experience is the nonprofit organization featured at Home #7 (a Built Green remodel) on the tour and will be the recipient of any donations given at that house by visitors.

The Remodeled Homes Tour and Benefit is on Sat., Oct. 17th and Sun., Oct. 18th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Seattle. Admission is free. Visit for details. "Passports" with directions to homes are available at the Tour or at any Dunn Lumber location.

Adventuress and Sound Experience make the place we live real to the folks who feel the breeze on their cheek translate into the pull of the sails. I've seen the beauty of this connection change people's lives, help them put together that simple idea of connectedness from which all else springs forth. It's an honor to do what I can to help that along. --Michael Vacirca, President, Lastingnest, Inc.

Our thanks to Mike and Lastingnest for such great support of Sound Experience and Adventuress!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Anchor Watch Haikus

Anchor Watch Haikus: Aug. 23/24
Elderhostel Voyage aboard Adventuress
San Juan Islands

the generator stopped
now the silence can be heard
how many night sounds remain

new constellation
forming in my memory
over my new home

black back white night flanks
our ship sleeps, one eye open
like a drowsy whale

syllabic restrictions
makes this not a haiku
grasshopper goes chirp

gentle fish swished ripple
discordant heron crank
silent cacophony of shooting stars

not green not green yes white
bearing to check throughout the night
watch for falling stars

A dark and stormy night...

Anchor Watch Poem: Aug. 21/22
Elderhostel Intergenerational aboard Adventuress
San Juan Islands

It was a dark and stormy night
Waves lapped up against the hull
And wind howling night
Waves shook the boat
Like thunder from below
And rain covered up the red compass light’s glow

But when it did pass and the ship found herself made fast
It was calming with the fish splashing
And as the dawn broke through the dark
All the crew found themselves singing sweetly as meadowlarks

Only six hours till we say farewell
Adios, dear friends, it’s been swell
So remember the wind in the sails
The beach walks and the tidepool snails
The good food coming from the galley
All the things learned
That we cannot tally

Happy trails to you
My family and new friends
Till we meet, I hope, again.

Name That Star!

Anchor Watch: August 20/21
Elderhostel Intergenerational aboard Adventuress
San Juan Islands

Here's Your Opportunity to Name a Star!

Flying Saucers, two of them, bearing at 240 degrees
Sea Star!
Star Knot
That One There
Antirius (Anti Mars)
Pisaster Disaster ( = Supernova)
Sunman Blazer
My Guiding Light
Jing (yes, I’m naming it after myself J)

Journal Entries: August 20th

Journal Entries: Aug. 20th
Elderhostel Intergenerational aboard Adventuress
San Juan Islands

Last night, while Adventuress was rafted up to the beautiful schooner Zodiac, the current pushing between the ships was alight with bioluminescence and the water was loud with the snorts and thrashing of pinnipeds.

A big highlight was sailing with the wind through the President’s Channel. The lines were taut with wind and the ship was heeled over so far that walking across the deck felt like rock climbing. Below decks there were some breaking jars and slipping bags--a good reminder to stow things properly.

We sailed all morning, then stopped over at Deer Harbor for warm showers after furling the jib out on the windy bowsprit. We continued on a cleaner crew to Blind Bay, where we learned about stars from the mate Sarah as darkness fell.

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

Journal Entry: Morning of Aug. 20th
Elderhostel Intergenerational aboard Adventuress
San Juan Islands

The smell of zucchini bread wafted to my nose
My delicious wake-up call
I eased my body out of my bunk
Taking heed to the advice of not bumping my head
On the two-foot length of my tight top bunk

The quilt that hung for the sake of our privacy
Was being hung on the ceiling
As the ladies arose from their beauty slumber

I grabbed my blue stainless-steel water bottle
My dentist-advertised toothbrush
And my minty Colgate toothpaste
Time to brush my pearly whites

Up on deck, 6:00 to 7:00, night watch was wrapping up
Checking the Adventuress bearings
I moved my toothbrush back and forth
Swooshing around the suds of the paste
Savoring the minty aroma
Then spit it overboard
Watching it melt into the salty sea.

My eyes caught sight of the trail of the sun’s reflection
Oh, what a beautiful morning.

…by Julia T.

Friday, August 21, 2009

August 18, 2009

We're on board Adventuress for an Elderhostel Intergenerational voyage. The "Killer Crustaceans" watch group wrote a poem:

What a Magical Day

Starry skies and orange moonrise
plankton glowing bright
sea lions splash a loud surprise
our anchor watch last night.

Rising sun and morning star
water still as snow
Mt. Baker awes us from afar
the currents ebb and flow.

Eagles high above us soar
porpoises at play
glacial rocks along the shore
natives paddle bay to bay.

Cute harbor seals bob and breathe
jellies drifting by
and then the wind we cannot see
hugs our sail against the sky.

Once a "dirty" island, now
nature's treasure trove
Sucia's just beyond our bow
we end our day in Echo Cove.

Comments in the log book:
  • "Setting sail, great wind today."
  • "Sailed onto the anchor; great coordination and cooperation."
  • "Helped back the main. Crew are great instructors and always kind."
August 19, 2009

On anchor watch last night, First Mate Sarah posed a challenge to all, to complete this thought:
"If you were a source of light, you would be..."

Here are the responses:
  • A campfire or a lit jack o' lantern
  • A shooting star
  • A lightning bug
  • The ON switch on a coffee pot
  • Joy
  • A green deck prism as seen from below during a deck wash; swirling, thunderous, bubbly, and colorful
  • Sunrise over the marsh
  • Aurora borealis
  • A full harvest moon rising
  • A birthday candle (courtesy of Tommy, the birthday boy!)
  • A glow worm
  • Polaris
  • A fire on one's own beach
  • Venus
  • Moonlight
  • Anchor light
  • North Star
  • Red compass light
  • A dinoflagellate
  • The sun breaking over a horizon of water

One more entry from the Fantastic Voyage

Better late than never! Here's another entry from the Grades 7 to 9 Fantastic Voyage, courtesy of Aubrey:

"We spent the day on the ship, going through 2 watch group rotations, sailing, learning, hanging out, and being entertained by several crew skits. We saw baby porpoises and what we think was resident Orca K-22. Each apprentice taught a class on how to prepare for and navigate a 5-day trip aboard Adventuress. This evening, we anchored in Park Bay, joined in the same anchorage by the vessels Odyssey and Zodiac. The evening program was "Party Piece," with guitar playing, card tricks, an epic 3-act skit, and the Yarn of the Nancy Belle puppet show. All in all, a wonderful day."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fantastic Voyage Grades 7 to 9 on Adventuress

Ahoy from Adventuress!

This week we've been sailing with the Fantastic Voyagers in grades 7 to 9 in the San Juan Islands. We also have a couple of apprentices aboard, as well as one of our very favorite Galley Coordinators, Tom Weiner. Here's what we've been up to:

Wednesday, August 12

From Watch Group Leader Alissa: "This is a great group of high-energy kids. Many have come with sailing experience and they're ready and eager to learn more. We started off sailing right away, then took time to get to know one another, set goals for the trip, and have line-handling orientation. My Watch Group is called the Alpha Anemones, so we made name tags using the flag symbol for "alpha." Here are some of our group's comment about today:

Will listed hoisting the main sail as a highlight. Alex and Adrian enjoyed the African Stew prepared by Tom. Alex discovered that sweating the lines to the 'two-six-heave' was tough! Cassidy liked raising the sails. And Watch Leader Zach thought that 'Will's line handling skills were fantastic!'

This evening we had a gettting-to-know-you scavenger hunt game for our program. One of the anchor watches was delighted to see a blue heron land on the boom."

Thursday, August 13

From Aubrey: "It was a full day today. Sailing in the morning with Watch Group rotations for classes, including plankton tows and using the microscope TV. We anchored early and had a fun afternoon climbing aloft, sailing Ayashe, and hanging out on the bowsprit. We had delicious burritos for dinner. This group has set a record for this summer for the least food waste...we've only had 0.75 gallons on this trip so far, which is really impressive! Tom's great food has been gobbled up like crazy. For our evening program we played a game and got everybody singing."

From Apprentice Ashlyn: "Today I learned the names of almost all of the lines on the boat. After the lesson, I had to label them all on a picture of Adventuress. It took a lot of hints from the crew, but I got it done. Now I have a reference in case I forget any of the lines, even though that won't happen! I also got to climb aloft for the second time this afternoon and this time I brought my camera along with me and took some awesome pictures. As an apprentice, I'm learning a lot of navigation. I got to work with the other apprentice to plan the route of our five-day trip. I never knew how much planning it takes for a trip like this. I'm really enjoying the trip so far and looking forward to learning more about sailing and navigation."

Friday, August 14

From C Watch: "Today we went for a shore hike on Jones Island. We spent time looking in the tidepools and saw crabs, sea snails, limpets, hermit crabs, small fish, and seaweed. We also saw purple and red Lion's Mane jellies in the water. We did a scavenger hunt on the beach, and we picked up trash. Then we took solo hikes, where we were spaced apart for some quiet contemplation. Placed along the path were inspirational quotes on cards printed by Hannah. A highlights was our afternoon snack of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies."

Fun fact from C Watch: "Last night, the moon was at the farthest point north of the equator that it will be all year."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fantastic Voyagers Grades 9 to 12

2009 Fantastic Voyage Grades 9 to 12
les Anemone Apocolyptique,
and Chinookies
Thanks to Cameron for the photo!

Family Sail aboard Adventuress--Part 3

Journal Entries: Sunday, August 9th

Early morning anchor watch (6:15 a.m.), Parks Bay:

"I came on deck and saw a patch about 10 feet around that looks like raindrops on the water. It moves close, within 5 feet of the boat, and I could see scores of small silvery fish about 3 to 5 inches, dancing under the water and occasionally skimming just under the surface, flashing with their sides or bellies. This action caused the raindrop effect. It did not appear as thought their mouths touched the water, nor were they jumping out of the water. I saw no bugs on the water. The air was still, slightly foggy. It was before the sun showed. I wonder if their schooling motion stirs up the plankton in a way that makes it easier for them to feed on it. Maybe hitting the surface of the water feels good on their skin. Any ideas or knowledge?"

Later that morning (10:30 a.m.):

"Cleanliness chores over, now the fun begins! Sailing the skiff, hanging out on the bowsprit, going aloft."

Here is an adaptation of the poem Sea Fever (adapted by "Popeye"):

I must go down to the sea again
To the floats and strewn beads of white
With wondrous shell treasures
That make a beachcomber's delight.
I must go down to the sea again
To the jetsom-strewn beaches of light
With sweet children's faces and warm embraces
That make Popeye sleep well at night.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Family Sail aboard Adventuress--Part 2

Journal Entries: August 7th

The Agile Albatrosses of the Family Sail learned a lot about sailing, plankton, and sail names.

Daniel helped "festival-furl" the jib, and it was beautiful. Charlie enjoyed walking the "widow strainer." Lauren is pleased by how wonderful and comfortable the sailing has been so far.

There was a skit put on by the crew for dinner: County Fair Whack-a-Potato to announce root fritters and au gratin...and delicious it was.

We all learned how to raise the sails. It's hard work, but fun.

Family Sail aboard Adventuress--Part 1

Family Sail Anchor Watch Poem
2200 8/8/2009-0700 8/9/2009

Seals and porpoises
night our stillness brings peace, dreams reeled in by the sea.
Wind slowly musters
Washes in from crooks unknown
Wakened by the night.
Midnight discussions in the calm,
Moon peeking out from the clouds,
honks and quacks somehow add to the silence; Gentle mist makes us all sea creatures.
Form, function, and beauty.
A thousand reminders of those gone before, Driven on, ceaselessly by the music.
Driven on by the waves
Riding the current
Stuff floating in the water.
Is it glowing?
The surface erupting in a carpet of ripples.
Fish feeding,
Glassy waters reflect the trees, the sky Mirrors our dreams back to us And to our children Who carry them into the future.
Minnows jump and show their shining
silver sides bidding
the sun to come and rise.
Etherial islands drift,
Billow, bunch, then shift
Within, darkness dulls all senses
The sun to come and rise.

Friday, August 7, 2009

More from the Fantastic Voyageers!

(top) Puppet show: Yarn of the Nancy Belle (middle) Stuart Island view (top) Climbing aloft

The phone signals were tricky during the trip, but now that everyone's back ashore, we thought we'd share a few of the journal entries:

From the participants:

"We anchored early on the third day and got to climb aloft, row in Ayashe, sit on the bowsprit, throw heaving lines, and just hang out. We met Nicole, the lighthouse tender. She came aboard Adventuress for the evening program and shared stories with us."

"On day four we took a shore hike on Stuart Island to the lighthouse and the schoolhouse. We had lunch in the field and played games like Ultimate Frisbee in the park."

"On the fifth day, we had Schooner Olympics. We had three teams: "Team One," "Canada," and "Bjorkland." There was immense spirit and teamwork from all. We competed in fender racing, the human knot, pair knotting, and line heaving. The ultimate victor was Bjorkland, followed by Team One, and lastly Canada. Jessup and Jordan commentated splendidly."

"Also on day five, we finished three baggywrinkles, and completed a Silent Set, where we raised all four sails without any verbal input from the crew!"

"Favorite meals were peanut butter chocolate chip muffins and zuccini muffins for breakfast, sauteed zuccini, black bean burgers, and spaghetti for dinner. We came close to breaking the record for least food waste on the trip, with only 2.5 gallons (a half bucket) of compost collected from 35 people over five days. One day there was ZERO food waste."

From the apprentices:

"On the fourth day, we took a shore hike to one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the San Juans. We had a nice wind and sailed fairly well with a little motoring. I wish we would not have had to motor, but it had to be done."

"I finished a Turk's Head for my wrist. I'm extremely stoked to wear one and I hope it stays on until I die! I still need to make a lanyard for my apprentice knife, which I hope to do tomorrow."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

San Juan Islands Sunset

It doesn't get much better!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Watch Group Les anemone apocolyptique reports that they learned about bioluminessence in the dinoflagellate noctiluca as well as in other organisms. Bioluminessence is one of the highlights of anchor watch, when a rope or boat hook drawn through the water creates ripples of sparkling light.

The Fantastic Voyagers went on a shorehike on Stuart Island, a favorite stopping point of Adventuress crew. The 2.881 square-mile island is north of San Juan Island and west of Waldron. The group's natural-history journal entry from the hike included spotting a herd of what looked to be Mouflon sheep lying in the grass in front of the lighthouse and also observing large amounts of bull kelp.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fantastic Voyage aboard Adventuress

The Fantastic Voyagers (grades 9 to 12) set sail on Sunday aboard the schooner Adventuress in the San Juan Islands. The weather was gorgeous and the energy was high as crew and participants stowed luggage, picked bunks, learned names, joined Watch Groups, and left the dock for five days of new experiences.

We'll be sharing participants' entries to the Watch Log...daily if possible, but always at the mercy of finding a phone signal amidst the Islands.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Anchor Watch Poem
The night started with a big bang
Fireworks of different colors lit up the night
But they came nowhere near the light of the moon
And in its glory it did shine
It's such a shame it can't be mine
If I could I'd gift it to you
But none can match the color of the moon
The moon has set
The sun is rising
The stars dissappear
Good morning, sunshine
The earth says hello.

"One memory I have about yesterday is Anchor Watch. I've been on Adventuress twice already, so it was kind of neat to teach others about what to do."

"Yesterday we had an idea to have Natural History Watch on the bowsprit. A wonderful idea until we realized it was hard to have a conversation with someone's back!"

"Yesterday, the Mission of Peace Watch Group discovered their name and had fun putting on many skits for the whole boat's crew family. We've had a good time and lots of laughs so far. I hope to learn lots more before going home."

"(1) Learned how to set sails. (2) Met a lot of cool new people. (3) Had fun learning new things. (4) The views of the landscapes were awesome."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Adventuress Updates from Hannah and Zach

Hello! This is Hannah, one of the Educator/Deckhands on the trip. Yesterday we took the girls ashore to explore the tidepools on Jones Island. Erin led up a blind hike which involved girls guiding a blindfolded partner along a path without touching and with gentle yes and no questions only. After, I set up a solo hike along the coast trail. I placed cards with observations and questions and inspirational quotations at various points along the path. We sent the girls on the 1-mile hike one at a time, and they emerged glowing and voluntarily discussed the hike and the cards among themselves. "I wanted it to go on forever!" said one girl. It was one of many high points in the day. Others included discovering immense purple lion's mane jellies, leaning in close to look at fascinating intertidal creatures, and an art gallery tour aboardship featuring work by crew and participants.

Hello! This is Zach, also an Educator/Deckhand as well as the summer season Bosun. I led a lesson on Monkey's Fists and most of the girls will leave the boat wearing one as a necklace. Here is a link to a webpage with instructions from the International Guild of Knot Tyers, so you can make one at home:

After the lesson, the gals took a guided tour around the boat. They had spent a good deal of the time after the shore-hike making art in many forms. Some were drawings, some paper oragami and cranes, some were stories or poems. Hannah and Allyssa put on their best snobbish artsy accents and led the girls around the boat asking the artists to "offer some words about their work." It was a huge success.

Today we set sail right away and sailed for most of the day. We had a Man Overboard (MOB) drill and managed to get the "person" out of the water in three minutes from the time the drill was called. Most of the girls got time at the helm and on bow watch. There were lessons today ranging from watersheds to sea monsters to boxing the compass. Silly games were had that involved sticking out your tongue and making the "thpbbt" sound. The apprentices worked on splices with me. Also, we sailed onto anchor tonight. Right now a girl is playing "In the Jungle" on the saxaphone!

The trip is going well, the sun came out today and the wind joined it once we got into Rosario Strait.

More orca pix from Adventuress!

More photos of the orcas who visited Adventuress!

The great orca experience that the girls shared on Wednesday is sure to be remembered by everyone on the ship, so we thought we'd share a few more photos.
Here's a report from Shipboard Program Coordinator Aubrey:
"I've never seen orcas that close before! We had our engines off, and they just swam up to us. Everyone came up on deck and we must have spent two hours watching the bow, off the stern, off the sides of the ship, just surrounding us. We took a few moments of silence and could actually hear them breathe. Several times a group of 5 or 6 would come up in a line, bringing the young calf along to the surface. It was so, so cool! And what better way to introduce our education station on Marine Mammals. "
The girls have been busy with many fun activities in addition to the orcas:
"We've been rowing and sailing in our small boat, Ayashe. Yesterday we went on a shore hike to Jones Island where we did a "trust hike" and an observation hike. The girls said they wished it didn't have to end! We also got to go climbing aloft in the rigging. A few girls who were reluctant to go up decided to give it a try anyway and successfully conquered their fears. Last evening we set up an art gallery below decks. All of the girls made art based on the trip experiences...we even had plankton art hanging in the main cabin and "bowling alley. We continued the plankton theme with chocolate-chip, plankton-shaped pancakes for breakfast this morning. And to top it all off, we had a birthday cake for crewmember Hannah. Tomorrow we head for Bellingham and our final watch meetings and Closing Circle."

Heave away, haul away, girls! Raising the mains'l aboard Adventuress

"Ready on the peak..."
"Ready on the throat..."
"Ready on the sheet..."
"Ready on the lacelines..."
"Ready on the chantey..."

Adventuress has the second largest mainsail on the West Coast, second only to the schooner Zodiac. The sail weighs as much as a small car!

It's a Superpod!

What a sight!! On the trip from Port Townsend to the San Juan Islands on Wednesday, the ship sailed past a "superpod" of orcas--members of J, K, and L pods swimming together, running from port side to starboard side. On board, a moment of silence allowed all to appreciate the awe-inspiring experience. "It was truly fantastic," reports Captain Joshua. "They came at just the right time to give the girls a sense of this powerful place."
More favorite things...
  • Being under wind power.
  • Climbing aloft.
  • Being on the water.
  • Sweeping below decks.
  • Learning how to "talk sail."
  • Singing sea chanteys.
  • "Plankton races were awesome!"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What's for Dinner?

Each evening aboard Adventuress, a troop of costumed characters emerge from the main cabin in response to a resounding chorus of "What's for dinner?" A lively skit ensues, as the Watch Group members assigned to dinner prep use their theatrical talents to let the rest of the crew know what they have been cooking in the galley.

Then it's time to climb down the ladder into the foc'sle, grab dishes and utensils, get in line in the "bowling alley," and make your way to the galley to fill your plate with delicious vegetarian fare. For some reason, the food always seems to taste especially good after a busy day on the water, and a welcome sound is the "ding ding" of the ship's bell signaling that everyone has been served and it's okay to come back for seconds.

Dish washing usually takes place on deck. Hopefully you've eaten everything on your plate to minimize waste. Any remnants are scraped into the compost bucket (to be eventually offloaded to nourish someone's garden); plates are rinsed with saltwater; then it's into (1) hot, soapy, fresh water, (2) hot water rinse, (3) mild bleach solution, and finally (4) dish racks to air dry. This sytem is great for conserving the precious supply of fresh water on board, and with everyone pitching in to help, cleanup is quick and easy.

Girls at the Helm Album #1

Going through the Locks.

At anchor.

Morning chores.

Deck art.

All "hands" to furl the mainsail.

Creating a Watch Flag.

Furling the jib.

Black-bean burgers!

...and lots of potatoes.

Adventuress at dusk.

Tuesday morning brought a breakfast of French toast and fruit and a run-down of the day's activities. First up was everyone pitching in for Ship Stewardship. Watch Groups were assigned to washing the deck, cleaning the soles (floors) of the cabins, and yes, cleaning the heads! With things shipshape, it was finally time to set sail. All hands joined in to sing a sea chantey while raising the big mainsail, followed by the foresail, staysail, and jib. Gray skies and cool temperatures called for jackets and hats, but a nice steady breeze made for pleasant sailing. Watch Groups rotated through time on deck for sail handling and navigation lessons, time in the deckhouse for plankton class, time in the main cabin for artwork and journaling, and time in the galley to help with lunch (salad and two kinds of macaroni and cheese). One group decided to bake cookies for the ship, choosing three different recipes from the galley cookbooks. Each Watch Group created a special flag as well. A hearty dinner of black-bean burgers and potatoes was served at anchor before evening programs began.The Brave Porpoises were asked what they liked best about Day One:
"Making new friends."
"Watching it go from dark to light during early morning anchor watch."
"Sleeping!" (much appreciated after a busy day at sea)
And one of the girls (aka "Rosy Rockfish") shared her impressions of Day One:
"Last night was my first night aboard the Adventuress. It was calm that night. We played games. There are two cabins on board. The ship is big, the food is good, and there is lots of room. Fun activities and wonderful sights. I learned how to tie a bowline from an overhand knot and to tie off to a cleat. What I liked most was talking."

Monday, July 6, 2009

Girls are at the Helm!

Girls at the Helm has begun! At 10:00 this morning, 21 girls boarded Adventuress at the Center for Wooden Boats at South Lake Union. Stepping across onto the deck of the ship, they began a six-day journey of discovery on Puget Sound. After introductions and bunk selections, the girls were assigned to one of three Watch Groups and had their first challenge: choosing a Watch name! With a bit of brainstorming, they decided on the Brave Porpoises, the Sarcastic Sea Stars, and the Sea Cupcakes (an endangered species, it turns out). Groups were then led through orientations by their Watch Leaders, learning about line handling, on-deck safety, and below-decks life (including how to use the heads). Vegetarian enchiladas and salad for lunch were enjoyed before heading off the dock and motoring north on Lake Union to go through the Ballard Locks and out into Puget Sound. Watch Groups had activities and time for reflection before anchoring and a dinner of curry soup and ciabatta bread. Evening finds everyone gathered in the main cabin for the daily resource report (sharing how much fuel, water, and electricity were used today and how much waste was produced), a skit about the day's activities, and a game of Scattergories. Tomorrow we set sail!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer Camp at Sea for Girls in July

We're excited to offer a special program this summer aboard the schooner Adventuress. Girls at the Helm is a 6-day 5-night "summer camp at sea" voyage designed for girls in grades 6 to 8. What better way to explore Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands than from the decks of a historic tall ship? With guidance from the experienced crew, participants will hoist the sails to the rhythm of a sea chantey, take the helm and steer a course, share meals, enjoy evenings of music and laughter, stand anchor watch under the stars, and learn firsthand about the marine biology and natural history of Puget Sound. Details: The trip is for girls only, grades 6 to 8. Cost is $650 and includes all meals (which are vegetarian) and comfortable but cozy living quarters aboard the ship (which is 133' long). The trip departs from the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle's South Lake Union on July 6th and returns to Bellingham on July 11th. Nights are spent anchored out. Register at or give us a call at 360-379-0438.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sussex School Aboard the Adventuress

The following article was written as part of a school assignment. The course is "Writing for the Mass Media," and the assignment was to create a newsletter. I had to write five articles roughly 100 words each. I chose to do one of my articles on the Sussex school Sound Exploration trip, for which I was a volunteer. This is that article!

Traveling from Montana, a small group of students and their chaperons braved a nine hour car ride to come sail aboard the Schooner Adventuress. Departing on May 14 from Bainbridge Island's City Dock, the Adventuress sailed for first north, then south, admiring the majestic waters of the Puget Sound.

The nine students, grade eight, quickly earned the respect of the crew with their maturity and energy. Over the three day voyage the students tackled advanced navigation, bellowed chanteys, hauled up the sails and studied the depths of Puget Sound's ecosystem.

As their departure drew near, the students recounted their favorite things: the bowsprit, going aloft, spotting seals and the food. Many participants wished the trip was longer, others dreamed of coming back but everyone left the ship inspired.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tacoma News Tribune Reports on Adventuress

Last Wednesday, the Tacoma News Tribune featured the Adventuress in an article titled, "Tall ship Adventuress offering free tours, $40 cruises on Sunday." Craig Hill, the reporter who broke the story, was able come on board to experience our program, and converse with the captain and crew.

Captain Joshua Berger was quoted saying, “When we are all on board it’s easy to see how our actions impact each other and the ship."

The Adventuress is a closed system. The crew pay careful attention to what goes into it: fuel, water and food, and what comes out of it: compost, food-waste and trash. By monitoring resources and maintaining the ship, the world aboard the Adventuress is preserved and enhanced.

The Earth, too, is a closed system, but on a larger scale. Hill noted the parallel that the crew draws between the ship and the Earth.

"Berger... and his crew use the comparison to teach environmental responsibility to kids," wrote Hill.

You can find the rest of Hill's article here, at the Tacoma News Tribune's website.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Olympian Features the Adventuress

Recently, the Adventuress sailed to Olympia to connect with local schools. Operating from Percival Landing, the Adventuress offered numerous Sound Studies programs, as well as dockside tours. Rolf Boone, a reporter for the Olympian, connected up with the participants and crew to gain insights into our programs. You can read his article here at the Olympian's website.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sound Explorations with West Sound Academy, Apr 17 - 20, 2009

I roused myself from bed at the usual time, but last Thursday did not follow my normal routine. When you know you're going to be sailing on a 133ft long, 96 year old historic schooner, you wake up smiling.

I signed up to be relief crew for a Sound Exploration trip aboard the Schooner Adventuress a few months ago. Sound Explorations are the extended versions of Sound Studies, both of which are "designed to spark the imagination and foster an interest in science, leadership and the environment."The big difference between them is that Sound Studies are three to five hours, whereas Sound Explorations are two to seven days.

The Adventuress was moored at Bainbridge Island's City Dock. When I arrived, I spent a few moments rehashing good times with the old girl, then had the pleasure of meeting the students and teachers from West Sound Academy.

West Sound Academy is in Paulsbo, which is directly north of Bainbridge. The school is a private preparatory middle and high school, and its students are fantastic. That morning, the kids made their impression on me. As our crew rustled the ship into activity, we could hear their burgeoning sixth-grade excitement carry across the water, a full Adventuress boat-length away. Needless to say, that energy was infectious.

That's how it always is: the participants are always excited for a new experience, and we're always excited to facilitate it. The excitement builds off of one another, and the atmosphere becomes electrified through our collective effervescence. A wise man once described it as "some kind of hypnotism."

However, this energy is put on hold while we go over safety. Safety and shipboard orientation is a priority. We must go over the essentials: how to don a life jacket, where to muster in an emergency, life rings, etc. But also the personal essentials: where to stow your things, how to use the bathroom, and assigning watch-groups for the remainder of the trip. It is only after, what must seem to them a vicious prolonging of their excitement, that we turn them loose upon the halyards.

The proverbial bottle is then popped and their energy surges forth. It's amazing what enthusiam and adrenaline can do for sixth graders. The sail, as a result, was set quite easily.

The rest of the trip was indescribable, though it is my charge to try an describe it. I was a Co-Watch Leader with Aubrey, who is one of the saltiest, friendliest, and cutest people the world has ever seen. We had three stellar girls in our group. They were highly energetic and very intelligent.

On that trip, we had a lot of great wind and plenty of sunshine. We saw porpoises and sea lions. We laughed and got to know each other. My favorite thing about being on board is watching the participants grow comfortable with the ship and its atmosphere.

It takes some adjusting: Not showering for three days, washing your dishes by hand, singing chanteys and hauling up sails can be overwhelming and bewildering. But the participants almost always come around.

What I've whittled it down to is awareness; Not only do participants become more aware of their immediate surroundings, i.e. they bump their heads less on the overheads, the don't stub their toes on the cleats, etc, but they become more aware of their environment: They pause to listen as the sea lions slap their flippers upon the water, or their heads snap around when they hear the spout of a porpoise.

With awareness comes respect, admiration, and passion. I can speak only for myself, but awareness is what I hope to foster through the shipboard education, and I believe that many of the crew feel similarly; We want our participants to be so inspired by their experience that they take their admiration back home. We don't expect people to leave as experts on the environment, or in sailing, but we hope to plant a seed so that, after they've left the ship, they'll nurture their awareness into a passion.