Salish Sea Sciences longboat journey

Chrissy McLeanAll, Youth Programs

The first week of July was an exciting time in longboat world. For the first time in many years, both Townshend and Bear were out on a journey together and traveling in convoy. The longboat journey was part of a 26 day science program for high school students, which is based out of Friday Harbor. Six days on the longboat offered the students a first hand immersion into life on the Salish Sea. We shared the waters with schools of bait fish and juvenile salmon, harbor seal pups, harbor porpoise, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, sea stars, anemones, crabs, and all kinds of plankton.

The first step was organizing and packing all of the gear, including food and water, needed for 20 people for six days- that was not an easy feat! Then the boats headed out from Anacortes. Each day was filled with maritime skill building including navigation, rowing, sailing, and knot tying. In addition we took samples for a science study each day- this included turbidity, salinity, pH, and fecal coliform. Learning how to take care of our basic needs added additional challenge as everyone worked to stay hydrated, warm, and well fed while avoiding sunburn.

Traveling in convoy was an exciting way to visit the islands- we spent some nights together and others apart. We also got to see each other under sail, which is a special treat. It was a truly magical time on the Salish Sea.