Seadragon2

Extraordinary Opportunities- By Madeline Hare

Sep 26 2013

Madeline Hare,(or “Maddie” for short), is a student of Dr. Bill Edwards, a professor of freshwater biology and  ecology at Niagara University. Maddie is an experienced sailor, with two expeditions on the tall ship Niagara already under her belt. She is passionate about taking part in field research, and chose to take part in the One Water Story to supplement her understanding of micro plastic pollutions issues in the Great Lakes. 

Maddie was a great source of feedback for us as a crew. Having already conducted research similar to ours, she helped us to contrast and compare research collection methods. She also helped us refine our education program, designed to teach Young Adventurers about the problems the Great Lakes face. We really enjoyed having her on board, and look forward to the days when she publishes her own Great Lakes Research!

Maddie's photo of sunset on the Sea Dragon

Maddie’s photo of sunset on the Sea Dragon

Extraordinary Opportunities

By Madeline Hare

 

A young blonde woman greeted me with the biggest smile when I arrived at the 9th street pier in Cleveland, Ohio. Her awesome energy instantly made me lose any nervousness I had. Asta Mail introduced me to the rest of the crew, and right away I knew that it would be a good time. Dinner was also being prepared, what more could I ask for?

After dinner that first night, Captain Eric Loss took myself and the other two lovely ladies who were there for the Young Adventurers program out to begin some science research.

Breakfast aboard the Sea Dragon. Maddie, second from the front on the right.

Breakfast aboard the Sea Dragon. Maddie, second from the front on the right.

We were doing sampling for a number of things on this voyage. We were testing the water quality of different areas throughout Lake Erie and up to Lake Ontario. We were also doing trawls of the lake, looking for microplastics. This excited me, as I’ve done other plastic research sailing on the US Brig Niagara.

Honestly, the part I was most excited for was the sailing. I was hoping to learn more, and I definitely did through the crew’s wisdom.

Maddie, right  and the rest of the  crew leave Cleveland in their wake as they sail across Lake Erie!

Maddie, right and the rest of the crew say good bye to Cleveland as they sail across Lake Erie!

After departing Cleveland, Ohio early Friday, we sailed throughout the day and into the night. My watch consisted of Mitch, Candace, and I from midnight until 3 am. During the night, the sky was so clear and beautiful, and we could see what seemed to be a million stars. I probably saw about 10 shooting stars, and I made the same wish I always make.

I slept soundly after our watch, into the morning when we were all hands for motoring through the Welland Canal. It was quicker than we thought, only taking us about four hours to get through the locks. It’s tradition to kiss the first and the last lock of the canal, so of course I did it.

Maddie kissing the 7th lock on the Welland Canal!

Maddie kissing the 7th lock on the Welland Canal!

When my watch was on again, the waves were rolling and I was at helm for a good portion of it. It was terrifying at first, with the boat rocking back and forth. I got the hang of it quickly, and ended up loving every second of steering the boat. I loved it so much and wish I had more experience.

Andrew and Maddie enjoying the passage together!

Andrew and Maddie enjoying the passage together!

Being on the boat was such an incredible experience, and the crew is what made it. Sailing in such beautiful weather, and having live music a lot of the time (thanks Andrew), made it something that seems like a dream.

Maddie's photo of Andrew Murgatroyd jamming into the sunset.

Maddie’s photo of Andrew Murgatroyd jamming into the sunset.

I hope sailing is something I can do for the rest of my life. I have to just keep picking up these extraordinary opportunities I come across.