BELLINGHAM - A restored turn-of-the-century sailing ship arrived in Bellingham this week for several days, offering public sails, free dockside tours and field trips for local students.
Adventuress, a 133-foot twin-masted topsail schooner launched in 1913, is a National Historic Landmark. It's operated as a floating classroom by Sound Experience, a nonprofit Port Townsend organization dedicated to preserving its history and to educating the public about environmental issues in the Puget Sound region.
"We've just completed a restoration," said Catherine Collins, executive director of Sound Experience. "It's all as if you would have sailed in 1913. It's really fun to experience that history."
Public sails are offered 1-4 p.m. Sunday, May 25; 1-4 p.m. Monday, May 26; and 4-7 p.m. Saturday, May 31. Free dockside tours are 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, May 25, and Monday, May 26. Otherwise, Adventuress will be offering its Sound Studies and Sound Explorations programs for local students.
Collins said Adventuress will be berthed at D Dock in Squalicum Harbor, accessed from Gate 5 off Roeder Avenue. She invited anyone to stroll past for at least a look at the historic vessel, even if they can't make the two dockside tours.
"We love to have people come down and see the ship," she said. "She belongs not to one, but to all. We're really glad to do it."
During the sails and dockside tours, visitors will learn about the ship's history and its educational mission. They'll see such innovations as a rainwater capture system and how seawater is used for refrigeration aboard ship. Crew members will explain how Adventuress works and offer details about its participation in a scientific study of microplastics in the Salish Sea.
Such scientific studies are part of Adventuress' storied past.
Adventuress' maiden voyage was an arctic research mission to secure a bowhead whale specimen for the Smithsonian. Aboard was Roy Chapman Andrews, naturalist for the American Museum of Natural History who many think was the inspiration for the Indiana Jones film character.
No whale was found, but Andrews provided valuable evidence about how overhunting had caused a decline of the fur seal.
After that first trip, Adventuress was sold to the San Francisco Bar Pilots and sailed the Golden Gate until it was sold and moved to Seattle in the early 1950s. Restoration efforts began in the late 1980s.
"She's a sleek yacht, so arctic exploration must've been kind of tough," Collins said. "To sail aboard her, you can imagine it was the age of exploration, with the gentlemen explorers."
Public sails: 1-4 p.m. Sunday, May 25; 1-4 p.m. Monday, May 26; 4-7 p.m. Saturday, May 31.
Free dockside tours: 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, May 25; Monday, May 26.
Sail costs: $55 for adults; $25 for youth ages 18 and younger. A $95 annual household membership offers unlimited sails.
Where: D Dock at Squalicum Harbor. Take Gate 5 off Roeder Avenue.
Info: 360-379-0438 or soundexp.org.