Emma Balazs, an educator for Chewonki’s Traveling Natural History Programs, expanded the definition of “Traveling” in June by boarding the windjammer Angelique for a week of teaching under sail. The Angelique is a 130-feet-long gaff topsail ketch, part of the famous windjammer fleet out of Camden, Maine. The vessel and her crew give paid guests an adventure that is as much an education as a vacation. Her ruddy sails, common on certain late 19th-century English fishing boats (after which she’s modeled), are the result of treating cotton with red ocher, tannic acid, and tallow to stave off mildew, and make the Angelique easy to spot in the Gulf of Maine. Emma’s responsibility aboard the vessel, along with lending a hand on deck when needed, was to give a couple of lectures about natural history subjects every day and also take advantage of impromptu “teachable moments,” which are never lacking on a windjammer. When the vessel was at anchor near land with especially abundant wildlife and/or vegetation, the group rowed ashore and Emma led walks focused on features such as plants, trees, fungi, and tidepools. Each morning on the Angelique, Emma talked to the captain and the maritime historian to “brainstorm what might take place” that day, she says. The itinerary depended on weather and tides, so she had to stay open and flexible, drawing on her broad knowledge of coastal Maine ecology. “It was a lot of fun,” she says. “It was a very windy week, so we did some great sailing, and we saw something really wonderful things.” Among them were an abundance of ospreys, and their nests atop trees and day markers; lots of guillemots (“cute little cousins of puffins”); and two porpoises circling the anchored boat. Spotting the porpoises was a rare treat: they are usually very shy creatures. Emma speculates that they were taking advantage of a plentiful source of food. Now back on the mainland, Emma is teaching again in more familiar settings: libraries, classrooms, elder housing, and other community centers. But the call of the sea may lure her on another sailing adventure in the future. Learn more about Chewonki’s Traveling Natural History Programs here.