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Lecture Series At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Touches on Shipwrecks, Sailors, and Ice Conditions


The summer lecture series at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore runs the gamut from yarns to privies! NPS photo of moon over Lake Superior.

When was the last time you heard an 1850s yarn put to song? If you're in the neighborhood of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on Monday, you'll be able to hear what it sounds like. Or, if you're curious about Lake Superior's shipwrecks, you can bone up on them at the lakeshore as well.

Those are just two of the topics that are part of the summer lecture series made possible by the Friends of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. These talks, part of the Around the Archipelago lecture series, are offered every Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. from July 5 through August 23.

Other topics include changing Lake Superior ice conditions, wildlife in the Apostle Islands, and the lives of 19th century sailors on the Great Lakes.

This Monday's guest lecturer will be Wisconsin folksinger David HB Drake, who will present the life and times and music of a 19th-century Great Lakes sailor in “A Sailor’s Songbag.” Based on the 1850s unpublished diaries of William Hulme, a saltwater sailor turned laker, Mr. Drake plans to describe the hardships and accomplishments of the men of the lakes, including songs and yarns used in the days of the schooners.

These programs are offered free to the public. All programs are presented in the auditorium of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore's headquarters visitor center in Bayfield, Wisconsin. The visitor center is located in Bayfield's Old County Courthouse on Washington Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets. Seating is available for 60 people and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

Throughout the rest of the summer, the guest lecture series will feature a variety of lectures including, (believe it or not) The Privies of the Apostles, Those Who Dare—The Apostle Islands Swimmers, Developing a Real Time Wave Observation System for the Mawikwe Sea Caves, Lake Superior’s Disappearing Ice, Deer, Bears, and Wolves—How Many is Enough?, and Diving the Shipwrecks of the Apostle Islands.

For more information and a complete schedule of programs, call Apostle Islands National Lakeshore at (715) 779-3397, extension 399.


Though it's somewhat doubful that I'll be able to make the 6 hour trip to see talk, the one on ice conditions sounds very interesting.

One of the few things promoted for winter visitation to the park is the so called ice caves, whereby the sea caves acquire numerous ice formations on them. Visitors can literally walk onto Lake Superior to see the ice caves, and I had hoped to possibly visit this year. But every time I checked the conditions report, the ice was never stable enough to permit visitation, and by late March/early April winter had already seemed to come to an end. This was a pretty mild winter in Wisconsin, but I gather the presentation can offer more on Lake Superior ice trends, and it's probably not good news.

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