Harbor Springs, Michigan, June 20, 2022 – Five historic maritime vessels will figure prominently in next week’s Blessing of the Fleet activities: the Odawa canoe Jiimaan, the 1800s replica schooner Madeline, the Isle Royale Queen III and two luxury yachts, the Canim and Elegante.
The Little Traverse Bay Band’s 12-paddler Jiimaan, or canoe in the Odawa language, will once again lead the Blessing of the Fleet boat parade on June 30 in Little Traverse Bay. Once prominent modes of transportation for Native Americans around the Great Lakes, today such birch bark canoes are often handmade as training exercises to connect youth to their tribal culture.
The Madeline, a 92-foot replica of a two-masted Great Lakes schooner from the mid-1800s, will be moored at the City Marina June 29 and 30 and will offer free public dockside tours. Madeline’s volunteer crew serve as tour guides and interpreters welcoming visitors aboard for a hands-on experience from bow to stern while telling tales of life on the Great Lakes.
The original schooner Madeline was built in 1845 in Fairport, Ohio to carry freight. This replica was built from 1985 to 1990 by volunteers with the Maritime Heritage Alliance, whose mission is to preserve, interpret and promote the maritime heritage of the Great Lakes.
The first of the Isle Royale Queen ferries, which carry passengers across Lake Superior to Isle Royale National Park, was commissioned in 1938. The Isle Royale Queen III saw service up until 2004 when Queen IV replaced her. On June 30, you can cruise Little Traverse Bay on the Isle Royale Queen III to have a front-row seat for the Blessing of the Fleet boat parade. This ticketed cruise leaves from Walstrom Marine and includes a full-service bar and appetizers.
Owners of the Canim and Elegante, private luxury motor yachts that figure prominently in the boat parade, are offering a rare tour of each historic vessel on June 29, as a fundraiser for the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society. The 96-foot Canim was built in 1930; the 63-foot Elegante in 1964. The tour is hosted at the Boathouse in Harbor Springs, and tickets include a cocktail party with the captains and a commemorative gift.
For information on tickets, this year’s charity raffle and the latest updates on “Fleet Week,” “Blessing of the Fleet” and other programs offered by the Historical Society, visit www.HarborSpringsHistory.org or call 231-526-9771.