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Posts from the Denis Sullivan No. 10: The Last Port

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010 – 8:57am — Natalie Joynton

Last night, 11 pm: the tallest building in Chicago comes into sight as a dim green orb across a calm stretch of Lake Michigan. At first we don’t know what it is, the four of us standing on the quarter deck; we spend several minutes staring through the binoculars before identifying it as the Sears Tower.

I am both counting the number of hours until we dock at Navy Pier and dreading it.  Something pulls me to shore, some undertow sucks me down and pushes me back out.  I count the number of hours until we port—three—because my arrival to Chicago signals the end of this summer, as it’s our final stop, the narrowing and then closing of this fraction of my life: two months spent on Erie, Huron, Superior, and Michigan, living, working and writing on the Denis Sullivan. “Matchless” is the only word that comes to mind.   Arriving in Chicago is a type of graduation, then, because that’s what it’s been for me on this ship: a 24-hour-a-day education. Instruction through immersion: some new frontier I’ve come out of more capable than I was before.

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