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140 Cruise Into History, View Tall Ships, on 2nd Annual River Tour

Princess Wenonah Greets Pride of Baltimore Upbound at Independence Bridge

August 22, 2008       1 Comments
By: Dave Rogers

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Ticket sales begin with Keith Markstrom and Dolores Rogers on the dock.
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

The hot sun of a late August day, crowned with friendly clouds, slowly faded to the slight evening chill foretelling others to come along soon.

Cruisers on the second annual Cruise Into History clambered aboard carrying jackets and an interest in local history and were surprised by a special treat Thursday evening -- a chance to view three significant sailing vessels and a looming freighter closeup.

Another plus: glimpses of wildlife along the banks of the river.

Sailing ships seen along the route of the cruise were the Earth Voyager, 60-foot long trimaran said to be the fastest sailing vessel on the lakes, docked at the DoubleTree Hotel for a Great Lakes restoration promotion, and two tall ships here to help the Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau promote the port, the 154-foot Highlander Sea, and the 157-foot clipper Pride of Baltimore.

Tall ship Pride of Baltimore slips through Independence Bridge as cruise heads out to bay.
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

The freighter was the Algoway, 650-foot self-unloading Canadian flag bulk freighter, downbound from the Buena Vista dock.

From the decks of the Princess Wenonah the 140 cruisers snapped pictures furiously and "oohed" and "aahed" as the boat proceeded down the river toward the mouth.

Narrator Eric Jylha sketched the dimensions of time on the, from the days of the dinosaurs to those of the Sauk and Chippewa Indians, from the early mariners and lumberjacks to the giant vessels serving the industries of the Saginaw Valley.

As Capt. Guy Parks maneuvered around the ships entering the river the cruisers viewed deer and two American bald eagles and got a bird's eye view of dredging underway on the river.

Capt. Guy Parks greets passengers from top deck of Princess Wenonah.
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

The program was topped off by reading a poem by Dorothy Rifenbark written about a daytime cruise on the Princess Wenonah:

Cruising on the Princess Wenonah
On a warm, sunny, calm summer day
On my old friend the Saginaw River
Heading out all the way to the bay

The sea gulls above me are flying
As we chug, chug, chug on our way
As I sit alone on the top deck
And thank God for the beautiful day

Cruising on the Princess Wenonah
The sun shining down on my face
The gentle breezes softly caressing
My heart without leaving a trace

Gliding silently past ancient islands
Where the deer are still free to roam
Where the waves rise and fall unceasing
Capped on the top with white foam

Cruising on the Princess Wenonah
It is my ideal of pure bliss
It is my most favorite remedy
For recalling your sigh and your kiss

Too soon we come about in the bay
Leaving the route to Mackinaw behind
I, too, leave behind all the memories
And the life that began so kind

Cruising on the Princess Wenonah
It is summer solace for me
It heals and mends my broken heart
And sets my spirit free

Watch for the third annual cruise next August, enthused Mr. Jylha, development director of the Bay County Historical Society and a well-known local newsman and tour director.###

Taylor Langstaff, (left) and Keith Markstrom in serious history talk.
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

Patrick Corcoran steps up to help hand out free history books to departing passengers.
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

(Clockwise, From Top Left) (1) The end of a perfect evening shipboard on the Saginaw River. (2) Trombley House model is displayed by Dee Dee Wacksman who heads renovation project. (3) History buffs Gen. Richard and Paula DeMara, foreground, Maureen McDermott and Kathy Branigan, background. (4) Bill Fournier, left, welcomes cruisers Lynn and Sheila Stamiris. (5) Newlyweds Gail and George McPeak enjoy "honeymoon" cruise. (6) Eric Jylha explains tour aspects to Elaine Fournier of Bay City Boat Lines.
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

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"The BUZZ" - Read Feedback From Readers!

dotrifenbark Says:       On September 04, 2008 at 02:59 PM
This was a very enjoyable article. I was especially surprised to see my poem, "Cruising on the Princess Wenonah" included at the end of it. I was born and raised in Bay City, on the west side, and have written many more poems about the people, places and things of my hometown. Please contact me if you would be interested in learning more about them.
Agree? or Disagree?

Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

More from Dave Rogers

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