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  • Tall Ships America

Niagara's Got Talent

While sailing on Niagara, I participated in the “T’gallant” show, an aptly named event featuring the hidden talents of our crew members. From a sock puppet show behind an unfurled royal sail, to a gorgeous Nick Cave song before a backdrop of crepuscular rays, to our chief mate playing the oldest melody recorded in written word, inscribed in cuneiform, on her violin, I was entranced by the way that the waves of our voices joined together in song before scattering over the glassy surface of Lake Huron. The somber stage turned into an arena, rife with hollers from the crowd as the deck prepared for a deck wrestling match; it was as if a stage manager called for a set change.

I acted as a prop for the finale of Griffin’s “feats of strength” act, in which we attempted a quadruple piggy back. We only practiced with Ethan, Christopher, and me clinging to Griffin’s back, but the cheering crowd prompted an overzealous attempt to add a fourth. When Wilmer mounted the pile of humans, we collapsed almost immediately.

I can belly dance like nobody’s business, but I was too embarrassed to perform until Captain Cusson informed me that he can also roll his stomach. With no premeditation, or even music, we showed off our tummy talents.

L to R: Pride of Baltimore II, Santa Maria, Niagara, Bluenose II

While in Bay City, I was tasked to attend the Kroger Galley Cook Off to take pictures for our Instagram account. Erin, my boss, was supposed to be a judge but she couldn’t make it in time and Candace is vegan, so by default, it was me. I couldn’t be less qualified for the position of taste tester because I will eat anything someone puts in front of me. But I can eat A LOT.

Tributes from Nao Santa Maria, Bluenose II, Pride of Baltimore II, Picton Castle, and Niagara battled it out for the crown. (the actual prize was a $500 gift card to Kroger). The first round stipulated that each contestant make an appetizer incorporating gingersnap cookies, kielbasa sausage, and spicy cheese dip. My favorite dish was chef Pablo’s, from Santa Maria, who made fried sausage bites with a gingersnap crust and a veggie cheese dip sauce.

In the second round, contestants were tasked to make an entree from cannellini beans, white fish, potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, smoked swiss, and, of course, Michigan Sugar (one of the event’s sponsors.) In my opinion, the yummiest dish was the fish gyros by Niagara’s own Ian. It broke my heart to eliminate two more contestants since they are all incredibly talented.

Phil, Pride of Baltimore (L), and Ian, Niagara (R)

The secret ingredients for the final dessert round, between Ian and Pride of Baltimore’s Phil, were gummy bears, raspberries, blueberries, chocolate, pretzels, whipped cream, graham crackers, and strawberry cream cheese. Phil made a chocolate ganache, blueberry compote, and a whipped cream cheese frosting plated on a graham cracker with acute attention to detail and theme. However, I must admit, the fact that Ian made a bundt cake in a skillet on a hot plate blew every dish thus far out of the water. I cannot fathom how he pulled that off. The word “impressed” does not suffice. Phil was equally in awe of this feat; he accepted his loss with grace.