2nd night added to dark sky cruise

ALPENA — A second night has been added to the Harvest Moon Dark Sky Cruise. Friends of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Director, Katie Wolf said the group had to add a second night to the event because it was so popular.

“We had a wait list from the first night, which is why we decided to offer another cruise,” Wolf said.

The first cruise is Oct. 6 and is sold out. The second night will begin at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 7 and tickets are $40. There are 60 spots available, Wolf said.

The program on the boat will include two sessions on the upper deck for 30 people at a time. Hot apple cider, doughnuts, and other food and drink will be served on the heated lower deck, along with maritime and star-gazing music and trivia. Michigan wine and beer will be available for sale.

She said it’s the first event that is a collaboration with the Besser Museumfor Northeast Michigan.

Besser Museum Planetarium Director Thaddeus LaCoursiere will narrate the cruise. Prior to joining the Besser Museum staff, LaCoursiere worked in the planetarium at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science for four years, created programs and taught astronomy. He has a degree in philosophy and museum studies from the University of New Mexico, Wolf said.

“This adds a fourth venue for people to come to Northeast Michigan dark skies. We have dark sky parks along the shoreline and we hope more people come and appreciate them and learn about them,” Wolf said.

The cruise was planned to help view the October harvest moon, which often appears larger and brighter than other times of the year, Wolf said.

The event cruise is the kickoff event for the Third Annual Lake Huron Discovery Tour, Wolf said.

“The tour is a collaborative effort between cultural and recreational organizations on US-23. It was created to better promote our area among the state. One of the cool things we’re seeing communities keep things open longer along (US)-23. Many places used to close down right after Labor Day. Now towns are planning events in October and it’s peak color season. So we’re really excited about that,” Wolf said.

Tickets can be purchased ahead of the cruise at www.alpenashipwrecktours.com. If lake conditions require cancellation of the boat cruise, programming will still take place indoors, and possibly on the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center roof deck with telescopes from the Besser Museum if weather permits.

Rainchecks for a future boat cruise will be provided to ticket holders at the sanctuary store. All proceeds will benefit education programs at the Besser Museum and the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.