News Release Archive

The tables will be turned for one Nova Scotia Sea School
instructor, who will soon find herself saying "Aye, sir" to
mopping the deck, furling the sail and simply taking orders from
the captain of the Matthew.

Not that Michelle Howell, 31, minds taking orders. In fact, she's
counting down the days until she becomes a crewmember for the
Matthew, a replica of John Cabot's 15th-century vessel. She
admits it will be a change from being in charge of 14-to 24-year-olds who study sail under her. 

Ms. Howell is one of 40 Nova Scotians who will participate in
history by becoming part of the Matthew crew. The Ontario native,
who moved to Halifax to be closer to the ocean in 1993, boards
the vessel in Halifax on Aug. 25 for a one-day trip to Shelburne.

"I'm very interested in the Matthew and started reading about
John Cabot two years ago," said Ms. Howell. "I'm interested in
the history of the finding of North America, and I respect him
more than Columbus. I'm curious about how the boat is rigged and
built, and I'll take photographs of the Matthew for the students
to compare for educational purposes."

This trip is a small jaunt for Howell, who started sailing at the
age of 16. She is used to several weeks and even months at sea.
Starting her career as a deckhand, she has her Watch Keeping Mate
certificate and is working toward her certificate in Command
Endorsement. Howell has sailed to the U.S. Virgin Islands, to
Andros Island in the Bahamas, to the West Indies and from Antigua
to Spain, and around New England.

"It's (sailing) is a great opportunity for anyone, especially for
young people because you become exposed to people all over the
world in the various sailing communities," she said. 

She started as a volunteer with the Nova Scotia Sea School and
now teaches there. She and another instructor sail on the
Dorothea, a 30-foot pull and sail boat built by students at the
school, to train students for two-week periods.

"It's a challenge for them (the students), because they have to
give up telephones, TV and live and sleep on board a ship," said
Ms. Howell, who studied marine sciences at Dalhousie University
but plans to switch soon to marine archival history.

Teaching people respect for the sea is a passion for her. "I
really find that the ocean is the one place where we are still at
the mercy of the elements and you have to respect that."
Sailing will always be a part of her life. Her goal is to work
with a shipbuilder to create a large vessel like a schooner or
brigantine that could be used to develop an educational program
for students.
Ms. Howell has sailed on a variety of vessels, including a
200-year-old packet ship called the Ernestina which first brought
passengers to North America from the Cape Verde Islands in North
Africa. But these days, she looks forward to stepping back in
time on the Matthew.


Contact: Renee Field
         Economic Development and Tourism

ngr                  August 22, 1997 - 11:30 am