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DULUTH - Joe Ewing has volunteered on the Denis Sullivan for 17 years.
Six and a half of those years have been full time on the ship.
Ewing taught honors gemotery in Menomie Hills, Wisc. and retired in 2006.
Since then, the Denis Sullivan has been his classroom.
"I don't give answers. I'm not an answering machine," said Ewing, explaining his teaching motto. "I present situations and let them figure it out."
Ewing is the education officer for the ship and invites volunteers onboard a week at a time to teach them the ways of the sea.
One of the hardships that Ewing faces is leaving his wife, three daughters, and five grandchildren for long periods of time.
"We celebrated our 40th anniversary on June 23," Ewing recalls. "Three days later, she drops me off on the boat for a 40 day seperation."
He says that it is the hardest part of being a sailor, but it's what they have to do.
Ewing also explains that his family comes first, and if his wife said so, he would leave the ship without looking back.
Even though Ewing does not get paid, he explained that everyday he spends on the ship and the experience is his paycheck.
He intends to keep volunteering on the Denis Sullivan until he is physically unable or until he finds a new adventure.