Cool Escapes: 10 reasons to go sailing on a schooner

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All this week on News with a Twist, tune in for "Cool Escapes" at 6 and 10 p.m. with Travel Girl Stephanie Oswald.

SUNSET SCHOONER SAILING INFO:

WHERE: Meet on the dock in Biloxi, Mississippi. In normal traffic, it's a 90-minute drive from New Orleans. The exact address is: 367 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, MS 39530

COST: The walk on sunset sails are $30 per person, $15 for kids age 3-12. Note: Bring your own food and drink, they do not sell any on the schooner.

COMPANY: The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum owns the schooners. Click here for a schedule of walk on sailings.

BILOXI, Mississippi, (WGNO) - You've seen our Travel Girl paddle a kayak through a swamp, navigate her way though a 5--game obstacle course, and learn how to drive a solar-powered skiff! But on this Cool Escape, she gets to relax... well, for the most part!

Enjoy her report above, then read on for 10 reasons to sail on a Biloxi Schooner:

1. It's like a floating museum, where champagne is allowed!

Sign near the dock where you board the historic schooners.

Sign near the dock where you board the historic schooners.

The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum owns two Biloxi schooner replicas, The Glenn L. Swetman and the Mike Sekul.

Both schooners are named after Biloxi community leaders: Glenn Lyle Swetman  (1901 - 1994), was a banker who was involved with the Magnolia Hotel, the Biloxi Yacht Club, the Gulf Coast Carnival Association and the Biloxi Schooner project. Mike Sekul (1911 - 1988), was the founder and president of Gulf Central Seafood, Inc. He was a member of both the American Shrimp Association and the National Canners Association.

The schooners are replicas of Biloxi oyster schooners like the ones that sailed the Gulf Coast during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

2. If you can't relax, they will let you work.

WGNO Travel Girl Stephanie Oswald takes the wheel.

WGNO Travel Girl Stephanie Oswald takes the wheel.

...Or you can come aboard and simply relax. In fact, the ocean's rhythm is so soothing, some people even napped during the two-and-a-half hour cruise.

But if you want to get involved, the ship's crew, led by Captain Roger Buenzow, welcomes any assistance. You might find yourself coiling rope, helping with the rigging, or hoisting a sail.

3. These schooners are keeping history alive.

Gorgeous sail on the historic schooner.

Gorgeous sail on the historic schooner.

R-E-L-A-X-A-T-I-O-N is the name of the game aboard these schooners, but there's also an opportunity to learn about life during another era.

These historic two-masted schooners were once called the "White Winged Queens" of the Gulf Coast.

During the middle of the 20th century the oyster harvesting laws changed -- and marine engines were introduced -- and as a result, these vessels disappeared.

Fortunately, Biloxi's Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum found a way to preserve this magnificent part of the city's nautical history by building and caring for these two schooners.

4. View the casinos like you've never seen them before!

The Beau Rivage, as seen from the water.

The Beau Rivage, as seen from the water.

Brilliant casinos line the the shore in Biloxi, but check out this view!

A sunset cruise is one way to get some fresh air after you've had your fill of slot machines and Blackjack tables.

Cheryl and Ron Puckett came from Chattanooga, Tennesee to check out the Gulf Coast culture. They opted to skip the casinos, but joined us on the Glenn L. Swetman.

"I think it's just nice to get in touch with the local area when you visit a place, rather than jumping on the slot machines in the casinos. We'd rather be out and look at the wildlife -- and get in touch with culture of the community," says Cheryl.

5. Gulf Coast sunsets are phenomenal.

Artsy shot from the Glenn L. Swetman.

Artsy shot from the Glenn L. Swetman.

Whether it's a pink ball of fire sinking slowly into the waterline, or a golden orb melting softly into navy-colored clouds, these sunsets never disappoint.

And by the way, a little rain doesn't cancel the cruise -- as long as it's safe to sail (e.g. no lightning!) the schooner sailing will happen according to schedule.

6. For $500, you can turn this into your own private party!

Look for this banner at the Biloxi waterfront.

Look for this banner at the Biloxi waterfront.

Imagine enjoying this sunset cruise -- or an ocean journey any time of day -- with 40 of your best friends! Bring along a gourmet meal, cocktails and appetizers galore, remember the schooner has ice chests and ice waiting on board.

Arrange a group charter and that dream can become a reality!

A two-and-a-half-hour cruise for up to 20 people is $500, then it's $15 per person up to 44 people.

A half-day group charter is $900 for up to 44 people, and a full day? That will run you $1,350.

7. It's better than online dating.

Romantic scene as the sunsets in Biloxi.

Romantic scene as the sunsets in Biloxi.

You never know who you might meet on the schooner!

With seven years of Gulf Coast sailing under his belt, Captain Roger Buenzow says meeting new people is one of the best parts of his job.

"What's inspires me is the people... I get to meet different people from different walks of life and I get to sit and talk to them and give them something that they will talk about forever," he says.

8. It's a lot cheaper than owning your own boat.

Schooner rigging on the Glenn L. Swetman.

Schooner rigging on the Glenn L. Swetman.

Even if you came on every single 'walk on' sail, you would still spend less than you would if you owned your own boat.

Walk on sails are $30 for anyone age 13 and up.  Children ages 3-12 can get sail for $15.

9. It's good practice for dolphin whisperers.

A touch of pink after sundown in Biloxi.

A touch of pink after sundown in Biloxi.

You may notice there were no dolphins in our video report. I couldn't get a still photo either -- those critters are camera shy!

But I promise, we saw at least six of the frisky mammals frolicking in the water around the schooner.

Captain Roger worked a little magic to entice them to appear, and if you go, I promise you'll see them!

10. It's as soothing as restorative yoga.

Watching the sunset from a boat is soothing!

Watching the sunset from a boat is soothing!

Webster's Dictionary lists the full definition of sunset as follows: "the time when the upper limb of the sun disappears below the horizon as a result of the diurnal rotation of the earth."

But forget that scientific malarkey... and just breathe.

There are plenty of reports out that say connecting with nature can improve your life. Watching the sunset is a terrific way to slow down, send stress sinking into the depths of the ocean and quiet your mind.

When you add the lullaby of the ocean, it's a combination that can't be beat.