Thursday, November 27, 2008

Men Sail Raft Of Trash Across Pacific In 3 Months

A CBS station reportsthat two men sailed a Raft Of Trash Across Pacific In 3 Months to "raise awareness of ocean debris," and once ashore asked, "Where's the food?" The two are researchers with the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. They had previously completed a mission "to survey quantities of plastic junk in the North Pacific." and observed that, "housands of miles from land, our ocean is slowly, steadily turning into a massive bowl of plastic soup." According to the Worldchanging blog, Algalita's Director of Research and Education Dr. Marcus Eriksen is a veteran junk raft builder, a Gulf War veteran, and has witnessed firsthand the true cost of our petroleum addiction. He asserts that "We’re destroying our marine ecosystems with throwaway plastic products. This is both morally and ecologically wrong. The age of disposable plastics must end now.” Then came the idea to build Junk–"a raft made from 15,000 plastic bottles and a Cessna 310 fuselage—and sail it from Long Beach to Hawaii." You can read details of the journey here.

Thanks to my mother for alerting me to the story by sending a newspaper clipping.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

"Buy Popcorn, Support Sea Scouts!"

by Caitlín

This morning a handful of Scouts and adults unloaded a lot of popcorn and set up in front of the Woodbridge Wal-Mart. We hoped to get all the stuff off our hands so we wouldn't have to re-load it and no one would have to have it take up space in their house.

At first we were all sort of shy about going up to people and asking them to buy popcorn, but after fifteen minutes or half an hour, we got bored and tired of people hardly looking at us and decided it was time to get down to work.

"Excuse me, ma'am, would you like to support Sea Scouting today?" we asked, handing them fliers that listed the different kinds of popcorn and information about ordering online.

Still, most people shied away or muttered "no thanks" as they passed, heads down and not meeting our eyes. It was discouraging when after an hour of advertising we had yet to sell anything.
Part of the problem might have been that the Salvation Army and the VFW (our sponsor) happened to be there, also taking donations, so people had already given by the time they got to us. Also, as David pointed out, people are probably "Scouted out" by now because popcorn sales have been going on all summer.

We got into a real popcorn-selling frenzy for a while, giving away fliers right and left (Daniel got the award for most fliers handed out) and calling out to people to "Buy popcorn, support Sea Scouts!" But it got to be lunch time and we were all hungry and getting tired of standing around and saying the same things over and over again.

David arrived as a reinforcement, and his little sisters really got into advertising. They fought over who got to hold which sign and wear the corn hat, and the two of them (in the first photo) attracted a lot more attention with the signs than our display did.

One gentleman who used to be a Boy Scout bought a tin and said his tour bus company would give us discounts, so if we ever need to go on long trip....
Another couple walked up and said, "How much popcorn can we get for $100?"
"You can get a lot of popcorn," David replied. They ended up buying $98 worth of popcorn and trail mix, our largest purchase by far, and probably the largest we'll ever have.

In total we made $280.00, which is really good, and much better than our first attempt to sell popcorn at the Occoquan Arts & Crafts Show, but at 2:59 p.m. we had a second-by-second countdown until it was time to start packing up.

There is still popcorn left, but not huge amounts like before. Maybe we can sell the rest of it in one more day of fundraising.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not Your Traditional Halloween

by Caitlín

Everyone should know that Sea Scouts are too old to go trick-or-treating, so we didn't. Instead we celebrated Halloween by going to the schooner Sultana's annual Downrigging Weekend in Chestertown, MD. I had tried to get a large group together to go, but a lot of people already had plans or just weren't interested.

It ended up being just my mom, Daniel, Rebecca, and I going as friends and not making it an official Scout activity. After driving around and around trying to find Gus's un-find-able house, I finally made it there and took him to pick up Daniel, then met Rebecca and my mom at her office to leave from there.

Finally, only an hour later than we had planned, we started off towards Chestertown. As you can tell from Rebecca's quotes (yes, she's begun bringing her quotebook everywhere, and especially when Gus will be along), it was a pretty weird trip.

Driving up seemed very long. It didn't take as long to to Chestertown by land as it did by water in August when we visited Sultana on our Long Cruise, but of course sitting in a car wasn't as enjoyable as sailing up a river either.

Surprisingly, although there were quite a few people queuing up to see the ships, we found parking very near the dock. Over the rooftops, our first view of the ships: crossed spars, a tangle of rigging against a hurt-your-eyes-blue sky; tall masts topped with colorful pennants a proud reminder of the freedom of the open seas.

Rebecca and I headed straight to the ships, while the boys trailed behind acting unusually bizarre even for them (which they unfortunately kept up for the entire day).

First we went aboard Pride of Baltimore II:

And took lots of pictures of each other, sometimes at the same time...

My mom took one of me at the wheel, a companion to the photo taken at least eight years ago the first time I toured Pride.

A view up the ratlines.

We asked people to take our picture of us all at the wheel of every ship we toured.

Aboard the schooner Virginia:

At the helm of the Lady Maryland.

Lady Maryland's compass. (Notice the goldfish in the corners.)

Probably because she was the most ornate ship attending, there was a line to get on board the Kalmar Nyckel, but it gave me a chance to take a lot of pictures of the carvings and many colors on her hull.

Like the figurehead...

the huge anchor (I wonder if that would hold Amanda Grace?)...

and the rigging. One of the crew members told us as we waited that of the ships at the Downrigging Weekend, Kalmar Nyckel's rigging is the most complicated and does the least.

At the tiller (only it's not called a tiller, I just can't remember the proper name) of Kalmar Nyckel, which works... this. The rudder is on the other side of the transom.

We looked around at other things at the festival and then tried to find somewhere to eat. The waterfront restaurants were all very crowded, but we found one little deli-style place, "Play it Again, Sam," across the street from the Sultana Center.

We sat outside and watched little kids run around in costumes, waiting for it to get dark. Even though the line was long, Gus and Daniel had to go back (separately) and get cupcakes, which they ate like a hobo and a barbarian, respectively:

Once it got dark, we went back to the docks to see the illuminated ships. But because the docks were roped off (I guess to keep people from tumbling into the water) we couldn't get close enough for our cameras to focus, so no pictures there.

But we did get photos of of the fireworks, but those aren't as interesting as a little video of one fifteenth of the firework display:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Quotes from Uniform Trip

by Rebecca

Today a bunch of the scouts went up to Avenue, MD to get Winter Blues. We ended up not only getting the blues, but also getting the whites.

As usual, I had my notebook to write down quotes. Here are some of them.

"On every long cruise, everyone should have a nickname." "Let me say: 'NO!!" - Daniel and David

"Too bad Gus isn't here to hit on Caitlín." - Daniel

"I have more pictures of Gus than you." - Daniel

"She's writing down everything we say." - Mark

"Was that a yawn or a scream?" "It was a Daniel thing." - Adam M. and Caitlín

"Darn, I forgot to buy a gag for Daniel." - Caitlín

"Who said anything about killing?" - David

"What would happen if we left him on the side of the interstate?" - David

"Is that an Adam question?" "It's not an Adam question, it's THE Adam question." - Caitlín and David, in regard to Adam L.

"Your hair is just too strong." - Mark

"I once had too much cheesecake." "Is that possible?" "Yes." - Daniel and Adam M.

"You look like a scary clown." - Caitlín

"Are you bionic?" - Daniel

"Daniel, are you being creepy?" - David

"I think I'm actually speechless." - David

"Who votes for real music over Daniel?" - David

"I've run out of strength." - Daniel

"Oh my gosh, we're all going to die." "No, Daniel, not everyone, just you." - Daniel and David

David: [referring to Daniel stroking his chin] "Daniel, you don't have anything to stroke down there."
Daniel: "Yes I do."
David: "I see one [hair]."
Daniel: "There are six!"
David: "I shaved this morning and I already have more than six."

"You can sleep through death." - Mark

"He was trying to look like a girl." - Caitlín

"You don't have to worry about that. You already do, Daniel." - Adam M.

"I would say a girl or an emo guy, but then I realized they look the same." - Mark

"You have a muscle?" - Caitlín

"Anyone have a hair tie?" "No." "Whoa, what?" - Daniel, Adam M., and David

"We should attach a price tag to Daniel and toss him out." - David

"Good thing we don't have more than one Daniel." - Caitlín

"No, not dating. You're considering dating a Nazi." - David

"Why are we arguing about showers?" - Adam M.

"I love that smell." "Burning bags?" - Mark and Caitlín

"It's not dangerous. Ouch!" - Daniel

"I can do it with my head. Can you?" - Caleb

"You don't want to smell this hair." - Daniel

"We could probably throw Daniel on the fire." - David

"Do you think he will taste more like beef or pork?" "Chicken." - Mark and David

"I'm a mud Scout." - Daniel

Caleb: [Speaking to Mark, who was in charge of cooking:] "I can be your faithful sidekick."
Caitlín: "No, it's the 'galley slave,' remember?"

"Daniel is a weed." - David

"Daniel is not talking for once." - Caitlín

"It sounds like a duck." - Sarah

"Just don't wear it in public." - David

"I'm sorry, I won't say 'Hi' anymore." - Caitlín

"Daniel, do you want to pick out Gus's clothes?" "All right!!" - Caleb and Daniel

"You look like a little elf or something." - Caitlín

"Let me sleep in peace for petesake." - Daniel

"Oh no, not the hat!" - Adam M.

"I didn't know you all had things that small." - David

"I was listening to this song and thought it was a soup commercial." - Adam M.

Downrigging Quotes

by Rebecca

This afternoon Caitlín, Daniel, Gus, Skipper Shay and I went up to Chestertown for the Sultana's Downrigging Weekend.

Here are some of the quotes that were said in the car on the way up and back. (There were more funny quotes, but I didn't write them down because we were on the tall ships.)

"I wish David was here so he could teach me The Irish Rover." - Daniel

"We're all going to die." - Daniel

"Daniel, what's wrong?" - Caitlín

"You know how glad I am that I'm not claustrophobic?" - Daniel (who was in the middle of the back seat, between Gus and me)

"Do these look like dog biscuits?" 'They are." - Caitlín and Skipper Shay

"Your ears perk up when you hear 'trouble'." - Skipper Shay

"You'll never guess my middle name." "Hamster!" - Skipper Shay and Gus

"Aflac!" - Gus

"What if the helicopter hits the bridge?" - Caitlín

"Oh, you bit me." "I just put my tooth on you." - Daniel and Gus

"I've never been to a full service gas station." - Caitlín

"This is a historic moment." - Skipper Shay

"My brains almost came out my nose." - Skipper Shay