Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Scouts spearhead drive to save training vessel

On December 1, 2009, the News and Messenger published this story on page A2.

Scouts spearhead drive to save training vessel

When the Chesapeake Flotilla's Sea Scout training vessel was taken out of commission due to the need for extensive repairs, scouts from Occoquan Sea Scout Ship 7916 swung into action, initiating the "Save der PeLiKan" campaign.

Der PeLiKan, a 46-foot Morgan ketch has eight berths, two heads and a galley, is owned by a regional non-profit organization. The vessel is used by hundreds of youth and adults for training that includes piloting, long cruises, weekend training cruises and advanced leadership courses.

Repairs will cost about $20,000 and the "Save der PeLiKan" campaign has raised more than $5,490 so far, with more ideas in the works.

For instance, Patriot SCUBA of Occoquan will contribute part of the tuition from its upcoming "Discover SCUBA Diving" classes. Sea Scouts, part of Boy Scouts of America, is a co-educational program known for helping thousands of young people develop self-confidence, seamanship and leadership skills on and around the water.

"My scouts spent two week-long cruises and several weekend cruises aboard the training vessel, as well as applying their elbow grease in exchange for time aboard, so we know how important der PeLiKan is and we are anxious to see completion of the repairs," said Shay Seaborne, the "skipper," or adult leader of Ship 7916.

"If the boat is not back in commission by spring, hundreds of scouts will miss out," Seaborne said.

Sea Scout Rebecca Siegal, 18, of Alexandria, serves as the top youth leader for Ship 7916. She learned the majority of her seamanship and leadership skills aboard der PeLikan, and explained that "on a boat that size ... teamwork is needed in order to raise or lower sails, fend off, and anchor, and der PeLiKan allows scouts to learn these skills safely."

Lake Ridge resident Stella Kent, mother of 15-year-old Sea Scout Jonathan Kent, said that the time her son has spent on der PeLiKan has given his parents "glimpses of the man he's becoming. We have seen him become more self-assured—follow through when he'd rather quit, and step up to responsibilities—because others were depending on him."

Gift of opportunity

Friends of Sea Scouts of Maryland received der PeLiKan as a donation from Claire Kennedy, an elderly woman who wanted her boat to give special opportunities to young people. This year marks der PeLiKan's 10th year of service to Sea Scouts from across the country. Since being donated, she has logged more than 300 days under way and provided sailing experience and leadership opportunities to nearly 800 youth.

Der PeLiKan, the centerpiece of the Chesapeake Flotilla's training program, is used for both adult and youth courses that include Sea Scout Prepared Afloat Meals, Sea Scout Advanced Leadership, Seabadge Underway, piloting courses, long cruises and weekend training cruises.

For further information, visit http://www.derPeLiKan.org. Donations are accepted by PayPal or by checks made out to "Friends of Sea Scouts of Maryland" with the notation "repair fund" and send it to Friends of Sea Scouts of Maryland, 1426 Crabhouse Rd., Lusby, MD 20657.

Sea Scout Ship 7916 is a co-ed group of 14-20-year-old youth that is part of the Venturing program of Boy Scouts of America. Venturing offers older scouts the opportunity for high adventure, and Sea Scouting focuses on maritime adventure. Sea Scouting includes a rigorous advancement program that leads our youth through the skills necessary to be a very competent sailor and mature leader.

Occoquan VFW 7916 is the group's chartering organization. Town Mayor Earnie Porta is the committee chair and the unit is named Blue Heron in honor of the Occoquan town symbol.

The ship has support from the local community including Carefree Boat Club, Prince William Marina, Mom's Apple Pie Bakery, Leesylvania State Park and the Occoquan Town Council.

The ship's Web site is http://www.ship7916.org, where you can read about the scouts' activities. View the online photo album: http://picasaweb.google.com/Skipper7916.

For more information contact Shay Seaborne at 703-494-6021 or by email at Skipper7916@gmail.com .

—Occoquan Sea Scout Ship 7916

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Amanda Grace Winterization

On November 8th, four scouts and four adults put in 4 hours of work, preparing Amanda Grace for a long winter alone in her slip. The report from our Boatswain's Mate for Administration (a youth officer) included that they:

Aired the cushions and cushion covers, put dry cushions in trash bags.
Added a fuel stabilizer to tanks.
Drained fresh water tank and added antifreeze to it and to head.
Connected shore power so the batteries will charge to help the engine crank and the bilge pump will have power over the winter.
Turned battery off but left shore power and battery charger on.
Ran antifreeze through engine.
Used a tarp to cover the forward hatch as well as the skylights and port lights.
Reattached and tested bilge pump.

The scouts clearly learned a lot about boat maintenance.

Good job, all!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Invitation to "Intro to SCUBA," 7-9pm, Tue 11/10

Can you SCUBA in VA and find it exciting? YES! Ship 7916 member Cameron has arranged for instructors from Patriot SCUBA in Occoquan (2 doors down from the VFW) to give us an introduction to SCUBA. As Cameron put it, they "will talk to us about SCUBA diving in Virginia, as well as the lessons and adventures they offer. They will set up a powerpoint, provide handouts and bring different gear for us to fiddle with." All area scouts and scout leaders are welcome to join us for this special event.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Quotes from Lone Sailor Dinner

Here are the quotes from the evening (most of them were from the car ride up):

"Don't you look cute in your uniform?" "Stop it." Marcus and Skipper (at skipper's office)

"They're nice buttons. They have to cost something." - Marcus

"The uniform demands respect." "I demand respect." - Marcus and Skipper

"I take back all the mean things I said about you." - Skipper

"I should have known you'd have shoe polish with you." - Skipper

"Turn right, then turn right." - Beulah (the name of the GPS)

"Bad, bad GPS." - Skipper

"We were spanking Beulah." - Mate from 1942

"That's a school. It looks like the building museum." - Skipper

"It's Beulah's alter ego." - Mate

"We won't hit the pregnant lady." - Mate

"It's hard to believe this is a two way street." - Mate

"OMG, even the bikes want to be on my side." - Mate

"They will get out of your way." - Skipper

"OMG, we're going to die." - Mate

"I hope this street is wider." - Mate

"Always and adventure." - Skipper

"Anybody need bug spray?" - Mate

"I'm a little flustered." "I can't imagine why." - Mate and Skipper

"They should just get out." - Skipper

"I have to think of something to do to his chair tomorrow." - Skipper

"Oh god, not that Sea Scout stuff again." - Skipper

"A GPS thing going on here." - Skipper

"We're mighty close though." - Skipper

"I actually took the metro earlier this year." - Skipper

"Official FBI parking only." - Skipper

"Come on back, we're blocking traffic." - Skipper

"You little bugger." - Mate

"They will, cause you look like a meter maid." - Mate

"Beauty always moves people, age doesn't." - Random guy at dinner

"The pencil was hiding under the baseball." - Rebecca

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wardroom Meeting Quotes

The Skipper and I attended the Wardroom Meeting. I got a page of quotes from the Skipper in the car on the way up, then a bunch of quotes from other adults at the meeting.

Quotes from Skipper:
"Are we in the twilight zone?"
"There must be something wrong. There's no cars."
"I've been quoted more in the last 6 months than in 10 years of that."
"No really, I wasn't complaining."
"Now I have to be careful not to miss it again."
"Maryland: we don't believe in merge areas."
"You've made your own applesauce, why not your own pickle loaf."
"You're too funny."
"I wonder if this light's long enough to get a text message out before it changes."
"That's it, I'm not doing anymore talking in the car with you. Cause I'm your only victim, that's why."
"It's not technically while I'm driving."
"The usual suspect."
"(horrible crunching sounds) Oops."
"You're not allowed to show those to anyone."
"He kin of owes me."
"Word already got out about our little plan. Dang it."
"These are just prototypes, we're working up some nice ones."
"Come on, I have a right to see how you are quoting me."
"Look at you. You're trouble."

Quotes from the meeting. Some are anonymous because I didn't know the person's name.
"I wonder if I have time for a nap before we get started." - Skipper
"I'm going to sit next to the women." - Commodore Yeckley
"He told me the engine was great, the boat just needed work."
"Bob Cooper. We could Google him."
"I think we should do that one."
"I have five women running my life now."
"We'll have to do a goober count as they come in." - Skipper
"If you have gotten here on time, you would have known we were in here." - Commodore Yeckley
"Four economists, five opinions." - Commodore Alexander
"A ketch with only one mast."
"I actually wasn't there, believe it or not." - Commodore Alexander
"Might me able to do a floating dock." - Skipper
"How deep is the reflecting pool?" - Joel David
"I just stood there and grinned." - Commodore Yeckley
"I know we can." - Skipper
"Send all the crazies up there." - Commodore Yeckley
"A lot of scouting volunteers don't know about it." - Commodore Yeckley

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Aquia Harbor Marina Fest

by Caitlín

Eric recognized the third annual Aquia Harbor Yacht Club Marina Fest as an opportunity for Ship 7916 members to earn service hours and for Sea Scouting to gain a little publicity. The coordinators were very excited to see a bunch of Sea Scouts in uniform, ready to help with whatever was needed.

After much arguing, the boys managed to successfully set up the canopy that went over the food stand, and then we Scouts mainly served as extra crew when needed and cast- and tied boats off at the docks.

The expected group did not show up at 9:00am as was planned, and the morning began very slowly. Two gentlemen from the U.S. Power Squadron were conducting free boat safety checks--would your boat pass inspection if you were boarded by the Coast Guard?--and they asked us if we would like to help them inspect a boat belonging to an Aquia Harbor slip owner. We received a very in-depth description of exactly what equipment is tested and exactly how.

In fact we had not even made it from the stern to amidships by the time the larger crowds started to arrive and we were needed back at the docks, our booth (left), and at "administration."

Our duties were not exactly what we had been prepared for, but we soon came up with a plan that had Scouts where they needed to be--mostly down at the docks--and working as an efficient team.

We tried to give everyone who wanted to an opportunity to go out on a boat, and as the end of the event was drawing near, my chance came up and I climbed aboard a seemingly huge powerboat. The boat owner and captain already had able hands in his two young sons who'd been out on the water since the eldest was 3 months old, so at first I simply sat on the bow as the boat wound her way through Aquia Creek.

A little later on, when we arrived at a wider point in the creek, I heard a, "Hey! Can you steer?" from the cockpit. What? I didn't really expect that.
"Do you know how to drive this thing?" the captain asked.
"Sure!" I confidently hopped up into the cockpit, where everything suddenly looked a whole lot different. After a very brief here's-the-depth-finder-keep-it-at-4-feet-or-more, here's-the-throttle, the captain disappeared below to check on his suspiciously quiet kids.

Fine at first, but then all my nervousness came together at once. Two separate throttles, never dealt with that before and we need to slow down soon to pass through the bridge up ahead... I didn't see exactly where the depth gauge was when he pointed but I'm guessing it's that one, and the bridge we're approaching looks awfully low. What do I do now?
"When do you want me to turn around?" I called down, slightly anxiously.
"Oh, we can go under the bridge if you want to," the captain casually replied.
Holding my breath, I steered the boat through the center span (and we didn't rip the cockpit clean off of the boat like it appeared we would) and began to feel much more sure of myself again. If I stayed calm, everything would be fine.

But then we were heading back upriver, the captain asked if I would like to teach a pair of 10- and 13-year-old sisters how to drive and then went back below to serve sodas! So now I have to show someone else what to do when I'm not really even experienced myself....

The girls had no previous boating experience past a kayak trip, but they caught on pretty quickly. I mostly talked them through correcting the boat's course without overcompensating (a little tricky on such a narrow, curvy body of water), and explained how buoys mark the channel and how the red ones should be kept on the right of the boat as we went back to the marina. It felt so cool to be looked up to like that, and for a stranger to have the confidence in me to give a big responsibility with no direct overseeing.

Standing in the cockpit with the wind in my face, at least partially confidently showing the ropes to new hands, I was really happy. This is what I joined Sea Scouting for! Learning things about myself, building confidence through new experiences, learning things about boats, and teaching those skills to others.

The Marina Fest was a success; it drew a couple of newer Ship members into the circle when we needed teamwork, Aquia Harbor was very happy to have our help and pleased with the job we did, and I had a really awesome experience. Having a better idea of what to expect, my Ship looks forward to being involved with the event next year.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Long Cruise 2009

Scouts aboard: Alexei, Augustus, , Daniel, David, Devin, Eric, Jonathan, Rebecca, Sarah.
Adults: Commodore Yeckley, Skipper Shay, Mate Enright

Between 8/2/09 and 8/8/09 members of Ship 7916 spent 6 nights and 7 days aboard the Sea Scout Training Vessel der PeLiKan, cruising the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Scouts took turns holding posts of varying responsibility, from head cleaner to Galley Chief and Galley Slave to navigator, lookout and pilot, to Boatswain of the Day.

Highights included weathering 4 storms in the first day, a visit to the US Coast Guard station at St. Inigoes, MD, a successful "man overboard" drill, having a swim and ice cream the night we tied up at Oxford, having a ship swim and cookout at Herrington Harbour South Marina, anchoring out on the Wye River, sleeping on deck when weather permitted, and having a gourmet breakfast on Saturday morning.

The best part for me was when the scouts showed me they are capable of being an effective team when we needed to make an emergency boat repair--and now I expect that from them forevermore.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Long Cruise Quotes

Here are some of the quotes from the first four days of long cruise. (Names of all parties involved are replaced with nicknames.) These quotes are in no particular order. More quotes to come later. (This is about four pages worth.)

"They're normal, we're Sea Scouts." - Moneybags

"Homeschoolers can sleep for twelve hours, then do schoolwork." - Person #1

"Shultz is going to throw things at you." "What did you call me?" "Bigfoot..." - Lego and Bigfoot

"I'm just going to sit here because I'm comfortable." - Bigfoot

"The cereal needs more sugar." - C

"Scribbles is going to be in charge of cleaning the deck. You'll have to come back on Sunday." "I'll be in Boston." "That's your problem." - Bigfoot and Scribbles

"That was a good dream?" "It was a good nightmare." - Admin and Lego

"Today is sailing to nowhere, no civilization." - Admin

"It wasn't terribly comfortable. You had to wake up and squiggle around." - Person #1

"Person #1, always wet." - Admin

"It's dry?" "Yes, it's dry." "Are you eating dry oatmeal?" "No, I'm waiting for the water to get hot." - Bigfoot, Lego and C

"This boat's always right on the edge." - Money Bags

"Moneybags would say 'delegate someone'." - Admin

"You're fish bait." "I'm fish bait." - Bigfoot and Fish Bait

"The bosun can work and supervise, but if he can't supervise while he works, he shouldn't work." - The Big Cheese

"If you break the Commodore's sunglasses..." "I'll think of something." - Bigfoot and The Big Cheese

"She never put salt in my juice anymore." - The Big Cheese

"Dead fish." - Lego

"You can't navigate through a mine field. Just drive." - Bigfoot

"The water goes that way." "It always goes that way." - Lego and Bigfoot

"Boating through crab pots is fun." "No it's not." - Lego and Bigfoot

"He did not totally check it." - Lego

"Living in a tilted light house will be fun. The staircase would be hell." - Bigfoot

"The stupid great blue heron gets caught." - Admin

"Lego, Red 12 A." - Fish Bait

"No one would want to trust this crew if..." - Admin

"Want to ring the bell each time the clock goes off?" - Admin

"At least I didn't call her Stella." - Money Bags

"Michael wants to be a Sea Scout, right?" "No." - Money Bags and Mr F.

"She's got an obsessive compulsive disorder." - Admin

"What is this motley crew?" - Money Bags

"1942 left water in the bottom." - Money Bags

"Watch out for the orange things covered in maggots." - Money Bags

"Sorry the batteries aren't charging. We think we broke it. 1942." - Bigfoot

"Get some of those quotes and put them on her shirt." - Moneybags

"I don't know, she didn't learn." - Admin

"We're going west, going west, going west, then turning slightly and going west." - Bigfoot

"We can just tack back and forth for two hours." - Moneybags

"Is there a point when we can get out of your navigation and sail around?" "No." - Admin and Bigfoot

"It wasn't long cruise. No papers to file, no watches, no BSA rules. They were both sailing grandmas." - Moneybags

"Senior moments already." - Money Bags

"Five-year-olds warp your brain." "Teenagers warp your brain." - Person #1 and Money Bags

"Before I met you, I was normal." - Moneybags

"Define normal." "It's a setting on the washing machine." - Fish Bait and Moneybags

"Hopping across the floor." - Moneybags

"All you have to do is attach a line to you and swim." "Until the jelly fish sting and you swell up into a big welt." - Fish Bait and Admin

"Half the junk food." - Admin

"Hamburgers, hot dogs, junk food." - Moneybags

"Lots and lots of beans. You'll be sleeping on deck for the next two nights." - Money Bags

"And you thought Girl Scouts were silly." "Girl Scouts are the silliest things." - Money Bags and Bigfoot

"Friendly, Friendlier, Friendliest patch." "Don't forget the cake decorating." - Bigfoot and Money Bags

"That's why, it's a bunch of teenagers." - Money Bags

"This boat can really use a cleaning before we get to the pool." - Money Bags

"Instead of swimming, we can do school of the ship." - Money Bags

"Yeah!" - Fish Bait

"If it goes over the side, you'd better be hanging on to it." - The Big Cheese

"There's a button that says 16." - Bigfoot

"It's like paying rent for a house, except it's rent for a boat." - Lego

"I'm trying to gross people out by my exciting eating habits." - Lego

"It's quite late, it's a quarter of seven." - Admin

"She's writing at two quotes a minute." - Person #1

"When he says a stupid...comment, you should jump overboard and see what Moneybags says." - Admin

"60?" - Person #1

"Scribbles, hold your hands out." - Bigfoot

"Imagine how many pairs of feet have been on this?" - Person #2

"It's hotter than me." - Shultz

"It was off, he couldn't make a call." - C

"Let's listen in on him." - C

"Um, over." - Fish Bait

"They're being monitored." - Admin

"Negative, we have not made a reservation." - Fish Bait

"Roger that, over." - Fish Bait

"She looked like she wanted to slug you." - Money Bags

"If The Big Cheese goes swimming, you've got to make sure he has a sploosh." - Money Bags

"Scribbles, are you going to have a heart attack?" "Is she laughing or having a seizure?" - C and Fish Bait

"What's the highest level?" "Painting your nails." - Bigfoot and Money Bags

"I've got it! I've got it!" - Bigfoot

"Yeah, I hit him in the face." - Fish Bait

"1942 left all their old food on board." "Including an old egg roll." - C and Scribbles

"It takes 100,000 volts to kill you." - Schultz

"What were you doing with your hands inside a lawn mower?" - C

"Where are we going to find line on a sailboat?" - Bigfoot

"That was your dinner, you just missed it." - Mr F.

"Did you hear it scream ' Help me, help me!'?" - Money Bags

"Have you cut up a pineapple before?" - Bigfoot

"How can you tell?" "Thunk Test" - Person #1 and Bigfoot

"Are there any actual knives on board?" - Bigfoot

"That one doesn't go on the website." - Money Bags

"So the skull and cross bones water bottle is yours?" - Bigfoot

"That's our intention." - Money Bags

"Yes, do that until your knuckles start bleeding." - C

"There's no standing on the table." - Money Bags

"There's no dancing on the table." - Admin

"There's a bald eagle over there." "Thank you miss ADD." - C and Bigfoot

"She's a bird freak." - Money Bags

"Trash, smash it." "If you can crush it, crush it." - C and Bigfoot

"Be nice to the chief when you're a slave. They'll get you back." - Money Bags

"Mr Strawberry Ice Cream." - Money Bags

"A bowl of poop soup." - Money Bags

"A chain the skipper beats us with." - Bigfoot

"Notebook overboard." - Mr F

"You don't have enough paper missy." "50 pages" - Money Bags and Scribbles

"They're my friends, they don't sting me." - Money Bags

"How do you show someone how to use the head?" - Person #2

"No lollipop sticks." - Money Bags

"That gets the pen out of her hand." - Money Bags

"Drenched, soggy, soaked." - Money Bags

"How many Sea Scouts does it take to close the door?" "Nine, but it just needs to slam." - Money Bags and Admin

"Caitlin's 19, so I can't be her friend." - Money bags

"That's why it's a bunch of teenagers." - Money Bags

"Just take him to Minnesota." - Money Bags

"Bubba, what are you doing down below? Come up while we're still sailing." - Money Bags

"I never would. I've have sips, and it's yucky." - C

"We have to get a van like 548." "Newer." - Money Bags and Admin

"Boys are so dumb, they hit each other and go 'Ouch'." - C

"Boys are only dumb when they're drunk." - Bigfoot

"Better than a sharp stick in the eye, right?" - Money Bags

"We can go ashore and start doing car washes." - Fish Bait

"We should have stayed there longer." "Forever." - Fish Bait and Money Bags

"A study of the algae?" - Lego

"Google Maps are awesome." - Money Bags

"I believe when I went into the galley, I was a little distracted." - Person #1

"That's the true stuff of someone, if they can eat that and not get sick." - Bigfoot

"He doesn't want us to talk about W-I-N-D." - Lego

"I smelled every inch of the business end at least." - Money Bags

"I deny everything." - Money Bags

"Sploosh! That's our motto." - Person # 1

"1, 2, 3, 4, 17..." - Admin

"I got to watch my friend set his face on fire." - Bigfoot

"Candy bar overload. Caramel, chocolate, peanuts." - Money Bags

"Now what are you writing?" - Money Bags

"Two spoons, two forks, a spork and a knife." - Person #1

"There's no stopping her." - Lego

"Lash ourselves to the mast. Hang on." - Money bags

"Every time you write something down, you giggle." - Money Bags

"Whoever's hat this is, I'm going to throw it on the floor." - C

"Daniel, you're getting me wet, you dog!" - Money Bags

"We're all a bunch of goobers on this boat." - Money Bags

"Tom Ballew charges $300 for cruises." - Money Bags

"If we sunk the boat now, we'd all be the Grateful ded PeLiKans." - Bigfoot

Friday, July 31, 2009

Library Display Case

If you live in the area you may have seen our Ship's display on Sea Scouting at Potomac Community Library during the month of July. The exhibit was intended to educate more people on the existence of Boy Scout's best-kept secret and included a PFD, a fire extinguisher and other safety equipment, examples of different knots, a dixie cup hat, a marine radio, and LOTS of photos.

If you missed it, here's a couple of photos of the display case. Click for bigger images:
Top shelf:
Middle shelf:
Bottom shelf:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Long Cruise Planning Meeting Quotes

At last night's Long Cruise Planning meeting, I got a page of quotes. Thanks to David for the first quote of the night. (In order to understand it, you had to have seen him.)

"Normal Sea Scout ... ... Homeschooled Sea Scout." - David

"I don't need it at stupid Sea Scout Meetings." - Caitlin

"It's the Daddy ATM." - Mr Fucello

"The person who brought the dollar store hash is teaching FOOD?" - David

"David is doing a fashion show." - Skipper (goes along with the first quote)

"That requires having a level playing surface that doesn't sway side to side." - David

"Grease the watermelon." - Skipper

"Squirty fish." - Skipper

"Hold a bad singing voice over everyone." - David

"What is the rule about the forward head?" "It is a number one rule." - Caitlin and Ms. MacDonald

"What goes in must come out." - David

"If you get stinky, we'll dunk you." - Skipper

"If you smell, you're not getting into my van." - Mr Fucello
"She spelled 'der' wrong." - Skipper

"You don't work in your work uniform." - Skipper

"Sometimes there's an emergency and you really have to get there." - Skipper

"The head always gets clogged up with the most disgusting stuff." - Skipper

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fair Winds, Finally!

by Caitlín

When I woke, the world was calling; in the wind rushing through the trees, in the birds' joyful song, I heard an invitation for my own delight. I was so eager to get out of the house and feel the wind that I was dropping things and banging my elbows on walls every time I turned around.

I skipped to the car.

As I drove the lengthy park entrance road, the smells carried on the breeze were tantalizing. At the water's edge, I found my hopes answered in a river tossed by the wind, flashing with sunlight.

Despite some difficulties, we made it past the breakwater and raised the sails. I feel a burst of excitement as the boat responds to the wind, the tiller becomes taught in my hand. I am in tune to the boat, with the waves and the wind and the world.

I always wonder at the simple majesty of a sail stiff with a breeze (even when it's in severe need of scrubbing), and how the leap and crash of waves off the bow can be at once both lulling and invigorating.

When we started out the goal was to tack upriver and around a miniature island (complete with several trees), but we didn't quite make it there. In all the times I've been out, we never have, but I don't mind. For me, the joy can be in the journey, not always reaching the destination.

I'd rather steer full and by and let the winds take me where they wish (unless it's in towards shore).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

No Wind, Lots of Water

by Caitlín

The weather didn't look hopeful. At my house the wind was still and calm, the sky a dull gray. But the report from the dock was of choppy water and a stiff breeze. Let's go!

On my way to the car, the first of the rain dotted the sidewalks. The drive to the park was spent hoping for the weather to clear, and after my first glimpse of the river I was also asking for wind.

Captain Finn decided we should still at least try, so we slipped the boat free of her mooring and motored past the breakwater. Luis was at the helm while I went forward to show Jared how to raise the sails, which was quite easy since there was close to no resistance from the wind.

This morning happened to be Jared's first time out on a sailboat, but he didn't seem to mind that we did almost no sailing at all (see his happy smile?).

While we waited for the wind, Captain Finn went over points of sail with his Wind Wheel and explained tacking procedures. We may have even tried it once, but training isn't very effective when tacking takes five minutes.

Next Captain Finn started up the motor and let each of us Scouts try a hand at steering under motor power, which is a little tricky. Though the boat can be turned using only the motor, the motor is offset from the center and so doesn't have as wide a range as the rudder. So it works better to use the rudder as well, and you have to keep a relatively equal tension on both.

After we'd all given it a go, the rain came down even harder and we decided that it was time to head back to port. We had a moment of confusion when we picked up the wrong mooring--one intended for a larger boat, making it too far from the dock for us to disembark.

By the time we had tied off at the other mooring and returned to shore, we were all pretty much soaked except for under our PFDs. The sail wasn't what we were hoping for, but we made the best of it, and it was a good reminder that those days with fair winds are extra special.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Worthwhile Day

Capt. Ashton was planning to have this weekend be just orientation for a gaggle of captains, but since 2 of my scouts wanted to sail, I talked him into making the regular Saturday Sail a go.

It was the first sail for 2 scouts, and the first "real sailing" for the 3rd. We also had a 3rd adult on board, a captain-in-training.
Capt. Finn covered a lot, using the at-the-moment situation to teach pertinent sailing theory in a real-life setting. We hove to, reefed the sail, tacked and gybed.

The wind was stiff, so we actually needed to reef the sail. Had the boat heeled, scouts nervous, skipper hollering "YEEESSSS!" and smiling her thanks up to the sky. We were out about 30 minutes longer than scheduled, then headed up to the boat yard.

One of my scouts had asked me if there would be service hour opportunities after the sail. I hadn't planned on it, but because he asked, I set it up. Several phone calls and emails later, we had a total of 3 scouts wanting to work, and another Youth Protection certified adult.

The 3 scouts took turns with power washing the cutter-rigged MacGregor 23, helped clean out the Venture 21, helped take out sails to dry, fold sails and put them away, and straighten out a massively tangled anchor rode. After the first hour, we were hot and tired, and one scout suggested using the power washer to create a cooling mist, which we all--even the dog--enjoyed. The scouts impressed everyone with their effort, and they were a real help with the boats.

As I was waiting for a sc
out's parent to arrive, Capt. Ashton and Capt. Reynolds showed up, ready to replace the halyards and step the mast on the brightly clean MacGregor 23. The scout and I helped with the halyards while he awaited his ride, but he had to go before the mast was stepped. I had never helped with or saw this before, but was ready to lend a hand, starting with reinstalling the spreaders and attaching the spreader boots, then pulling the rope attached to the forestay to raise the mast, and, finally, being the one with the wherewithall to get the mast aligned just right. I believe I averted disaster at least once. Things were a little hairy there for a few moments, but we did it! A sailboat always looks nicer with a mast.

Kudos to my scouts for how fast they learned, how well they listened to Capt. Finn and Capt. Danny, and the excellent work they did in the boat yard. Their interest- and ability to apply themselves made my effort to organize worthwhile. I hope we do it again soon.

In the meantime, I hope they practice those knots, start learning points of sail, and the parts of the boat--so they can be in good form and candidates for the long cruise. More kids on more boats!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Half Shell Water Taxi

This past Saturday 6 scouts--4 totally green--crewed for the Half Shell water taxi at the Occoquan River Festival. They surely learned the importance of knowing their knots and how to hear- and take orders quickly.

Capt. Samworth started the day with an orientation of the boat, safety review, and docking procedure. He showed how to use the fire extinguisher and the old fashioned type, a bucket with a line tied to the handle, for pulling water out of the river.

Scouts came aboard for shifts of varying length, and each had a turn at the wheel. It was a true pleasure to be piloting the 81-year-old historic wooden boat up the beautiful, serene Occoquan River, looking at herons, mergansers, geese and flowers while the weekend traffic crawled on the I-95 bridge overhead.

The scouts and I had a great time! I truly appreciate Capt. Samworth's willingness to have us aboard, and especially value his- and his friend Dave's patience with the scouts' greenness.

I also appreciate all who came through as promised. They made this Skipper's life sooo much easier--and, they got themselves on my good side, the one that says, "Reliable scouts get first dibs!"

You can see more photos at the "Half Shell" Water Taxi Photos online album if interested. Photos of Capt. Samworth's horrible sandwich made the cut, somehow. Morbid fascination, I think.

I commend each scout for taking this activity seriously, applying him/herself, learning quickly, and doing a great job of crewing. It was fun to be there with them as they discovered new things they can do, important real-life job things! The experience of crewing on the Half Shell is invaluable in giving the scouts confidence in their ability to handle boats, to take on adult responsibility, and more. I look forward to seeing what further interests it sparks in them.

The only problem is the pickle loaf. Thanks to Capt. Samworth's horrible sandwich, Rebecca discovered something new and...um, "good" (so she thinks), and has made a resolution: "I am going to get pickle loaf the next time I go to the grocery store. Hmm, Tuesday I could make a sandwich for dinner, and bring it with me for the skipper's conference. Are you sure you don't want a pickle loaf sandwich? The one I had on the boat had: pickle loaf, cheese, horseradish, salsa, and salami. We should have pickle loaf on long cruise. Every day!"

My reply to Rebecca, "You have become downright audacious! Pickle loaf on the long cruise, indeed!"

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Occoquan Sea Scouts to Crew for Historic "Half Shell" Water Taxi at River Festival

The Sea Scouts in Occoquan will provide the first volunteer crew to the historic Chesapeake Bay oyster buyboat "Half Shell" on Saturday, May 2nd. The vessel will be among three used to provide water taxi service during the Occoquan River Festival, a service spearheaded by Leo Smith of Carefree Boat Club, who also created the connection between the Sea Scouts and the Half Shell.

The Half Shell will run between Belmont Bay Marina and the Occoquan Town Dock, from 10:00am to 7:00pm, with a total of 20 dockings. The crew will consist of 2 or 3 scouts, on shifts of varying length, depending on the scout’s experience. The Sea Scouts will serve as line handlers, standing by to tie up at each dock when the boat arrives and untying when time to debark. Stowing of the line, the gangways and other loading and unloading efforts will be part of their duties. While on-board and under weigh, they will assist the passengers as necessary.

Half Shell’s captain, Andrew Samworth, has “made a 20-year career of working on boats,” and is “very happy to be using boats to reach the youth in our communities now.” The captain visited the Sea Scouts’ website, Ship7916.org, and is “excited to see how much the group is doing.” The Sea Scout group leader, Skipper Shay Seaborne, noted that, “If things are quiet and smooth during the Festival, scouts could take turns joining the captain in the pilothouse for some real-life piloting lessons, and nothing beats hands-on learning!”

Samworth attended the Sea Scouts’ meeting on April 7th, to introduce himself to the teens and give them an idea of what is needed. He and his proposal were received with enthusiasm, particularly when the Skipper explained that this will count as service hours for advancement. The scouts’ prior service hours were gained mostly on workdays and fund raisers. Fifteen-year-old Gus MacDonald, a Sea Scout who lives in Manassas Park, found it a welcome change. “Getting service hours aboard a boat? Yes!” he exclaimed.

The scouts will start their River Festival service day with a basic orientation on the boat. Safety will be the main message. “The most important thing that I want to stress is that the Half Shell is considerably heavier than the boats your scouts are used to crewing,” he told Seaborne, “Therefore, no body parts are suitable for fending off.”

The Skipper affirmed that safety is her number one priority, “about half of our scouts are experienced with larger vessels, as we train and have an annual week long cruise aboard a 46' ketch,” she said, adding that, “I and other adult leaders have repeatedly highlighted the importance of never fending off with body parts, but on this and other safety topics, there is no such thing as too much reinforcement.”

Samworth is a former Sea Scout who appreciates what the scouting program gave him, while Seaborne learned the value of the Sea Scout program as an outsider in her teens; the National Park Service barred her from joining the group it sponsored, but she saw what it did for the boys who belonged. As a Park Service volunteer, she often worked along side the Sea Scouts, handling boats of various types, chipping and painting, sailing, and growing to like the smell of diesel fuel. Seaborne is “delighted to be in the position to give these young people the opportunities and mentoring I was denied.” As the group’s leader, she sees direct results of the positive effect that Sea Scouting can have on teenagers. “I love to watch them learn and discover,” she said, “to see them stretch outside their comfort zone and try new things, take on greater responsibilities, find their competency and confidence, and take off in new directions.”

Half Shell is part of the Living Classrooms Foundation, and Samworth would like the Occoquan Sea Scouts to join him during summertime activities in the foundation's Shipboard Education & Environmental Outreach Program, such as seining and taking water and bottom samples from the river. Seaborne is excited at the prospect, saying “this is stuff right up my alley; when I was aboard the Lightship Chesapeake, the vessel was a floating environmental education center, and they welcomed me as a volunteer because of my background in marine biology and oceanography. I know how scientific learning about the local estuary and environment can spark further interest and studies.”

Captain Samworth and Skipper Seaborne each have their own understanding of Sea Scouting—his as an insider in his youth and an outsider in adulthood, hers as an outsider in her youth and an insider in adulthood—and both appreciate the important benefits the program offers youth in the community. The Sea Scout crew for the water taxi is just the first result of combining their experience and resources to provide teens with multiple opportunities for real-life, hands-on maritime learning. The scouts’ response indicates the adults are going in the right direction, and enthusiasm is high. “This is fantastic!” MacDonald said.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

NE Regional Bridge of Honor Quotes #2

Here are the rest of the select quotes from the RBOH.

"We're making them sit next to each other. We'll generate 10 pages of quotes." - David

"You weren't in skip." - Gus

"Buttercup is such a corny name." - Sarah

"Shift into neutral and rev the engine." - ___________

"Caitlín has to sleep on that side because if the smoke alarm goes off and water comes out, she gets wet first." - Skipper

"This is the real history. Who cares about meeting minutes." - __________

"It doesn't smell bad because they haven't been there that long." - Skipper

"The jacuzzi looks good. I could use that." - Skipper

"I was right for once." - Skipper

"You only need to volunteer 400 hours a year for 7 years." - Skipper

"All's fair in love and war, and this is definitely not love." - Stephen

"No where in the rules does it say that scouts have to be boys." - Skipper

"If I was going to be there, I'd learn from Steve Alexander." - Captain Nichols

"They left me and I didn't have a room key." - Sarah

"The last one ready gets hit with a stick, and the skipper gets to do the hitting." - Skipper

"Rebecca, you should invest in a mechanical pencil." - David

"It's a good thing Rebecca doesn't breath through her hand." - Mr. Fucello

"I'm nice outside of Sea Scouts." - David

"Lock the door dad, so they can't come in." "No, I only do that to you." - Sarah and Mr Fucello

"Honk." "I must be blind." "You couldn't see the blue van?" - Daniel and Caitlin

"He's either looking for Chinese food or looking at someone's hair." - David

"It's too gross to not get a picture of." - Caitlín

"Gus, let me see your creepy drink." - Caitlín

"Cancel, cancel, cancel." - Mr Fucello's GPS

"Rebecca picks the most random things to write down." - Caitlín

"I think I just saw a bunch of turkeys over there." "There are turkeys in the back. Six of them" - Mr. Fucello and Skipper

"Want some ManZone snacks?" "Ultimate ManZone, more power!" - Daniel and Skipper

"When you get really good at the skip drill, we should make a video and post it on YouTube." - Skipper

"Spaghetti, hot dogs, mac and cheese, hot dogs, spaghetti, hot dogs." - David

"We should come up with our own girly line of snacks. Too girly for guys." - Skipper

"At least we won't have any singing on the way back. Daniel's asleep." - Caitlín

"Who wouldn't notice me though?" "Apparently Rachel." - Daniel and David

"If it was raining any harder, we could be sailing home." - David

"I just want to pat them on the head." "They would be so offended." "You are so cute." - Skipper and Caitlín

"On long cruise, we should do one day where we pick up the cadets and teach them how to sail." - David

"Aww, the stupid Sea Scouts got lost again." - Skipper

"When in doubt, accelerate." - Mr Longhi

"Have it say what the skipper wants it to say." "Maybe we should have someone else do it also." - Skipper and Caitlín

"Daniel, do you want ice cream? No? Are you dead?" - Caitlín

"There's Rebecca, ice cream in one hand, pencil in the other." - Sarah

"Wait, Rebecca, you're left handed? How long has she been writing quotes and I haven't noticed?" - Daniel

"I agree with David for once." - Caitlín

"Next year for my birthday, I'm going on a cruise on a tall ship." - Skipper

"Our one head is better than der Pelikan's two." - Skipper

"Sipping on the coffee, but it's not doing any good." - Mr. Fucello

"Daniel was the one partying. 'Don't close the dance, I've still got moves left'." - David

"The 90 year old ladies wanted to dance with him." - David

"No one within 70 or 80 years of their age should dress like that." - David

"Are you starting the ninth page already?" "This is the tenth." - Caitlín and Rebecca

"I'm going to have to break her pencil into three pieces." "I'll set a match to that book." - Skipper and Mr. Fucello

"Oh Sarah, it's very you." - Caitlín

"Rebecca stole a hat from the blues brothers." - Skipper

"Daniel has too much hair." - Caitlín

"Can you give the camera back so we can take one of Rebecca?" "Yeah, Daniel." - Sarah, Caitlín

"I can get a picture of Gus without him doing the peace sign." "Yes!" - David and Caitlín

"Captain Jack Sparrow." - David

"I'm surrounded by dorks." - David

"I'm not going to make it the whole way." - David

"Fill up your lungs sideways." - Sarah

"Wake up people." - Sarah

"Bosun..." "Permission granted." - David, Caitlín

"Isn't it great to know we are so fascinating. We have high entertainment value. Rebecca's stuck with us, she might as well make fun of us." - Skipper

"Who wants to learn navigation? You can't get anywhere if you don't know how." - Skipper

"There will be the most from Gus as usual." - Caitlín

"I hate Tweety." - Mr. Fucello

"Touching my stuff? I'm braking your face." - Skipper

"Not windy enough, is it?" "I didn't say sail, I said boat." - Caitlín

Quotes on the way to the NE Regional Bridge of Honor

From 9:30 am Sat to 12:30 pm Sunday, I collected 10 1/2 pages of quotes from the six scouts and two adults from our ship. There might be one or two quotes from other ships.

Here are select quotes from 9:30 am to about 1 pm Sat. (Select quotes from the rest of the trip will be posted shortly.):

"Everybody stop talking and no one gets quoted." - Mr. Fucello

"The first thing you need to do is hand over all your notebooks and pencils and no one gets hurt." - Skipper (This, as you can tell, didn't happen)

"That's the Alexandria Hotel." "That's a hotel?" "It's a jail." - Mr F.ucello and Skipper

"She said everybody, Daniel. Not you." - Skipper

"Evil quote taker." - Skipper,

"If you weren't so obvious about taking pictures of him then you wouldn't be considered a stalker." - __________

"You have fun just going on random tangents, Daniel." - David

"Are we that interesting?" - Skipper

"I got a 45 on the homeschooler quiz." - David

"Homeschoolers aren't social enough to act out." - David

"The whole world is poisoned. Get used to it." - Skipper

"Let's stop talking about creepy body parts." - Caitlín

"Everything is bad for you nowadays." - David

"What's the difference between roadkill and a lawyer who has been run over? There's no skid marks in front of the lawyer." - Daniel

"There's the ugly shopping center. So pretty." - Skipper

"Crunch, crunch, slurp." - Daniel

"There was suddenly no talking, just crunch, crunch." - Sarah

"You can chew with the roof of your mouth?" - David

"She has a cyst in her ovary with teeth and hair." - Skipper

"Are you sure it's not a really ugly kid?" - David

"We're Sea Scouts, we don't get sea sick. How can we get car sick?" - David

"Just how many times did you throw them out the window if they did that?" - Skipper

"I can't believe it's been two hours." "It's been one." - Daniel and David

"Somalian Pirates stole an oil tanker." - David

"Pirates with style." - David

"The machine doesn't work very well if there's a bullet through the middle." - David

"We'll just have to make sure you don't drive." - David

"And she's writing it down." "I thought she had put that away." - Daniel and David

"Daniel, stop bothering him. You don't want Gus to get angry." - David

"Half the quotes are about the quotes." - David

"At least Rebecca has something to do." - Daniel

"So Daniel, are you ever going to shave off that peach fuzz mustache?" - David

"Why am I the one always being picked on? I'm not the youngest anymore." - Daniel

"Why are we in a tunnel anyway?" "Going through Baltimore harbor." - Daniel and Mr. Fucello

"When I went to Holy Spirit, I was chubby." "You were chubby?" - __________

"Daniel coughs when he hears 'girls' or 'ice cream'." - Skipper

"You guys need to talk slower, Rebecca can't write fast enough." - Mr. Fucello

"How can you use Gus and energy in the same sentence?" - Mr. Fucello

"Permission to hit him?" "Permission granted." - David and Caitlín

"Why does that girl not have her hair out of her face?" "It's not a girl." - Skipper, quoting another person

"She could publish them as a book." - Mr Fucello

"Are you trying to saw your leg off?" "With a comb it is going to take a long time." - David and Caitlín

"Hey Rebecca, I'll pay you if you stop at 5." - Daniel

"Sometime people say I look like a girl." "You do when you have makeup on." - Daniel and Caitlín

"Man am I glad my dad's not the skipper of this ship." - Daniel

"You're not going to be the skipper?" "I'm going to quit right after this trip." - Daniel and Skipper

"I have all the good spork flare there are." - Skipper

"Someday you people actually have to learn to be social. That will be a very humorous day for me." - David

"Could we possibly be any nerdier?" "Anything's possible." - David and Mr. Fucello

"I don't know where to go. I'm just doing what the GPS tells me." - Mr. Fucello

"It's carbonated prune juice." - Mr. Fucello

"You've been here less than 3 hours, and you already have 4 1/2 pages of quotes." - David

"What is wrong with you Daniel? We're going north, and you're speaking southern." - Caitlín

"Wawa means 'goose' in the native NJ language." - Skipper

"Gus is the soul of the ship." - Mr Anderson

"We shouldn't talk around her." - Caitlín

"Why the heck would you sing happy birthday to a hippo?" - David

"Curious about what?" "What human tastes like." - Daniel and Gus

Sunday, March 8, 2009

USS Barry Quotes

by Rebecca

Here are some of the quotes from the USS Barry overnight:

"You have to tell people to obey the signs." - Skipper

"We're all dead." - Sarah

"Ninja quote taker. Sneaky quote taker." - Skipper

"We should just gag you." - Caitlín

"It's a squished tuba." - Scott

"That little kid who was barking like a chihuahua." - Skipper

"There might be some reckless cadet in the way." - Caitlín

"It's like a noodle." - Scott

"You guys are more faggy than us." - Skipper

"It's amazing you are normal." - Caitlín

"Everything's another quote, when it's out of context." - Caitlín

"We're going on strike if we have to do drill again." - Sarah

"What are we going to do at dinner without Daniel to make fun of?" "He won't get locked outside or fall asleep at the table." - Caitlín and Skipper

"They're still just getting in the van." - Caitlín

"They remind me of Boy Scouts." - Jared

"The Sea Scouts challenge us to a duel of napping." "And we lost." - Skipper and Mr Fucello

"What did you win?" "An asparagus." - Caitlín and Scott

"The constant pencil scraping." - Caitlín

"Hey, I'm in charge, and I don't feel like marching." - Caitlín

"Let's just beat ourselves with sticks instead." - Skipper

"The quotes are the best part." - Scott

"Forward Skip!" "About Nap!" - Everyone

"As soon as we stop for breakfast, you get two noogies from everyone." - Skipper

"I was wondering why you didn't have your quote book out, but then I realized we're all too tired to say anything funny." - Sarah

"The Skipper is going to have lobster for dinner every night." - Skipper

Overnight Aboard the USS Barry

by Caitlín

Yesterday we met Ship 1115 (S.S.S. Constellation) and the Henry E. Mooberry Division of the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps at the Washington Navy Yard to spend the weekend learning drill and how to care for dress uniforms, and spend the night aboard the USS Barry.

After waiting around for the Cadets to be ready for us, we watched Sea Cadet Recruit Company Commander B. Thompson drill some of the new recruits before falling in to go over the commands (and how to command) ourselves. I must say, we didn't do too badly with it, either.

Sea Cadet Petty Officer Second Class K. Herbert took us to the navy museum, marched there under the command of Ship 1115 Boatswain, Will Nelson. I wish we'd had more time to look around, but Lieutenant Commander Cirone wanted us back to the Cadet building by a certain time, leaving us only about 30 minutes to look around the museum.
(Sarah and Rebecca at one of the big guns on exhibit at the museum.)

After "route-step marching" (a command which requires the company only to stay in formation, not stay in step or turn corners all at the same time) my crew of Scouts back, we had more time for drill practice. The Sea Cadets challenged us to a game of Knockout, a military version of Simon Says, and a game at which we Scouts failed pretty miserably last time (excepting Jared, who saved us from complete embarrassment).

Only yesterday, the Cadets kept getting "outed" until Jared, Rebecca, and I were the last three standing...and then Rebecca and I were the last two. They just couldn't stop us, even when firing off commands like "leftface-leftface-aboutface-rightface" as fast as they could! Eventually, to get Rebecca and I out, they had to trick us by standing behind us and having another Cadet give an order, which we obeyed although we shouldn't have and lost. When we actually had a chance of winning, the game was a lot more fun.

The options for dinner were your choice of the Subway or Five Guys down the street, and we boarded the Barry at twilight (left) for our tour of the ship and an ice cream social. While stowing our gear, Sarah, Rebecca, Meghan, and I discovered a sailor's stash of an empty Mountain Dew can, Speed Stick, shampoo ("for oily hair only"), and other various toiletries in one of the lockers near our bunks (right). The female Scouts and Cadets were berthed in racks that are on part of the tour route, so the bunks were behind a Plexiglas wall, which made us feel a little trapped and on display.

Before our tour, we had to wait until the Marine Corps retirement ceremony being held on the fantail of the Barry was over. While we waited, Jared read aloud from Gus's manga--backwards; we laughed so hard we had tears in our eyes!

Next, we had a practice-run fire drill and then an actual fire drill, which we found to be a little bit silly, so we had some fun with it:
We learned how to care for and press our uniforms from the US Naval Sea Cadets' Supply Officer, who says that the way to roll neckerchiefs is when they're still wet from the wash. And then finally we were able to take a tour of the Barry--something some of us had been waiting on for a year. Because we were a "junior military" group, the woman giving us the tour showed us parts of the ship to which the public is not normally admitted, such as the engine room. I thought the bridge was the coolest part; it was pretty cool to imagine steering that large a vessel from that high up.

Taps was at 2300 hours--an hour after it was scheduled, and reveille was at 0500 despite the time change--and we went to bed readily. Unfortunately, sleep didn't come easily with people talking and banging things around, a strange new space to sleep, and in a tiny berth.

We were all very groggy when we woke up this morning, and the 20 minutes we had to dress, pack up, freshen up, and get to the dockside for morning muster seemed to turn into only 5 minutes awfully fast. We stood blearily at parade rest for roll call, then drove to Andrews Air Force Base for breakfast (Anacostia doesn't begin serving breakfast early enough for us to have eaten there).

Because the Cadets' plan for the day didn't really include us unless we wanted to participate in even more drill (and we felt like we'd had enough), we took a vote and decided to head home after breakfast. Scott fell asleep at the table, he was so tired!

We said goodbye to and thanked the Cadets and their CO, and departed. Thinking about it, it's amazing how much the unit has grown since we visited the Barry last year; we're a more cohesive group, we can march in formation (proof of that below), and we even have uniforms!
See more photos from the weekend here.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

NCAC Wardroom Dinner and Award Ceremony

by Sarah

Last Saturday, February 28th, was the National Capital Area Council Dinner and award ceremony. Ship 1942 very kindly invited us to take part in the ceremony as practice for the Regional Bridge of Honor we are performing in New Jersey later this month. Five of our scouts, Rebecca, Caitlín, Jared, Gus, and I made the port crew, and Ship 1942 had seven scouts as the starboard crew, boatswain, and boatswain’s mate. Also, our very own skipper was the mate. She looked great in her new dress uniform.

When we all got there, we started by rolling our new neckerchiefs. The Sea Cadets had showed us how to roll them when they came to teach us military drill, and thanks to their help, we were able to roll five neckerchiefs very quickly.

Skipper Ballew of Ship 1942 ran us and his scouts through the ceremony twice. The first time he explained every person’s jobs for their position. For example, the mate and boatswain board at opposite sides of the vessel at the same time, the crew leader requests permission for his/her crew to board, etc. Then we went through it for a second time as if it was the real ceremony and not just a practice round.

Next, Skipper Ballew introduced the guest speaker Alex Smith and his daughter Francis. Mr. Smith said he would be talking about submarines and some people who make submarines by themselves. He then invited us outside to look at his submarine made for only one person. It seemed very small with no room to lie down inside of it, but he later explained that he does not use it for longer than a short day trip with some other submariners.

Dinner consisted of the choice between roast beef, baked chicken, or vegetarian lasagna and green beans, boiled potatoes, and a bread roll. After we ate, the landship ceremony began, and the awards were handed out. We were hoping to receive ship of the year, but that reward was given to Ship 1942. The surprise was the Skipper of the Year award that was presented to Skipper Shay. It was a pleasant surprise for the skipper; she was hoping for the ship of the year and was shocked to hear her name announced as Skipper of the Year.

The ceremony concluded, and the guest speaker began to set up for his slide show he was going to use as part of his speech. While he set up his projector, Skipper Shay grabbed us five scouts, and we stepped back onto the landship. She had surprise certificates for a couple people who have helped our ship get off the ground. The first one was for Commodore Yeckley who received the “Amanda Grace award” because he kept the Amanda Grace at his house until we were able to get a slip for her close by. He also chased her down when she slipped her anchor. The other certificate went to Commodore Alexander for his help with our ship and his generosity with the use of his ship the der PeliKan.

Lastly, Alex Smith began his speech. He first showed us a short video of him in his submarine going underwater along with a convention of other submariners. His picture slideshow showed several different people who build submarines on their own. Two of them had, at one point, taken place as the smallest submarine in the Guinness World Records. Another man was making a huge submarine from scratch, a submarine that he could live up to three weeks in. Also in his slideshow was Sea Scout Ship 188th in Montreal that had previously restored old boats and sold them, but they were now restoring an old submarine. They had taken it apart and started to clean it though there was still a lot left. Mr. Smith said he is interested in seeing how it turns out when they finally finish it.

It was a very enjoyable event, and we will most likely attend next year.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Typical Quarterdeck Meeting

by Rebecca

At the February Quarterdeck Meeting, I hadn't planned on collecting quotes. But thanks to Skipper Shay and Mr Sanford, I started writing them down on the back on the agenda. Here are some of the better ones.

"Skipperish things." - Skipper Shay

"That doesn't sound like it is a skipperish thing." - Mr Sanford

"Rebecca, we're going to have to confiscate all your paper." - Caitlín

"We can practice CPR on them." - Mr Longhi

"The rain gutters aren't that deep." - David

"You can give me my purple one back now." - Skipper

"I think the marinas have enough life rings." - Skipper

"We could walk to the grocery store there." - Skipper

"Untie all those knots, take the sails down." - Skipper

"I don't want an all green crew." - Skipper

"Men in kilts, yes." - Skipper

"Prop wash is the bay." - David

"Do you know what the shoreline does on a boat?" "It gets you stuck." - Mr Longhi and Adam

"Sit around, take naps, eat cookies." - Skipper

"A long cruise is sleeping on the boat." - Mate Enright

"We had Commodore Alexander." - David

"Somebody goobered it up." - Skipper

"They need to put one fake skeleton in there." - David

"I'm pretty sure the quotes are longer than the minutes now." - David

"Supply guy. Storekeeper." - Mr Longhi

"That's not a quote." "Yes, it is actually." - David and Mr Sanford

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Recognition Dinner

by Caitlín

Last night Ship 7916 held its first annual Ship Recognition Dinner, to honor those who have put the most work into the unit in the past year. We expected approximately 50 Scouts, family members, guests, elected officials, and dignitaries.

Many of the Scouts arrived at 6:00 p.m., giving us an hour to set up before the guests were scheduled to arrive. Rebecca, my sister, and I were the first to arrive, and we began checking off tasks on the list of things that needed to be done. When the others showed up, we realized there had been some confusion about the dress uniforms; Because the uniforms are stored and pressed inside out, all but three Scouts came in wearing their shirts inside out. Some had yet to sew on any patches and so had only to turn their shirts right side out, while others were not so lucky and had already sewn every single one of their patches on. Still, everyone looked really nice, and I suppose now is a better time to wear your uniform inside out that at the National Capital Area Council Wardroom Awards Dinner in a few weeks.

Once all the Scouts arrived, we finished setting up pretty quickly, and hung around talking. Rebecca and I tapped one or two people at a time to nonchalantly go out into the hall and sign the special surprise we had arranged for the Skipper, while Mr. Siegal showed Gus and Daniel how to flip quarters into their hats as they wore them. They found that very amusing and it became their new game.

When the room was full of guests, Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May (left) was kind enough to take the time out of his busy schedule and stop by during a break from a board meeting to say a few words of support and talk about how exciting it is to have a Sea Scout Ship in Occoquan.

We had planned to then continue with our program, but encountered technical difficulties with the A/V equipment on which the "best photos" slide show would play at the end of the evening. It took five men to resolve the issue, although I think it was mostly Mr. Kent's doing.

Once they finally got it working, I called everyone to order using, for the first official time, my boatswain's call to pipe the command for All Hands (make sure you turn your speakers down a little before listening!). That really caught everyone's attention quickly, as it was made to do. Perhaps I shall practice other commands and use it more often. Skipper Shay gave a welcome, Alpha Crew Leader Jared Habel lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Occoquan Mayor and Committee Chair Earnie Porta gave the invocation, then everyone sat down to a potluck dinner.

When most people had finished their meal, the Skipper and I once again asked for attention, and recognized Mr. Longhi for his huge amount of work on our treasury and his handiness with boat repair; Ms. MacDonald for jumping in and "saving our bacon" when taking over popcorn fundraising; and Mr. John Houser, Manager of Occoquan Regional Park, for inviting us to participate in the kayaking trip that inadvertently provided the small welcoming flotilla for Amanda Grace when we bought her home.

Skipper Shay then called all of the officers, both youth and adult, to the front and thanked them for their contributions with personalized ditty bags that her friend Debra Daube donated to us in memory of her stepfather.

Mate Dan Schmoker received the "above and beyond" award, and also on the behalf of COR Stu Sanford (who unfortunately could not make it) for the tremendous amounts of work they've both done that is, indeed, above and beyond their job descriptions.

Captain John Ashton, fondly known as Chief Boat Procurement Officer, received a certificate of appreciation. He then presented the same to his "number one man and good friend," Captain Tom Finn for being with him through procuring boats and setting sea anchors.

The two businesses that gave us very generous donations--Carefree Boat Club (representatives, at right) who allows us the use of the Catalina 22, Takin' it Breezy, and Prince William Marine, which donated a slip for Amanda Grace although she's a "blow boat" and not a Sea Ray--were presented with plaques as a small token of our thanks.

Assistant Unit Commissioner Tammi Cope-Jones spoke about Family Friends of Scouting, and then District Executive Tim Rupert announced that we are the largest Venturing unit in the district, and larger than the average Sea Scout Ship (we are the only Ship in the Occoquan District) in the Council.

Next on the agenda was the photo slide show, but first Sarah, Rebecca, and I slipped in our little surprise for Skipper Shay. We had been emailing back and forth for weeks, trying to keep any intention of recognition a secret. Unfortunately, when a member of the planning committee lives in the same house, it is rather hard, so the Skipper knew we had something up our sleeves, just not what.

Although I knew I would be the one announcing the award, I hadn't though out what to say at all, so with a little hesitation I announced the gifts as Rebecca and Sarah presented them. The first was this:

A plate from Paint Your Heart Out--a business only a block or two from the VFW--that was hand-painted by Rebecca's sister, Judith (thank you SO much!), which people can sign before it is fired using a special pencil. The second gift was Sarah's idea: a box of chocolates from Gearhart's Chocolates in Charlottesville, VA. These are the Skipper's very favorite chocolates, and she often half-jokingly hints that if you want to get on her good side, get her Gearhart's. The whole room gave Skipper Shay a standing ovation.

Mr. Chris Ragland from Carefree Boat Club stepped up next to announce another very exciting surprise--that they are donating Takin' it Breezy to our Ship!

We then watched the "best photos" slide show to remind everyone that this is what they are supporting. The Skipper closed the event, parting with this quote by Mark Twain:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." –Mark Twain
The day also happened to be the date that Luis, one of our newest Scouts, turned fifteen. After most of the guests left, we celebrated with cake and a rendition of "happy birthday," conducted by Luis's father (left).

We stowed all the chairs and tables, packed away the display items, and departed. I think the evening was very successful for our first try, despite the somewhat last-minute planning. The Mayor said it was, "a very pleasant event and I really enjoyed myself. It had the right mixture of formality/informality and the right length...all very well done."

Read the Skipper's post about our First Recognition Dinner.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Drill Instruction with the Sea Cadets

by Rebecca

This afternoon seven scouts from Ship 7916 spent about 2 1/2 hours learning drill to use in activities such as landship ceremonies. We will not be doing drill at regular meetings or activities. (If we did, then most of the members would probably quit.)

We learned how to fall in, stand at attention, stand at parade rest, be at ease, fall out, and march. Left and Right Face was also taught. Most of these are too complex to describe in the blog, but if anyone wants to see or learn them, just ask Caitlín, myself, Sarah, David, Jared, Jonathan, or Gus.

Caitlín and I took turns calling the commands, since we don't know who will be saying them at the Landship. It will probably end up being Caitlín giving me a command, then I give it to the crew.

We also learned how to roll a kerchief for our dress uniform (right).

Now those of us participating in the landship in March have to practice the drill many times before that, so we will look sharp.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Winter Training Quotes

by Rebecca

Once again, I had paper and a pen with me this weekend at Winter Training to write down some quotes that members of Ship 7916 said.

Here are some of the quotes (not in order of when they were said):

"That's very David." - Skipper

"She switched to quotes again." - Sarah

"I need to get me some oxygen." - Mr. Longhi

"Pizza and beer for dinner." - Skipper

"Sprite Zero tastes like it is burning your tongue." - Caitlín

"Aflac." - Gus

"I like that feeling." - Gus

"Broccoli raw has that weird broccoli taste." - Caleb

"How bad do we spank you?" - Mr. Longhi

"Are you doing quotes?" - Mr. Wills

"I turned around and mocked you immediately." - Mr. Kent

"Snow is a solid?" - Skipper

"Stage a mutiny." - Caleb

"This room has had more excitement now than in the last 12 hours." - Mr. Fucello

"Sleep on the hotel floor for $20." - Skipper

"I can sleep on my floor for free." - Caleb

"It was a little smokey." - Mr. Wills

"Just bang their heads together." - Skipper

"Don't you hate it when parents do this?" - Caleb

"I stuck my head in and raised the average age in the room 10 years." - Mr. Kent

"Can he catch a drip?" "Dude!" - Skipper and Mr. Wills

"Everyone would like 'Enter the Haggis'." - Skipper

"Poor Boatswain." - Skipper

"Could you please pass me all my clothing?" - Caleb

"Don't you dare write that down." - Caleb

"Another version of the happy dance of joy." - Mr. Longhi

"I mean it looks like skulls." - Caitlín

"Why not? Joe said it." - Mr. Longhi

"We were worried you would be doing this." - Skipper

"12." "13." "Whoo!" - Mr. Fucello and Caleb

"Gee Adam, who's going to fire who?" - Mr. Longhi

"Positive 14." "A thousand and 14?" - Adam and Caitlín

"She's quoting you, dad." - Sarah

"Can't hear you, sonny boy." - Mr. Fucello

"We'll be the stars." - Skipper

"I trust you all to do it yourselves, except for that one." - Skipper

"Don't touch it, Gus." - Caleb

"Banging their heads on trash can lids." - Skipper

"It's all lies." - Skipper

"I thought it was safe, but you're hiding back there behind Skipper Shay." - Mr. Wills

"It's the aliens coming to get you!" - Skipper

"There's the mean skipper lady." - Skipper

"I'm never making a bad suggestion again." - Skipper

"Oh, ok." "You're welcome." "I still don't get it." - Gus and Caitlín

"Don't cross me again." - Skipper

"Everyone will love you if you did that." - Caitlín

"Show me the surgeon!" - Mr. Wills

"That's like David right there." "You found a David character." - Caitlín and Skipper

"Overly macho." - Skipper

"He's probably snoring, then." - Mr Wills

"You would want to look like Ken?" - Skipper (to Gus)

"The horse is still moaning." - Skipper

Sarah: "Did you just call it petrified meat?"
Caitlín: "Yes! It's like fossilized!"

"David, will you go to the dance with me?" - Gus

"Strange children." - Skipper

"They'll do a right good job at it. If they don't, I'll kick their butts!" - Skipper

"I'll buy front row tickets to that." - Mr. Wills

"My bed's gone!" - Rebecca

"My lips are blue." - Skipper

"Do YOU like your chocolate?" - Gus

"As the senior ranking officer, my crew gets the best." - Skipper

"I'm actually doing some Sea Scout stuff tomorrow." - Mr. Wills"

"It was like watching a movie." - Skipper

Gus: "That would be funny."
Caitlín: "If you died?"
Gus: "Yes."

"Somebody better say 'Yes', or I'm going to have to appoint them!" - Skipper

"Where's my biggly-wiggly?" - Mr. Wills

"What? I like my chocolate." - Gus

"Get out of my county, mister." - Skipper

"He's a dude!" - Mr. Wills

"'Cause you can't call 911 if you're passed out." - Skipper

"Nertz?" - Jared

"Harrison, if you want you can go clean up everything." - David

"Going to go fill up with sugar." - Gus

"Man, that tastes funky." "Tastes about as funky as you, Gus." - Gus and Jared

"Full contact team solitaire." - Sarah

Rebecca: "Chocolate and lemonade?"
Gus: "Yes!"

"Caleb, do you mind if I move your coat?" "Yes, go ahead." - Sarah and Caleb

"Red ten, red ten.." - Caitlín

"I learned how to do it. Does it mess you up?" "No." - Mr. Fucello and Caitlín

"It's the nertzinator." - Scott

"David said he wants to have a chocolate pudding IV if he is in a coma." - Sarah

"Your fingers are weird." - Jared

"This is not for the lemonade, just for my own enjoyment." - Gus

"I shuffled them." "Really bad." - Jared and Caitlín

"Mustard!" - Caitlín, Caleb and Rebecca