Friday, July 25, 2008


Anyone who is curious as to what i've been doing for the past month would gain insight by visiting Here, then Here. (note, the second "here" is only the trip 2 bit, not one, three, or four.) The Sigsbee kids kinda got distracted and never finished blogs for days 7-9, but you may rest assured that they enjoyed themselves.

Kids navigating, Sigsbee Trip 1. Please note that, as usual, photo actual sizes are mahoosive.

The rest of this blog post is going to sound like a "Dear Mom and Dad, I'm having a wonderful time at camp..." letter. be forewarned. my favorite event on the Sigsbee trip was kayaking around Wye Island. i'd forgotten how delightful that pursuit is. Feels good to row, you know? And it kept the kids occupied without my having to entertain them, which is always a breath of fresh air. And my favorite event with Lady Maryland was whale watching--while the trip was nausea-inducing, i'd never seen humpbacks up close before and it was amazing.

Baby Humpback Breaching, Gloucester, Mass. The kid is just farting around waiting for its momma to surface.

I met some very interesting people--both adults and kids--on these trips, and I'm glad i got to go. I had no idea that my first night in Gloucester would be spent in the company of Angus the Shipbuilding Giant on a midnight tour of a half-built tea ship. Or that full foundations existed for the sole purpose of disentangling marine mammals from fishing lines. (and no, i don't believe they've ever disentangled a duck-billed platypus. its a polite, inclusive-sounding term for whales.) I also tried my first ice-cream made with cardamom. yum! The girl who served it up, in Provincetown, Mass, was one of those pretty lesbians with a buzz-cut and a thick Ukrainian accent who has no patience for people who can't make up their minds on what flavor to get. I didn't dally.
Gloucester Light

This past week I actually spent back on Sigsbee doing day trips, like usual, except with some rather unusual groups. Imagine a trip of ten 16-year old male drug addicts and seven cops. They were surprisingly interested in bay ecology. I think some of them got a lot out of it. Then imagine a trip of two 16 year old female drug addicts and 2 cops. and 4 crew. It was the most relaxed, comfortable, easygoing trip ever. I never knew I'd have such a pleasant time with junkies.

Not Sigsbee, but similar. At Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michael's Island, Maryland. I watched her raise sails. Its really hard to take pictures of the vessel you work on from afar.

Have you ever met a kid who looks and behaves exactly like you did when you were their age? Its eerie. Since April i've seen two of them, one girl scout and one with a city camp last week. Interestingly, both of these girls were completely nuts, had loud, sort-of annoying voices, and latched onto me within seconds of their arrival. They're both about 10 years old now, blond, healthy, science whiz kids with total comfort talking to adults but little patience with or acceptance from their peers. I still argue that if it hadn't been for my science teachers grades 7-9 I could be a rockstar biologist by now. But I didn't learn anything new for four years and eventually lost interest. (to be fair, my 9th grade science teacher went on maternity leave three weeks into school and we had an intern for the rest of the year.) Anyway, i'm a bit weirded out by these little carbon-copy mes running around--i mean that's two kids who've gone on trips on sigsbee in four months. Think how many else there must be. And how many came before me. And how many are thinking the same thoughts as me right ....Now.

Sorry. got a bit existential back there. Everyone come through okay? Good. Make sure your seat belts are buckled and your volume is turned way down 'cos I'm going to post a video down here, but please note that it is shaky and has a lot of wind whistling around. Allow me to share...Whales! out of sight of land but near Gloucester, Massachusetts. Courtesy of Captain Bill's Whale Watching Charters. We did have our own neat adventures with whales on the lady maryland, but by then my camera was full. And most of them were Finback whales, which aren't nearly as playful or fun as Humpbacks.