Friday, January 29, 2010

Spaceships, Sailing Vessels and Mystic Seaport

Out west I went last November to do a training course with the Wilderness Medical Institute of NOLS and teach a NOLS backcountry ski section of a semester course. I passed the very rigorous medical training and then headed into the backcountry with only about 50 cm of snow. It was not ideal skiing conditions (or even traveling conditions) considering we had to put our skis on our sleds. But we had fun and played in the backcountry and I quite enjoyed when the temperatures plummeted to -26 degrees C. It was a wonderful feeling to feel as though I was back on the Ice again!

But now gears have been changed, for just a short bit. I am in Mystic, Connecticut working as a sign language interpreter for a Deaf college-student attending the excellent Williams-Mystic semester program. It's my first real job as an interpreter and after a two hour session of interpreting, I'm amazed that I'm a real paid-interpreter (if not yet certified). I've had lots of help and feedback from my partner in crime, and I'm learning a lot. (The students are all hopefully becoming State Radio fans with their new CDs.)

This week is the first week of the program and it has been preparing the students for the 11 days we are about to spend in the Florida Straits on S.E.A.'s Corwith Cramer (a ship I worked on as a deck hand in 2002.) It'll be quite fun to be on the ship again, sextant in hand, doing everything is sign language! I plan to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Space Camp during Deaf Week a few years ago! Similarly, I plan to enjoy the experience and get more out of it than any of the current students, but that I'm used to. No doubt, some of their lives will be changed, as mine was when I sailed on the Westward in 1999. They are in for a trip, and I am excited to see them go through the process.
To follow our progress go to the Williams-Mystic website:
We'll be offshore from Feb. 1 - 11.

I have been in a very excited state of vehicle bliss. I'm surrounded by cool sailing ships, recently spent a number of days doing some electrical work on Rob Lloyd's new boat ( and then listened to a lecture on the similarities of aircraft and vessels of the sea. Then I spent yesterday's down time on the Nautilus nuclear submarine built in the 1950's. Needless to say, submarines likeness to spaceships, make me love them - except the missile and war part of the things. Since I don't ever plan on joining the services, I'll just have to get my very own vessel someday to pretend I'm on a spaceship. The sailboat will be named Apollo 8 (the first human voyage to another celestial being - the moon) so that when someone calls me on the radio, I can feel like I'm in space! Someday...soon!

Some pics from Rob's boat:

The old wiring set up.

Part-way finsished.

Upstream and downstream complete! Doing the wiring on a boat is something that soothes my soul. Such order in the chaos! I don't really understand it but I love making the connections that will help make this boat operate again. It's like connecting the nerves on Frankenstein. We're slowly bringing this ship back to life. And of course, I feel like I'm on a space station...

After the 11 day sail, I'll head back west to work a NOLS semester course out of the Rocky Mountain branch where I'll be instructing all sections: Wilderness First Aid, skiing, canyoneering, rock climbing and river kayaking/rafting over 87 days! I even get to work the last section with two of my cousins!!!!

That's as far as I know! The rest has yet to come but floating out there are another season of Deaf soccer, another airplane voyage, and more work in Antarctica! Also trying to find a good light weight HAM radio so that Dad and I can get back on the air - perhaps in Morse Code as "CW" takes less power which is paramount if I'm going to be carrying the thing. Life is good! And I hope it is with you as well!

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