I hope you all had a nice Spring Break! Special thanks to Mr. Rzepczynski for keeping the Troop and Troop Committee going in my short absence; and to Grady for running the PLC meeting.
I returned last weekend after 1275 miles of sailing from St. Croix to Miami. We first sailed from St. Croix into the Caribbean Sea to collect and classify Sargasso weeds as part of the 2023 super bloom. This year is a big event which tons of Sargasso weed will bloom in May and June, some of which washes ashore in the eastern Caribbean, Mexico and US.
This super bloom is not well understood. The weed also contains small crabs, fish and habitats for other sea life and while its thought of as a blob, is really a lot of windrows of weed spread out. After a couple collecting stations, where we toss nets, tow, collect, sort, and measure, we then sailed on across Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic/Hati, then north of Cuba and onward to Miami picking up the gulf stream. This took about eight (8) days running 24 hours a day (no stops).
I was part of the crew from the Sea Education Association (www.sea.edu) and had to stand watches and take part in running the entire ship including sailing handling, navigation, engine duty, galley, and classes. This short program is a bit unique and I was glad that I was able to go. The ship’s watch schedule is 6 hours on and 12 hours off, which rotates daily. So somedays you are on 7am-1pm, then off until 1AM, on to 7AM, then off till 7pm to 1AM. It’s easy to get tired and not enough sleep as there are always things to do. No internet and the ship is always moving and sometimes squally weather. No air conditioners and it was mostly hot and sunny with occasional showers. And don’t forget there are emergency drills & firefighting that have to be practiced. I did get a chance to brush up on celestial navigation, which uses the sun, stars and planets to find your location. Most of the time, I was pretty close to the GPS!
There was another class that followed us in Miami, which was a high school class with oceanographers from Woods Hole and they were conducting some under water robotics stations from Miami to Charleston SC. If you follow this link you will see me in the picture sorting Sargasso weed (https://sea.edu/ships-and-crew/ships-blog/). I always learn a lot; in some cases, this is like scouting where there is a lot of learning by doing, working within a community and what works best is when we think of others first. You have heard me say things like Ship, Shipmate and Self, where ship is the mission, shipmates are our crew or patrol and self is at the end. Just like scouting, our mission comes first, taking care of our troop and patrol and then finally don’t forget to take care of yourself.
We have a busy month of May coming up with a couple of camping, biking, surfing and service (Drop Off / Swap Off, the Concord Free Library Book Sale) opportunities stretching into June (along with some Eagle service projects looming). Do your best to help others, especially when the call comes for Eagle projects. These are troop events and we work together to serve the beneficiary and support our fellow Scouts.
Remember to bring your books to meetings and remind me if you need Scoutmaster conferences and a follow up Board of Review (we will have a new Signup form starting this week!). In June, we have another troop Court of Honor, so hoping you are working to complete some advancement activities.
We are rescheduling the Auto Mechanic Merit Badge Training (scouts will learn to replace a tire and check the oil; these are some basic life skills that I think all scouts should have) to June, and will soon have a sign-up for Family Life Merit Badge Training, so much Advancement activity this month and next!
Do your good turn daily and look forward to seeing you all!
Mr. Duggan, Scoutmaster
This blog is a weekly message from the Scoutmaster.