Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Art of Going Slowly

We are just on the verge of our first Trash Bash Celebration for a Clean Ocean here at Providence Community Boating and taking some time to catch up on emails, phone calls, cleaning up the boat (and a little stand up paddleboarding on our new Bic SUP's).

It has been a great and satisfyingly crazy few days. My last post came from the daylight hours of what turned out to be a lovely and smooth, if not slow, overnight trip the length of Long Island Sound to Newport, RI. In some cases slow is good. Slow let us see 20+ firework shows at the same time along the length of the CT and Long Island shores. Slow let us enjoy only the sound of the water rather than the engine. Slow let us sail through The Race (the potentially extremely rough junction of Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean) very near slack tide. And slow let us arrive in Newport in the daylight to come alongside at the Museum of Yachting in Fort Adams. Despite the lack of sleep, we were happy to have a full day or recovery and some boat projects as well as time to watch the last start of the Transatlantic Race (go All-American Offshore team!!!).

After that, slow would not be the appropriate word for what has been going on... more like full-on. We had a great day with the kids at Conanicut yacht Club, around 92 of them! Thanks to a swiftly moving current it was not so much about picking up trash though we did recover a piece of dock fender, as it was about the ROV and the issues and problems of marine debris. CYC's director, Meg Myles, has been doing an excellent job integrating marine education with their sailing education and the kids were informed and excited to recognize creatures they had already learned about... as well as have an explore through the eel grass (which looked like swimming through a jungle). In many ways, I would rather fly the ROV around an environment full of fish, crab, sea urchins, starfish, colorful seaweed and little darting winter flounder than loads of trash. Unfortunately, we are not fooled by the clean bay as July 4th, Sloane, Laura and I picked up 2 huge bags of trash from the shores of Fort Adams in less than an hour.

Thanks to James' 5 am wake up and helming skills, we arrived in Providence in time to roll straight into trash pick up excitement with the Community Boating's STEM program (Science, technology, engineering and math) for the morning and then the sailing programs for the afternoon. This was the first stop where we had American Promise alongside a dock and it was very cool. We organized into stations: Laura gave boat tours teaching the sailors about the boat, its history, navigation and life at sea; Sloane led the net brigade recovering lots and lots of trash that was floating by on the fast moving tide and then sorting, measuring and recording the trash and I was in charge of the ROV/sonar/Smart Tether station.

Providence Community Boating was one of our pilot program stops and John and Will and their team of instructors do an incredible job giving the sport of sailing and access to the water to a diverse (and excited) group of kids and adults.

This stop saw us gain a piece of very exciting equipment, The KCF Smart Tether will let us know exactly where we are, where we are going and where we have been with the ROV, a luxury we have not yet had. We are especially excited to have this new piece of equipment going into the Newport stop where we know that derelict fishing gear is a problem. We will be marking the derelict traps we find so that Clean the Bay can come in behind us with their landing craft and pull it out!

So, the stats so far are approximately:
In 4 days of programs...300+ people have participated, we have picked up 500+ pieces of trash and have traveled a total of around 300 miles. We are on the verge of our first Trash Bash supported by the Boat US Foundation (yipppeeee, thanks to ALL of you who voted last month) and psyched to keep on rolling, meeting great people, having fun with the kids and picking up a whole lot of ocean trash.

If you or anyone you know are near any of our upcoming stops, we have lots of free and open to the public action:

Tonight (July 7): Trash bash, Providence Community Boating from 6-8pm
Friday July 8: Herreshoff Museum, Bristol, RI: boat tours in the afternoon
Saturday July 9: 10-3 trash hunting with the ROV off the docks
Sunday Jul 10: Time TBA boat tours
Wednesday July 13: 5-7pm Trash Bash at Sail Newport

Hope to cross paths (or wakes) with you soon,

rzm and the American Promise crew (right now: James, Sloane, Laura, Hickory and Smudge)

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