Thursday Treat- Turtles!

I had a real treat yesterday! I got to go to NOAAs research facility in Galveston and learn all about what they’re doing with the sea turtles there.

I only found out about this whole thing last week. I happened to Google ‘things to do in Galveston” and one of the things listed was a sea turtle tour. I had known about the turtles in the back of my mind, since I’ve known about the turtle patrol and the efforts to protect the turtles along our beaches.

When I heard of this tour, I thought it would be interesting, so I called and signed up.

They only have the tours on Thursdays, and you have to make an appointment beforehand. It’s free. 🙂

Apparently I got there a little late (tho not by my watch). The room was full and they were already discussing all sorts of things about the program. Tip: Arrive early!

The tours are put on by volunteers. Thursday’s presentation was led by the team of John and Lynn Wright- “master naturalists”. They did a great job of explaining the situation with sea turtles today and what NOAA is doing with them in Galveston.

They started with a slide show explaining the facts that there are 7 total species of sea turtles and 5 of them can be found in the Gulf of Mexico. Those include (from smallest to largest): Kemp’s ridley, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Green and Leatherback.

They showed us how to tell what kind of turtle we see (if they have 4 ‘scutes’ they’re either green or hawksbill, if they have 5 they’re either Kemp’s ridley or loggerhead- leatherback doesn’t have any).

They described turtle life cycles and what kind of food they liked to eat. They showed some amazing movies of the arribada from the late 1950’s. Thousands of female sea turtles arriving on the Texas beaches.

Then they showed a slide telling the sad story of their decline since we’ve become more ‘advanced’. Decimating all 7 of the turtle species, by eating their eggs, catching them in nets while fishing for other species, killing them with our pollution (especially plastic), destroying their habitat…

They also mentioned a few things we can do to help protect the turtles. Mainly- reduce your use of resources, especially plastic. Dispose of trash properly. Reuse and recycle. Help clean up the beaches and waterways. Take care with your fishing gear. If you see a sea turtle, its tracks or nest on the beach call 1-866-TURTLE-5 

I learned yesterday that the Kemp’s ridley has been designated the official state sea turtle of Texas. The Wrights informed us that in 1985 there were 400 nests after a large drop in numbers, in 2017 there were 353. They found 3 right here in Surfside (and 1 on Quintana)! They said there’s been some recovery. I hope so.

After the slide show, the Wrights led us over to the turtle barn where we could see all the little turtles. First, we got a chance to see how a TED (turtle excluder device) works. The kids were happy to run through the net and escape- acting as surrogate sea turtles. 😉

NOAA has kind of a conflict of interest here. They are supposed to help the fishermen, and they are supposed to help the sea turtles. They are doing a lot of studies to try and come up with answers to solve many issues surrounding our ocean resources.

One of those studies is to do with testing TEDs. The objective is to find a way to increase the survival rates of any sea turtles (and other by catch) that get caught up in a shrimp boats net. The turtles in the turtle barn are all about 1.5 years old. They’re raised in Galveston til they get to be about 2. Then they are sent over to Florida for the tests.

They’re placed in larger tanks and allowed a few weeks/months to acclimatize themselves. Then they’re taken out to sea and working with a team of shrimpers, divers, and scientists the turtles are run through the nets, out the TEDs and collected again afterwards. After the turtle finishes its run through the TED, it’s released to the wild. The scientists will use the data to refine the TEDs and other fishing gear.

The barn was full of turtles (hawksbills), at least a few dozen, all about 1-2 ft long. They swam around in small plastic containers set inside larger tanks of filtered seawater. We were warned not to touch the turtles or put our hands in the water (it’s a ‘federal offense’). If something fell in the water, they would have to drain the whole tank and replace the water due to concerns about contamination. 😦

I felt kind of sad for all those little turtles, swimming around in their tiny little tanks, but they told us that if they were all allowed to swim together they would fight and/or eat each other. They said the turtles didn’t notice or care that they were stuck in such small containers, they would circle around forever and never know the difference. I suppose, but I still felt bad for them. 😦

I also wondered why they weren’t raising more turtles- in a breeding program. Like they did with the whooping cranes down in Port Aransas. I’d hate to see the turtles go extinct. With only 353 nests (of Kemp’s ridleys) on the Texas beaches last year it wouldn’t take much to wipe them out. I asked John about it. He said in Texas the focus was on finding nests and moving them to Padre Island which was safer for them and where they’d be released to return later. There were other programs around the world that raised the turtles for a higher survival rate on release.

I recommend the turtle tour for anyone interested in marine science or sea turtles. The Wrights were very knowledgeable and great with answering any and all questions. Hopefully the research done there at NOAA will help more sea turtles survive (and also help the fishermen with better results and less bycatch). I’d love to see more turtles out at sea and maybe even find a nest on the beach one day. It would be fantastic to see an arribada like the one in the film they showed us. Let’s hope we can make that happen. 🙂

This looks like the video they showed, but there was no sound and they said the video was taken in Texas. This video is from Mexico it might be a different one. I found it on youtube.

PS- This is my Just Jot it January post for today. 😉 Today’s prompt is: memories. Well, they’re only a day or so old, but I think they count. 🙂

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Where Is My Art?

A friend asked me after yesterday’s post where could he find my art? I figured I might as well write a post about it (just in case anyone else might be interested). All of my art is always for sale. If you like something, let me know and we can work something out (or you can buy from one of the places I’m at- but they charge more!).

I do lots of different things. When I went to Galveston yesterday to pick up my work, the gallery owner told me what he likes best about my work is my ‘diversity’. 🙂

I do a lot of photography. That is really my favorite. I take pictures of everything, all the time, everywhere. 😉 I have tons of photos from all my travels and tons more from decades of working on the water. I also like to go to zoos and museums and take lots of photos of animals, fish, birds, bugs, and all kinds of interesting things at the museums.

I do pastels, colored pencils, charcoal drawings and I’ve been learning to paint in oils, watercolor and acrylic. I haven’t been able to get to class as often as I’d like. It seems whenever there is any work for me, it’s always on a Tuesday. Tuesday is when they have the painting class at the art center so I have to skip it.

So, I mostly get started on a project in class and then it sits around the house until I get tired of looking at it and then I’ll finish it up on my own. I’ve got 2 oil paintings sitting here now that are over a year old already and not even half done. 😦

If you want to know where to see some of my work, I have a lot of photos up around the web. At Youpic, Flickr, Bigstock, Dreamstime, and Society6 and FineArtAmerica where you can have my photos put onto t-shirts, phones, towels, etc (pretty much anything you want). You should be able to get a good idea of my range from those sites (and my blog).

As far as my drawings, paintings, etc- right now they are all at my house (except for a few that are in the satellite galleries around town here). I had to pick them up yesterday to bring them home until the From the Heart Gallery can open their new showroom. I’m hoping that’ll happen sometime next week. In the meantime, you can take a look at this link, it’ll show you a couple of the things I was showing up there.

one of my favorites

 

Tiny Houses

This weeks Black & White Photo Challenge from Cee is: houses. I looked through some of my old photos and it kind of surprised me, but I guess I don’t take pictures of houses very often. Apartment buildings, skyscrapers, churches, hotels, storefronts- yes. Houses- not so much. 😉

I guess because they seem so ordinary. I walk past them every day. I don’t pay them that much attention. Not enough to make me go get my camera out anyway. 😉

I found these little ceramic houses- ‘tiny houses’ 😉

This collection of cute little cottages was on display at one of the antique shops around Galveston’s historic Strand district. They had a huge hoard of all kinds of interesting items. I was tempted to add to my own collection. Then I remembered that I already have a very large junk collection of my own and I’ve been trying to downsize.

Still, it’s a good thing I was broke.

Girls Gone to Galveston

Hey! We just got back from Galveston. It was a long day.

I’m not a morning person, but got up early to finish getting my photos ready to take up to the gallery in Galveston. I had to sign them, figure out the best mat to use with them and then figure out which frame fit best. It took a while.

I loaded up my truck and headed to the beach to pick up my friends. I didn’t think we could all fit in the cab with my big painting (49″ x 44″) in the back seat, but we managed to fit all the artworks in the back seat and all 3 of us in the front.

Lucky, I found a spot to pull up close to the shop for long enough to unload my stuff. The lady who I’ve been dealing with wasn’t there. I left my big painting there and traded out a few others. I took the rest of the stuff I brought across the street to a new place (Metamorphosis) that I learned about last time I was in Galveston.

My friend was talking to the owner about making a sign for the place while I was busy across the street. I brought in my photos and set them out for the lady to pick which ones she liked and thought would sell. She liked all of them. 🙂

So far, nothing has sold. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. My friend is really hoping to get the sign job too. She’s been a ‘starving artist’ for a long time. Somehow I never thought that’s where I would wind up in life.

I do enjoy it, but like my BFF always tells me, “somebody always has to buy the beans”. For that to work, somebody will actually have to buy some of my art one of these days.

We tried a new place for lunch (recommended by the coffee guy). It was a pretty interesting little deli type place called Old Moon. We sat upstairs where they had a couple of nice comfortable couches to relax on. We ate our lunch surrounded by cool old photographs and paintings of dramatically lit cats (and dogs) dressed to the nines.

I had a Monte Cristo sandwich, it was really good. I’d never had one like the way they made it before. It had a little bit of honey on it, on the outside of the bread. Nice touch, but made it a little sticky to eat. I didn’t try a pie. They looked delicious, but I always eat slowly and I didn’t want to keep my friends waiting any longer. I did try a brownie and it was really nice. I even saved some for dessert tonight. 🙂

Check out the painting. Cool dog, huh?

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Buildings

Cee always has some interesting challenges going on. She posts some gorgeous photos and the people who join in put some really good one up there too. Everyone is welcome to join in.

I don’t usually work in B&W, nor do I do much fiddling around with my photos. I may crop them a little, or straighten the horizon, but that’s about it. I can see where it can be a lot of fun playing around with the editing software. Here’s what I came up with…

Galveston has some really cool architecture. I was up there a few weeks ago, trying to schmooze my way into some of the art galleries up there (I actually succeeded and have some of my stuff up at From the Heart Gallery now). 🙂

G is for Galveston- #AtoZChallenge

G” is for Galveston. It’s the closest city of any size to me. I consider the Houston/Galveston/Freeport area my stomping grounds now a days.

When I first moved to Texas (almost 40 years ago), I used to really enjoy just wandering around. I moved here to go to college, so I had a bunch of friends I met in class to hang out with. We were all in the Ocean Marine Technology program (except a couple of outlier art students). So we all had an interest in boats.

We used to go up to Galveston all the time. For SCUBA class, for RADAR class, to the US Coast Guard office there. We always used to enjoy trying out new bars and restaurants on the way home.

I don’t get around anywhere near as much as I used to. Last time I went up to Galveston was with those 2 old artist friends from school. 🙂 We wanted to check out the art galleries and take a look around the Strand.

We found a couple of really neat artists, had a nice lunch, checked out all the interesting shops on the Strand, and avoided spending a fortune on some of the really cool nautical ‘junk’ I saw (or even more beautiful art- of which I already have a house full of).

Funny, but with all the changes around here, Galveston and especially the Strand still seems pretty much the same as it was when I first saw it.

Happy World Sea Turtle Day! 

Today is World Sea Turtle Day. Somehow I didn’t know anything about that until I got an email early this morning from Earthwatch (thanks).

Maybe if I had known, we could have had a real party here. 😉

I was lucky enough to get a chance to see the Houston Zoo release a bunch of sea turtles on the beach at Galveston a couple of weeks ago. That was so cool to see. It was nice to see that so many people took the time and effort to take care of those turtles and nurse them back to health.

It was also great to see so many regular people turn out to see them released. It was frustrating as hell, trying to get a decent photo, but encouraging that so many people cared enough to make a special effort to be there in person (even with such crappy weather).

We’ve been lucky so far this year in Texas. Updated stats say we’ve found 173 Kemp’s Ridley nests (plus 2 Loggerhead’s). We’ve even found 4 right here locally (3 at Surfside and 1 at Quintana)!

Remember: If you see a sea turtle, tracks or hatchlings on the beach immediately call 1-866-TURTLE-5 (1-866-877-8535).

Source: Happy World Sea Turtle Day! [VIDEO]

They Were Awesome!

In spite of the weather Thursday, there was a damn big crowd on the beach for a weekday afternoon. They were forecasting rain in the morning and scattered showers in the afternoon. I took a chance and drove up there anyway. Must’ve been a common thought. 😉

 DSC07438

Can you see a turtle there? Neither can I. But it was there, behind all those people tracking it down the beach.

The Houston Zoo was going to release a total of 9 rehabilitated sea turtles they had been caring for. Some were Kemp’s Ridleys, 3 were loggerheads. All had been brought to the zoo due to some kind of injury.

It started spitting rain on me less than 10 minutes after I left the house, but since Stewart Beach in Galveston is over an hours drive from my house, I figured I might as well continue.

I made it to the beach and found the location for where they were going to release the sea turtles just in time for the start. Or what was supposed to be the start of the ‘show‘. No turtles, but the rain sure did start.

Surprisingly, hundreds of people still hung out (in the rain) for at least a half hour before the turtle delivery trucks showed up. The turtles were happily riding along in big plastic tanks full of sea water. It was another 15-20 minutes before the 1st turtle made it’s appearance.

Volunteers from the Houston Zoo, NOAA, and the Turtle Patrol were on hand to walk the turtle down the gauntlet of curious bystanders and explain a bit about them. Information sheets, pamphlets and stickers were passed out to the crowd too. Hopefully, this will help people know what to do if they happen to find a turtle or nest. So far this year, they’ve found a total of 159 nests on Texas beaches. They’ve even found 3 right here- 2 at Surfside beach and 1 at Quintana beach. 🙂

It was frustrating to follow the rules and stand behind the fences, waiting for the volunteers to come close enough where we could actually see a turtle through the crowds surrounding them. People were reaching up, out and over- trying to get a good shot. Many people were just allowed to ignore the barricades and follow the turtles from the truck all the way down to the water. Nice for them, but it ruined it for the rest of us. 😦

 

Like the lady beside me yelled, “I didn’t come all the way from Indiana just to see your ass!”. So right!

 

I managed to get a few good shots, The zoo will be putting video and photos on their website too and I expect it even made the news Thursday night. Sorry, but I was just too tired the last couple of days to post this in time for you to turn on the news.

It was really awesome to be able to see this release in person. Happy it was daytime so I could get some decent pictures. I still hope to see a wild one someday. Without the crowds. If you see one, don’t bother it. All of them are endangered. “If you see a sea turtle, tracks or hatchlings on the beach immediately call 1-866-TURTLE-5 (1-866-877-8535)”. 

 

See Sea Turtles on Thursday

I just got this email from the Houston Zoo (I’m a member). They’ve been helping to save sea turtles with other organizations around the world. This Thursday (May 26th), they’re turning some loose on the beach in Galveston. 🙂

If you’re anywhere around the area, it would be a real treat to come out and watch. Here’s the announcement I got…

Watch Sea Turtles Return to Wild 

Thanks to a rewarding partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), nine injured sea turtles have been rehabilitated and are ready to be returned to the wild. The release will take place Thursday, May 26 promptly at 2:00 p.m. at Stewart Beach Park, 201 Seawall Blvd. The public is invited to come out and witness this exciting release.
 I’m going to put it on my calendar and take another drive up to Galveston. That is, IF the weather is better than the last time I was up there! 😉
I went to see the turtles when I was in Nicaragua too, but it was too dark to see much. I hope the weather holds and I can really see them this time.

Maritime Day 2016

I gave you a preview the other day, now on to the real deal. 🙂 Today, May 22, is actually Maritime Day. We even got a “Presidential Proclamation“. 🙂

This years Maritime Day celebration in Galveston (on the 19th) wasn’t as good as last years, if only because of the weather. We didn’t get to sit outside and watch the traffic in the harbor, or get a salute from a tugboat this year, but thank goodness they planned to move it into the cruise ship terminal a couple of days earlier! It was streaming down rain all day long! Thunder and lightning shook the building, drowned out the speakers and split the sky.

But we persevered and had our little memorial with the few hardy souls who managed to make it out before the storm hit in full force.

Galveston’s celebration started off with music by the ‘Singing Stars’ from the Odyssey Academy.

Captain John Peterlin III from the Port of Galveston welcomed everyone to the event and then led into a program explaining the history of the US Merchant Marine and Maritime Day. There was a moment of silence in appreciation of all mariners past and present.

Tammy Lobaugh from Texas A & M Galveston talked a bit about maritime education and a few of the many maritime organizations that contribute to our maritime heritage. Some of them were represented at the event- WISTA, the maritime unions (SIUMEBA, AMO), the seamans centers, maritime museums, ports, etc.

Cristina Galego representing the Port of Galveston read John Masefield’s poem Sea Fever

Sea Fever
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
 
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; 
            And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
 
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
The wreath was laid*
and Father Stelios Sitaras led the benediction before the closing remarks and a reading of Carl Sandburg’s Young Sea.

YOUNG SEA

THE sea is never still.
It pounds on the shore
Restless as a young heart,
Hunting.

The sea speaks
And only the stormy hearts
Know what it says:
It is the face
of a rough mother speaking.

The sea is young.
One storm cleans all the hoar
And loosens the age of it.
I hear it laughing, reckless.

They love the sea,
Men who ride on it
And know they will die
Under the salt of it

Let only the young come,
Says the sea.

Let them kiss my face
And hear me.
I am the last word
And I tell
Where storms and stars come from.

A fitting closing to the memorial on a stormy day.

*due to the terrible weather, they’ll save the wreath and send it out later from the memorial at Pier 21

Preview- Maritime Day

Today was the 7th annual Maritime Day celebration in Galveston.

It was pouring all day long! Galveston is flooded. I tried to take pictures, but it was too dark by the time I got back on the road to go home.

I think the weather hurt the attendance. Will try to find out how many kids showed up for the tours around the Texas A&M ship “General Rudder” this morning.

The memorial was held inside the cruise ship terminal to keep it out of the expected rain. Good thing!

I’ll have more on this tomorrow (IF I can get the computer to work). I’m getting sick of McDonalds and Starbucks coffee is a rip-off!

Maritime Day 2015

Another Memorial Day weekend has passed. I’m not much for holidays. I did go up to Galveston for the National Maritime Day Commemoration Ceremony last week. It’s pretty sad to say it, but I probably would have forgotten it myself if I hadn’t gotten a couple of reminders from friends.

Galveston Coast Guard keepers of the flags

Galveston Coast Guard keepers of the flags

Since I am a merchant marine and have been almost my whole life, I feel like I should at least remember this day and the reason for it. Everyone else celebrates Memorial Day for the ‘armed’ services and forgets about all the Merchant Marine has done for the country (and still does, EVERY DAY).

Galveston had their celebration on Thursday, even though the official day is on May 22.

I was going to try and get there early enough to help man a ‘water table’ for the kids coming up to see all the ships, but it took longer than I expected to take care of my property tax protest in Angleton. I would have liked to take a tour myself, the General Rudder from Texas A&M was dockside, the Elissa was right next door, there were a couple of other ships/boats around and also the Ocean Star oil rig.

By the time I got there, the actual ceremony was about to start. Continue reading

A Word A Week: Arid

I saw this challenge from Sue over at her ‘A Word in Your Ear’ blog. The word of the week is: arid. I don’t have many photos that would fit this weeks word, since I spend most of my time at sea. But I did happen to have a couple on my computer.

I took these last summer, we hadn’t had any rain for a while and everything was drying up. I was on the way back home from Galveston. I always like to drive the beach road, especially when I’m not in a hurry. It’s a nice drive, right along the beach with some pretty scenery and some good places to stop and enjoy the day. 🙂

Brrrrr!

Today is the last day of FRC class.

A cold front came through Galveston yesterday and dropped the temperature at least 20 degrees.

That’s not too bad when you’re sitting in a nice warm room, cuddled up in a blanket. But when you’re out on the water, running around in a tiny little speedboat, it’s a different story.

I had a pretty good time on Monday playing around with the boats. Today we have to go out again and practice search patterns. I’m not looking forward to getting cold and wet today!

I hope it all goes quickly. I’ll try to get some decent pictures to post here later. 🙂

Getting Moody

I’ve only been home a few days so far. I’ve been really busy trying to catch up with everything that’s been needing to get done while I was at work over the last few weeks. Especially my TAXES (UGH)!! 😦

I decided I needed a break. I got free tickets to “SHARKS After Hours” at Moody Gardens. I’m going. 🙂

Moody Gardens is in Galveston and the show is from 7-10 pm. I know I’m not going to feel like driving all the way home at that hour, so I got a hotel for the night. I figure I can hang out for a while before I head home and then stop and see my friends at Surfside on the way home.

I hope to get some more decent pictures while I’m up there, (these are from last time I went).

Moody Gardens has a bunch of cool stuff to see. They have a ‘rain forest pyramid’, an ‘aquarium pyramid’, another one that has special exhibits (last time I went it was about pirates), a water park with nice white sandy beach, zip lines, a paddle boat, etc.

I don’t have any kids but apparently it’s a great place to take them. I always see lots of families. They all look like they’re having a good time. 🙂

green sea anemone

green sea anemone

underbelly of a sea star

underbelly of a sea star

sea dragon

sea dragon

pot bellied sea horse

pot bellied sea horse

puffer fish

puffer fish

sea turtle

sea turtle

chameleon

chameleon

penguins

penguins

orchids DSC04855

Official: Super Typhoon Kills 10,000 in Philippines

Official: Super Typhoon Kills 10,000 in Philippines | gCaptain

I don’t know how they can call this official since they say right in the article they’ve only found 300-400 bodies. It’s still terrible. Hearing of things like this, I wonder how is that possible? I’ve never been to the Philippines but I would assume that just like everywhere else, they do have communications with the rest of the world.

There was plenty of warning that this storm was headed their way and that it was going to be VERY powerful when it got there! They had the warnings, why didn’t they leave? There’s a world of difference in outcomes for people who get the warnings (and so can/do act on them) and those who don’t!

The Galveston Storm of 1900 killed ‘more than 6000’ people (estimates range from 6-12,000 out of a total of about 37,000). Considering that Galveston is a very low lying, flat island and there was practically NO warning back then, they were probably lucky that ANYONE survived. Here’s a link to a Wikipedia article about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1900_Galveston_hurricane.

I’m very sorry for the people of the Philippines and I wish them a speedy recovery, but I just can’t fathom why this sort of thing still happens. I expect many people were just too caught up in their daily lives to worry much about ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ It happened here in the USA too. Remember Hurricane Katrina? It devastated New Orleans and many other coastal areas from Florida to Texas.

We had plenty of warning about Katrina too. Why did so many people stick around New Orleans when they should have known what would happen? After all, New Orleans is below sea level, it’s surrounded by water, and the levees are old and it had been stated many times in the past that they should not be expected to survive a bad storm.

Seems to me that most of the people who stayed in New Orleans were poor. Is it the same in the Philippines, that only the people who stayed in the low lying, storm devastated areas were poor (relatively)? I know the Philippines is a poor country, but what I’m wondering is: did so many people die there because of that lack of resources? Personal resources and community resources. Or were there other reasons? Why did so many people decide not to heed the warnings???

The reason I’m curious about that is because so many people here in the USA blame what happened in New Orleans on lack of resources. They say that the poor of New Orleans took the brunt of the damage that Katrina caused. They say that the poor had no way to escape the storm. They say that our government is responsible for causing the deaths of those people in New Orleans because they didn’t throw enough money and resources into the preparations.

I understand that the Philippine government does not have the resources that the US government does. Is that why the US government was blamed for the disaster in New Orleans? Is that why no one is blaming the government of the Philippines? Or is the difference in the people themselves???

What makes some people do EVERYTHING they possibly can do to take care of THEMSELVES? While so many others don’t?

 

PS-the question applies to more than just hurricanes!!

Free Stuff!!

Museum Day Live! 2013 Registration.

This is a link to the Smithsonians’ Museum Day. Saturday 9/28. It’ll give you and a guest FREE admission to a museum you choose. Its not only the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.. There are links to museums all over the country. You can search by subject or by location.

In Houston, you can choose among the Buffalo Soldiers National MuseumDunham Bible MuseumHolocaust Museum HoustonHouston Center for Contemporary CraftLawndale Art Center, and a favorite of mine in Galveston the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum. There is the tall ship Elissa right there too, if you do happen to hit the Ocean Star Museum, you can make it a maritime day and enjoy lunch on the waterfront watching the cruise ships dock.

New Bridge Simulators for Houston Pilots

Houston Pilots, San Jacinto College Provide.

This is great news for the Houston Pilots and San Jacinto College. I’m sure those simulators will benefit not only the pilots but the entire maritime community. I think SanJac has a good program and a good network around the area with the various companies that need to train maritime workers. I went up there (Pasadena) to look into doing some part time teaching on my time off. I actually got to help teach a class 🙂

My class was off a jack-up rig. They had probably never seen a real lifeboat before. For sure they didn’t have them on their rig! But for whatever reason, their company decided they all needed to get certified as lifeboatmen. So, we started from scratch in the classroom. We went over all the things they could find in a lifeboat and life raft, we went out in the parking lot to practice with the signaling mirror. We even took a ride over to Texas A & M in Galveston to practice launching and rowing a REAL lifeboat! Everybody got a chance to be in charge of lowering the boat. Everybody got to be coxswain (in charge of the boat) once it was in the water. Everybody got some time on the oars. It was a fun day 😉

I hope to get another chance to help out up there again. Capt Mitch Schacter is in charge over there and he’s really been working hard to make it a success. This simulator will be a big help!