Hello from the Boy Scout Jamboree!

It is Thursday morning (I think) and I am taking a few quiet moments to get set for the day. 

Starting off Monday afternoon with 400 Scouts, we have had 2000-3000 youth and adults go through the intro to Scuba area each day.  I am located in the Exhibits tent that they go through on the way out.

The IMH exhibit consists primarily of a table with sample artifacts and books, plus some posters of the USS Alligator, Queen Anne’s Revenge, etc.  The artifacts were borrowed from a lovely couple who live near Mount Vernon and they wash up on their beach, most of the items are of 1820-1870 manufacture according to one of the archaeologists here on SCUBA staff.  I have a good bit of glass, pottery and few interesting metal items like scissors and padlocks.  Using these as examples of items we MIGHT find on a wreck, we talk about the reasons why we never remove artifacts when we find them.  The boys are very respectful of the principles of Leave No Trace, so I use that as one of the keynote points.  They also understand that there are laws governing most artifact removal.  Most importantly, I stress that we can learn more by studying the items where we find them, to get the whole story.

Most of the kids politely listen as I talk about the SHIP project, but a couple ask for more information on how they can meet divers in their area with similar interests or volunteer opportunities.  I give them suggestions and my card so they can ask for help if they need it.  Many want to hear about pirates, so we discuss Blackbeard and the Queen Anne’s Revenge project in North Carolina.

I have also been watching the kids paint with Wyland, who is here to promote his clean water program.  Divers Alert Network is here talking to the kids about being prepared, dive medicine and dive safety. PADI is pushing dive training, which we certainly encourage.  SUDS has a booth to talk about the dive training program for disabled veterans and what is possible for anyone.  Olympus Cameras is offering employee pricing to everyone who attends.

This is an amazing opportunity to meet many young men and perhaps influence a few of them to pursue a career or hobby in maritime history and underwater archaeology.  My schedule is such that, since I am here by myself, I am not going to see much of the Jamboree.  Now that I am here, I understand better what we can accomplish in education and inspiration. Hopefully, if we decide to do this again in the future, we will have many volunteers and professionals who would like to come and meet the kids. It is not too late for local folks to come in as visitors and check it out!

I will post some photos of this amazing event in the next few days.

Delaware so far – finished 2007 area!

Roper had a bumpy trip up to Lewes but did finally arrive early on the mornign of October 3.

We participated in Lewes’ annual Boast the Coast day, wrapping up with an Honorable Mention for our entry in the Parade of Lights.

The following day, Roper was at the Coast Day event put on by the University of Delaware.  We shared space with the Lewes Fire Department’s spiffy new boat and had opportunities to talk to lots of folks that are interested in archaeology and history.  Not sure if we got any new recruits for the ASD but we did encourage a few divers to sign up.  We took tours and drooled over the R/V Hugh R. Sharp’s toys, navigation and space as well as the Delriver, which is a fuel spill clean-up vessel.  ASD had a neat display but their big draw was the ROV that the kids drove around the pool.

Monday we attempted to scan but it was just a bit too rough.  Lucky for us, Craig Lukezic arranged for us to visit the DeBraak warehouse and we got a fantastic lecture from Chuck Fithian about the ship’s history and modern challenges to the ship’s preservation after all of the damage done by the salvagers. 

Tuesday we did get out to scan and finished the final portion of the 2007 area!  Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating and there will be no scanning for the next couple of days.

Debbie and Lee Nelson joined us for a couple of days; this will be our last chance to see Lee before he is deployed to Iraq for a year. 🙁

Many thanks to the Cape Henlopen State Park for allowing us to stay in the dorm again.  It is a great location, nice facility and very reasonably priced for volunters to use.

U-1105 and Favorite – what amazing dives!

The Roper is finally home and we took her out Satuday to dive the U-1105 and the Favorite. 

The visibility on the U-1105 was the best any of us has ever seen, ambient light actually reached the boat enough to be able to see your buddy or the u-boat from several feet away, perhaps as much as 10-15 feet with your light.  Between the great visibility and the absolute lack of current, it was my first opportunity to really tour the u-boat and get a feel for her.  I have posted photos on Facebook and will also e-mail them to Dave, so he can add to this blog.

Newlyweds Lee and Debbie Nelson joined us for the weekend, as did new members McKinney Edwards and Bill Toti, who will be participating in next week’s Field School.  I guess we didn’t scare them off!