Monday, August 8, 2011

2011 Summer Cruise Aboard the SSS Compass Rose

About a week and a half ago, the Sea Scout Ship Compass Rose set out from her homeport in Petaluma, California on her annual summer cruise.  There were nine scouts on board as well as my niece and nephew.  As they dawdled along in the Sacramento River Delta, ports of call included Vallejo, Rio Vista, Sacramento, and Westgate Landing.  I was aboard taking pictures and enjoying this rare opportunity to relax.

There are tons of pictures and more details about the trip after the jump
I missed the first night of summer cruise.  That is to say that I missed the transit from Petaluma down to Vallejo on the other side of San Pablo Bay.  When I met up with the crew, they were at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom somewhere in this crowd:
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While they were off doing the roller coaster thing, I went ahead and checked out some of the exhibits:
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When I caught back up with them, they were busy getting cold and wet:
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Or being morons on the kiddy rides:
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After a long day of getting their brains rattled on thrill rides, the crew headed back to the ship.  The following day we left Vallejo and headed up into the Sacramento River Delta. 
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The first stop was Rio Vista, a small town along the river with not a heck of a lot in it.  Still, it was a nice place for a handful of teenagers to wander around without getting into too much trouble.  While they went off on their own, I was glad to get a chance to head out and wander as well.

Here's the crew making preparations to get underway: Summer Cruise 201111

All this while we were towing the ski boat behind the ship.  So when we conducted a man overboard drill, we were limited in our ability to maneuver alongside the "man" in the water.  This was a good enough excuse to deploy one of the crewmembers as a rescue swimmer:
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She did a pretty good job.  The rest of the crew not so much:
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After a long trip up the river, we finally made it to our usual spot at Old Sacramento:
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The skipper likes to put the bulk of the ship in the shadow of the bridge to help stave off the hot August sun.  It's a good plan.

Old Sac is a neat little neighborhood full of quaint, restored buildings and shops.  Some of which date back to the 19th century:
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Being there for a couple of weeknights meant that we were able to avoid the usual bustling crowds:
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It has also become tradition for the crew to stop the in the "old time photo shop" to have a portrait taken:
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When everything ashore had closed down, the crew was happy to stay on deck socializing:
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They said they were planning on sleeping under the stars.  I didn't have the heart to tell them that they were actually sleeping under a bridge:
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You know who else sleeps under the bridge?  Pigeons.

The next morning I awoke to find that none of them had made it through the night there.  As we left Sacramento, I took the ski boat and ran laps around the ship while towing those member of the crew who were not on watch in an inner tube:
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It was a nice chance to snap a few pics of the ship underway:
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That afternoon we stopped at Walnut Grove so the crew could walk over to the nearby town of Locke and check it out:
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Leaving Walnut Grove, I took a few more pics of typical scenes along the Delta:
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That afternoon we arrived at Westgate Landing, our last stop for the trip.  Upon arrival, we unstowed the ship's crane and rigged it as a rope swing.  My nephew was the first to op-test it:

The rest of the crew continued to use the rope swing for all manner of hijinks for the rest of the day.  It was nice there:

That first day in Westgate Landing, we also celebrated the Bosun's birthday:
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There was a bit of silliness:
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When we'd arrived, there was a massive group of houseboats on the other side of the landing.  By noon the next day they were all pulling out and we were left to ourselves:
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Six members of the crew took this opportunity to get their Mile Swim badges.  This meant that they had to swim non-stop for one statute mile.  A couple of them were a bit slow, but all of them made it.  Congratulations to Morgan, Sidney, Harry, Sebastian, Brian, and Megan.
Otherwise the day was spent swinging from the ropeswing, jumping off the railing and the pilothouse, motoring around in the dinghy, and swimming alongside the ship:
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Later in the day, I took the a couple of kids out on the ski boat for some inner tubing.  Here's what I look like when I'm dragging a screaming teenager behind the boat:
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Here's a screaming teenager:
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Here's Megan and my nephew laughing at the screaming teenager:
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As our way of saying "thank you" for allowing us to stay at Westgate Landing, we repainted the pier we were moored to:
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We also did some structural repairs to a section of dock that had broken and become dangerous over on the other end of the landing.

At some point that evening, some of the kids realized that the cooling water discharged from the generator was nice and warm:
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The last day at Westgate Landing was mostly spent with the crew jumping from the flying bridge and being ridiculous:
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As we left Westgate Landing, I snapped this shot of the classic wooden boat that has become the SSS Makai:
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As we were heading toward the San Joaquin River, there was a loud thump and the ship started to shudder.  It became clear that we'd managed to hit something with the starboard propeller.  Not five minutes later, it happened again.  With the shaft vibrating like crazy every time we put it in gear, it was clear we would have to let the starboard engine idle for the transit home.  Fortunately we'd timed our departure to give us a following current for most of the transit.
Upon our eventual arrival back in Petaluma, all that was left to do was give the ship a quick freshwater washdown and clean out the ski boat in preparation for storage:
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In the end it was a safe, pleasant trip and a good time was had by all:
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Now it's time for the crew to start school and the ship to stand down for a bit.  In no time at all they'll be back up and running though, so stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. I was the engine room crew leader when Don Showers was skipper