Tragedies and Other Stuff

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“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” ― Carl Reiner

Three weeks down. Three more weeks to go!! All this snow is definitely making me look forward to February 17th even more!!

Sadly, I admit that S-264 isn’t quite ready to take on the Pacific just yet. We still have a lot left to learn before we can start sailing! On Wednesday, we received our first Ship Intro, and learned a bit more about life at sea: what we should pack, what our schedule will be like, what kind of equipment we’ll have onboard, and most importantly, what kind of food we’ll be eating! We were again warned about the broad range of climates that can be found in New Zealand. We’ll have to prepare for sunny, rainy, windy, and even freezing temperatures! Since I plan to extend my stay in New Zealand for a few months, I’ll have to do some serious organization and minimization.

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I’m getting ahead of myself… Gotta keep my mind focused on Massachusetts for now! On Tuesday, S-264 hit the road to New Bedford, MA, around one hour west of Woods Hole. We visited the Buzzard’s Bay Coalition (BBC) headquarters and learned about some heartbreaking history. During the mid-20th century, factories along the coast dumped contaminants in the ocean, resulting in a billion-dollar devastation of the fisheries in the area. Recently, one of the large electronics companies in the area has agreed to pay 660 million dollars to help with the clean-up!! Hopefully, the Bay will be restored soon, and that the marine life will once again flourish.

After visiting BBC, we went to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and our hearts broke once again. We learned all about the historical whaling industry that operated in the U.S. from the early 1800’s until the day whaling was outlawed in 1970. The museum consisted of information ranging from what types of whales were caught, what they were used for, what the process looked like, and there was even a room full of whale tooth art. Although the museum was extremely fascinating, I would’ve preferred that whaling never happened! Thank goodness, the discovery of petroleum shifted international interests from chasing whales for oil to drilling. Indeed, the U.S. has come a long way, from pursuing whales to preserving them today.

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During our Maritime History & Culture class on Friday, we had a discussion on the contrasting conceptualization of property rights that occurred between the native Maori and the English colonizers. Before the English came, the Maori had always believed that water was not property, and that everyone had equal access to it. However, when the British came, of course, they commodified it and set up boundaries. The Maori, horrified at what the British were doing, tried to fight back, but soon enough, they realized that in order to win, they’d have to buy into the capitalist methods and declare “ownership” of the water so that they could continue using it. However, after decades of being forced into capitalism, the Maori felt that they were losing their Maori-ness.

Personally, I found this affair to be a tragedy, and I felt for the Maori. I think that this is strongly in parallel with the Deaf community. If not for the superiority of the hearing population, the world would be a lot less about the ability to hear. The only reason why people view us as broken, is because the world has long been built around hearing ability. If, when humans invented language, instead of using sounds to communicate, they used their hands, the world would be a different place, wouldn’t it?

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Since Storm Jonas hit us today around noon, we thought we’d be snowed in for the rest of the day. However, one of my lovely housemates suggested we take a walk to the beach. Confused, I asked her, why would anyone want to do that??? She asserted me that it’d be fun! Being the adventurous woman I am, I decided to accept her offer. Needless to say, I was proven wrong when we arrived the beach. The sand was covered in a blanket of snow, and I was amazed. I’d never seen anything like it before, and even though it was freezing cold, I enjoyed my time walking on the icy rocks and watching the water crash against the shore, producing an interesting sludge.

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Here’s to many more unexpected adventures!

Till tomorrow…

Rachel

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