Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cape Cod Canal Flows On

Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted. A lot of water has passed under the dam (what dam? There isn't one) since the nail incident. We've had everything from technical difficulties in the theater to near-drownings in the canal. I have been getting a steady increase in attendance at my Sagamore Hill Hike; this past Friday, I had eight people! That was really good, especially since my previous maximum was four.

So far I have worked two evening programs, both of which were Kevin's. The most recent one featured a climatologist from NOAA, who talked about hurricanes and other storms that affect the New England Coast. I have also worked two Canal Kids programs, which are held on Wednesday mornings. The first topic was a touch tank of canal critters, which is so popular that we had about 90 people (including adults) show up. This past Wednesday we talked about marine debris and did a beach cleanup. The kids were more interested in looking for starfish and crabs than in picking up trash, but by the end of the program we had enough material to create an art project out of trash. The final result is on display at one of our recreation areas along the canal.

Every afternoon at 2pm, we give a tour of the Vistor Center, in which we focus on how the Corps of Engineers works to keep all ships that pass through the canal safe. When I'm working I'm usually the one to give the tour, since I'm the one doing an internship. We don't always have people interested in going on the tour, but a couple of times I have had about 10 attendees.

Last Friday one of the bosses at the Field Office taught me how to drive the full-size company pickup. I had never driven anything that big before, but it was a lot easier than I expected. Now I can drive any of the company vehicles anyone might ask me to. Being able to drive a truck will be a useful life skill, since park rangers' company vehicles tend to be a little on the big side. Driving that big boat-on-wheels really made me appreciate my little car!

Also on Friday was our Founder's Day celebration. Founder's Day commemorates the founding of the Army Corps of Engineers back in the 1700s. We had a cookout at Midway Recreation Area, and we all ate way too much! It started to rain right in the middle of the meal, but we were sitting under a pavilion, so it didn't matter. It was nice to have a(n authorized) 2-hour lunch break and hang with coworkers on a social level.

Today we had an unfortunate incident involving a couple of near-drownings. Two men almost died after disobeying orders not to go scuba diving in the canal. The Coast Guard and one of our patrol boats saved them, and I'm sure that now they understand why swimming in the canal is prohibited. The current moves at about 6 mph, which is faster than anyone can swim.

Well, that's a quick synopsis of what I've been up to. The picture below is of a tall ship that passed through the canal days ago.


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