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The Ocean Institute at Dana Point, California

Out & About       Halls of History

On September 6, 2019, I was in Dana Point, California, for the 35th Annual Tall Ships & Ocean Festival hosted by the Ocean Institute.

Surprising to me, although I had been to Dana Point, it was on a technicality: I had driven through it on Pacific Coast Highway. I never had stopped to go exploring. This time, I did. There is lots to do in Dana Point, but I do admit I was more interested in the harbor and the Ocean Institute. In the picture below, at the bottom center, several masts from tall ships are visible. That’s the Ocean Institute, at the bottom of the cliff.

Dana Point, California, harbor

The front of the Ocean Institute was undergoing repairs and renovations, so I chose not to take a picture of all the fencing. I suspect you’ve seen fencing before. It’s usually not pretty. It wasn’t. Here’s a picture of the landlocked back side, though:

Ocean Institute at Dana Point, California

Although it is the landlocked side, it is the side that faces the Pacific Ocean, which is why there are so many trails through the vegetation there. People want to see the mighty Pacific, and it’s no wonder with views like this:

The Ocean Institute is located at 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, California. Its mission statement:

Using the ocean as our classroom, we inspire children to learn.

The Ocean Institute was founded in 1977 and educates over 100,000 children, teachers, parents, and visitors each year through over 60 programs on marine science, maritime history, and outdoor education. It occupies 2.4 acres  and also is adjacent to a State Marine Conservation Area.

“Immersion-based field trips” sponsored by the Ocean Institute range from one-hour science labs to multi-day programs at sea and at the Lazy W Ranch in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. Programs are designed to maximize immersion, spark curiosity, and inspire a commitment to learning.

There are state-of-the-art teaching labs, including the awesome Maddie James Seaside Learning Center, and two historic tall ships, the Pilgrim and the Spirit of Dana Point. I got to take a 3-hour ride in the Pacific Ocean on the Spirit of Dana Point on September 6.

Passengers on the Spirit of Dana Point

The Pilgrim is a full-size replica of a hide brig, i.e., a brig participating in the California cattle hide trade for her Boston owners, Bryant & Sturgis. The original Pilgrim was built in Boston in 1825 and sank in a fire at sea in 1856. It weighed 180 tons and was 86½ feet long.

The replica was built in 1945 in Denmark, originally as a three-masted schooner. It was converted to its present rigging in 1975 in Lisbon, Portugal. Its deck is 98 feet long with a beam of 24.6 feet, a mainmast height of 98 feet, and a net tonnage of 64. In September 1981 it became part of the Ocean Institute.

Full size replica of Pilgrim, Ocean Institute, Dana Point, California

If you’re a film buff, the Pilgrim might look familiar to you since it was used in the 1997 film, Amistad. If you’re a history buff, Amistad should be on your list of films to watch. I have not seen it and did not know about it until this blog post, which was another surprise because it was directed by Steven Spielberg (one of my favorite directors) and starred Morgan Freeman (one of my favorite actors), Anthony Hopkins (who can forget Silence of the Lambs), and Matthew McConaughey.

As an aside since I’m a graduate of Texas A&M University, Matthew McConaughey now is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Radio-Television-Film in the Moody College of Communication at my arch rival, the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated in 1993.

Amistad is a historical drama film based on the true story of the events in 1839 aboard the slave ship La Amistad, during which Mende tribesmen abducted for the slave trade managed to gain control of their captors’ ship off the coast of Cuba, and the international legal battle that followed their capture by the Washington, a U.S. revenue cutter. The case was ultimately resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1841.

The screenplay was based on the book Mutiny on the Amistad: The Saga of a Slave Revolt and Its Impact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy by historian Howard Jones. The case, United States v. The Amistad (1839) is quite interesting, perhaps the most important decision regarding slavery before the Dred Scot decision in 1857.

The movie is not available on Hulu or Netflix, but I did find it on YouTube for $2.99. As soon as I finish Altered Carbon, I’ll be watching Amistad.

The Ocean Institute also owns an oceanographic research vessel, the Sea Explorer.

Sea Explorer of the Ocean Institute

My Photoshop eye was quick to see that with just a few minutes of work, I could rename the Sea Explorer:

Sex Explorer

Double R Creations & Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPETS (9-2-18)—Maybe I just don’t hang out in the right places

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

Litter bikesFirst it was Cars 2 Go, then lime green and orange bikes, now Bird scooters. Haven’t played the game yet. I’m waiting for the Ferrari to be dropped off in front my my house. Then I’ll play.

SNIPPET 2

Sunset on September 1, 2018, from Yogurtland in El Cajon, California. The contrails, or “chemtrails” as conspiracy theorists call them, add a certain uniqueness to the sunset, especially considering that San Diego County has the largest population of military service personnel than any other free place in the world, including the Pentagon, according to the people who know more than me.

Sunset on 9/1/18 in El Cajon, California

SNIPPET 3

My wise old grandmother told me to learn something each and every day, so in recognition of yesterday being International Bacon Day, I thought some chemistry might be appropriate. Chemistry can be fun! You’re welcome.

I love chemistry

SNIPPET 4

Zoey the Cool Cat’s response to International Bacon Day:

Day?

SNIPPET 5

To everyone who has a birthday (pretty much left that one wide open):

Happy birthday!

SNIPPET 6

The result of shooting a video at Friends of Cats where I volunteer 5 days each week but the subject of the video thinks the camera lens might taste good:

Cat tongue

SNIPPET 7

New plant in my garden. Euphorbia antisyphilitica. The name tells you what it has been used for, mostly in Mexico, and through the end of World War II. It’s a very waxy plant, and the wax still is used in the cosmetic and food industries.

Euphorbia antisyphilitica

SNIPPET 8

On September 21, 1973, I was headed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for the Texas A&M–LSU football game. That was back in the days before MADD, DADD, and SADD, so we had to make a pit stop in Lake Charles.

At the truck stop I found a Bible store. I already was pretty anti-religion as a freshman at Texas A&M University but what I found interesting, and what added to my logic reasoning about religion being fake news, so to speak, was the number of Bibles I found. If the Bible were the infallible word of God, it seems there would only need to be one Bible, perhaps in different languages, though. Instead, I found 48 different versions of the Bible, all in English: the Catholic Bible, the NIV, the King James, et al. The best Bible I found, though, was one which had eight separate versions on every two-page spread so that one could compare the versions. That really sewed it up for me.

Now I’ve found that there is one more version, the recently released NRE:

New Republican Bible

SNIPPET 9

Sunsets have been pretty magnificent lately. Here is sunset on August 30, 2018, in the East San Diego County boondocks where Jim, Zoey the Cool Cat, and I live:

Sunset in the East San Diego County boondocks on August 31, 2018

SNIPPET 10

When I was 11 and my wise old grandmother was helping me set up my very first company (a typing business for college students at Texas A&I University), she told me to treat each day like every other day, doing some work and some play each day. That way I would never be distracted by looking forward to the upcoming weekend and would never be depressed when the weekend ended.

Book of WisdomI think college football (FBS) has been reading my wise old grandmother’s Book of Wisdom. Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Thursday: 12 games
Friday: 8 games
Saturday: 64 games
Sunday: 1 game
Monday: 1 game

I wonder how those Monday Morning Quarterbacks handle this.

SNIPPET 11

This guy normally is the first one to jump on my lap at Friends of Cats:

Why do you have a strange cat on your lap?

He was eating when I arrived, though, and did not notice me until it was too late. That look let me know what he thought about another cat being on my lap.

SNIPPET 12

Zoey the Cool Cat, what do you think about the current President of the United States?

Zoey the Cool Cat's opinion of Twitler

SNIPPET 13

Benoit PaireBenoit Paire (picture at right) of France played Roger Federer last week at the U.S. Open tennis championships. Paire has what Tiwtler and his ilk would call a “terrorist beard,” the only tennis player I can think of with that beard style.

I can’t think of any other in tennis, or any in golf, and only a dozen or so in football and baseball, who have that beard style. I would think those beard styles would be difficult in football and baseball because of their helmets, but why so why few, or no beards, in tennis and golf?

SNIPPET 14

I’m not much for prognostication but I am a history buff. It seems to me, especially since 1992, that when an administration goes too far to the left OR too far to the right, there is a mid-term correction. Look at 1992 Clinton and the 1994 “Contract With America” correction. Look at 2000 Bush and the 2002 correction. Look at 2008 Obama and the 2010 correction.

Twitler is the worst of the most recent four presidents so I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a huge blue tsunami in November 2018, so huge that I believe the Democrats will take over both the Senate and the House, and we will see Twitler impeached and convicted. Immediately afterward we will see Pence, assuming the mantle as president upon Twitler’s conviction, impeached and convicted. Then they’ll get to work trying to undo all the damage that Twitler and his ilk have caused.

SNIPPET 15

After graduating from Texas A&M University, my first home was in Houston, Texas. I had two little Beagle puppies named Union and Pacific, after the Union Pacific Railroad. Yeah, I know. I was weird then and am still weird now.

My neighbors, however, had a little Welsh Corgi which they had named Little Shit. It was weird when I would hear them out walking the dog and they would yell, “No! Quit that! Get back here you little shit!” I resolved then never to name my pets anything other than wholesome names safe for telling someone at work what the name of my pet was.

Many years later, after moving from Houston to College Station, I had two dogs, a Chow Chow-Besenji mix named Sugar and a long-haired Dachsund named Penney.

Penney and Sugar

Sugar used to ride around town on the back of my motorcycle. I even took her to Dallas, Waco, Austin, and Houston several times at speeds up to 60 mph when the speed limit was 55 mph.

Sugar the motorcycle riding dog

Best rider I ever had on the back seat of my motorcycle. She understood how to lean into the curve, and when we were flying down a straightaway, she would put her head to my side, watching where we were going and letting her ears flap in the wind.

SNIPPET 16

The cats at Friends of Cats absolutely adore me, probably because I have so much love to give. Unfortunately, I do not have any food to give, so when the Food Lady arrives, they abandon me. I am left all alone. I know my place in their lives.

The food has arrived

SNIPPET 17

Zoey the Cool Cat continues to get better on the thirteenth day of her anti-diabetes diet.

Throughout her life, except for the last four months, she has taken up residence outside the bathroom door while I showered, shaved, etc., waiting patiently until I came out. On the ninth day of her diet, she started that practice again. Every. Single. Morning. Here she is, patiently waiting for me and ready to lead me to the kitchen where she knows she will be fed.

Zoey the Cool Cat patiently waiting outside the bathroom door

SNIPPET 18

Picture caption contest. Here’s the picture:

Will you love me today?

Choose a caption:

Cat: “Are you the one who will love me today?”
Me: “Yes, yes I am.”

or

Me: “Are you the one who will love me today?”
Cat: “Yes, yes I am.”

SNIPPET 19

I can count on one hand the number of dragonflies I have seen in San Diego County since arriving here on April 27, 1993. This one stopped by my front door a couple of days ago:

Dragonfly

Did not stay long, though. There have to be more. Maybe I just don’t hang out in the right places….

SNIPPET 20

This month, remember the words of Zoey the Cool Cat who always speaks the truth.

Truth isn't truth!

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post