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Posts Tagged ‘boat’

Heading Home

Heading home today. Will go back after my sister gets her treatment plan.

Here you see me leaving the varied wonders of New York behind and traveling by train and boat. The only picture that needs explanation, I think, is the Penn Station sink fixture, the like of which I had never seen. The left end of the metal bar dispenses soap, the middle provides water, and the right end is a blow drier!

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I’ve read about book lovers delivering books to children and adults by camel, donkey, portable Uni bookshelf and van. Now at the BBC, Theodora Sutcliffe reports on a sailboat that can get books to watery places in Indonesia.

“The toothless steersman positioned the rudder. A second sailor, balancing barefoot on an outrigger, coaxed an elderly engine into life. A third poled the boat away from the trash-strewn beach. In West Sulawesi, Indonesia, a ground-breaking mobile library was on its way.

“The Perahu Pustaka (Book Boat) is sorely needed. In a recent study of 61 nations for which data was available, Indonesia ranked second worst for literacy – only Botswana scored lower. More than 10% of the West Sulawesi’s adult population cannot read, while in many villages, the only book available is a solitary copy of the Quran.

“So in 2015, local news journalist Muhammad Ridwan Alimuddin decided to combine his twin passions for books and boats by setting up a mobile library on a baqgo, a small traditional sailboat. His aim? To bring fun, colourful children’s books to remote fishermen’s villages and tiny islands in the region where literacy is low and reading for pleasure virtually non-existent. He preaches the joy of reading. …

“Despite never finishing university, he has written 10 books on maritime culture and helped sail a small traditional pakur craft from Sulawesi to Okinawa in Japan. His love of the sea can be seen in his maritime museum, a collection of model and antique boats, which shares space with his library. And he uses the boat journeys, which can mean up to 20 days at sea, to research and make YouTube documentaries on the fishing and seafaring life of his native Mandar people. …

“As we closed in on the oyster-farming village of Mampie on the West Sulawesi coast, a gaggle of children emerged from the palms to watch the library boat pull in. Others stopped the hard, repetitive work of shucking oysters as Alimuddin, a volunteer from his home village and his crew of three unrolled plastic mats and covered them in books.

“Excited children dived into the brightly coloured tomes; their mothers, some with babies, were more circumspect.

“ ‘We have low expectations,’ Alimuddin said. ‘We want them to use the books – that’s all.’

“With more than 17,000 islands scattered across the Indian and Pacific oceans – some virtually in the Philippines, others close to Australia or butting up against Singapore – education in Indonesia is a constant struggle. …

“ ‘When you see a child smile and open a book, all your problems disappear,’ Alimuddin said with a smile of his own.” More here.

Photo: Theodora Sutcliffe
In 2015, Alimuddin decided to combine his twin passions for books and boats by setting up a mobile library.

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On this cold and rainy day, I am remembering how Saturday in Rhode Island felt like summer. Here are a few pics: dawn, a flowering shrub, white iris, a beach fence, a cobwebby view of my younger grandson and me, the harbor, the boat’s wake in the sunset. (Erik gets credit for the jeweled-cobweb shot.)

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Photograph: Devesh Uba
Grocery store in Makoko, Lagos, Nigeria.

A recent manmade-island story in the Guardian made me think of Francesca Forrest’s lovely novel Pen Pal, which involves a girl in a floating community in the U.S. South who corresponds with a political prisoner in Asia.

The Guardian article, however, is about designers and architects building islands for populations threatened by rising seas.

Jessa Gamble writes, “It may seem like science fiction, but as rising sea levels threaten low-lying nations around the world, neighbourhoods like [the Yan Ma Tei breakwater in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, where residents live in boats] may become more common.

“Whereas some coastal cities will double down on sea defences, others are beginning to explore a solution that welcomes approaching tides. What if our cities themselves were to take to the seas? …

“The immediate and most numerous victims of climate change are sure to be in the developing world. In Lagos, the sprawling slum of Makoko regularly suffers floods, and its stilted houses are shored up with each new inundation. It’s under threat of razing by authorities.

“The Nigerian-born architect Kunlé Adeyemi proposes a series of A-frame floating houses to replace the existing slum. As proof of concept, his team constructed a floating school for the community. Still, many buildings do not make a city: infrastructure remains a problem here. One solution would be to use docking stations with centralised services, rather like hooking up a caravan to power, water and drainage lines at a campground.” More.

It all sounds like Noah building an ark. But I can’t help thinking it would be better to end global warming in the first place.

Photograph: Seasteading Institute, by way of the Guardian
The Seasteading Institute proposes a series of floating villages.

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John and two college friends rented a motor boat in Fort Point Channel Friday to see the sights of Boston Harbor. But first they motored near my building so I could wave as they passed under this piece of public art.

The Mystic Scenic Studios site explains the art:

“A designer named Peter Agoos approached Mystic Scenic Studios with the idea of creating two life-sized human figures made of aluminum to hang above the Fort Point Channel in Boston.

“Mystic Metal’s, Mike Onischewski, fabricated the figures from an aluminum sheet; [they] were then covered with refractive dichroic film with the help of David Forshee, also of Mystic Scenic Studios.

“The piece was installed on July 2, 2012, with a team of 12 volunteers who worked from a small boat on the water and a scissor lift on land. The piece was strung from a 300-foot yellow tightrope between the Samson Post structure on Summer Street and the counterweight tower on Congress Street. The life-sized figures were counterbalanced on the rope and inspired by a classic articulated wooden artist’s manikin.”

Photograph: Mystic Scenic Studios

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I have been on a few whale watches over the years. It is unbelievably thrilling to see those magnificent creatures rise up out of the ocean — and scary to think of threats to their continued existence. (I have heard that too many whale watches, though well-intentioned, are becoming a threat, too.)

Among the efforts being made to protect whales, there’s one that ordinary boaters can do: Go slow.

Colin A. Young writes in the Boston Globe about two sightings of North Atlantic right whales over the weekend. “Authorities are warning boaters to keep an eye out for the endangered marine mammals.

“On Friday, three whales were spotted off Scituate. On Sunday, three of the whales were observed off Nantasket Beach in Hull. Officials were not sure if it was the same set of animals.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries service established a ‘voluntary vessel speed restriction zone’ in waters off the Boston area. Mariners are urged to either avoid the area or keep their speed lower than 10 knots while traveling through the zone. The restricted zone is in effect until April 27.” More here.

Defenders of Wildlife offers information on North Atlantic right whales here.

Photograph: Brian Skerry, National Geographic

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