Monday, June 19, 2017

Camping with Nana and Pop-pop

Nana and Pop-pop came through town for a couple of weeks on their way north from Florida as they went on their yearly Summer Tour and we thought it would be fun to stay a few days with them at the Oak Hollow Campground in High Point where they parked their RV. It was also about 20 yards from the edge of Oak Hollow Lake, which made for pretty views.
 The sites we got was pretty, flat and right across from N&P's RV, so we could just walk over whenever we wanted to hang out. We ate together, played games, and just sat and talked. I wish Ihad pulled the camera out for the games of Sorry that were played! :/

 Despite my kids' love of technology, this was actually a rare sight that week. It just happened to be a good shot of all of them together...
 The sunrise on the lake was gorgeous!
 Mealtimes were always fun.
 We had some visitors who kept hanging around looking for anything the kids were dropping. I couldn't believe it when this little girl waddled right under the table as they were eating! Of course, I told the kids to not give anything to the ducks because it's not good for them.
 The campsite had a nearby playground that kept the kids busy in the middle of the day.
 It also had a pool that was helpful on one of the blazing hot days we spent there. It actually turned out to be the hottest and sunniest day, with the others being kinda cloudy.

I'm sure you've noticed that, except for the pool, Olivia's not here... She and Rebecca left after the first night to go on a retreat for the Bar and Bat Mitzvah students from our community to have those special Mother/Daughter conversations. I'll have to have those same conversations with Gabe and Ezra in the coming years... hoo boy.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Turtle Rescue

We heard about a sea turtle hospital during the Turtle Talk at Holden Beach and found out that give tours, so we decided to detour on our way home up to Surf City and check it out. They are a facility that rehabilitates sick and injured sea turtles from up and down the east coast. A large number are turtles that didn't make it out to warmer waters before the winter hit in New England and have to be shipped down here to recover from nearly freezing to death. 

They're kept in these huge pools and are fed, brushed (though some don't like that much) and examined daily by trained medical staff in the hopes that they will eventually be released back in to the ocean.
They range in size from 200+ lbs down to 10 lbs.
They do have one permanent resident because the turtle is blind and wouldn't be able to survive in the wild. 
This one had had a major wound on its shell, probably from a boat propeller, so they had to put medicine and lotions on it every few hours.
He was not happy about the process and was constantly slapping his flippers on the table trying to get away.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Turtle Nest walk

One evening at the Holden Beach Town Hall, they had a session of "Turtle Talk" where the local volunteers explained about the sea turtles that nest on the beaches at this time of year and what they to do protect both the turtles and the nests. One big thing they do is they mark where each nest is with caution tape, a sign and a length of plastic webbing that prevents animals from digging up the eggs. Holden Beach gets about 175 nests each year on it's 7-mile length (which is small compared to places like Topsail that gets in the tens of thousands) and these folks try to find and mark every single one. So far this year, they had marked about a dozen.
The next evening, we took a walk on the beach to see if we could find any of the nests that had been marked so far.
There was a pretty cool sandbar that the waves would wash over and make a sort of river that ran along between it and the main beach.

There were tons of shells along the beach.
The kids found some super thick clam shells
and some broken whelk shells.
Along our mile-plus walk, we found 3 nests.

We also found a turtle! :)
Irene wanted to stop every 5 feet to dig through the sand for shells.
The littles had a lot of fun running in the sand, though they weren't quite as cheerful on the walk back...

On the way back, we finally got to see a little sun in the form of a gorgeous sunset.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

USS North Carolina

Day 3, still raining. Today, we took a drive up to Wilmington to see the Battleship North Carolina, which goes along with the Sea and Sky curriculum we did with the boys.

I've lived in NC for a total of 20 years (besides our 5-year stretch in CO) and I had never been to see this ship. It's HUGE!
The boys got a kick out of the huge guns, but thought it was cooler that they could actually touch the smaller ones and pretend to shoot down planes.

That's a big shell... not the kind you want to find on the beach.
There were all kinds of cool interactive exhibits on the ship for the kids to touch and experience.

Of course, Ezra and Irene were hungry and demanded to be fed...
Even though the kitchen was permanently closed. ;) Walking around, it seemed like such a big, open space inside the ship, but then you consider that they had 2500 men working, sleeping, eating and bathing inside her and you realize that it was probably pretty tight quarters.
Manually steering the ship from the belly of the ship was apparently an optin they had if there were damage to the Bridge or steering controls.

This is one of the many policies I'm considering instituting at home... You leave your stuff out, it's an extra hour of work to get it back. The kids were not excited.
For entertainment, they had movie projectors they could use in the Mess Hall. They also had ice cream and candy they could buy, a post office, and an on-ship newspaper. 
These are the kid of bunks I wanted to put in the kids rooms, but could find anywhere for sale. They fold up against the wall to make space to move around when nobody's sleeping in them.

The "Navy Shower"... another policy I'd like to implement for the kids...
The pharmacy was way impressive... I guess when you're out to sea months at a time, you'd better be able to make your own medicines.
They even had a surgical bay on board.
The doctor had some decent quarters, but they weren't exactly roomy, and they still had to share the showers with the rest of the men.
I told the kids to weigh anchor, but they failed. It as just too heavy for them.
On the bridge, the kids got to see where the real controlling of the ship took place. 

Ezra, the crotchety Captain.
Quite a view...
Gabe and I learned how to plot the position of friendly and enemy ships.

Ezra figured out how to tell the engine room how many RPMs to set the propellers for by turning these little brass wheel.
On the way out, Ezra wanted to sit in an anti-aircraft gun. It was crazy just how big even those were...

After I walked the rest of the family towards the exit, I took a quick run back to the Engine Room, which we had somehow missed on our tour. It was incredibly cramped with all the pipes and such, so it was hard to really make out anything that made a decent picture until I found this console. That's a lot of dials and gauges to watch... Cool note: see that brass plate with the 3 squares in it? the wheel that Ezra turned on the Bridge changed the numbers in those squares to tell the Engine Room how fast to go.