Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Tole Mour

So I bet you're wondering where I was while Mom, Dad, and Tina were remodeling my room?
I had embarked on a 7 day sailing trip aboard the Tole Mour, a 150 foot schooner run by C.I.M.I(Catalina Island Marine Institute). We set sail Monday, Sept. 3 from Long Beach, CA and headed west to Catalina as well as the other channel islands. Our first day was spent sailing to Catalina where we anchored in Isthmus Cove for the night. We sang sea shanties after dinner then went to bed. The next day we got up at 6:00 am and did the polar bear dive, which is diving into the ocean AT 6:00 IN THE MORNING (better than coffee). After breakfast we had our first snorkeling trip in the cove where we saw the usual Garabalde, Starfish, and Erchins as well as a Leopard shark and Horn shark (depicted below). We then set our course for Santa Barbara Island, a small island northwest of Catalina. We anchored there for the evening and learned how to square dance for the night's activity. We also watched sea lions chase flying fish which was way cool. Day 3 we started off with the usual polar bear dive, which was the coldest one of the entire trip. We then had breakfast and a snorkeling trip to swim with sea lions. Once we were done snorkeling, we went ashore for lunch and a hike. After the hike we hauled anchor and headed back to Catalina to a cove directly across the island from Isthmus Cove. For the nightly activity we watched a movie projected onto one of the sails. Unfortunately no matter how hard we pleaded they would not let us watch "Finding Nemo" or some other movie. Instead we had to watch "Around the Horn" a documentary on a sailing ship that made some 80 trips around Cape Horn (trust teachers to suck the fun out of everything). On day 4 we sailed to Shark Harbor to do some boogey boarding before heading for San Clemente Island located west of Catalina. We had sea watches which are 3 hour shifts for each group when you help the crew run the ship. They lasted till 12:00 am so there was no night activity. Day 5 found us anchored on the west side of the island where we snorkeled in some crystal clear water. We saw most of the same fish but the coolest was the bat ray we found lying on the bottom. After snorkeling we did the rope swing while lunch was cooking. The only bad thing was that San Clemente is owned by the Navy, so at noon the island went hot which means they started bombing it!!!!! So just as we were putting up the rope swing we heard several loud BOOMS which meant the F-14 we had seen flying around earlier had commenced its bombing. Fortunately we had known the island was going to go hot so we were well on our way back to Catalina before the bombing really got started, so we didn't get to see any of the explosions (bummer). On the way back we pulled 10 knots under sail with all but 2 sails set(up)which is really quite awesome. We anchored on the southern tip of Catalina. For the night activity we watched "Blue Planet, the Deep" and jumped into the water at night to swim with the biolumenising plankton, giving you the feeling you were swimming in a pool of thousands of tiny blue lights which light up every time you stirred the water. At dawn on day 6 we arose from our bunks to do our last snorkel around the the harbor of Avalon (the small city on Catalina which even has its own Vons). On the snorkeling trip one of the guys in our group found a bicycle handle bar, a fishing spear, and a car battery. We also feed the fish who were not scared of humans. So the minute the bread was in the water we were swormed by tons of sea bass (some measuring 2 feet in length) as well as some Garabaldes. A few people, including me, had our fingers bit by some sea bass. After we got out of the water we sailed for one of the C.I.M.I island camps. On the way there I got to go aloft with most of my group to unfurl the lower topsail, later the same day I was allowed to go up with some other people to furl the same sail as well as the upper topsail wich is a little higher (I did really well considering I'm not one for heights). We anchored just off shore from the camp and went ashore to visit their small aquarium which had two touch tanks. This was for the last night activity. There we got to see some different varieties of star fish, an octopus, a Morey eel, a giant kelp fish, and some other fish. We also got to touch some sea stars, sea hairs, some sand rays, as well as some leopard sharks, horn sharks, and a few tiger sharks. They also had some crabs in the touch tanks that we weren't supossed to touch but most of the boys daringly touched them just out of their claw's reach. On day 7 we did the last polar bear swim and for a treat one of the crew took us to the bow sprit, which is the net that runs under the pole that sticks out of the bow of the ship, there we got to jump 20 to 25 feet into the water below, yee ha. After we emerged from the water we went ashore to kayak out on the ocean. After which we went back to the ship to jump off the bowsprit again before heading back to the main land. On the way we saw our 4th pod of dolphins and a pod of blue whales which we followed real closely till they dived. It was the perfect thing to end the trip with. We made port, said goodbye to the friends we had made and left for home.
And now you know the rest of the story.
This is the Tole Mour anchored off Catalina Island.
This is the fore mast. You can see me on the fighting top waving. The sail right above me is the lower square sail which we were going to unfurl. The sail above that one is the upper square sail which I later got to furl. I also was allowed to climb to the very top of the mast which had an awsome view.
Here is the Leopard Shark we saw the first day snorkeling
And this one is the Horn Shark we saw the same day. The person holding it is our crew chaperon Emily. We gave her the nick name of "THE QUEEN OF SHARK CATCHERS".

These pictures are of the rest of the kids relaxing on the stern (top, the guitar was one of the crews) and the bow (bottom). Don't be fooled by the photos though. We hardly got breaks because if we weren't setting or striking sails, we had pride (a sort of ship cleaning period that took place after every meal) or else we were in classes learning about oceanography or marine biology. In fact the few breaks we did have were pretty short most of the time and were ended by the dreaded sound of the Muster Forward bell (by the end of day 7 I was ready to chuck it over board).
Hope you enjoyed this and have a great week.


Anonymous said...

The Tole Mour is 156 ft long.

Anonymous said...

dude your facts are sooo of its not even funny