Sea Scouts from all across the country made their way to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in Maryland for Scoutfleet 2012. Over 200 youth and adults, and 20 ships journeyed from 12 different states to participate in a weekend of fellowship, fun, and celebration of ”A Century at Sea”. Highlighting the event were a mini- regatta, a parade of ships, and a dinner/ dance, as well as the chance to meet other Sea Scouts from across the country!
Before the official start of the event, Ships sailed in, from near and far, to register. Some had journeyed a few hours, others a few days away from home. And in the humid, hundred- degree heat, it was widely- agreed upon that some cooling off was in order. Luckily, the Walter Sondheim Fountain was nearby, and provided some sweet (and very wet) relief from the heat!
But the heat was soon replaced by thunderstorms and a whole lot of rain! For two whole days, rain came down sporadically… but hard when it did! Tank- tops were switched out for foul- weather gear and sweatshirts, and most everyone retreated below decks. For those of us who didn’t live in the area, though, the lightning was pretty neat to watch.
Despite the fickle weather encountered in Baltimore, we managed to have a pretty good time. In fact, I think the rain made things even more fun! Because, of course, what are Sea Scouts without a little water?
During the downpour, we witnessed the opening ceremony, where attendance was taken, all were welcomed by the Chairman of the event, and the National Director of Sea Scouts and National Boatswain were introduced. And as an added bonus, we had the pleasure of listening to a beautifully- sung version of “The Star- Spangled Banner”, performed by a scout.
After the rain cleared up, Sea Scouts had the opportunity to explore Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on foot, which most of us took advantage of. From the Ripley’s Believe it or Not “Odditorium”, to the malls, museums, and landmarks, there was no shortage of things to see! And once we had all gotten our fill of Baltimore, there was still so much more fun to come!
Scouts crowded the docks for hours, until lights out, taking pictures, sharing phone numbers, and just being teenagers. We laughed, we smiled, and most importantly, we made some great new friends that night.
The next day, ships gathered in the Harbor for the pass and review of small ships. Each ship was given directions and a position, and sailed off in the direction of Fort Henry, the birthplace of “the Star Spangled Banner”. Ships saluted as they passed the national director on Cherokee III, and while passing the USS Constellation, who saluted with cannon fire!
Next on our day’s agenda was dinner at a local restaurant, The Rusty Scupper, where Scouts had their choice of hamburgers or platters full of crab. And after the dinner, two sheet cakes, each printed with the Sea Scout emblem and decorated with one hundred candles, awaited us.
Awards were presented, speeches were given, and the cakes were devoured! Then, after multiple plates of cake, we headed to the dance floor outside to work off those newly- gained calories. The night ended with a farewell speech and pictures taken at the front door of the restaurant, and scouts returned to their vessels for the night.
We departed the next morning. Lines were cast off, sails were unfurled (engines started, for those of us on board power boats), and ships set off toward home, leaving Baltimore behind. But the memories made that weekend will surely be carried with all in attendance for some time to come!