I sat at Coffee Bean this morning sipping on a warm cup of coffee. Flipping through the pages of Bernal Diaz’ Conquest of New Spain, hoping to squeeze out any last bit of information before a history midterm. I do not consider myself to be an avid coffee drinker. Sure, I indulge on blended-chocolaty drinks from Starbucks every once in a while, but this drink is saved for special circumstances. Hot coffee with creamer and two sugars.
Well, why am I talking about coffee on a Sea Scout blog? I will tell you: In the midst of college essays and exams, I stop for a minute to remember how 8 cups of coffee helped me survive Ancient Mariner Regatta 2012.
In the early morning of Friday, May 25, 2012 I hopped in the car with two of my best friends, Devan and Sabrina. Headed to the U.S.S. Hornet in Alameda, CA, we had a long drive ahead of us from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. Devan, Sabrina, and I spent most of high school attending Sea Scout Competitions as a member of the M.S.S. Morning Star. Now we were all eighteen and close to finishing our first year of college. This would be the first time any of us would attend the Ancient Mariner Regatta (AMR) as senior member of our crew, meaning that we would not be competing. I found myself nervous. While, Devan and Sabrina knew that they would act as judges for various events that weekend, I was to be the Regatta Boatswain and I honestly had no idea what to expect. Singing to the radio we made our way up Interstate 5 towards Northern California.
With only 30 minutes left until our destination, the engine of the car stopped. We pulled over to the side of the freeway and waited for the tow truck. All we could do at the time was laugh hysterically at our awful luck.
Finally, arriving at the U.S.S. Hornet I was greeted by Josh Gilliland walking at a quick pace across the hanger bay. A sight that was not uncommon throughout the rest of the weekend. Josh and I had been in constant contact leading up to the event, I hoped to assist him in any way throughout the weekend. Josh is pretty awesome; he spends countless hours preparing for this one weekend every year. AMR this year included even more preparation due to the Sea Scout Centennial and the many ships that traveled from far away to attend. I spent the rest of the day walking across hanger bays, climbing up and down ladders, and keeping myself insanely busy. At the end of the night I was tired, but I knew I would need to save my energy for the rest of the weekend.
CUP 4 and CUP 5
I set my alarm to wake myself up a half hour before everyone else. It was Saturday, and it would be the start of the competition. I indulged in two cups of coffee at breakfast to kick-start my morning. The crews began to flood into the galley, some looking happy, others nervous, but all a bit tired.
The competition began as tests were handed out and all crews scribbled away. Sea Scout Knowledge, First Aid, and Rules of the Road were only the beginning to a weekend of events. It was weird to be on the other side of the competition, knowing that I had sat, taking these tests, only a year before. After about a half an hour crews began to leave the testing area moving on to other events. I found myself following Kevin Trujillo, the Head Judge, helping wherever I could.
I had survived the first day of events, but the evening was filled with a long dress inspection as well as organizing movies, games, haunted stories, and mingling. I took a break from my Regatta Boatswain duties to hang out with the girls from my ship, Morning Star.
It was now Sunday. I woke up early again in order to attend the Boatswain meeting. The day ran smoothly and I found myself enjoying snapping photos and videos of various events. Josh had put me in charge of getting some cool footage, and I think I did pretty good. Like always, the competition closed with a rush to the finish, only a handful of crews able to complete all events and earn the coveted Resolute Mariner Award. After dinner, excitement picked up. I did a quick practice with the color guard team who would perform colors the next morning. Then it was on to a formal style dance, complete with a photographer and fun music. The night ended with a bang as fireworks were lit behind the Golden Gate Bridge. Shipmates and crew members held each other close to keep warm, the flight deck provided a perfect view of the show.
Monday morning began with an early morning Boatswain and Color Guard practice. The competition’s Award ceremony commenced with a large scale traditional Pass In Review Ceremony. I stood at the front of the room, calling the command, a feeling of power and passion for Sea Scouting ran over me. After the Awards were handed out I knew that everyone who attended AMR 2012 had a rewarding experience. Morning Star headed up to the flight deck to take pictures in our dress uniforms, a tradition that could not be missed.
I now find myself stronger due to the leadership position that I had enjoyed so much that weekend. Nothing can replace the amazing time I had as a competing member all throughout high school, but being Regatta Boatswain definitely comes in at a strong second place. Ancient Mariner Regatta 2012 left me with countless memories, aching feet, and eight empty coffee cups, none of which I will ever forget.
AMR 2012 Regatta Boatwain