And see how the mainsail set,
And call for the captain ashore,
To let me go home.
“The Sloop John B.,”The Kingston Trio
Sunday, June 16
As usual, I awoke very early. The sky was pink over the island. Everything was so quiet. I made some coffee and enjoyed the time. Talked to God about how things had gone. It had been an altogether good experience, despite some challenges.
Last sunrise on Munson
Another day in paradise
It didn’t take us long to pack up and get our site approved by the commissioner. I was doing a happy dance as he came up to inspect our campsite. We got extra points for that. Then it was our last time to wade out and get the canoe going.
We made good time on the way back, but we were kind of subdued. I sang lots of old songs to keep spirits up. As we neared the marina, we overtook another crew, who realized they were going to be beaten in by a crew that was half girls. They strove manfully, but we eased past them and claimed the prize for first crew back. “Munson!” we all screamed, and everybody in the other canoes and on shore screamed it back at us.
It was only 11:00 when we got back and we had to wait for the second lunch before we could eat or move into our rooms or take showers. It was hard to wait. But we played giant Jenga and goofed around. There was nothing to do, so we were doing it.
Setting the hook
Using gummy worms as bait
Sarah mentioned that we could still learn to paddle-board after lunch. Some wanted to do that, some didn’t. I said that those who wanted to go paddle-board could do so, but I wanted everybody back and ready for chapel by 5:00. I sensed some controversy over this, but this was something I was willing to be quite stubborn about.
When we checked in a week ago, I asked about chapel services. I was used to Philmont, where there are chapel services every night. I was told that there were only chapel services on Sundays, but since we were coming back on a Sunday, we could attend that service. Upon arriving back from Munson, I learned that in fact, there are no planned chapel services at Brinton. The chaplain only comes in when there are special needs. So I decided we’d do our own chapel. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t done this before.
And it’s who we are. We are a church-based crew. We say grace before meals, we do devotions at night, and we attend worship when we are away from home on Sundays. If there is no chapel service to attend, we do our own. It’s who we are. It’s what the church expects. And it is for sure what I expect.
Things had been a little loosey-goosey on this, what with “Island Time” and all. But now, back on the mainland, I knew we had to shift to ordinary functioning. Some of the Venturers seemed to want to just mess around. Well, we’ll see, I thought.
Meanwhile, I finally got showered and shaved and felt enormously better. I went to the Ship’s Store and bought me a well-deserved Milky Way bar and promptly got stoned on the sugar rush. Wow, man. I stayed out of the air conditioning as much as I could, because it would just make me sleepy. Mostly, I sat around. Julie and I talked.
Julie was very concerned about her ability to keep up before doing this trip. She did more than well. She stood up to it physically, which boosted her confidence. But I find myself appreciating her other qualities more. She is mature and wise and good with kids. I appreciate her leadership. In fact, of all the adults who have worked with Crew 119 with me, I would rate her among the best I have gone on trips with. We worked together very well.
Chapel was a little more stiff than I like, but we did it. Sometimes, the crew is happy to be led where they need to go, and sometimes they’re not, but you don’t get anywhere worrying about being popular when the need is to be right. God was honored. Prayers were said, including a prayer that we might all forgive each other for whatever irritations we had received or given over our time.
I left the tiki shelter where we did chapel. The youth stayed behind to work on their skit for the closing program. In a few minutes, here they all came, and they weren’t happy. There had been a multiple-way meltdown amongst them. It was not pretty.
I waited a while, then sent one kid after another who had stalked off. Julie went to talk quietly with a couple who were ignoring the others. We let things settle for a bit. And then – we had spontaneous reconciliation, with real apologies and the whole nine yards. A resolution was achieved, and the skit finally came together.
I don’t know if the kids picked up on it, but to me and Julie, what had just happened was so close in proximity to some of what I talked about in chapel that it stood out as a Teachable Moment. I was glad that everything worked out as it did.
All the returning crews wore luau shirts. We wore ours. There were some contests. A Polynesian tug of war pitted two people against against each other, with a new challenger facing the winner until the winner was knocked off. The last man standing in this competition was our own Jeffrey!
Last man standing in Polynesian tug of war
After the individual competition came family tugs of war, with brother vs. brother, son vs. father (and/or mother). And, of course, mom vs. daughter in the case of Julie and Abby. For the family competitions, each player had to put up a stake in case he or she lost. Julie beat Abby, so Abby owes her a spotlessly clean room back home.
Mama's got pull
Then there was a mass game of dragging people through trash cans. Zach was the runner-up, beaten by one of the Mates.
In whatever insanity this was
Then there were the closing skits. Each crew encapsulated the week and made fun of their Mate. Finally, Sarah closed the program with the following poem.
By Captain Patrick Haney
Island Mate 97-98, Captain 99-03
I saw something beautiful today
Something I’ve never seen before
It caught my eye and touched my heart
I think I’ll remember it forever more
Today I saw the Keys, cruisin’ down US-1
I felt the spirit of this place
Everyone’s out having fun
Crossing bridge after bridge my eyes were wide open
Gazing at the sun slipping into the ocean
Today I saw the Brinton Center, a gateway to the seas
I guess it’s like most other camps
Except this one’s in the Keys
I saw the kayaks and Duskys
And I was ready for some fun
My Seabase Adventure had only just begun
Today I met my guides, they call them Island mates
Along with the captains they’re a bundle of fun
With plenty of quality traits
They treated us well and taught us many things
I’ll miss those Island Mates
Today I saw Big Munson, the island of my dreams
It had Key Deer and ‘coons and Mother Nature’s Tunes
With no buildings or phones to intervene
Today I saw the ocean, inside the ocean that is
The fish, the coral the colors of Looe Key
The sharks and eels and rays for me to see
It’s a whole different world down there
All I could do was float there and stare
Tonight I saw the stars
More stars than I’ve ever seen
I went fishing for sharks off the small floating docks
And I knew this place was serene
Today I saw the most beautiful sight
I saw a boy grow into a man in one single night
The look in his eye had definitely changed
I saw that his thoughts were all rearranged
Now he could cope, he could handle some torture
Now he’s been through the Sea Base Adventure
Today I saw something beautiful today
Something I’ve never seen before
It caught my eye and touched my heart
I know I’ll remember it forever more