Saturday, April 24, 2010

Taxes, Teeth, and Tracks

I have been home in Columbus this week. One of the hidden benefits of US citizenship is that no matter where you go in the world, you can't get away from filing taxes. This week I made my annual April sojourn to tell Uncle Sam where I can be found if he needs me.

I also had Deneen make me an emergency appointment to see the dentist. I have been having a terrible pain in my front canine and have been paranoid that I have an abscessed tooth, or something worse. The dentist made me a two hour appointment on Friday with a follow up the next Friday just in case I did have an issue.

Well, in much politer words, the Dentist said that my problem is that I am a baby. It seems that because I have never had a tooth problem before(I only have ever had one cavity), I don't really know what a tooth ache feels like. It seems that the two and a half years of brushing my teeth with rainwater and without toothpaste has taken its toll and I have sensitive areas where my gums have receded from brushing to "vigorously." Prescription toothpaste with ultra fluoride should do the trick. No surgery.

Tracks? Yes, it seems that a raccoon found its way into our storage. Not only did he leave tracks all over the boxes, he chewed through two boxes of US history books. After a thorough cleaning and rearranging this is back together. Both I and the raccoon are smarter for the experience.

Whats left of the week? Martin had a CD release party with a band he plays in. I got to watch Lucas teach karate. Last night I chaperoned an all night lock-in at Davis's school. And today, the day I flew out, was Martin's prom.

This was a quick trip, but a good trip. I am very sad to leave.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dave and Harold

Every time Dave has been here we have done some of the most adventurous stuff that I have done here. I don't know why that is. Dave thinks that I feel responsible for everyone else, but he is too big for me to be responsible for. Maybe it is that he is just an adventurous world traveler.

None the less, on Saturday, Dave and I snorkeled way out to a reef on the northeast of Grand Turk in front of the lighthouse. I have always wanted to follow a pipeline that you can see going out to sea from North Base. This may just have been a salt water intake, but we followed it to the end, and then we went on to a large reef. It was very cool.

On Sunday, we snorkeled the Harold again. The Harold was a steamship that wrecked in 1890 on the northwest reef of Grand Turk. We went out with Dave and Karen on their dingy.

We snorkeled this wreck with Dave and Joel a few weeks ago, but conditions were even better today, and the dingy saved us a 45 minute swim. The wreck can be seen from shore where the bow and stern stick up out of the water. This time, I followed a debris field behind the larger parts of the wreck. After several minutes of swimming, I came across the bottom of the hull and the boiler. This must have been where the ship came to rest after hitting the reef. This is a very cool site, but it is only accessible under perfect conditions.

I was talking to Sean at Oasis Divers about it and he said they dove this wreck about six weeks ago. Now, I have to find someone to dive it with.

Dave and the Lion Fish

Friday evening we would have not been late for dinner...

but Dave got stung by a lion fish.

I am sure that when he retells this story it will be my fault. But it was very cool. I have always wondered what the lion fish sting is actually really like. Now I know.

Evidently, it feels like getting stung by a bee the size of a lion fish, and the hardest part is getting out of the water while you are cussing at your friend(OK he was not really cussing just muttering things under his breath). Then your hand(or wherever you were stung) swells up. There is a very deep burning sensation where the barb entered your flesh. This continues for about 12 hours, according to the experts. In Dave's case it lasted about four hours. We used the suggested remedy of immersing the sting in really hot water to break down the toxin. The burning sensation is replaced by joint pain and a stiffening of the muscles in the effected area. Within 24 hours there is light swelling and the muscles are still stiff. But dexterity begins to return. Within 72 hours there is minimal swelling but the area around the puncture wound is still stiff. It is suppose to be fine in four days. We will see tomorrow.

He should be glad it was a small lion fish.

Here is Dave's lion fish nigiri about two hours after it stung him.

Kind of cool, I guess, was that Dave said he saw a shark on his swim back in, but he was too concerned about his hand to enjoy it.

Dave and Karen

I met Dave and Karen at the museum walking through the exhibits. They are in Grand Turk off a tri-maran sailing vessel and are sailing around the Bahamas for four months. They were just going to be around for a couple days, but they seemed very interested in what we do as a museum. I invited them to our Thursday night Spring 2 Collections event.

The event, the last of three events focused an what the museum does "behind the scenes," was very successful. Jessica walked people through the archival work that she is completing. She had several documents out and we talked about conservation practices and about how various documents have come to the museum.

I love this kind of stuff. We had out an 1888 report on the families who applied for assistance after the September 2, 1888, hurricane. It was fantastic. It listed head of household by name, occupation, number of people in household, and damage to house. One of the great things about the archival project we have been doing is that every once in a while a real gem emerges.

After the program they joined us for a very late dinner along with Bion and Colleen at the Bohio.

Dave and Patricia

Dave came to Grand Turk to visit this week. And Patricia came in to visit Jessica on the same plane.

They were suppose to come in on the late plane, but they were able to catch the afternoon plane into Grand Turk. By the time I got Dave's message, we were running late. Jessica was concerned that her friend was going to be waiting at the airport having no idea what was going on. I tried to reassure her that if Dave had gotten my message he would be with her at it would be no problem.

Now, having never actually met Patricia, my description of her to Dave was somewhat general. He, evidently only had to inquire four times to young women on his plane, "Are you Patricia?"

Though this may have been a little creepy, it was effective and she managed to get here with him with no concerns.

Right from the airport I dropped them at the cruise center so that Dave could get a sunburn on the top of his head. This is always my plan for people who visit. If you get into the water immediately on your arrival the whole miserable process of traveling here is forgotten.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Testing, Testing One, Two, Three

I have been trying to put into practice my theoretical beliefs on visitor experience in museums. The 20th century museum is dead. Something has to change. Museums need to focus on the experience the visitor has. In the future, successful museums won't be based on artifacts or exhibits. They will be based on experiencing history, or experiencing art, or experiencing culture.

Last week we tested the shipwreck snorkel tour. Dave and Joel were here and the Barnes family from Columbus were visiting off the Carnival Liberty. The ship board printed material about Grand Turk tells cruise passengers that this stop is the best destination for snorkeling. To miss this, is to miss a huge opportunity for visitor engagement.

The shipwreck tour is a new behind the scenes tour that we have been working on. It takes visitors through the the conservation lab where they see several artifacts recovered from around Grand Turk, they get a discussion of the issues surrounding the conservation of underwater artifacts, and we set up a new video of the Endymion shipwreck site, one of the most pristine wrecks in the Caribbean.

This is followed by thirty minutes of snorkeling in the "wrecking yard" where Turks Islanders brought wrecked ships to be salvaged. Within the yard you can see the remnants of the David Morris, a three-masted schooner that was driven up in front of the museum during a hurricane in 1926, as well as a couple other pieces and parts of wrecked ships.

The testing went great. The comments on our evaluation forms were excellent and indicated that the experience of snorkeling in the wrecking yard met the expectations that visitors had after hearing about shipwrecks in the museum.

You know, its not the Harold. But we have a hidden asset in front of the museum and I am truly hoping that this tour will be picked up by one of the cruise excursion companies on Grand Turk.

We will see, new tours are due to Carnival this month, and I hope we don't miss the boat on this one.