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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mangroves and Scuba
February 9, 2007, 9:20 am

Drove up past the Wall today, loads of Seafans were added! We asked Hal if they were fairly realistic or not, and he gave them the nod of approval on color but said usually they were filled with a few more holes. The manatees have had more details added and nice watery light above too.

Wyland was fuzzing the mangrove roots while we watched. Marianna and I could attest to the realism of those after playing about at Tavernier Key!

Our first water lessons for Scuba were today. Pool checkout was fun! Our check list went something like this:
- swim 300 yds any stroke just don't touch bottom
- 150 yds flutter kick
- 150 yds scissor kick
- 150 yds side kick
- 150 yds dolphin kick

Then we chatted about masks, fins, snorkels and went through our Skin Diver Checkout too, concentrating on the dives especially Pike. Our instructor worked with Marianna on straightening her legs above the water before gliding down and I tried out a new way to clear the snorkel. Dive down, tilt head up, tiny puff of air into the snorkel, as you float up to the surface the air expands, perfectly clearing the snorkel without all that annoying coughing blasts you hear on the Reef Boats. Done properly one's head doesn't even need to come out of the water before diving down again. Finally we practiced entries into the water especially the Giant Step. Lots of fun and a great way to spend a February morning!

In the three or so hours since we had stopped and watched Wyland paint the mangrove roots he had bopped over to the manatee side of the Wall and added a turtle! Gosh the guy is fast! This turtle is so detailed! Hal absolutely gives it a thumbs up for realism. He said it is the most perfect depiction of a swimming turtle he's seen in a long, long time.

Manatees and Rays
February 8, 2007, 9:42 pm

A quick drive by this afternoon after schooling was complete. Can you believe how much Wyland has done today?

Saturday is shaping up to be huge. Rumor has it that
Guy Harvey will be here to paint a Sting Ray with Wyland. The entire Wall will be dedicated to Steve Irwin on Monday.

Mermaids of the Florida Keys
February 7, 2007, 3:04 pm

Marianna and I had our first academic session with our SCUBA instructor today! We are on the way to being able to dive these gorgeous reefs in the Florida Keys. Today we covered the basic equipment; masks, fins, and snorkels, BC's and tanks. Tons of paperwork was filled out as well and Marianna was suitably appalled at having to put her name on each page and sign and date in more than one spot. I couldn't blame her, I feel the same way everytime I go to a doctor and have to fill out the same old info in triplicate too.

On the way home we stopped to see the progress on the Wall. Our timing was perfect. Wyland was just climbing in the lift.

Wyland sketched the manatee first with chalk. If you look closely to the left of this picture you can see the head of the manatee. We learned today that he is the only large scale muralist that does not do presketching/graphing for his murals. That flabbergasts me! The thought that there was no sheaf of work prior to facing the building, nothing to pull a graph off from and enlarge the sketch is amazing! The entire manatee family was free sketched within 15 minutes during what passes for rush hour down here.

Then he picked up a basic household paint roller and began filling in the sea cow. The most amazing details - the eyes, the wrinkles of the neck and snout were apparant from the first rollings. The first cow's base layer was completed in maybe 20 minutes. Again, amazingly fast!

We were so hoping that Wyland would include manatees in the mural, the original art on this building was a scary green mermaid. She must have been up on that wall for 50 years, she was looking pretty rough! These three are a much better representation of the Florida Keys than what was up previously, in my opinion.

Next Stop - China!
February 6, 2007, 1:34 pm

Even on these gloomy, damp days Wyland finds tasks on the Wall to accomplish. Today he was sponging blue paint over the white caulking that surrounds the rock entrance to the building.

He also took time to paint with the kids that were hanging about and talked about one of his next stops - the Great Wall of China! He is set to paint a 10 mile long mural on the Great Wall in 2008. Marianna is on the far left wearing the Nitrox shirt Dick Rutowski gave to her earlier this year.

On the topic of my drenched mattress, the warmth of your well-wishes must have dried that rain water right up! Only one night had to be spent on those thin, thin cushions of the settees. Now if I could only remember to buy more quarters I could wash those wet towels soon too! ;)

Randomness from this weekend
Tons of rain, buckets of rain, and all on my side of the bed!
February 5, 2007, 9:19 pm, Still in Blue Waters Marina

Yeah, you read the little weather line up there right, after a gorgeous morning with sun and still air that enabled us to get two of the sails rigged, the main and the jib. I think it was the jib, the jib is rolled and the cutter is hanked on? I might have it backwards tonight but we didn't hank on the sail that requires hanking.

(Doesn't that sound like a sneeze? Hanking! God bless you!)

Anyway...all three of us pitched in and the sails went up quickly and painlessly. Though it was so very, very hot (not complaining, just observing) and so very, very humid (okay, complaining here) that after the successful rigging of the sails we just jumped in the truck full of joy at the thought of speeding down US1 with the windows down and the radio up to see Wyland's Wall. Just a quick stop in to show it all off to Hal and pick up a cooler full of ice.

Well, it didn't work that way at all. Key Largo was drenched and getting wetter by the minute! We did manage to meet up with our new SCUBA instructor at Sharkeys where it dawned on Hal and I that the hatches had been left open on the boat. Actually, not just left open in normal position but cranked back with a windscoop in place (the brightly colored kite looking thing at the back of the boat).

That little sucker can scoop water just as well as wind.

Hal and I spent the night on the settees. The project of cushion replacement in cockpit and saloon may have been reordered on my master checklist.

Rays and Math Fun
Rain! Will the wall be delayed?
February 4, 2007, 3:49 pm

Stopped by to see the Whaling Wall today right as a huge downpour started, so we mostly saw people scattering to their cars or running for the Gallery Tent! All four sides are being painted and on the side of the wall that drivers heading to Key West will see, two large manta rays are taking shape.

In a completely unrelated topic, I found the most relevant 10 Commandments ever written. I'm afraid I should have had these for copywork as a child. But really, what is more fun than inflicting schooly things I should have done as a homeschooler on my own little second generation homeschooler?

The Ten Commandments of Math

1. Thou shalt read thy problem...carefully.

2. Whatsoever thou doest to one side of thy equation, do ye also to the other.

3. Thou must use thy "common sense", else thou wilt have flagpoles 9,000 feet high. Yea, even fathers younger than sons.

4. Thou shalt ignore the teachings of false prophets to do all thy work in thy head.

5. When thou knowest not, thou shalt look it up; and if thy search still elude thee, thou shalt ask thy All-Knowing Teacher.

6. Thou shalt master each step before putting thy heavy foot down on the next.

7. Thy correct answer does not prove that thou hast worked thy problem correctly. This argument convincest none, least of all thy Teacher.

8. Thou shalt first see that thou hast copied thy problem correctly, before bearing false witness that the answer book lieth.

9. Thou shalt look back even unto thy youth and remember thy arithmetic.

10. Thou shalt learn, read, write ,speak, and listen correctly in the language of mathematics, and verily A's and B's shall follow thee even unto graduation.

Maybe I should dig out my own journal and write these in now.

Wyland Update
February 3, 2007, 8:06 pm

A quick update on our favorite local artist.

Happy Birthday, Hal!
February 3, 2007, 7:06 am

A Sea Chanty for you on your birthday, dear Hal! Happy Birthday!

A wet sheet and a flowing sea,
A wind that follows fast,
And fills the white and rustling sail,
And bends the gallant mast,
While like an eagle free,
Away the good ship flies,
And leaves Columbia on our lee.

Oh! Give me a wet sheet,
A flowing sea,
And a wind that follows fast,
And fills the white and rustling sail
And bends the gallant mast

Oh, for a soft and gentle wind,
I heard a fair one cry,
But give to me the roaring breeze,
And the white waves heaving high;
The good ship tight and free;
The world of waters is our home,
And a merry family are we.

Wyland and Marianna
February 2, 2007, 6:45 am

Yesterday Marianna presented Wyland with a painting inspired by his work. He said it was quite good! While we were hanging out watching him paint, several of his crew came up and inquired if the painting was Marianna's. They said Wyland never praises a piece of art unless he truly means it.

I've posted Wyland as February's Featured Artist on the 4Real Boards with lots of interesting Art and Science Curriculum links. I'll post them here as well as time goes on, but the neatest one is the Live Web Cam. I see he is adding a blue section in the middle of the building as we speak!

The next 11 days are going to be great!

Wyland is here!
February 1, 2007, 1:19 pm

Adventure for today - up to Key Largo to watch Wyland begin painting his 95th and last Whaling Wall in the USA. More info available.
Look for updates here frequently, but not this afternoon as Marianna and I are outta here!


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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Who: Capt. Hal, Jennifer, and our daughter Marianna, a great photographer!
Port: Boca Chica
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