Monthly Archives: July 2011

Tragedy in Norway

I was in Hawaii after the Transpac 2011 ocean race, doing my program from there, trying to recover, when I heard about what happened in Norway, where this piece-of-crap decided he was going to make a statement by starting a revolution similar to the Crusades to stop Muslim integration and destruction of Europe by Islam.  So to do this, he blew up a government building and killed scores and scores of kids, which of course, makes everybody incredibly sympathetic to his cause.  Now Norway is a liberal country like Holland and Denmark — incredibly liberal. 

Yesterday morning I read that Norway’s maximum penalty for any crime you can commit (no matter how heinous) is 21 years in prison.  So for killing between 80 and 100 people (the number keeps changing), if he’s found guilty, he could spend 21 years in prison which is equivalent to a penalty of 82 days — 82 days — per child’s death.  I have nothing more to say.

You Don’t Need Preschool for Your Kids

You know how negative I am about anything having to do with preschool, daycare, or any of that.  We’re raising children here.  If you don’t want your kids around, I guess you could use preschool and daycare for that.  If you don’t want to program your life around your kids, you’ll use preschool and daycare to help you.  If you know you are a really crappy parent, you can use them too.  If you are in dire straits and don’t have another option right now (temporarily), I guess you’ll use them.  There are many reasons to use preschool and daycare, but many of them can’t and shouldn’t be supported.

A recent article I read (entitled “Why Preschool Shouldn’t Be Like School“) reported new research showed that trying to “teach” kids at younger and younger ages backfires.  Anxious parents are so eager that their child “gets ahead” that they’ve even taken to reading books to babies still in the womb.  Teachers are pressured to make kindergartens and nursery schools more like school, and even the “No Child Left Behind Act” urged more direct instruction in federally funded preschools.

But direct instruction actually limits a young child’s ability to learn.  Teaching allows kids to learn specific things, but they need more opportunities for exploration and play so they can “discover” on their own.  They need a Mommy and a Daddy to give them a stable, supportive home and lots of love.

Head Start has always been a failure.  I knew it was a failure back in the 1960s.  And now, one study shows that 75% of mothers hand their iPhones over to their kids, thinking that will make them smarter.  App makers are marketing directly to parents who are looking to help their children as young as 4 months old get a head start on learning.  If you type in “toddler” and “educational” into the App Store, you’ll find more than 800 apps specifically marketed to children under the age of 3.  One town in Maine is spending $200,000 on iPads for its entire incoming kindergarten class.  So the question is, do iPads or smartphones or toddler-marketed apps really make young kids smarter?

The bottom line?  NO.  In fact, the American Association of Pediatrics says children under the age of 2 should not be seeing anything on a screen of any kind, whether it’s an iPhone or a television set.

Parents are too often looking for that edge to make their children the smartest.  The most important thing you can do as a parent is interact with your child.  You do not need an iPad or fancy software or a preschool or a daycare to make your child learn.  They do it every day, all day, in many different ways.  Let kids just be kids.

Quote of the Week

On Hawaii:  The loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean
               – “Mark Twain” (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
                  1835-1910
                  American humorist, writer and lecturer

We Are Cooking!

Yesterday was leisurely with a little wind, that is… UNTIL we found ourselves in the middle of “squall central.”  Unpredicted high winds and seas continuously occurring from about ten pm last night.  We are cooking, cooking, cooking!

Since seven thirty this morning, I have been driving for an hour then off for an hour.  I am a salt stick.  Hahahaha!  It is three pm and I’m going to take a break.

Last night we had a spinnaker issue.  All the guys got on deck and made it good.

We are very optimistic.

[Transpac tracking is live (no longer 6 hours delayed), so you can watch them as they race to the finish at: http://live.adventuretracking.com/transpac2011]

The Wind’s Finally Blowing

Well, yesterday may not have afforded us much wind BUT the scenery, the beauty, the calm was…unbelievable.

Unfortunately, at least once an hour we go by trash from some boat.  Sad.

We had our “halfway party” last night.  It was hilarious.  The crew came up with rum for them and some pinot grigio for me.  We toasted each other, our team, and this amazing experience together.  We are really well bonded.  They gifted me with “Day-Glo” bracelets because they know I love jewelry.  Very sweet.

Today we’re rockin’ it — trying to make up for almost two days of little wind.

The guys who have done this race previously described what it’s like to come through the Molokai Channel (also known as Kaiwi Channel).  It is considered one of the roughest ocean channels in the world.  It seems no matter where you place in the race, the Molokai Channel is a mind blowing experience.  The newbies among us (me included) are looking forward to it.

It is 1:12 pacific time.
You can follow Katana’s progress at: http://live.adventuretracking.com/transpac2011

No Land in Sight – UPDATED

We have been dodging squalls and light wind areas for two days now.  We have not seen an airplane or any other boat of any kind.  A couple of flying fish have said hello.  Evidently we are the farthest from land one can be residing on this earth…Strange thought.

Hope everyone is enjoying the videos and still photos. (View them in the Transpac 2011 area on DrLaura.com)

Transpac Photo Montage

We are fighting hard to regain our earlier lead!   However, “at the end of the day,” it is all about the privilege of being out here doing this in the first place.

Right now the wind speed is about 10 knots and we are doing between 9 and 10 knots.

Last night all I wanted was an orange soda… Funny, I never got cravings when I was pregnant, but in the middle of the Pacific ocean…! Ha-ha!

We are all is still having a good time.  Our spirits are up and we’ve got a “Never give up, never surrender” attitude!

UPDATED:

We are about 20 miles from the half way point. 

We just saw a pod of pilot whales — up close and personal.  The sea is an amazing blue color.  It feels as though we are in a fish bowl because we are completely surrounded and contained by cloud effects.  It’s very interesting.

The crew just had their chili mac freeze dried food and it appears this is the favorite meal so far.

We are in about 10 knots of wind and Katana maintains doing equal or more.  It is a fun boat to drive.

We’re telling jokes (mostly bad ones) and are having trivia challenges to old movie plots, etc.

As we get closer to Hawaii, it gets hotter and hotter.  I am covered in clothing from head to toe to avoid sunburn.

For the last two days, we had a bad time with cloud conditions that stole
our wind, but we’re doing our best to get goin’ again.

Already we know we’ll do this again next Transpac (2013) as we will know the boat’s capabilities better.  It is all a learning curve.

Sometimes I just cannot believe we are out here with no land or boats or planes to be seen.  It is a lovely ride. 

Follow Katana’s progress at: http://live.adventuretracking.com/transpac2011

Nine People on a Forty-Seven Foot Boat

One of us saw a huge sea turtle; another crew member saw a flying fish. And as I mentioned yesterday, we had a squid fly onto the deck.  It’s curious we are not seeing much in the way of sea life.

Right now, we are in a light air zone….working our way out of it so we can get  surfing the waves again.  Yesterday, I had a ball driving Katana faster and faster down the waves.  It’s a bit difficult to do on a cloudy night with no moonlight or stars shining.  Without being able to see the spinnaker and the angle of boat to horizon, it can get a bit disorienting.

With each day, we are all getting sillier and sillier and having huge laughs.  It is interesting watching and participating in a group survival situation… REAL reality – not the stupid set up nasty stuff on tv.  We are all pulling together.  It is very touching and enjoyable.

Yesterday most of the crew did some laundry and hung it out to dry on the stern lines.  Katana looked like a tenement. (see photo below)

We’ve dropped out of first place, but we’re not the slightest bit concerned about it.  It ain’t over ’til everyone crosses the finish line.  We are all optimistic the final run to Molokai channel will be where and when we take off fast.

Winning would be great…obviously.  It is a race.  But this is an unbelievable experience.  Nine people on a forty seven foot boat getting along, pulling together, and supporting each other.  Not one moment of anyone having a hissy fit about anything.  I am truly fortunate to know and sail with these guys. And I am learning a lot.

Of course we each would love to materialize at a spa for one hour…hahahahaha

Have a great day.  Track us at: http://live.adventuretracking.com/transpac2011

Close Calls and Strange Occurrences

Finally, Monday has brought a bit of peace for us.  Here’s a recap:

For the start on Friday, we wanted to be windward of the committee boat for clean air for our sail.  We accomplished that in spite of big boat trying to barge between us and the committee boat.  There was no room but he kept a comin.’ He had about 3 more seconds to bail or we would have collided and all I could think of at that point was about the insurance. Hahaha.  But it all came out good.

Saturday was really, really unpleasant with relentless bumps and winds.  I was very concerned it “would never stop.”  Two of our crew got seasick.  Thankfully, they are okay now.  And we were all very wet, tired, hungry, and stressed.  Nonetheless…we continued to do what we had to do: go fast!

Sunday was such a relief.  The night crew saw an “extra terrestrial event”…. The whole sky got bright and then dark again in a blink.  We wonder if other boats saw that too.

A non-fried calamari flew onto our deck and left some ink.  As usual, I’m thinking about food.

We’re doing well today.  You can follow our progress at:  http://live.adventuretracking.com/transpac2011