Sunday, November 29, 2009


I never knew that dingies could go as fast as
motorboats. Well, ours can, at a maximum speed of 11 knots. For those
who don't know, that's fast. For our dingy, that is up on plain. The
froth behind our boat looked like a zipper, more than anything.
We used that big motor for going to the beach. with
our small motor, we can go there in about six minutes. with our big
motor, we can go there in about two minutes. We used to have to row
there because the motor didn't work. This took about twenty minutes. I
hope our motor doesn't fail again.

--By Rigel

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Learning Italian

Out of all the languages that I have learned in the last few months,
Italian has been the hardest. On this trip alone, I have had to learn
two other romance languages including one that I have learned from early
childhood. Plus, I have never heard or learned Italian in my entire
life. Perhaps the most challenging thing is that the grammar rules are
similar to Spanish, but slightly different so that it is extremely easy
to get them mixed up.
The first port we stopped at was Bermuda. Being a British colony, they
spoke English. No challenge. Then we spent six weeks in the Azores,
which is a Portuguese colony, so they speak Portuguese. That was not the
hardest thing because it was different enough from Spanish that you
couldn't mix up their rules of grammar. This is a major difference
between Portuguese and Italian.
In Gibraltar the people spoke English except for some, who lived right
across the border in Spain. When we cruised the coast of Spain, we
didn't do much speaking, but I've always learned Spanish as a second
language. Italian is very different in this respect. During the time
we've been here, I've learned some basic Italian, such as the rules of
pronunciation and grammar. By the time we leave Italia, I hope to be
conversant in this language.

Finally visiting

The archeological museum right here in Sibari, just a mile from the marina.
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The return of The Brick

I saw the brick again last night. Before we got to the gate
that separates the marina from the rest of the town, it was walking
along, then it did this weird 180 thing when it felt me walking behind
it. the funny thing is, it didn't move any of its paws when it did
this. it never did it again.
When it followed us to the boat, as it always does, it sat
on the dock (it always does that too), mewing at us (I thing you know
what goes in these parentheses). then it went to the boat next to us and
moved her head up and down, as if thinking "gangplank, water...
gangplank, water... gangplank, water...". then, as if finally choosing
what to do, it jumped from the dock to the bottom deck.
After exploring for a while, it went to the side of the top
deck and stared at the wide gap between the boat he was on and ours. We
stood, waving our arms around saying "no, Brick, No! We know what you're
thinking! Don't do it!".
Finally, Orion had to get off the boat and coax the Brick to
jump from the boat to the dock. We watched it for a while more, then
went down below. after checking later, it was gone.

Friday, November 20, 2009


A connector onto an antenna cable. Plenty of time for boat fixing here.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Legend of the Brick

A brick is a brick, of course. unless the name of the
brick is The Brick. Then it would be a cat, of course. That doesn't make
any sense. Unless you know what we named the cat that we saw on the way
to the pizzeria.
Daddy thought that it was a brick. Every Saturday night
since that one, we saw it. Now the marina is a second home for it. We
keep seeing it around here. Too bad that I am allergic.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Our Modem

Now that we have a modem (a.k.a. sky card) we can post blog posts without having to type them on a computer (in text format) and then putting them on my dad's blackberry and post using e-mail. We can just plug it into a computer and post from there.
The way we post from a blackberry is by typing on the computer then putting it on the blackberry.then, using a secret e-mail address we can put it on the blog. This is a great nuisance. another way is to type it on the blackberry, then use the e-mail address. This is also a nuisance.
We can so use it for the things that you always use internet for. I once used it for research. I also used it for Google maps. another is for looking at the Holy Comforter website.
For those who don't know, a thing like this can be useful.

--by Rigel

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Learning Italian

In the skippers lounge through The Simpsons. The dubbed version.
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Grocery day

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Monday, November 9, 2009


At home, shopping at the grocery store seemed normal and all a
blur. Here, is does not. You have to walk, or take a bus. Another way is
to use the marina shuttle. The marina must have started losing money
because it was so isolated from the rest of sibari. So they made a
shuttle service so the boaters could get around easily.
Walking to the store is very hard. It usually is very far from
the marina, and close to the people who live in houses. We always have
to wear these bulky backpacks. It is very tiring.
The bus is also hard. You have to wait an insanely long time for
the bus to arrive at the stop. Then the bus stops every few inches. Is
even seems like it goes to one stop twice. I think that I will notice
shopping when we get back.

-- By Rigel


You may have heard of the city preserved in ash for almost 2,000 years, the city that was prosperous until it came to a violent end by volcanic eruption, the city called Pompeii.

Two days ago I personally saw this amazingly restored place. Eight centuries before the common era, a city was founded by the Oscans on the West coast of the Italian peninsula. In 80 BCE, the rapidly growing city was conquered by the Roman Empire and named Pompeii. There is some dispute over exactly when Pompeii was destroyed, but archeologists are sure it was either the 24th of August or October.

Just east of the ruins is the towering volcano called Vesuvius. This was the volcano that destroyed four cities when its summit exploded in a cloud of ash and volcanic rock called pumice (puh-mis). It buried Pompeii in twenty feet of ash, dirt, and rock. Vesuvius has remained active since its catastrophic eruption in the year 79 CE. Compared to other volcanoes, Vesuvius actually looks rather innocent. I have seen a volcano that rises straight out of the sea, and one that is constantly steaming, but this one just sits there. It’s hard to believe that this peaceful looking mountain once caused such destruction with its eruption.

Once I actually saw Pompeii, I was very surprised. The city was quite big! I only expected a few streets and houses with a few more important buildings and a temple, but this city was about the size of a medium sized town. It is extremely easy to get lost in the ruins if you don’t keep track of where you are. When Pompeii was inhabited, it had always grown very quickly because of the rich volcanic soil that they used for farming. The city eventually grew so big that farmers started growing crops of the mountain itself.

A definite must-see in the ruins is the amphitheater. In short, the amphitheater is huge. It’s not just big, it’s huge. It is rather similar to the Coliseum in Rome. It would appear that it had a similar use as well, meaning gladiator fights.

One thing that Pompeii has in common with many other ancient cities is that it has a lot of temples. One is the Temple of Venus, which was unfortunately destroyed in the 64 CE earthquake. After it was conquered by Rome, the city had adopted the goddess Venus as its patron deity. Another temple was for the worship of Apollo, and featured 48 Ionic columns. The Temple of Apollo was also dedicated to the worship of the goddess Diana and Mercury, the messenger of the gods. There was also the Temple of Jupiter, also dedicated to the deities Juno and Minerva. The only temple in the city that was not used to worship the deities was the Temple of Vespasian, which was dedicated to the emperor.

Perhaps the most common thing for a Roman city to have other than houses were bathhouses. The ones in Pompeii had a close resemblance to the ones in Rome. There were three main sections: a section for men, a section for women, and the water heating plants. There were also three different types of baths: cold, warm, and steamy. The heat from the furnaces was transferred to the water by an ingenious system of double walls. Water heated in the furnaces flowed through the space between the walls and heated the water on the other sides of them.

An extremely interesting discovery in Pompeii was what is known as the House of the Vetti. The luxurious decorations and garden show the wealth of the city in its last ten years. From the archeological evidence, it is thought that there were two owners who were presumably merchants if the amount of money necessary to own such a house has anything to say. Specially engineered doorways helped keep humidity out of the house. This was to protect the wall paintings that miraculously survived the 2000 years since then. This very well-preserved house has helped us gain much knowledge about ancient Pompeii.

It was interesting to know that even the ancient city of Pompeii had the seemingly modern problem of graffiti. As I walked through the streets, I couldn’t help but notice the occasional painted roman letters and numbers on the walls of some buildings. Most were covered with Plexiglas sheets that archeologists have placed there to protect them. They were especially on the walls of big and important-looking places and sometimes inside of important-looking houses. It is a very curious thing to think about, ancient Roman graffiti.

Other than the big amphitheater, there were also two smaller theaters. There was a medium-sized one and a small one. They were both only a half circle, unlike the amphitheater. They were presumably used for performing and viewing plays.

Near the amphitheater there is a large open space that was first used as a park called the Arcaded Court. It was basically a place to exercise and relax. In the year 62 CE, it was turned into a barracks for gladiators. This deduction is based on the facts that it is right next to the amphitheater and that weapons were found in ten different rooms. Some of these weapons were very nicely made and obviously for parades. Skeletons were found in two of the rooms. Even with this evidence, the real use of the “Arcaded Court” remains uncertain.

A seemingly uninteresting part of Pompeii is the streets. They are paved with very smooth stones. Occasionally there are three tallish stones in a row that served as stepping stones across the streets. They were there in case the streets were flooded, which apparently frequently happened when thunderstorms came through. The sidewalks were also about a foot above the streets. Someone had obviously paid a lot of attention to the streets of Pompeii.

As a whole, Pompeii is an extremely fascinating place. The whole city is preserved like no other city of that time period has been. For almost two millennia it was buried beneath six meters of ash, earth, and rock. It is perhaps the most valuable source of information about life in ancient Rome. Even more excavation is being done today. If you have never been to Pompeii, you really should take a trip there in your lifetime.

-- By Orion

Saturday, November 7, 2009

KA-BOOM! Imagine more than six meters of ash from Mount Vesuvius smashing down on a major city! That is what happened to the big and thriving city of Pompeii. You may have heard of it, but have you seen what is left of it? Well I have, and it was clearly a very large city. It seems it is as big as the hustling and bustling city of Naples, Italy. Well, it’s all dead now. But amazing!
This is how it went KA-BOOM: Poison gas hit the big city first (this is why the people of Pompeii didn’t run. Most were dead already).Then came the ash. It smashed the roofs and buried the city.
As mentioned before, about six meters (about twenty feet) of ash and other volcanic substances rained down on the city. This included pumice, sandy ash and lapilli (a small fragment of lava thrown from a volcano).
All that sand, ash, etc. didn’t just blow away. It was dug through when a foundation for a summer palace for the king of Naples was being laid in 1748. There is still active archeology there. It takes forever. They have to use tiny brushes to make sure that they do not break anything or miss out on anything. They find relics like vessels and other pottery.
They also found the “house of the tragic poet.” Have you heard of it? You might have not have, but you problebly have heard of the ‘beware of the dog’ mosaic. The house is best known for it. There were lots of other mosaics. Do you know how they created them? They had lots of little colored tiles and they made pictures out of them. They didn’t paint them.
The youths of Pompeii scribbled graffiti on the house. There are two diffent kinds of graffiti in Pompeii. They are historic and modern. The historic kind is found by archeologists. It is not disrespectful nowadays (but it was disrespectful then! Imagine graffiti on the governor’s mansion.) The modern kind is both insulting and disrespectful.
Restoring Pompeii is very hard. One way is using brick. This crumbles easily and is not very reliable. Mortar, however, can be injected. You have to restore because the stone is so old it begins to crumble.
You have to restore a lot because the city is so big. The main reason that it was huge is this: The soil. It is very fertile. That was because it is volcanic. This allowed lots of crops. There were six times as many harvested as in other regions of Italy. The crops were harvested three times per year.
If a city is big, the population needs services: You may have heard of the public baths. They do not have tubs like we have today, but they do have several big tubs. There were also hot and cold baths. You wouldn’t have been able to change the temperature.
There is one last thing that I have to say. No essay in the world would ever be able to explain all of the details of Pompeii. If you ever get the chance to visit Italy, you must see Pompeii.

--By Rigel