Thursday, August 12, 2004

Boy Scout Camp

Sorry for the recent absences. Several things have crept up to make
blogging take a back seat. First was getting my son all registered as
an American. Boy Scout Camp was in there, and finally there is a real
need to study and write something for publication this summer.

As an American living abroad, and my son having been born in Japan,
has made the process of registration, getting a passport and Social
Security number something of a bother. More on that process in
another post.

Boy Scout camp this year was great. I am an assistant Scout Master,
and my older son is in the troop. As a boy, I was a Scout, too. Our
camp was always at the same place every year. Our troop here doesn't
have that luxury, or isn't tied to the same place every year,
depending on how you look at it. This year we were going to kayak the
Miya River. We were off on August 5th. However, the weather had other
plans.

Typhoon 10 blew through around the 31st of July and brought alot of
rain with it. We were happy for that, because the river would be up
enough to make it exciting. Then Typhoon 11 blew through. It blew
through fast, but the tail end of it brought alot more rain on the
3rd, 4th, and 5th of August. The Miya River was a torrent, and out
campsite was under water. No way were we going to float that river.
We were gathered at the Scout room, wondering if that was where we
were to camp, and calling around to find other options. Fortunately
the guy who was going to teach us about kayaking and rent us the
boats knew of a place on the coast where we could camp and kayak. It
is in Ise City, on a small island called "Oo Minato Machi." We got
there around 2 o'clock and set up camp. Beautiful spot under the pine
trees and with the ocean just a few meters away.

The next day we got the kayaks, had a little instruction on land
about kayaking, and then headed out into the small bay nearby. The
kids dumped a couple of the boats over, but the water was very
shallow, only a meter or a meter and a half at most, and we had life
vests on. Great fun.

The next day we paddled out and south of our camp, stopping at a
couple of public beaches on the way. We had lunch at a beach and then
headed home. The fish were jumping. I'm not sure what the fish are
called in English. In Japanese there are "suzuki" and "bora." Having
grown up in the mountains of West Virginia, my knowledge of the ocean
is limited, and much of it comes from my experiences in Japan, so
much of what I know is only in Japanese.

There are very few coastal areas that could be called "beautiful"
anymore. Much of it has become concrete, and there is more garbage
floating up around than I ever saw in my limited experiences with
American coastal areas. People rip down mountains and dump them into
the sea to make land for airports, factories and warehouses. Mr.
Iwasaki, the guy who lead our group, said that all of the coral that
used to live around the Kii Peninsula, much of which has recently
been made a World Heritage Site, died about 10 years ago. We saw some
nice places, but none of them were what one might call "expansive."

The kids are young, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, so they
aren't up for great adventure, but we had adventures that most kids
here never have, ever. Scouting is a great program. In this posting I
focused on the kayaking part, but there is so much for them to learn
in Scouting. I'm happy to be part of it again.

1 comment:

jon said...

After we paid for our kids outdoors summer camp we found it tough to recover! I totally agree with you!