They took us on a boat on Monday!
We were supposed to talk the captain about navigation systems and charts and yada yada, but mostly I settled in with the other kids have have also spent time on tall ships and enjoyed being on the water again (even if there was a lot of engine noise). We saw a lot of puffins, a bunch of tourists looking at puffins, and a great deal of eider ducks. Fundamentally coastal navigation is just less fun than celestial navigation (no spherical trig, for one thing), and there’s just not that many questions to ask about it. It does get more complicated in the Arctic because of the aforementioned not-bumping-into-ice problem, and the ice charts are an entirely separate deal from all the other chart makers. Only one Russian group makes them based on satellite data and ice drift algorithms, and while a new chart is released every day, due to complexities of polar orbits each part of the Arctic is only photographed once every 30 days or so. Which feels stressfully too long to me, but ships mostly rely on onboard radar and sonar anyway, and I don’t have to navigate around polar ice.
We did an exercise midweek to try and identify/come up with unpredictable events that would entirely change Arctic shipping and the class came up with everything from alien invasions to nuclear war to fish plagues. We get points for inventiveness, I suppose, if not plausibility. One of the other kids mentioned that she had recently read a book featuring alien invasions which was why she mentioned it, which prompted the professor to ask us to go around the room and ask us if we had read any book we liked and would recommend. I always blue-screen a little when people ask for book recommendation questions because a) I tend towards obscure genre fiction and b) I’ve read too many books to have normal opinions anymore. Once you’ve read a certain volume things that become best sellers just seem shallow because I’ve seen this idea before, several times; one person mentioned a Dan Brown book and I didn’t snort derisively, though it took a lot of effort. When the professor got to me I tried to ask her what she liked to read and she waved me off and said the point is what do I like to read so I rattled off a couple authors (Lois McMaster Bujold, Becky Chambers, Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones) and tried to describe Dragonhaven, because someone else brought up Eragon and I always feel dimly like I have to explain why, despite being a kid obsessed with dragons, I hated Eragon. The whole class and the professor looked a little surprised I had that many books in my head that I liked, and while I understand abstractly that I’m confusing, what specifically people find confusing about me is baffling (this is no where near the weirdest thing about me!).
Last weekend the student association arranged a weekend trip to hotel in the middle of nowhere with hiking trails, natural hot springs, horse tours, and the like for one big socialization event before people start leaving. We had a big dinner as a group and I was once again reminded that a) these people drink far more than I do (i.e. at all, really), and b) I’ve accidentally successfully ducked out of nearly all of the group drama that has been happening all year. Apparently people have been dating each other and being stupid about it and then breaking up and continuing to be stupid about it. I suppose I’m not that surprised, in hindsight, but it did serve as a snapshot into other, more high octane ways to do grad school and I’m so looking forward to spending this weekend in my room with a book. very peaceful.
Anyway, I decided to see what I remembered about riding horses, and signed myself up for a horse tour.
We tramped down the valley, initially in freezing rain going actually horizontal, but eventually the sun came out. We crossed a couple rivers, rode on the beach for a bit, and then came back up valley. I had a delightful time and the body remembered more than I thought I would about where to put my hands and seat-bones, which was only faintly foiled by a different saddle style.
One nice thing about it raining both erratically and a lot is that there are often rainbows.
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