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At sea, leaving the Amazon River today

Jan 5 2011


Jan 5 2011
• Sea Day – Amazon pilot leaves the ship
• Scotch tasting and seasickness – not a good match
• Interesting fossil fuel lecture

Breakfast on the deck and still in the Amazon though you can tell we are getting nearer to the mouth as the river appears wider. Cloudy day. Warm. Breakfast on the deck. More “aha” moments. I really like the ship and the Amazon and I still can’t believe I’m on the Amazon. Can’t think of a better place to have morning coffee than overlooking the Amazon with the warmth and the breeze.

Today we left the Amazon. The ship stopped briefly at 7 a.m. when the Amazon Pilot got off the ship. Watching the pilots come aboard and leave is very interesting. A small boat with “Pilot” on the side comes up to our ship and in a flash a pilot boards the ship and the small boat takes off. The pilots are needed on the Amazon because they know the rivers well and with water levels changing, the river is rapidly changing.

Went to art class at 9 a.m and learned "mark making" (I think!). We also learned scribble drawing. I'm barely able to get the water colors I like on paper so all this is way over my head. But our teacher Zen Browne is so cool and other people's art is so cool, that I'm enjoying art class anyway.
Zen Browne, our art teacher gave us a cool quote today: “ An Artist is one who consents to dream of the actual world” (Zen’s thesaurus). He also had a cool little collage thing he did with a red door and a Chinese fortune inside that said “Live in your strength”, He is an art teacher at the Brooklyn Art Museum so you can imagine how cool his collage was. We do watercolor and he lets us do what we want. Just gives us a short lesson to start on some technique. I’m impressed with the talent in the room, especially since most of us are not artists.

Today Ian Campbell, the Scottish professor that has a great sense of humor, talked about disease in the Amazon. He also described old people as having a “sell by date”. I’ve forgotten the context now but I though it was very funny in the context he gave it.

Fossil fuel speaker whose name I can't find:
We had a speaker on fossil fuel. He maintains we are not running out of fossil fuels, it is just that the fuels available are harder to get to (fracking and all). He recommended a recent article in NYT on this topic. He says there is lots of oil shale. The biggest question is since we “can” get it “should we”. Four battle fields: 1) clean coal (costly to get rid of CO2), 2) fracking for natural gas; says we have 30 years of gas supply; says politics in D.D. has changed rapidly in the last year. Frackers are seeking subsidies and legislation 3) tar sands – supply in tar sands equals all the oil in Saudi Arabia. Energy/profit ratio is low. Co2. Produce 800,000 barrels a day; USA uses 2 Million a day. 4) Oil shale. ND, SD, VT. 200-900 billion barrels. Their extraction makes tar sands look easy ( I think that is what he said). He says getting much more contentious talk in U.S. about climate change. Contentious about options. 12 billion $ spent on weather events in U.S. last year. Many countries have records highs. Talked about rise in “Transition culture”. See Oberlin Project. Small town resilience – grows food, create energy, make resilient towns. Plenty of fossil fuel – last 18 months has been a sea change. Fossil fuel is available. China Brazil. Question is do we go for it. Geo Thermal is a puzzle – not well explored.


This afternoon we left the Amazon mouth for the Caribbean and rougher sees, I was feeling sick. We had Scotch class with Ian Campbell, a Scottish professor, at 6 p.m.; we had signed up and paid $10 so we went. Ian is the astronomy professor with the Scottish accent who also gave a talk on traveler’s diarrhea. He is a funny guy and we wanted to take his class even though neither of us drink Scotch. We did visit a distillery while in Scotland and didn’t like Scotch there either. We had 10 samples of Scotch and all tasted terrible as far as I’m concerned. Ian loves Scotch because of the way it “warms up your tonsils”. Have to agree that it warms up tonsils, if that is a good thing. Came out of that class, took a seasick pill and headed to my room without dinner. Fell asleep in my clothes at 5:30 pm ; woke at 11 pm; back to sleep. Love sleeping with the ship rocking.

Posted by Linda K 09:19 Archived in Brazil

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