Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Where in the World is SlowBoat?

If you are wondering, "Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?" . . .  I mean, SlowBoat, well, we left Steinhatchee before dawn Tuesday morning:  air temperature 19 degrees,  boat decks and solar panels liberally coated with ice.  After 10 hours of hard driving under a clear but cold sky we finally dropped anchor last night outside of Cedar Keys, Florida (population 790).
First the "Grand Canyon of Florida,"
and now here we are at the "Niagara Falls of Florida"

As you'll recall, last week we made the most challenging traverse of the trip--82 miles across open water, far out of sight of land, from Carabelle to Steinhatchee.  But the fun wasn't over.  From Steinhatchee, we needed to make two more hops, more than 60 miles each, before we reached Tarpon Springs and rejoined the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (and protected waters) at Tarpon Springs.  The trip from Steinhatchee to Cedar Key was the first hop. 

It had been great to take a break in Steinhatchee--to have a stable floor beneath our feet, take a bath, have reliable cell phone and internet, to sit indoors and be warm without wearing layers of clothes or fussing with fiddly flame-based heaters.  On Sunday, to stretch our legs, we packed a lunch and went birding at Steinhatchee Falls, one of only two waterfalls in Florida. (Click here to see video of these tiny falls actually falling).
Tuesday we pretty much did nothing but drive . . . and drive . . . and drive . . . changing watch every 30 minutes to stay warm.  Cap spotted some super-large dolphins, but it must be something about his enchanting presence . . . they never showed up for me.

We weren't as far from land as we'd been on the traverse from Carabelle.   All day long we could (barely) see a fringe of palm trees lining the coast to the east.  Just before dusk we came to Cedar Keys, a little collection of coastal islands, once of which offers a shallow bay with some shelter from wind and waves. Forget about going ashore, though . . . the recently renovated town dock looks lovely for fishing but is too tall to actually dock at.

One of the nice things about holing up in Steinhatchee was catching up on the news.  I was particularly taken with Thomas Friedman's column about the U.S. military's embrace of sustainable technologies. The Navy has an ambitious goal:  By the year 2020, 50 percent of the power for all "war-fighting" ships, planes, vehicles and shore installations will come from alternative energy sources. in October, for example, the Navy launched an amphibious assault vehicle with a hybrid gas turbine/electric motor that saved $2 million in fuel costs on its maiden voyage from Mississippi to San Diego.  

Meanwhile the Marines now have units in Afghanistan testing LED lights and solar powered refrigerators.  

I think it's great that the Department of Defense is investing in technologies that save money while protecting natural resources. When Jimmy Carter went before the cameras in a sweater, asking Americans to do the right thing and turn down their thermostats, that message bombed. Victory gardens were a success in World War II, but in Carter's era it was no longer part of the collective American consciousness to sacrifice for the greater good.  

A certain segment of society puts "going green" in a box--the exclusive province of (I'm summarizing from what I read in the media here) weak-minded liberals who don't have much business sense and who care more about animals than people.  For that segment of society, the green doubters, the military's commitment to sustainable technologies sends a powerful message--far more powerful than a million scientifically endorsed documentaries by Al Gore.

No comments:

Post a Comment