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Volume 15, Issue 37 ~ September 13 - September 19, 2007

Way Downstream

On the Patuxent River, a Labor Day outing that began as a Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn adventure turned into a close call for a trio of young boaters. Crabber Thomas Sparacino spotted the trio scooping water out of their dented johnboat and paddling up river with a stick. He towed them home to the pier at the Patuxent Trailer Park, escorted by a state police helicopter also seeking the missing boys. “They were really scared,” said Sparacino …

In Solomons, learn how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maps the Bay floor. The 56-foot Survey Vessel Bay Hydrographer docks at Calvert Marine Museum September 24 thru October 2. When Thomas Jefferson created the Survey of the Coast in 1807, our ancestors used a simple rope and lead to chart underwater turf. Now we use modern technologies like sonar to map the Bay’s floor, most of which is three to five feet underwater, says NOAA spokesman Ben Sherman. NOAA keeps accurate underwater charts because it’s responsible for safe navigation of a major shipping channel. During the vessel’s visit, get special tours and demonstrations by the ship’s crew:

On rural Chesapeake Bay roads, that odd sight racing down hills as fast as automobiles is Don Oswald, 43, of Chesapeake Beach. On inline speed skates, he’s preparing for a Columbus Day long-distance race in Georgia, he tells Bay Weekly …

In Virginia, the 28-foot shallop that retraced John Smith’s journeys from Jamestown to explore Chesapeake Bay returned this week after a a 120-day journey that covered 1,500 miles. In his final journey entry this week, crew member Andrew Bystrom wrote: “Without realizing what we were doing, we dove off the boat, threw ourselves upon the rocks and screamed. No one was there to greet us on shore. Nobody heard our cries of joy. The moment was reserved for the crew only. In the pandemonium that gripped us, Ashley cut her knee, Forest did the same, and Donkey ripped a toenail off as we clambered up the shore and unofficially ended the voyage.” ...

Our Creature Feature comes from Kazakhstan, where the zoo is beginning to resemble a scene from the best-selling novel, Water for Elephants.

In the city of Almaty, officials reported that a six-year-old lion named Adam escaped from its cage last week and ran about for a half-hour before zoo workers persuaded it to return. That’s not all: Last month, three bears broke free from their enclosure in the same southern Kazakhstan zoo. It’s not clear if Goldilocks had a hand in busting them out.

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