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Thou Upholdest me in Mine Integrity

February 17th, 2010

For Some People, Haiti Effort Continues

Yesterday, as part of my duties as an armorbearer for my church, I was asked to drive three people from Miami International to the Port of Miami. They’re crew members on the Friend Ships Limited vessel Integrity, which is docked at the port right now. One is a Merchant Marine, and he’s a captain. The other two are just lay volunteers.

I got to go aboard the Integrity and look around. I enjoyed that a lot. I only saw the cargo hold. I felt like I was on the set of Firefly.

The captain I delivered told me he had to have a lot of shots before going to Haiti. They have a lot of disease there. He mentioned things like dengue, Hepatitis A & B, typhoid, polio, and malaria. There are vaccines for some of Haiti’s diseases. When it comes to others, I guess you have to be lucky or rely on remedies that act after you get sick.

I hadn’t realized it was that bad there. I knew about their drug-resistant TB, and I know a Cuban my age who has a bad leg from polio, but I didn’t know the disease list was so long.

I met the captain’s son. I mean the main captain, not the guy I delivered. He said he hooked a big marlin on the last trip. You can troll from a big ship, if you use heavy tackle to overcome the resistance of the ship’s forward motion. He said the marlin broke his rod. Bummer. I’ll bet they always have fresh dolphin to eat.

He said the weather was nice in Haiti. Mid-seventies and no humidity. It’s so far south of Miami, I had guessed that there were no real seasons there, but it looks like that’s wrong.

The Port has gone nuts on Homeland Security. I used to go for night rides on my motorcycles, and the Port was a good destination, because you get to ride out over the water, and there’s no traffic at night. But last night, on my second trip, I wasn’t allowed to go to the terminal. A cop stopped me on the bridge and had the captain transferred to a car driven by a Port employee. The captain had what is known as a TWIC card, which is a form of ID for shipping industry employees. My driver’s license and carry permit would not have cut the mustard.

I’m glad they’re not playing. The Port would be a great location for a small nuke. But stopping land traffic isn’t very effective. You can still drive a freighter or a big fishing boat or a yacht right into the harbor.

I don’t know much about nuke detection. I like to think we can build devices that will detect nuclear weapons as they pass by in trucks or boxcars or ships. But it’s hard for me to see how that could be done. I would think a little lead around the fissile material would block the radiation well enough to make it undetectable. Hope that’s wrong. Technology is pretty weird; maybe they have a way to do it.

Here’s a link to a photo of the Integrity. I don’t know if they’ll need my help again this week, but I’m here if they call.

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4 Responses to “Thou Upholdest me in Mine Integrity”

  1. Virgil Says:

    In 2003 I bought a 32′ Sea Ray down in Hollywood and while doing my own “sea trials” I went out and came in through the Miami port Breakers.

    After getting beat to death with the heavy surf that day with a very short adventure which proved it was too rough to go offshore in that sized hull at that moment of that day,I came back in and stopped somewhere not far from the cruise ship basin, out of the main channel, and proceeded with the process of picking my dishes and coffee maker and Microwave oven out of the floor of the cabin

    I was then confronted with a RIB (rigid inflatable) with a 50 CAL machine gun and a bunch of guys in Coast Guard issued shorts yelling on a bull horn demanding that I get back under way or they were going to…something they never really made clear..except that I didn’t want to know.

    In spite of Fox News and the other stuff that you hear on Radio and TV, there are still things going on out there that by hook or crook keep us safe most of the time.

  2. Steve H. Says:

    I told one of the guys on the Integrity I wondered if it was still possible to fish for goggle eyes around the cruise ships. I guess it’s not. Wonder what people are using for sailfish bait now.
    Although they may just have been annoyed that you were sitting in a busy area. When I’m on my dad’s boat, “channel” means a strip about forty feet wide. If I were running a cruise ship, I think “channel” would mean bank to bank.

  3. Virgil Says:

    I was outside the red and green intercoastal/basin/channel markers, and the guys on the boat actually said something about anticipating a US Navy vessel coming in and they were clearing the area, but still the adreanal rush of seeing that big turrent mounted gun manned and pointed down at their foredeck ready to go into action and me being alone and inexperienced on a strange boat is something I’ll never forget.

    I fired up the engines and hauled butt out of their sphere of influence and have only been back to that area once in the past eight years…too many “no wake” “Manitee zones” and other crap I don’t want to put up with.

    What’s really sad is that just like “airspace” (I’m also an inactive private pilot) and the “airwaves” , today the waters in and around our country are haunted by well intended but sometimes ineffective government entities that take the fun out of getting away from the balance of the world and auto traffic and the inane idiot population we have to deal with every day in the “real world.”

    I guess I just need a big dose of spiritual grace and patience to help me enjoy the company of my fellow men/women.

  4. Parallel Says:

    Steve, check out http://rdnsgroup.pnl.gov/capabilities.stm –the web site of a group “provid[ing] the technical expertise underpinning the largest deployment in the United States of radiation portal monitors for border security.”