Wednesday, December 9, 2009

We're done in Baiona, new challenges coming

The bear, as the people in RU-COOL say, is most definitely in the igloo. But before it crawled in, the RU-27, aka Scarlet Knight, had quite a party in Baiona. I'll post some pix here, and I'll give you more later. My editor has told me that it's better to write many small posts than one long one, so I'll follow her advice and be brief. We're coming home tomorrow and I'll post more photos and stories when I get back.

Here was the plan: First we would all gather in the Capitania Maritima, which is the harbormaster's building, right in the center of town. The mayor, Rutgers officials, people from Puertos del Estado, NOAA and the Office of Science and Technology Policy would make remarks and we would see two videos -- one containing a message from Gary Locke, the secretary of commerce; the other, a snippet from "Atlantic Crossing," the video being produced by Dena Seidel of Writers House at Rutgers. Of these remarks, I can say that they were gracious and generous, but the ones that stuck in my head were those of Richard Spinrad, assistant administrator of NOAA. He said that he had challenged Scott Glenn to send a glider across the ocean during a late-night discussion over wine at a confrerence in Lithuania in 2006. Then he issued another challenge: to send a glider around the world. "And this time," he said solemnly, "I'm sober." Robert Goodman, dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, accepted the challenge on the part of "my colleagues, the guys and gals who have to pull this off."

Scott Glenn presented the mayor, Jesus Vasquez Almuina, with a replica of the Scarlet Knight.

The mayor presented Scott with a plaque.

And then, we all ambled over to the front of the yacht club, where for 80 years, there has hung a brass plaque bearing the crew manifest of the Pinta. That's where they hung a plaque about the Scarlet Knight and its people, right next to the one commemorating the biggest thing to happen to their town in 800 years. That's the deputy mayor, Manuel Ramon Vilar Martinez, on the left, with Richard Spinrad, Mayor Vasquez, and Scott Glenn. More about Don Manuel later. He's worth remembering.

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