Tinkering School

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Day Four - Going to the Beach, Tinkering School Style

2012 Session 5 - Seniorsgever2 Comments

Wednesday Night, August 22nd, 11:35pm A great educator friend, Steve Davee, once told me, "if they are right in the thick of it, going strong, then that can be the perfect time to take a break - that way they are gung-ho to get started when they come back to it." I'd like to retroactively claim that that is exactly what I was thinking when I started doing beach day, because it seems so obvious now that he's pointed it out to me.

There was palpable excitement as we drove down to the beach, but there were also a lot of "we're going to work on the roller coaster tomorrow, right?" checks. It's clear that the whole group feels that going to the beach is a good idea, but let's not forget that we're all building a roller coaster.

D7K 0917 The morning starts with some paddle building and last minute tweaks to the boats. Some of these boat designs are radical (to say the least) and "tuning" them up is deemed important.

IMG 5003 Then we take a quick trip down the hill to get the trailer - which means of course that everyone gets a ride on the running boards.

IMG 5006 Even big kids get giddy when they can ride on the outside of the truck.

EthanRidingTrailer Ethan opts to ride in the trailer on the way up the hill.

D7K 0929 Then we are on our way, and somewhere just north of San Gregorio we start to see the first real sunshine we've seen in three days.

D7K 0943 At the trailhead, we present a particularly amusing tableau as the tinkerers portage their boats to the shore.

IMG 5011 Inspired by Elijah's prodigious leap across the creek, Gardner forgets for just a moment that he has a cast on and launches himself across the water.

IMG 5013 Which inspires Leo to try as well.

IMG 5014 Elijah comes back for a second try.

IMG 5015 And Sam can't resist either.

IMG 5016 And neither can Althea.

D7K 0950 With that impulse out of our collective systems (at least temporarily), we grab the boats and head up the cliff to the lagoon we spotted last session.

D7K 0951 The trail proves doable, but tricky, for the tinkerers and their somewhat unwieldy boats.

D7K 0953 The aptly named "Flying Fish" is particularly persnickety on land.

D7K 0960 We turn around when we discover that the higher tides have filled the lagoon with big waves. Deciding that if we're going to mess with waves, we'd like to do it on a sandy beach rather than a rocky one.

D7K 0987 Miles and Elijah opt to go first and tentatively set their outrigger in the water.

D7K 0992 Where it floats pretty well until Elijah climbs on board.

D7K 0998 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Tara

D7K 1009 With a little perseverance, Elijah manages to get into the outrigger, but even in calm seas it fills quickly with water. Gever diagnoses this problem from the beach as "insufficient displacement," but doesn't tell anyone.

IMG 5105 The continually surprising Althea demonstrates a very good handstand.

IMG 5112 Next to try the waters is the skiff...

D7K 1025 ...and right off the bat we all see that it does not suffer from insufficient displacement.

IMG 5128 In fact, it's fairly sprightly, if a little tippy, and it clibms the wave fronts nicely.

IMG 5143 Which causes no end of squealing and whooping on the part of Natalie and Sam.

D7K 1031 With a little help from Josh, it can even surf.

IMG 5159 The sailors spend a few idyllic moments floating about in our little cove.

D7K 1048 Miles takes the outrigger out for another try, and quickly brings it back in.

D7K 1049 Next, Isaac, Leo, and Althea, of the Flying Fish crew are eager to try their radical design.

D7K 1052 But, like the outrigger, it too suffers from insufficient displacement.

D7K 1053 Josh's advice, as a wave rolls in during Flying Fish testing, is to "run!"

D7K 1060 We may have to apologize to the Natalie's parents - it's possible that she's having a little too much fun at Tinkering School, professional help may be needed to help her adjust to normal life.

IMG 5207 Leo manages one or two strokes of the paddle before the Flying Fish sinks beneath the waves. The tinkerers dub it "second best boat".

IMG 5238 The boats are deposited on the beach - for mere moments.

D7K 1077 Let's just try the outrigger one more time, now that the actual outrigger part has broken off in the waves.

D7K 1109 Tara takes out the boat she helped build and putters around just outside the break.

IMG 5302 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Sam

IMG 5306 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Isaac

IMG 5307 Tara gets a push from Josh and surfs in.

IMG 5324 Christie and a sea lion play peekaboo for a few minutes.

IMG 5338 A few minutes later, the sea lion comes back and plays with Elijah and Josh.

D7K 1123 Althea and Isaac decide to see how well the Flying Fish can fly.

D7K 1124 Ducking is the better part of valor, decides Althea.

D7K 1126 Which turns out to be wise when if nose-dives right in front of her.

D7K 1137 Ethan points out that the center-of-gravity will be lower if they turn it over, and as it turns out, he is right. If not graceful, it's at least more stable in the air.

D7K 1151 Running with it on the beach turns out to be just as much fun.

IMG 5428 Althea takes it for a solo spin.

D7K 1188 Some clay-like dust is found at the edge of the cliff wall. Water and tub are it takes to create sticky, gelatinous, mud.

IMG 5485 Althea and Ethan take the good boat out for a spin.

IMG 5518 Meanwhile, Josh plays the role of Pied Piper and lures the tinkerers into the waves for one last romp.

IMG 5546 Gardner keeps an eye on us, and keeps his cast dry, on his perch up on the rocks.

D7K 1207 Even Gever can't resist taking the working boat out.

D7K 1246 He discovers that the paddle is just too short to use without tipping over.

D7K 1279 Althea and Isaac adopt the role of beached seals after getting too cold in the waves with Josh.

Here's my advice; go to the beach for the day. Don't worry about the roller coaster in the barn, go to the beach and spend the day doing every whimsical thing you can think of. Going to the beach will help make the roller coaster better. Bring a shovel, and a towel.

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