February 3rd through the 7th 2010 the USPS held its Annual
Meeting at the Corodano Springs Resort in the Disney World
Complex. Almost everyone who attended from District 30 made
a vacation out of it. Except for Terry, she's the only one
still working for a living. Most arrived early and stayed late.
made a road trip out of it and headed South towards the end
of January. That sounds like a good thing except that the third
Storm of the Century for the month was making its way east
through some of the southern states. Didn't make it to Chattanooga
the first night because of severely iced over roads in Nashville.
Nashville has a salt shaker they use to clear the roads with.
I made it to Jacksonville the second night passing through
some decent roads through the rest of Tennessee and Georgia.
Did a little bit of sight seeing and then headed into Cocoa
Beach for a few days. I went to the Space Center which had
a few more exhibits open from the last time I was there. There
was a retired Space Shuttle which I couldn't resist walking
through. Mercury and Gemini capsules built byMcDonnell Aircraft
that I checked out. Those were the things that lured me to
St. Louis. I checked out some of the local restaurants in the
Cocoa Beach area, the Canaveral National Seashore and the Merritt
Island Wildlife Refugee. These were all awesome. On February
3rd, I headed to Orlando and picked up my sister, Louisa, at
the airport and then checked into the Coronado. We met up with
the other folks from D30 and had some fun together. Thursday
I needed to go back to the airport and pick up Terry. Friday
we took in a couple of meetings in and then Terry, Louisa and
I went to Epcot. We had a great time there and then took the
shuttle back to the hotel for a little rest. Bettie and Ken
had a great hospitality room going. We had a good crowd but
hospitality rooms were spread out over such a large area that
it was tough to go from one to the other without a long walk.
Saturday was the annual meeting. About 650 persons were in
attendance. The significant issue we voted on and passed was
the ability to teach any USPS course to the general public.
We of course had the change of watch with the new leadership taking
over. The evening banquet had great food and a terrific band
that played music from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Everyone retired
to their rooms for the night.
morning, Ken Danley,
Dick Des Camps and myself climbed into my car at o-dark
hundred and headed to Tavares. With a brief stop at McDonalds
for breakfast we arrived at the Triangle Yacht Club Marina at
0730. We were some of the first to arrive. The air was brisk
(about 40o F and the wind was blowing from the east with a light
chop on the water. USPS chipped in for donuts and coffee inside
the clubhouse which really hit the spot on the brisk morning.
events chief organizer was P/R/C Bob Brandenstein, SN of the
Pittsburgh Power Squadron but he
had lots of help from the
Harris Chain Power Squadron and the Jacksonville Sail & Power
Squadron. Four boats were bought in from various locations for
the event. There were thirty of us at sign-up in the morning.
Twenty were to be certified and the rest were either master or
regional certifiers and other support personnel.
were broken up into small teams. Dick and I were assigned to
Joe Sackett’s (Jacksonville Sail & Power Squadron)
team on board a 21’ Cuddy Cabin Bayliner. It was the biggest
boat of the four and was a terrific boat for this type of event.
still in the clubhouse, we started with introductions, some
guidelines, expectations and instruction.
We then prepared
to go out on the lake. I had put on so many layers of clothes
that I couldn't’t get my life jacket over my clothes, so
I had to take off a layer or two to be able to snap on the PFD.
A course was set up by the instructors on the water. Buoys were
set to mark the low speed and high speed slalom course and also
the markers for the high speed stop.
boat headed to a different section of the lake first so that
we wouldn't’t be close to each
other while demonstrating our skills. High speed activities
were conducted on Eustis Lake
while low speed maneuvers remained on Harris lake. We had five
students on our boat with two of them being sailboaters.
Our first activity was docking. Then we moved on to low speed
maneuvers through the preset slalom course. Forward and then
backward. Backward became a challenge for many with the wind
blowing but everyone got through it okay.
then moved over to Eustis Lake for some high speed events.
We each went through a preset slalom
course at high speeds. Then
we all had to demonstrate a high speed stop. Unnerving at first
but a lot of fun once we got use to it. Full throttle up the
course until you pass the buoy. Engine quickly to idle and right
turn and then engine in neutral. Then you watch the wake off
to your starboard without rocking the boat. Then, we each had
to take a turn at “man-overboard” and come around
properly to pick up the float. We demonstrated our ability to
run a range both going in and coming out.
We headed back to the marina for a lunch and a break. After a
morning on the water, the lunch was delicious. Sandwiches were
made by the Finn Restaurant (a great place to eat). After swapping
sea stories and relaxing for a little bit we headed back out
to finish the activities we had left.
When we all came in we had a fire extinguisher demo with each
of us taking a turn putting a fire out.
was taken care of and we said our farewells to our new friends.
This was a great event which was very well organized
and put together by three squadrons with a common interest in
doing something good for USPS. Our organization saw some weak
links in getting remote Districts into this program and took
a giant step forward in remedying this. Everyone involved had
a positive attitude and we all left with very few hoops to go
through afterwards to become Advanced Certifiers.
we were done with our “official business”,
I needed to get Dick Des Camps back to Orlando to meet up with
Peggy for the rest of their vacation. Ken came along for company
and we drove Dick back to the Coronado. We then turned around
and headed back to Tavares where we stayed at the Holiday Inn
Express which had a special price for those involved in the Certification
Program. Most of the participants stayed there for the night.
We met up with Betty and Ken’s sister Marci, who had already
eaten diner but came with us so we could eat. We walked through
a fenced off swampy area, (Betty and Marci saw an alligator there
earlier) and went to Finn’s Restaurant for a super seafood
dinner. The Super Bowl was on TV. Then we walked back to the
motel. Betty refused to walk through the swampy place so we took
the long cut. Everyone crashed in their room and went on their
way the next day. The Danleys continued on their trip through
Florida and checking out Kentucky. There will be an article in
the next Ensign and this event will be repeated next year with
more up front advertising.
Gus Elia, JN