As a child, I took for granted my life experiences of growing up on the Gulf Coast. My family was one of many in our area that owned a tiny little piece of heaven: a 16 ft. aluminum boat. In my imagination, this vessel inspired amazing daydreams of racing boats, pirate ships, whales, mermaids, and shipwrecks. It carried my family to secret islands where the sand was whiter and more beautiful than anywhere else in the world, and to secret fishing holes filled with fish waiting to challenge us to fights on our fishing lines.
As an adult, the beauty of our Gulf waters could not inspire me more. There is nothing more peaceful than sitting on the beach with the warm sun shining down on your head, sand between your toes, and waves calling you to join them for a swim. What a perfect place to be when your creativity needs a boost!
Making the move to become an Educator at GulfQuest was a dream come true for this educator’s heart. The mission statement of this incredible facility spoke directly to me: “The mission of GulfQuest is "to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to understand and appreciate the Gulf Coast's rich maritime heritage through exhibits, programs and activities.” What a dream come true! To be part of an organization that wants me to be part of inspiring others to learn about what I love and live every day!
In the Education Department we welcome field trips and groups all week long onto our “ship.” We hope we can inspire our guests to learn and love the maritime history and traditions of the Gulf of Mexico as much as we do. We know without a doubt, that some of the children walking through our doors will be future meteorologists, conservationists, boat captains, and tug boat pilots. This inspires our team to do more on a daily basis.
One of the great bonuses of working at GulfQuest is the continued opportunities for staff to grow and learn. We are encouraged to seek more knowledge and a greater understanding of all aspects of our maritime culture and history, and share it with others. On February 1, the Education Department had the perfect opportunity to do this. We took a “field trip” of our own to visit one of GulfQuest’s exhibit sponsors, Aker Solutions. Aker manufactures underwater umbilicals. Umbilicals carry fiber optics, electrical wiring, and hydraulic fluid from oil and gas platforms to the ocean floor.
At the Mobile Bay Middle Port location we witnessed firsthand how the “umbilicals” are manufactured, which was incredibly inspiring for our team. Among the many professionals we met were the engineers who performed the field tests on the umibilicals and continue to find ways to improve their product. We witnessed the simulation of 35 years’ worth of wave motion on the umbilicals, and the impact test which simulated heavy objects being dropped onto the umbilical underwater. It was an incredible experience that had us all in complete awe.
Our Education team could not get out of the parking lot before the discussions on new ideas began! We are looking forward to developing new classroom experiences and camp activities inspired by the field tests we witnessed. We continue to feel inspired from this field trip even today, and look forward to incorporating all the STEM ideas our field trip to Aker Solutions provided.
Sharing our inspiration with our guests is something that comes natural for our staff. We love to educate. It’s who we are. And we are proud to inspire and encourage our guests to learn about and appreciate our maritime heritage. We look forwar to welcoming you to our ship, and being given the opportunity to inspire you.
FREEZE THE BALLS OFF A BRASS MONKEY
"Brass monkeys" were metal trays on the decks of warships. Cannon balls were stacked atop each one. In very cold weather, the balls would shrink (due to thermal contraction), shift, and fall off the brass monkeys.