Wednesday Night, August 15th, 2012

One way you know that it is time to go to the beach is that nobody objects when you announce it over breakfast. Nobody wants to stay and work in the barn? “No!” Ok then, let’s make sandwiches…

We pack the icebox, toss in this and that, load up the vehicles, and head out to the newly discovered secret Tinkering School beach (which is public, just not well known).

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We are all happy, and Gever is frankly amazed, to see that the beach has returned to the pristine state we found it in last session – no sign of our hydro-engineering remains.

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The temperature of the water does nothing to discourage immediate swimming. Rowen and Trent run in as soon as they drop their towels – the island their destination.

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And they discover that their little island experiences moments of submersion.

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Up the beach, Lili and Gever find a mysterious sand cave.

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The receeding tide leaves evocative figures drawn in wet sand.

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Back at our camp on the beach, the group has gotten industrious.

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Christie, Rekha, and Frannie discover that the sand below the new levy is very viscous. Some speculate that the water is seeping through the sand from the new channel causing an upwelling that loosens the packed grains.

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Josh and Carter work to deepen the channel and keep the new waterway flowing.

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An expedition is mounted to discover the headwaters of the little creek. Frannie, Elizabeth, and Liora bravely enter the dark grove of trees and overgrowth that frame the waterway.

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They return eight minutes later, unscathed and perhaps a little more confident than moments before.

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Meanwhile, the team back at camp have created a stable waterway of their own, and Kevin deems it safe enough start the new agrarian settlement by building a saucer-temple.

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Josh brings in heavy boulders to firm up the sides of the channel that he and the team have been working on.

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“Alas, poor sandball-Yorrick, I knew ye well,” says Rowen. He didn’t really say it, but we all thought it when we saw the serious look on his face.

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Elizabeth made a sandwhich so overflowing with peanut butter and jelly that it was oozing out the sides before it could be put in her baggie. Much discussion ensued regarding the possiblity of eating it like astronaut food by smooshing it into paste and squeezing it out of a corner of the bag. When the time came, she opted to eat the sandwhich and invert the bag to create a pb&j glove.

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Seeing his friends frolicking in the water, Ben psyches himself up to join them by announcing that he is going to “run all the way in before he gets cold.”

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Josh poses a serious brain-twister that seems to cause moments of actual agony in the group. It goes something like this; twenty people meet in a hallway with twenty doors. Each door leads to a small soundproof vestibule. The other side of the vestibule has another door that leads into a common room with a table and two coins – a quarter and a penny. The coins are in a random heads/tails state. The problem posed to the group is, using only the two coins to communicate, and with each person being let in to the room from the vestibules in completely random (and possibly repeating) order, how can they know with certainty when all twenty of them have been in the room? The only other rule is that they must turn over at least one coin, and the coins must always be in the same quarter/penny order. The magical properties of the room prevent them from aging or getting hungry, so it is possible that they will each visit the room hundreds of thousands of times. Once they enter the vestibules, they will not see or hear each other until one of them declares definitively that all of them have been in the room, and scientists will carefully remove all cheats such as spit or hair from the room between visits so that the only communication comes through the coins.

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Portrait of a Collaborator: Josh has a deep appreciation for time spent at a beach.

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Frannie invents a new game; Jump-Across-the-Creek-Without-Making-a-Splash.

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Rekha accepts the challenge.

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As does Christie.

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On an expedition to explore the chain of coves to the north, Liora lets a tiny rock crab almost scamper up her sleeve.

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And touches a starfish – something she tells us, would have been unusually brave for her to do just a year ago.

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Pressing on, despite bare feet and rough rocks, the intrepid explorers, Lili, Carter, and Liora, look for more unexplored territory.

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Gever pauses to balance a rock, again.

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Elizabeth joins the expedition, flashing her new Tinkering School bling.

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Lili finds a cozy perch.

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Carter takes a turn blazing the trail (Gever clambered ahead while the team was distracted by a tide pool).

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They discover a beautiful blue-green pool.

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Liora decides that she simply must get one of the pieces of abalone shell she can see from our rocky perch – will she brave the chilly waters?

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Yes she will. Everyone claps, and we watch, somewhat envious, as she paddles around. “It is so cold that you can’t feel it,” she declares.

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She returns and spies the shell that she wanted.

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Not wanting to get her hair wet, she uses her dexterous toes to bring the prize to the surface.

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Elizabeth examines a peculiar piece of seaweed; a rubbery sheet covered with little bumps.

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The hike back to camp is quicker than Liora and Kevin expect.

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Back at camp, Trent and Ben have invented their own jumping game.

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Rowen refuses to leave the water for more than two minutes at a time and his frolicking constantly draws tinkerers back to the waves.

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Old friends Rekha and Christie are serenaded by Josh on the three-string ukelele.

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Liora and Frannie enjoy the thrill of getting out to the island to be splashed by waves.

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Seems that everyone wants to have a shower.

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Back on the beach, Ben and Trent continue their variation on the jumping game.

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As near as we can tell, the object is to jump up on the sand wall from a one-legged start.

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When we get back to the ranch, it’s a chance to ride on the outside of the truck again. Frannie and Carter say “yes!”

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And Rekha and Christie do too.

It is important to take a break sometimes. To relax the brain and let the subconscious mental processes chew on the current set of problems while the conscious mind gets to act like a kid for a few hours. This is summer camp after all.