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Edward M. Sweatt and Carolyn H. Sweatt. ...J^ubllshers
Edward M. Sweatt Sdttor
Lynn S. Carlson Managing Editor
Susan Usher JUtws Editor
Doug Rutter Sports Bettor
Eric Carlson Stqff Writer
Mary Potts & Peggy Earwood Office Managers
Carolyn H. S*/eatt Advertising Director
Tlmberiey Adams & Linda Cheers Advertising Representatives
Dorothy Brennan A Brenda Clemmona Moore Graphic Artists
William Manning J*ressman
Lonnie Sprinkle Assistant Pressman
PAGE 4 -A. THURSDAY. AUGUST 25. 1994
Working On Problem
Is A Good First Step
If you've ever been on the beach a few hours after a fish spill
on a hot summer day, you probably have no trouble understand
ing why the mayors of Brunswick County's oceanfront towns
don't want menhaden boats operating too close to our shoreline.
A menhaden spill is a slimy, stinking mess, the kind of mem
orable incident that might convince any vacationing family to
venture elsewhere the next year ? like South Carolina, Delaware,
Virginia or North Carolina's Outer Banks, where menhaden fish
ing is restricted or prohibited.
All-too-periodic menhaden spills on the Outer Banks a few
years back left beaches ankle-deep in tiny, rotting fish. People
who relied on tourism for their livelihood were left to do the
apologizing and explaining to visitors, and they began to make a
fiuss about it. So did sportfishermen, and last year, the N.C.
Marine Fisheries restricted menhaden fishing off some areas in
On Long Beach, five menhaden spills have been documented
in ten years, the latest just two months ago. Long Beach and five
other Brunswick County beach towns would like similar protec
tion against future menhaden spills here.
Still, it's difficult to embraoe the idea of more government re
strictions on commercial fishermen, who justifiably argue that
their entire industry, and the heritage of many coastal families
and communities, will soon drown in a sea of rules and red tape.
Representatives of the six towns and three menhaden fishing
operations got together last week with Rep. David Redwine to
talk over the problem and see if there's a way to solve it without
official government intervention. That's a good idea ? faster,
cheaper and more efficient, too, if it works.
Though the situation might seem to be untenable ? with the
mayors saying they don't want menhaden boats within a mile of
shore and fishermen saying that's too far ? perhaps It's not.
Perhaps the prospect of compromise will be preferable to that of
further restrictions against the fishery. If menhaden companies
won't hold to their end of a reasonable bargain, then it will be
time to call out the cavalry.
If the towns and menhaden companies can work out their dif
ferences across the table without wrapping the issue in govern
ment red tape, maybe they'll end up with a plan everyone can
If Only That First-Day
Glow Lasted 1 3 Years
School started this week and I wasn't there.
This is only the second time in the past 17 years that I've missed
watching kindergartners on their
first day of school. It's one of the
real pleasures of covering the ed
But Don and I need our annu
al mountaintop fix, and between
one thing and another, this
seemed to be the only week we
could manage after an April can
It's exciting, that first day of
school. Most kindergarten and first grade students think school is a
wonderful, wpnderful place and know learning as the grand adventure it
is. A typical kindergartner adores his or her teacher and hangs on every
word. The afterglow can last for years, as on-the-spot hugs in the gro
cery store or mall testify.
Teachers who still care share that first-day glow, even after long
years in the profession, and sometimes you see in older students when
they come home excited about Spanish class or the new math teacher.
The question that burns in my mind all the time, and especially in
the fall of the year, is what happens? Where does that spark go? What
stifles enthusiasm for learning so surely that by ninth grade most chil
dren. but not all, are just going through the motions in classes they con
sider boring? School becomes one long social hour.
Many students who are serious about getting an education end up
seeking it elsewhere, if they can afford it, outside the public schools.
So why the gradual fadeaway?
Is it because some parents don't think school and/or education is im
Is it because of the year they had the one "bad" teacher in the whole
third grade, or because they had a problem and no one acted like they
Did another kid rag them on the bus or call them "stupid"?
Is it because a teacher burned out. but didn't leave (or get booted
out) because the prospect of retirement benefits was too good?
Is it because parents can't or don't help with homework, either be
cause they don't know how or because neither parent nor child has time
for homework between one after-school activity and another?
Or because certain teachers don't think what they're teaching mat
ters and pass on that attitude, giving no homework or "busy work," nev
er checking assignments?
Watching from the sidelines of non-parenthood, I'm stumped.
Perhaps it's a mix of all of the above, or something else entirely. After
getting to listen to a lot of parents and a lot of teachers, sometimes I
wish they could hear and sec themselves
if we adults don't think and don't act like school and education are
important, how can we expect students to act as though these things
have value, much less believe it?
Maybe this year we could start the school year with a fresh attitude
and higher expectations of each other and ourselves as parents, teachers,
students and community people.
Come to think of it, maybe that's the real reason the first day of
is so exciting. The hope that this year it will be different, and
better. If only we could make that first-day glow last 13 years.
When It's Reigning Cats And Dogs...
This letter was taped to our office
door one recent morning:
I am a traveling nuclear tech
and must leave in two weeks on
assignment out of state.
Unfortunately, someone threw out
four kittens on my doorstep two
I've placed a two-week ad in the
Beacon and the shopper, and so far,
I've placed one kitten with a good
lead on a second; however, / feel
I 'm going to need more coverage to
meet my deadline.
I've contacted every humane
society along the coast, and all are
The mother is about six months
to a year with black long hair and
a bushy tail One kitten is black
with long hair, and one kitten is
black short hair.
They have had a vet visit, shots,
wormed, ears cleaned, parasite
treated, etc. They will make nice
pets for someone...
I wish I could take them, but I
can't because I'm a responsible pet
owner. I have no more pets than I
can handle (one). He's the kind of
critter that doesn't require an un
wieldy amount of time or attention
(cat). He won't be responsible for
bringing any unwanted kittens into
the world (neutered). And he can't
possibly annoy anyone outside my
home (stays inside).
It hasn't always been that way.
Eric and I once had a brood of cats
and a big, sweet, dumb Labrador re
triever. All of them roamed freely on
our five acres of mountainside.
When we relocated to a canal lot
on Holden Beach, we gave the dog
to a treasured friend and convinced
our buyers that the cats came with
I don't know what it is that drives
us to want to keep pets ? even when
we spend way more time at work
than at home, even when we already
have kids, spouses and too many
other beings to clean up after and
spend money on. All I know is that I
seem to be able to live cat-free only
for a few weeks before the yearning
Nonetheless, I'm afraid I wouldn't
have the compassion of Deborah
Downer, the woman who wrote the
letter above. Any busy professional
who'd go to such lengths to seek
homes for some slacker's discarded
animals ? who'd feed them and get
them medical attention rather than
send them to an animal shelter over
populated with cats destined for the
gas chamber ? deserves a hand.
By that I mean assistance, not just
applause. If you can help Deborah,
call her today at 754-5**42 or 754
Whatever drives people to keep
pets can apparently also drive them
around the bend. Last week I read a
not-joking daily newspaper food
section article about Making Home
made Dog Biscuits. Really.
Someone wrote a letter seeking a
good dog biscuit recipe (bow would
you know?) and there was a flood of
Call me callous and tell me I
don't get it, but listen here: If you
are out there (a) making dog bis
cuits, (b) thinking up recipes for dog
biscuits and (c) writing letters to
newspapers about the joys of mak
ing dog biscuits, you have entirely
too much time on your hands.
Volunteer for something ? Lower
Cape Fear Hospice, Hope Harbor
Home, Brunswick Buddies, the
Guardians Ad Litem, the Brunswick
Animal League all need you.
If you're killing time cooking dog
food, you need them, too.
Racers Will Remember Fallen Frenchman
Dear Robert: The Horn wis
rounded February 5, and today is
March 18. 1 am continuing non
stop toward the Pacific Islands
because I am happy at sea, and
perhaps also to save my soul.
? Bernard Moitesskr
It was, by any measure, the great
est race of all time. A race around
the world. Alone in small sailboats.
Without stopping for rest, supplies
Nine sailors tried. Only one made
it back to the starting line in
Plymouth. England. Six were forced
to drop out after craft or captain
could bear no more of the sea's re
One of the competitors went mad.
Terrorized by what lay ahead, he
sailed his boat as far as the coast of
Brazil. There he spent months wan
dering in circles while broadcasting
phony reports of his position in
hopes of returning in first place.
Instead, overcome by the shame
ful cowardice of his hoax, he cast
himself into the Atlantic and
The official winner, Englishman
Robin Knox-Johnson, claimed the
modest prize of a golden globe and
?5,000 after an amazing feat of en
durance and seamanship by sailing
his 32-foot boat Suhaili eastward
beneath the southern tips of Africa,
Australia and South America before
returning to Plymouth.
However, it was a Frenchman,
Bernard Moitessier, who captured
the imagination of sailors every
where by deciding not to win the
race and instead to pursue a more
important victory for himself.
By mid March, 1969, Moitessier
had been alone at sea for seven
months. The most difficult chal
lenges of the voyage were behind
him ? battling dangerous Pacific
storms, dodging icebergs in the
Southern ocean and rounding the
infamous Cape Horn.
He had just crossed his outbound
path, marking a successful circum
navigation of the globe, and was al
most sure to win the race. All that
remained was a relatively easy sail
up the West coasts of Africa and
Europe to claim his prize and per
manent recognition in the history
But something happened to
Moitessier. He had discovered his
place in the world. He realized how
much he truly enjoyed being out
there, alone on the endless sea, with
nothing between himself and obliv
ion except 40 feet of steel deck.
When Moitessier entered the
great race, he made the curious deci
sion of not equipping his boat
Joshua with a radio. He felt that
whatever comfort might be gained
by having a way to communicate
was not worth the distraction and
temptation of using it.
Instead. Moitessier counted on the
occasional passing ship to take his
mail and log entries back to the race
organizers in England.
So it was on March 18, that
Moitessier used his trusty slingshot
to fire a film canister containing the
above message to a tanker off the
southwest coast of Africa. Writing
in his log that day, he declared him
"To have the time.. .to have the
choice.. .not knowing what you are
headed for and just going there any
way, without a care, without asking
any more questions."
He continued on for another three
months, sailing half way around the
globe again before landing in Tkhiti.
His total journey of 37,455 miles
was the longest non-stop single
handed sailing voyage in history.
Anchored in Papeete Bay,
Moitessier wrote a marvelous de
scription of his adventure titled The
Long Way" (published in English by
Grafton Books). It has earned a
space on the shelves with other clas
sic accounts of solo circumnaviga
tions by Joshua S locum (whose First
name Moitessier took for his boat)
and Sir Francis Chichester.
But Moitessier 's saga offers more
than just another tale of man against
the sea. It describes being forever
transformed by 10 months of in
tense, private intimacy with the pri
mal forces of nature. In another log
entry he wrote:
"I found a little temple from for
gotten times, lost in the faraway for
est. I stayed near it a long time, all
by myself, to learn to read the marks
carved on the stone. Nothing was
left of what I brought, and I Lived on
roots and wild honey, staying near
the temple for as long as it took to
find out. And little by little, the
stone gave forth a name and said go
on and seek the truth inside of
things, further on."
Seafaring people around the
world were saddened to learn of
Moitessier's death in Paris earlier
this summer. Fortunately, in the lat
ter days of his long battle against
cancer, Moitessier completed an au
tobiography that took him seven
years to write. (Unfortunately, there
is no English language publisher
The book describes his lifelong
quest to form "a perfect alliance
with nature." It details of his child
hood years in Vietnam, where he
learned to pilot junk-rigged sailboats
on the Gulf of Siam.
Moitessier includes a full account
of his life aboard Joshua, the 40
foot ketch on which he first set a
record for non-stop voyaging with a
14, 000- mile journey around the
Horn from Tahiti to France in 1966
before dwarfing his own accom
plishment in the great race.
Finally, in the spirit of Gaughin
and Melville, Moitessier paints a
fantastic picture of his sojourn on a
deserted South Pacific atoll where
he and his family lived alone and
without modem conveniences for
Residents of neighboring islands
came to know and respect Moit
essicr and bestowed upon him a
name in their native language that he
adopted for his last boat and the title
of his autobiography. They called
him "T&mata," which in Polynesia
means "to try."
Because of the danger and
tragedy that surrounded it, the great
race was never run again. But its
spiritual successor, the fourth British
Oxygen Corporation (BOC) Chal
lenge, will begin next month from
Charleston , S C.
Twenty-nine sailors from nine
countries will travel the same round
the-world course in high-tech sail
craft measuring from 40 to 60
feet.They will have the latest navi
gation equipment to guide them, in
cluding on-board computers and
satellite weather forecasting. They
will be required to stop for rest and
repairs in South Africa, Australia
and Uruguay before returning to
You can be sure that not a single .
one will complete the journey with
out thinking at least once about
Bernard Moitessier, who realized
that it wasn't as important to win as
it was to try.
mOnfy the educated are free. ? Epictetas
m Liberty catutot be preserved without a general knowledge
among people, who have a right.. .and a desire to know; but
besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable,
indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied
kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of
their rulers. ? John Adams
mLet knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before. ? Tennyson
a Not every man is so great a coward as he thinks he is ? nor
yet so good a Christian.
? Robert Louis Stevenson
mlrt your rocking chair by your window shall you dream such
happiness as you may never feel. ? Theodore Dreiser
m Education is... hanging around until you've caught on.
? Robert Frost