Fireworks at the dock!

I drove to Muskegon again to train at the Coast Guard Station. Besides providing lunch for the Coasties, the Auxiliary group also dug some more into the boat crew training manual and practiced four essential knots.  I’ve tried learning these knots in the past, but nobody had ever explained and demonstrated them as well as Brian Hartley did today. This time, I really got them down right away! (Brian is the vice-commander of the Grand Valley Auxiliary flotilla).

After lunch, we headed out to the frozen docks with some Coasties to fire flares. We learned to use different types of flares — day, night, pull-chain, and gun-loaded. The day flares gave out orange smoke, which apparently does not come off clothing very easily. When an auxiliarist lit one of these, she thought it was a night flare (the ones that give off light and can start a fire), so she was standing right next to the group. The wind was blowing towards the channel, so we all got a share of the orange smoke for a little while. Then, the wind starting blowing towards Lake Michigan, so NOAA’s cars got the rest of the smoke. 🙂  Just don’t tell anyone. Since all these flares were expired, not all of them worked. The one type that did not work at all was the kind in which the bottom must be unscrewed and then a chain needs to be pulled. The chains just kept breaking, and the silly things never went off.

Everyone’s favorite flares of course were the gun type. At first, they were not lighting up. But the first one that did, almost landed in the roof of a NOAA building! (Again… don’t tell anyone). After that, most of them worked. Brian brought a bag full of these flares, so we all had some fun shooting them over the channel — even some of the Coasties joined in the fun!  Everyone thought I had way too much fun with these flares, but hey, it’s not every day that I get to play with guns and fire at the same time, or get to see fireworks in the middle of winter!

Once the fireworks fun was over, we learned more about flares from the Coast Guard personnel, and then headed back inside for more Auxiliary training with Brian. I think the whole day was a lot of fun, but shooting flares was the highlight of the day! 😀


About Gabriel Mongefranco

Gabriel Mongefranco is your software developer for all things data: extraction, integration, analytics and security. He is also a blogger, a poet, a proud father and a faithful Christian. He is always eager to contract with faith-based nonprofits! Learn more.