[Note: Thanks to Wieldling and Lin chan for photos. All images are clickable for uncropped full resolution.]
For this year’s annual meeting, we were magically whisked away to… Delaware. We met in a lovely Lewes cul-de-sac at a not at all falling apart home adorned with highly functional dormers and filled with schnauzer memorabilia, wetsuits, and more light switches than lights. We were delighted to welcome a new member to our shipwreckageotology crew – a (super-cute, obviously) baby! He was a joy to have around, and some
might even did argue that despite the presence of an infant, there was significantly less whining than last year! We spent the first evening catching up, eating a delicious dinner, searching the house for sheets (after the SLC delegation greedily hoarded what had appeared to be the only usable set), being startled by a mouse in a box (or startling ourselves with baby toys), devouring a fantastic almond cake, and marking the new year with our customary sparkling wine and pot banging. (This was followed by some crabwalky speechifying about settler colonialism and some other poorly documented nonsense.)
As many woke up the next day still feeling the effects of New Year’s Eve, it was a relief to find a fresh pot of coffee waiting, thanks to some of the previous evening’s brilliant forethought. After we’d mostly all dressed, showered, eaten breakfast, etc. we were treated to some fresh motto pankeku. We then headed out to explore the great city of Lewes. Our first stop was Lewes beach, which had some interesting sea plants and a parking lot built for shenanigans. It was a lovely day for a walk along the coastline, which led us to the ferry terminal and its toilets.
We considered heading on to the nearby Cape Henlopen State Park, but it was already getting a bit late for a proper lunch. We instead headed into town, parked by the cemetery (where we learned about the unreliability of gravestone rubbings), deposited our parking stone in the meter, and headed to the Rose & Crown. When we arrived, we were disheartened to discover that despite the abundance of empty seats inside, there was no room for us. Rather than search for a new place to eat, we sent in our conference negotiator, who managed to get us some seats. It wasn’t a perfect arrangement, but we were happy to get in (like showing up to the theatre to find only upper balcony tickets available – not ideal, but at least you get to see the show). After a few minutes, however, we were upgraded to two booths (like an usher informing you that actually, it appears there are some loge seats available). It was more comfortable there, which was good, because they were in no hurry to bring us our food (if our lunch was an engagement, Sallie would not approve).
We somehow managed to finish eating before sunset, which allowed us to take a quick peek at the state park, where we viewed the sunset atop an observation tower, discovered huge pine cones, and learned who our real friends are outside the Biden center. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing, snacking on chips, cheese, and challah (a jewish braided bread), learning about shipwrecks through games (if you’re ever in a shipwreck, make sure to buy some dew), and having a late but delicious dinner. A faulty chair attacked one of the conference participants, but he fortunately did not seem to suffer any physical injury. We can only hope that there will be no long-term psychological damage.
For our final full day, we got down to some serious shipwreckageotological business and visited the Zwaanendael Museum. There was some stuff about ships, stuff on ships, and wreckage, and there were some helpful ladies that had lots to say. Oh, and a shrunken monkey head. After spending a bit more time looking around downtown Lewes, we made the bold decision to save time by heading directly to our next destination. We of course immediately realized that this wouldn’t work, as it would have left the takin’ care of babies committee locked out, so we headed back to the house to do a surprisingly small amount of dicking around. We then doffed our usual wigs and fur coats in favor of our man pants and headed to the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton. We drank and received extremely enthusiastic descriptions of several beers and lunched on some sausages, but we were unable to talk our way into getting a tour.
We finished the day with some delicious smoked salmon soup (I’d have paid at least 10 gemstones for some of that fish), grilled veg, and lightly charred sausages, followed by some final socializing, gaming, and other non-destructive activities.
Our final morning was filled with cleaning, eating all of the leftover food in frittata form, and trying to convince a temperamental broiler not to burn the house down. Overall, it was quite a successful conference – we studied past shipwrecks at the Zwaanendael museum, visited the ocean (where ships have been known to wreck), learned about shipwreck survival through our new shipwreck game, and better understood wreckage through controlled land-based experiments. And welcomed a new shipwreckageotologist!
One thing we did not do during this conference was smoke. That was pretty awesome. I think we all know who not smoked the best.