Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Week Two in the Ocean Blue

Week Two in the Ocean Blue 

Week 2

Hey there! My name is Brennan McAuley from Cohort 5. I am currently down at Christiansted National Historic Site for my second summer internship. 


I am starting to think like a poacher. Especially like a poacher at 4:00 am. That is the time Ranger Laurencin and I began surveillance. We went to several locations where fishermen/women are known to launch their boats. We took notes of each vessel and who was aboard. From there we went directly to the lookout where we could see a majority of Buck Island Reef National Monument. We observed the boats that drove through the monument and discusses typical patterns of known poachers. During the time we were there, there were no poachers within the park boundary. However, this experience showed me what I needed to look for. It also taught me a lot about Poacher’s behaviors and how Rangers effectively work to stop poaching altogether.

Rough Waters

I distinctly remember thinking how great it was that I made it past the first week without getting seasick. I let this go to my head a bit and figured I was a natural. The second week here taught me that I am not a “Natural”. On the upside, I have officially earned my “sea legs”! I practice maneuvering the boat in rough waters in order to make a contact with another vessel (for practice we used a boundary marker buoy). This definitely will take some more practice. After practicing that, I practiced making LE contacts with the same buoy. I am really glad I got to practice both of these skills in a real-world setting.

Second week 

First week 


The practice buoy 

Click it or Ticket

            Safety is always the number one priority. This includes wearing your seatbelt. I was able to see how traffic stops were made. I also heard what was said and how the ticket was given. After observing this, it was time for me to give it a go. I practiced conducting traffic stops in the office with the Rangers. I went through the entire process which started with calling the stop into dispatch and ended with writing and giving the ticket. This form of scenario training allowed me to make mistakes which are then easily corrected.

No Horse Play (in the park anyway)

            It was the end of shift and dinner was calling, but... as Ranger Laurencin and I walked out for the day we observed an older half shirtless man with long gray dreads nearly galloping on a skinny brown horse without a saddle through Christiansted National Historic Park; just a reminder this is an urban park which prohibits horseback riding. It took me just a second for my eyes to reassure my brain that the information that was being transported was in fact correct. Seconds after first laying eyes on the horse and the rider they both tumbled to the ground. The horse did a summersault along with the rider.  The horse decided to not stick around and ran off of park property. After being asked if he was ok the man riding the horse said “Of course I’m good, I am the president of horse riding” He also said he would no longer ride within the park. He then proceeded to run after his horse which was running on the road and stopping cars. The horse was quickly retrieved and reunited with his owner. This contact was a great example of education and the use of ranger discretion.  

Check out the video  here

Birthday Bash on Buck Island

            DJ Slick (local dj)  had a three-day party. The third day was a rest and relaxation day which took place on Buck Island. Needless to say while patrolling on boat and land I did not see any “rest & relaxation” what I did see was over 300 people drinking and playing music on the island. I was able to observe and learn how safety inspections were done. In addition to this, we dealt with several other incidents that required our assistance. I got to see some very skilled de-escalation techniques which helped prevent any major problems from occurring the entire day.  This event exposed me to A lot of people who viewed the Rangers as the “bad guys” because of this mindset several people were very hostile from before any words were spoken. I mentioned earlier how safety was number one, and that was the mindset of each ranger there. Unfortunately, this was not what many people thought. As safety inspections were being conducted people asked why are the rangers out here “harassing” people that are just trying to have a good time? I was able to see how this was dealt with. Overall the day provided me with endless opportunities to learn how the job is done. The NPS worked with DPNR the entire day. This was great to see the relationship between the two agencies.

Chief Rodriguez going over the plan for the day 

Birthday Bash at BUIS

NPS working closely with DPNR to ensure a safe day for everyone

Park Experience 

            Throughout the week I was able to explore all three sites and get more familiar with what goes on at each one. I found week two to be an exciting and productive week with lots of progress made.
Working hard on Buck Island 

 The Best Caribean Food From El Sol

Anyone who knows me, knows I love my food. Luckily it did not take me long to find the best Caribbean food around town. 
Seasoned rice, conch salad, beans, And local and fresh Passion fruit juice (not pictured)
Salad, chicken, seasoned rice, beans, and sweet potato stuffing 

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