Crew Report from Day One

HI everyone,

The sea is pretty calm (only one sea sick student) with high clouds and lots of sunshine. Temperatures at 70s at evening and 80s during daytime. Ocean water temperature is just perfect (went swimming today).  

Amira wrote the following:

Hi everyone, How are you doing? I am very good. Out here, today, we went on  priate ship. One of the pirates tried to cut off one of my fingers, so I made a fist and he didn't get it. Then, I got to go swimming off the pirate ship. I also played shuffleboard on the cruise ship with another girl named Gina. I go to Kid's corner each evening where we play games like guessing riddles. We also watched Spy Kids movie, tonight at Kid's corner. After that I went to dinner where I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Bye. Amira



The tech guy that has to open a locked panel is gone, so I am at a handicap to send jps. I have a bunch of JPS of the pirate ship that we sailed around in the harbor of Georgetown, Grand Cayman. Later.

The ship had a crew of 4 men: 2 AfricaCarib, 1 Native America/Carib, and 1 British pirate. Well, of course, they were all actors, but they did a great job. The ship was 80 ft. long and a pretty close copy to the Pinta sailed by Columbus. It was sure crowded with our tour group onboard. It made everyone appeciate the "close quarters" feeling that 18th century sailing vessels would have generated. Still we had fun as they terrorized the children and made Professor Fuller walk the blank. Hey, the water was perfect and crystal clear.

OH YEAH>>>> see activities for GPS readings and speed...




AM crew Report for Day Two

Weather is warm today. Sky clear, and very little in terms of waves. The ship is incredibly stable. Everyone is eating breakfast before going on to Roatan island for exploring. Most of us will be going to a special part of the island where the dolphins come close to shore and swim around the people. Yes, that doesn't sound much like archaeology, but it gives a chance to snorkle and see the rich selection of fish and corals of the Caribbean. I may be able to send a photo of two.


Tuesday evening Crew Report

We have just got back onboard the cruise ship from a great day of exploring Roatan Island off the course of Hondorus. One of my students shot digital images on the island and I will upload those in about 5 hours after they do some editing.

Here are longtitudes and latitudes: North 16 degrees 18.591' and West 86 degrees 32.899' (Ship anchorage on Roatan) North 16 degrees 19.607' and West 86 degrees 34.466' (Dolphin encounter) North 16 degrees 16.371' and West 86 degrees 36.019' (Tabyana beach for snorkling)

Amira got her hair braided.

I bought to pieces of modern pottery that is a direct continuity of the ancient Maya pottery. These two pieces were made in Southern Hondorus by a group of women potters and they ship the pieces to Roatan to sell to tourists. The tall cylinder bowl is called a cuch-ah and the low bowl is called a lak. Their design decorations lack the highly executed glyphs and realistic scenes of lords and warriors.... but the forms, method of manufacture and firing are identical. I paid $30 for the two pottery pieces and will bring them back to St. Louis.

Best wishes. Michael


Crew Report from Day Three

I have to leave in just a few minute to shower (smelly archaeologist from a "warm" day.. not really hot though that is from an archaeologists that digs in the desert. some of my students said it was very hot and hard walking, alas...).

Carolyn Davis celebrated her birthday today by touring Lamani and by coming to a birthday dinner in the 4 Seasons Restaurant onboard the cruise ship. We won't report her age, but she is the retired college nurse from SLCC-FV. She has dug twice at Tell Tuneinir and participated on 3 of the college spring break tours. How about that?

They divided the SLCC students into two groups. Michael Fuller went to the site of Lamina with guide Mario Gonzales (with 30 years of experience - a Maya from Western Belize near Xununtunich) and Neathery went with Onofre Vellos (with 3 years of experience - a Maya from Orange Walk Town near Lamina). Neathery's guide has an uncle who still practices a combination of Catholic Faith/Mayan religions rituals.

Questions and answers from the crew:


We really liked hearing about and seeing the pictures of the pirate ship you went on in Georgetown. The students were wondering if the "pirate" crew was from that area or whether they came from around the world. We think it would be cool to have that for a job- how much did they get paid? Also, we wanted to know if you used U.S. dollars to buy the bowls or another currency; if so, what currency are you using? We want to know what grade your daughter is in- the girls of very jealous of her braids with the beads! Safe sailing- check in tomorrow!

---Mrs. Pennycuick's class


Hi, Here are answers about the pirates from one my best students, a retired history teacher named Carl Doerr. "There were four priates. Three, judging from their accentes were from the Carribean islands the Fourth sttemed to be an American or British born kid as his accent didn't sound true and he didn't have one when he went "out of character". Their day was never discussed but, in this part of the world, wages are much lower than in the USA. The "pirates" worked hard and we all gave them nice "tips." They may get more money from tips that as a daily salary. Almost everywhere in the world people are happy to accept US dollars. Everywhere here merchants accept US dollars. On Grand Cayman and Roatan, some of us received their coins in change but the paper was US. The Grand Cayman coins have Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain in it because they are loyala to the monarchy of Great Britain.

PS. Amira is in the 1st grade.




Crew Report- day four


Boy was it a long day, today. It took 4 hours to get to Chichen Itza, a little over 2 hours at the site (running) and 4 hours to get back to the ship. Our group was the last to board the ship before it left. Everybody would have spent longer at the site, but it is isolated.

I did try to access email at 7 am this morning but the satellite system was down! and they even charged Me!!! I saw the image of the maya house and the two images of Maya women wearing traditional clothing. The designs they embroider on their clothing relates to their village... kind of a name tag, eh? Yes, we purchased a couple of these dresses and can photograph them later. Now on to the site of Chichen Itza.

I watched a guy drop a dvd camera into the ocean water. He wanted to cry.

Answers to kid questions grom Amira...

Dear Amira,  Hi my name is Emma, and I want to ask you some questions. How much did you pay for the pot? What are the symbols on it? Did you see the man make it? How long did it take? Are you having fun?  Do you Have any Brothers or sisters ? I do.I have 2 sisters and 1 brother. Did they come with you?  Oh by the way I am 8 and I am in second grade in Russell school. My teacher is Mrs. Grogan. We worked with clay a lot this year. I made a sea turtle and used sunflower seeds to show the scales on his shell. Have you seen any sea turtles? Emma


Dear Emma

My Dad paid $20 for the nice painted cuch-ah. He is still trying to translate the glyphs and may have an answer, tomorrow. We bought the cylinder vase from the grandson of the man who made it. The man who made it is very old and spends his days making the pottery pieces... his grandson sells them. His grandson says he only makes about 10 or 20 of them in a month.

It would take many steps: (1) getting the clay, (2) cleaning the clay, (3) making the cylinder and letting it dry, (4) making the paints, (5) painting the pot, (6) firing the pot, and (7) transporting it to sell to the tourists. Yes, I am having fun.... I don't have any brothers or sisters. Sorry that we didn't seen any sea turtles.

Hello to everyone in your class.



Dear Amira, How old are you.I am 8 year old.I am in second grade at Russell School. How old is yourdad? Do you have a sister? I do. Whats your dad's name? My dad doesn't live with me.Do you have a mom? I do.  How many countries have you visited?You are lucky.  What are you hoping to find in Mexico? Will you get to digup fossils too? We are learning about fosils. Is that what your dad does? What is inside the pyramid? Sincerely, Terrianna


Dear Terrianna

I am 7 years old. I am in the first grade at Rossman School. My Dad is old... He will be 50 years old in two years. Can you guess when he was born? Everybody in St. Louis calls my Dad "Michael" and in Arabic countries this name is "Moodeer" because he has dug in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. My Mom is named Neathery. She is an archaeologist with lots of digging... her Arabic name is "Moodeerah".

I have visited Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Ireland, Spain, Tunisia, and Spain. My parents drag me along wherever they are digging for ancient history. Fossils are too old for my Mom and Dad. Fossil things are always over a million years old. They only dig up things from the last 10,000 years.

The inside of the pyramid in Chichen Itza was very hard to climb. I almost slipped. The walls were wet and the tunnel smelled like old socks. BUT, inside was the throne of a king (shaped like a Jaguar) and a sculpture like an man lying on his back. It was dark and cool.

Dear Mrs. Bouchard and my Rossman friends,

I am having fun!!! I did not go inside the pyramids at Lamani because they are in bad shape... looks like they could fall down and my DAD said "NO WAY". I did go into a pyramid, today, at Chichen Itza. I wanted to climb the outside of it, but my Dad said "NO WAY" because the Mexican government only lets kids over 10 years old climb it.

The college kids said it was really tall and hard to climb down. Climbing inside the pyramid was easier because you could hold on to the walls, but it was not easy.. Not easy at all!!!!

We didn't see any shells on the beach at Roatan. My Dad bought me a necklace with a shell on it at Roatan and I will bring it to school. It feels like summer here. Really warm. Lots of big clouds that look like rain, but no rain. I didn't ask the pirates names... they were kind of scarey. Yes, I got to kiss a dolphin and hug a dolphin. Her name was Dana. She was really nice. I bet my mom or dad will come to talk to the kids.

See you soon. Amira



We start class in 30 minutes and I was checking to see if you had anymore questions. I will check again during the break in 2 hours. It is a bright sunny day and the tech room overlooks the outdoor joggling track on deck 6. Lots of joggers and walkers. I should do that because my clothing seems to be shrinking! I see Carl and Ray going into the classroom. This morning... I will be lecturing on two famous Maya cities.... Copan and Tikal, plus talking about the Maya Creation Story (called the Popul Vuh) with my college students. Send some more questions and we will also work on some more answers.

Did I fail to send GPS for Chichen Itza (rhymes with Chicken Pizza)?

North 20 degrees 41.073' and West 88 degrees 34.195' (Center of ballcourt at Chichen)

North 20 degrees 41.443' and West 88 degrees 12.102 ' (Valladolid Cathedral where Maya women were selling things)


My name is Julia. I am in second grade at Russell School. Ray Schmidt's wife is my principal. Say hi to him. He came here to talk on Vetran's day. I am 8 years old.  Did you see any crocodiles in the river? Were you scared? We know that crocodiles are reptiles but what do they eat? Sincerely, Julia

Dear Julia

"I said 'hi' to Ray for you and he said 'hi' back. Yes. I wasn't scared because they were not that close. The crocodiles eat meat and fish and stuff like that. They said they don't eat humans but I don't know I am sure." [Answer by Carl]

On Crocodiles. Amira was on a river boat that saw about 4 ft. crock. Michael didn't see any. Crocks eat fish and little animals and fingers if you put them in its mouth. One of Amira's favorite tv shows is called Crock Hunter about a guy who works for zoos in Australia. Some of the students on the trip saw several little baby crocks swimming in the river, also.



In the tombs you went to study did they say how old the fossil were? I heard it is 85 deegrees in were you are at. I wich it was that hot here in STL so I can go swimming. Did you make a tomb out of clay cause you have been studing tombs long? -Roland

To Roland, "We didn't see fossils because athe tombs and Maya cities are not that old. They were all about 500 to 12500 years old. Fossils are in the millions of years of age. It is about 85 degrees here and it is very humid. Like St. Louis during June. We did not try to make a tomb because the tombs are too large and we did not have time. Also, nobody died so we didn't need one, eh?" [answer by Carl]


Name : Students Teacher:Pennycuick -Valley Park 3rd   


We looked at the pottery you took pictures of and those you bought.  We think pottery making is interesting we have made clay animals and landforms out of playdough- they both dry nicely.  We were wondering if you thought the people in 600-800 used their hands only to make the bowls or if they had any tools like a pottery wheel (our art teacher has one).  Also what materials did the ancient people use to make the colors? (dyes)  We read the ancient people used plants- is that true?  Is everybody getting a nice suntan?  Tell Carl thanks for his response to our questions yesterday!!

To Pennycuick's class,

"Thanks for the pottery question. The Maya never had the wheel until the Spanish arrived during the time of Columbus. All Maya potter was coil made. The colors came from various minerals found in the local rocks. Most of the people on our trip didn't have time to get a suntan... we have been too busy!!! Also, both Lamani and Chichen Itza had lots of bugs that would have bitten us if we didn't wear shirts and pants." [answer by Carl]


Hello!  How are you doing?  Our names are John and Reama.We go to Russell school. We are in second grade.  Do you know Mr.Ray Scmidt? He is are principal's husband.  We are studing about the rain forest.We already learning about Coral reefs. Can you pleasetell us some things about the rain forests? Can you please tell us some animals that live in the rain forest? What colors are in the rain forest too?  We were also learning about the marine reef ecologies. Can you tell us some information about coral reef ecologies please?  Every day some one will write to you guys.  Sincerly,  Reama and John

To John & Reama,

"We have been in Jungle which is also known as a rainforest. The jungle is somewhat like walking through the woods in Missouri, but very hot and humid. The plants are also more tropical looking like palms, almond trees, cashew trees, Allspice and Chicle Trees. We saw wil parrots, howler monkeys (black haired variety), tropical birds, huge storks (like 5 ft. tall), Iguanas and chamelians. A few of us were able to snorkle around the coral reefs which were very colorful and surrounded by very colorful fish." [Answer by Ray]


Darn about the SLCC computer problems. Everybody got home safely at 3 PM with all luggage. My dog was real glad to see us since it hadn't gotten much love or exercise during the week we were gone. I hope that kids will send you some more questions on Monday. Carl and Ray were eager to help answer more of them. I am not sure you need any more jps though we surely have many, many more.

Send more questions if you want!