Thursday, March 24, 2016

For Long-Time Member Shelly Randall, Adventuress is a Family Affair

Shelly (left), age 22, in the rigging with
her visiting friend Armene in 1999.
Port Townsend resident and long-time Sound Experience Member Shelly Randall first came aboard Adventuress for a two-week internship in 1996. As a student at Smith College in Massachusetts, she was paging through a collection of internship materials when she spied a brochure about Adventuress. It was both a serendipitous and surreal discovery, given that Shelly, who grew up in Anacortes, WA, was roughly three thousand miles away from Puget Sound. Says Shelly, “I thought, ‘Oh, I should do this, it’s right in my backyard.’” It turned out to be a life-changing decision—the internship set her on a path to crew on Adventuress, serve on the Sound Experience Board of Directors, and become deeply involved in the maritime community. As Shelly puts it, “I sailed into Port Townsend and stayed. I’ve been here ever since.”

It was the two-week internship that got Shelly hooked on sailing: “I realized that I would be happiest after graduating if I spent time on a tall ship.” She attended a semester-long maritime studies program at Mystic Seaport and sailed aboard the schooner SoundWaters before returning to Adventuress in 1999 for a seven-month stint as Head Educator. Of her time aboard, she says, “It will always be one of the highlights of my life.”

In October of 1999, with Adventuress returning to her winter port and the season winding to a close, Shelly went with other crew members to a contra dance in Port Townsend and met Jeff, her future husband. She invited him to a Work Party the next day. The following season they volunteered together on several overnight trips. Says Shelly, “He really quickly fell in love with Adventuress.” Jeff and Shelly married in 2002; in 2008, their son Soren was born. For Shelly, Jeff, and Soren, Adventuress is a family affair: “We took Soren sailing as early as we could. He feels, I think, that it’s our family schooner.”

Jeff and Shelly aboard in July 2004 for the 85th birthday
celebration of Sound Experience volunteer Chuck Herzer.
Most recently, Shelly was aboard in February as a chaperone with Soren’s 1st grade class. As part of the Maritime Discovery Schools Initiative (Shelly is currently on the Advisory Committee for MDSI), over 300 Port Townsend students in grades 1-12 have used Adventuress as a floating dockside classroom. Soren and his classmates had the chance to do a plankton tow, learn about marine adaptations, and design their own intertidal creatures. Says Shelly, “I thought the educators put together a very engaging program.”

She also speaks glowingly of the ship’s plankton microscope, which is hooked up to a TV in the deckhouse, reminiscing about the plastic magnifying boxes that she had to use as Head Educator. She recalls that on a recent sail, participants identified an octopus larva on the screen. Says Shelly, “Soren is a budding marine biologist and I love all of the new tools that are on Adventuress.”

Shelly and Soren aboard in February 2016
for a dockside program with Soren's class
When he is older, she can’t wait to send him on an overnight trip: “I look forward to when he can climb the rigging. I hope he’s always climbing and looking for that higher-up perspective. It is so critical that we teach our children that the earth is not a resource, but the source. The earth is the source of life and we have to live within its limits.”

When asked what she hopes Soren will gain from his time aboard, she has a many-faceted answer: “The first thing that comes to mind is friendship. I hope that my son can have an Adventuress family like I did.” Shelly’s hopes for Soren are very similar to what she herself experienced aboard: “It’s really the people that I’ve met through Sound Experience that I value most. Those connections continue.” She notes that Soren’s grown-out clothes are handed down to Captain MB Armstrong, who hired Shelly to work at Sound Experience, and who now has two young sons. Shelly also recently guided her father to donate woodworking equipment to the Community Boat Project, which is run by former Adventuress captain Wayne Chimenti, and provided a job reference for a former shipmate.

When she speaks of the organization, she speaks of a fundamental value: “caring and compassion for the ship, the people, and the Sound.” Shelly is in the midst of transitioning into a new career in sustainable financial investing and she sees this as the logical progression of the principle that has guided all aspects of her life, both on land and on water. Says Shelly, “I want to do my part in the Great Transition where people will invest in sustainable enterprises in a way that will affirm life on earth, which goes right back to what I learned on Adventuress.” 


If youd like to get your family involved with the Adventuress community, we encourage you to join as a Sound Experience Member and sail for free on over twenty Public Sails this year. Heres what Shelly says about her Household Membership: Having a Membership means that we never have to think twice about going out on the boat... I value the opportunity to participate in events with other Members, to mix, mingle, and connect. Sound Experience Members are just the coolest people!