Buckley's blog

Bad Birthday [Andy Buckley]

Hit and Run History flies FIGAS across the FalklandsA year ago at this time, I was spending a glorious warm and sunny day on Saunders Island in the West Falklands. On this island about the size of the city of Boston with a population of six (that’s people – there were thousands of sheep and penguins), our film crew was packing for departure the next morning.

It had been a good week here a few hundred miles north of the Antarctic Circle, having followed Cape Cod’s John Kendrick and the Columbia Expedition to their landing spot on the first-ever voyage ‘round the world.

The next day, Friday, we were to catch the Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) bush plane back to the capital of Stanley, and then the weekly LAN Airlines on Saturday for the journey home. Friday was my birthday, too.

Departing on Friday.

Friday the 13th.

So that didn’t work out. Fog crept into the Falklands, and FIGAS used to flying in the prevailing weather of high winds balked at doing the same in fog.


We were stuck, missed the LAN flight home and were stuck for one more week in the Falklands. Over 7,000 miles from home. Happy birthday.

I really do like my birthday, though. It’s May and typically the tulips are all out here on the Cape. Except for this year when they bloomed soon after St. Patrick’s Day. I heard that while I was gone, the weather here was similar to that in the Falklands, the seasons being reversed so that down there it was like November here. Except here was like November here. Or perhaps more like May here, which usually involves week-long nor’easters that blow the blooms off the trees and have us back in our winter parkas for a week or more.

LAN Airlines Hit and Run History Falklands HO

There’s annual town meeting, too, which I have always been pleased Chatham tries to schedule for my convenience. As a student of political science, my point of view was informed by the purest form of direct democracy in the world. And who doesn’t want to cut short their birthday dinner to go sit on a hard chair or bench for four hours of discussion – less than five minutes on a multimillion dollar budget, but perhaps an hour for an article of a thousand dollars or less? Except as a single parent, the real imperative in recent years is to get nine-year-old Sofie to bed on time.

Well, at least there’s a town election we can go to. She loves elections, and always asks me why I chose the person I did, and what job each person is seeking. Having been a selectman, I can kind of describe what it is, but it usually comes out sounding less important than it is. “We sit around a table and talk and vote to ask people who work for the town to do things.” No wonder only three people are running for two spots. It is still three, yes? It’s hard enough to explain all this to her.

But while other people get free drinks on their birthday, fate often conspires against me. Aside from being stranded far from home last year, when I turned 16 a Winnebago hit me in a VW bug in front of the Cape Cod Mall, and years later someone hit me and tried to run me over while I was already on crutches. I was thinking that this year I just ought to wear a helmet and hole up in the basement with some delivery pizza. Except there is no delivery pizza in Chatham, and I’m not so sure about taking the risk of heading out to pick one up.

Biding time on Saunders IslandI’ve been hoping that bad fortune used up all its firepower last year with the stranding. Some years, all I do is sprain my ankle. But that’s more of a sure sign of spring. With big feet and small ankles, I only need to get out on uneven pavement after months inside for me to soon end up face down in the street. Doesn’t count.

Same goes for the recent profile of me in this year’s Chatham Magazine. Written by The Cape Cod Chronicle’s Jennifer Sexton, her words were later changed at the editorial offices of the Hyannis-based publication to claim that I am “currently a Chatham selectman.”

In reality, it has been 10 years this May since I was on the board of selectmen. If it weren’t for the fact that this erroneous correction reflects poorly (and without merit) on Ms. Sexton, or that they misspelled Sofie’s name wrong despite having the correct spelling also provided by Ms. Sexton, I would almost laugh. Could I use this to get a better table at CBI’s Mother’s Day brunch?

But absurdities don’t count. I’m watching out for something seriously bad.

The suspense has been killing me. I really have grown fond of all 10 fingers and all 10 toes, and seeing through both my eyes, and more often than not having the ability to put a couple words together coherently enough to order that pizza. I’d hate to lose any of these.

Especially the pizza. Deliveries gratefully accepted at my bunker through Monday. Drop it and run for your life.


Read this and Andy's other columns online at The Cape Cod Chronicle

Historical, Not Historesque [Andy Buckley]

A gorgeous day on the Straits of MagellanOn the breezy, sandy shores of the Straits of Magellan, a man in brown coveralls is smoking a plank. One end sits in a repurposed oil drum and slowly the other end of the wood is being pulled in a lateral direction. Warped, the plank is, to sheath the sides of a schooner.

This is a replica of the Goleta Ancud, the vessel by which the nation of Chile claimed this area of Patagonia. Here on the grounds of the Museo Nao Victoria stands another replica, this one of Magellan’s fleet, namesake of the museum. The shipwright finished that a just few months ago.
Juan Cariñanco has been building ships since he was 8 years old.
We were on our way from the cruise ship dock to the airport to catch our flight to Santiago, Chile’s capital. Having spent a few days on the modern Stella Australis, visiting the end of the Earth, Cape Horn, as well as the Beagle Channel, the Aguila Glacier and only 100,000-plus penguins on nearby Magdalena Island, we were struck by the contrast in this makeshift shipyard.
One man with a few hand-power tools, using native wood, the curl of shavings blowing about and the beach just a couple dozen yards away. Being late March, this was the South American autumn – the shoulder season – and so our combined crews from the Hit and Run History and Through My Eyes series were the only visitors.
While in a dramatic location certainly, the museum’s grounds are too far outside of town to be accessible by foot traffic. That’s indicative to someone who grew up Chatham. When we travel, we look at how other places deal with tourism. Are they gorgeous and undiscovered? Or sadly overexploited, underwhelming, or even inexplicably unappreciated? It doesn’t dominate our thinking, but it does crop up. It’s part of their local economy and so part of their local story.
But boatbuilding on the beach – that’s a tradition that goes back centuries in Chatham. Perhaps not so many schooners here, but the tools and principles that Juan was using are familiar enough.And there is no mistaking the smell of evergreen sawdust kicking up in the salt wind.
The Shipwright - Hit and Run History in Patagonia
As I’ve been ruminating on Chatham’s 300th anniversary, I keep coming back to this scene near the tip of South America, 6,500 miles away. Perhaps it is a perception of what history is. That is, not a defined set of facts but an ongoing process of inquiry.
Recently I heard an interview with someone on board the ship visiting the Titanic’s resting place. The person would have seemed to be an expert, except that his revelation was that he kept meeting people on this cruise who knew facts about the Titanic he didn’t. That’s the mark of a true historian – when you realize how much more there is to learn about a topic. But perhaps you can at least get a sense of the place, or event or person, and convey it effectively.
When the proposal for a set of stocks was put forward as part of the town’s 300th celebration, my first reaction was factual. They never existed here, so they should not be introduced now. That they might be fun didn’t enter into the equation. I am certain we will see people walking around in outlandish pirate garb as well. Highly questionable historical integrity there as well. Fun, nonetheless.
To the accuracy of whether there were stocks or a pillory in Chatham, I can speak with some authority. My first job out of college was as a researcher for the selectmen and town clerk to read the entirety of the town’s legal records. This included every single minute of the town meetings since incorporation.
All sorts of minutiae were included, including the length and diameter of the “rod of correction” for unruly boys who disturbed the meeting house a few hundred years ago. The cost of repairing the roof.The bounty for blackbird heads and horsefeet tails. And who bid what in the annual auctioning off of the poor.
But nothing about the building or maintaining of stocks. That would not have been something overlooked in a town that watched every penny and shilling. So that’s a relatively easy question to address. Factbased.
What was missed in the discussion however was why there were never stocks or a pillory in Chatham. Certainly there were such things in Plymouth, and that was the original colonial and cultural capital. Same goes for Boston.
Cruceros Australis Through My Eyes Hit and Run History
Perhaps that is why I recall my brief time with the shipwright in Punta Arenas. He was practicing a very direct kind of history. He was demonstrating quite directly what it takes to make a ship and put it to sea on the waters that the original sailed. He was doing something true, and in so doing, making a story.
With so many shipmasters from Chatham, it would be nice to think of clipper ship replicas floating around here. But that just wasn’t the case. While those Chatham captains traveled to China, Europe and the South Seas, their ships’homes were Boston Harbor. Chatham waters are no place for a deep-draft sailing vessel. My point is that we must be careful not to fall prey to a false nostalgia for a time that never was. Be historical, rather than historesque.
Back to the question of Chatham’s stocks – or rather lack thereof. With a long history in Chatham, and plenty of time spent in studying the genealogies, deeds and wills of local families, I have my own thoughts on the answer. But rather than sharing that, I would rather invite your thoughts. History is about inquiry. What do you suppose? 
E-mail us at [email protected]

Read this and Andy's other columns online at 
The Cape Cod Chronicle

7,377 miles from home [Andy Buckley]

The Road from Mount Pleasant to Stanley


The crew of Hit and Run History leaves their home on Cape Cod to return once again to the track of the Columbia Expedition. As a Falklands Island Radio Service interview plays, we follow the intrepid Gumshoe Historians on their journey south. We hear HRH’s plans in the Falklands, and what brought Columbia there in February of 1788.

During a brief layover in Santiago, they meet University of Chile History Department Head Celia Cussen. Then it is back to the skies, with HRH winging their way down to Punta Arenas in Patagonia, then east to the Falklands, and finally a long, rugged drive from the airport at Mount Pleasant across a vast, barren landscape to the capital of Stanley.

It's going to be a long week.

Hit and Run History in the Falklands

Get the episode on iTunes  at http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hit-and-run-history/id519420962.

Or watch on Hit and Run History's new Blip show page blip.tv/hitandrunhistory.

Join Cape Cod's intrepid Gumshoe Historians as they head deep into the Southern Atlantic for their third globetrotting chapter. The adventure of a lifetime continues. Hit and Run History: The Columbia Expedition follows the first American voyage 'round the world down to the Falklands, 300 miles east of the tip of South America.

LAN Airlines Hit and Run History Falklands HOThanks to LAN AirlinesOcean State Job LotTurismo Chile and the Hotel Orly for helping make this series possible.

Photoextravaganza for Through My Eyes

Pro Photographers Offer Bargains to Support Cape Cod's Travel Girls

Kickstarting their next WGBH elementary education travel series to Cape Horn, Through My Eyes announced offered four new rewards at the $49, $50, $150 and $175 pledge levels from two of their talented photographer friends, Clayton A. Harper andKrisMarie Photography. 

For a pledge of $49, receive a limited edition 8 x 10 print on paper by photographer and Through My Eyes crew member Clayton A. Harper. They will offer a choice of six images from their trip to Cape Horn upon their return. View Clay's work at claytonaharper.com.

For a pledge of $50, receive a limited edition 8 x 10 canvas photo print from Clay's existing portfolio.

For a pledge of $150, receive a copper photo print by Clay of a brand new image yet to be determined from TME's trip to Cape Horn.  

And for a pledge of $175, score a one- to two- hour private photo shoot with the amazing Kristin Hughes of KrisMarie Photography. May be individual or family shoot in location of your choice within New England at photographer’s discretion. Photographer needs six-week lead time before date of shoot. Reward includes 50 edited images on a disc. See her work athttp://on.fb.me/xVZSDg

Two thirds of the way through their Kickstarter campaign, Through My Eyes is moving steadily towards their goal of $9,750. Help them reach their goal and enjoy the work of two amazing photographers! 

Aside from  offer, a host of bargains are offered to backers of Cape Horn: Through My Eyes at their Kickstarter site www.avaandsofie.com.

Through My Eyes is a production of the Cape Cod Community Media Center, a 501 c 3 nonprofit.

Clam trip for a few lucky families [Andy Buckley]

Cape's Girl Adventurers offer a tasty reward for any family of four pledging $250.
Or for a $40 pledge a DVD of the completed film

Making plans for the summer?  Ava and Sofie, the Cape's hosts of the WGBH Kids series Through My Eyes, have a deal for you: catching the tide for a genuine Cape Cod experience of a day out on the shimmering waters of Nantucket Sound and getting a basket of clams.

The girls are running a Kickstarter campaign to bring their innovative elementary education travel series down to the very end of the Earth: Cape Horn. They've been offered cabins aboard a cruise ship that rounds the tip of South America. In return, they need to raise the airfare to get down there. And they only have 2 weeks left to do it.

This project will only be funded if at least $9,750 is pledged by Tuesday March 13, 12:01pm EDT. Here's Andy and your dreener full of succulent, Chatham clams.

So in the dead of winter, they decided to offer a CLAM TRIP!

People visiting Cape Cod in the summer are always fascinated to learn about digging clams and quahogs. Oftentimes, they will stop while commercial diggers are working and ask questions. Moms, dads and kids. Everyone wants to know more. But without their having a permit or the equipment, there's little they can do other than watch.

Quahogs off Sears Point

So why not see about taking a few of you out for the day?

For a $250 pledge, commercial shellfisherman, master mariner (and TME producer) Andrew Buckley will take you and up to 3 of your family out shellfishing on the waters of Cape Cod.

"For commercial fishermen in Chatham, our commute is a boat ride and our office is the shore," says Buckley. "Our hours are determined by the ever-changing time of the tide each day. We can be digging softshell steamer clams when we can find them, or hardshell quahog clams which are in abundance."

To make a Pledge and 
go clamming, visit 
their KickStarter here.

This offer includes one non-resident family permit good for the WHOLE YEAR. That means you once you have it and learn the basics, you can head out yourself and bring yourself back some plenty of tasty bivalves every week.

Of course, this offer is subject to weather and tide conditions, availability, our discretion and local rules (see FAQ http://bit.ly/fJEzQ2). You have to get yourself to Chatham, Mass. yourself, too.

"And while we're out there, we might see a few seals, and who knows? A great white shark?" muses Buckley. "Chatham is now America's White Shark City."

So what are you waiting for? This is a great value -- not just another day at the beach. Grab this offer before someone else snaps it up! Head to www.avaandsofie.com right now!

What's next for Hit and Run History? Cape Horn!

Cape Horn

From Cape Cod to Cape Horn

As we're heading into our Falklands series on WGBH, there's no time to waste thinking about our next stop on our journey. That is the end of the Earth: Cape Horn.

Early last year we had arranged for cabins aboard Cruceros Australis for a cruise around the tip of South America in March. But when LAN Airlines offered to take us to the Falklands in May, we knew we had to stay true to our story's timeline and hit the islands first. The glaciers and penguin colonies of Cape Horn could wait.

Now we're headed there, but we decided to make the most of the opportunity. WGBH's Kids series, Through My Eyes, has just wrapped up their China series and are looking for a new destination. The elementary education travel series features two girl adventurers, Ava and Sofie (ages 7 & 8) as they share their experiences with viewers, child-to-child.

Cruceros Australis

So we thought, "Put to little girls in a Zodiac and aim them at 10,000 penguins. Who's not going to watch that?"

We're very excited to head on down there to continue our journey, and the thrill of Cape Horn awaits. We encourage you to head on over to Through My Eyes Kickstarter page and help them bring that same thrill to classrooms across the country.Plus, if our crew were able to film their adventures while also doing our own, the production values of TME would be great. So we made an offer:  we could provide TME with cabins on the ship, and in return TME would raise money for the airfare to get down there. The Stella Australis is a fantastic pocket cruise ship, and the value of these cabins is tremendous.

Check out all the great rewards at www.avaandsofie.com.

(images courtesy of Cruceros Australis)

The Whole World Through Her Eyes [Andy Buckley]

China Through My Eyes with the Hong Kong Girl Guides

A century or two ago, it wasn’t uncommon for a young Cape Codder to head off around Cape Horn to China. Multi-year voyages, these were as much education as employment, setting the stage for a career on the sea. Go out as a cabin boy, come back as a an able-bodied seaman, then leave as a seaman, come back as a mate, and then mate to shipmaster.

For a three-year voyage, that’s nine years right there. It is no wonder that sea captains typically retired, if they survived, in their 30s. With the capital they had accumulated, they might set up a store to support themselves and their families. So it was a young man’s game, a very young man’s game. But exclusively for men.

How times have changed.

Last spring, my daughter Sofie and her friend Ava took to skies, flying across the globe to visit China’s Pearl River Delta. No pleasure trip this was. That is unless your idea of relaxation is two girls, age 7 and 8, exploring and filming for 13 hour-days of nonstop movement.

Like the ships of old, this young crew were looking to bring back a valuable cargo.

In this case, the cargo was their experiences, to be shared after months of studio work, with voice-overs and film editing. Through My Eyes premiered their China series on WGBH last October as the centerpiece of their Kids’ website. Sofie and Ava’s cargo were 10 videos, documenting their firsthand encounters with the one area of China open to their predecessors centuries earlier. Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Macau.

I had the honor to participate, and to watch my daughter visit the same places I had 13 years earlier. She had seen pictures of the Five Story Pagoda in Guangzhou, Victoria Peak, overlooking the skyscrapers of Hong Kong, and swirling tiles of Senado Square in Macau. I have to admit I still get a little choked up watching the episode in the Foreigners Cemetery in the Pearl River. Having grown up exploring the cemeteries of Chatham, she learned her alphabet reading the inscriptions on the tombstones. Now here she was in a place I had found hidden in the jungle a decade earlier that told the stories of the sailors who nevercame home.

She and Ava got to convey their own personal observations of the people they met and the places they visited. For the elementary school classrooms watching all across the country, what these two girls were saying and doing was gripping. Much more so than if an adult had been on-camera or off, spoon feeding the information they deemed important. Kids see things we don’t.

For centuries, those who have grown up on the Cape have learned to survive by their ingenuity. A seasonal economy in a place with few resources means you have to remain flexible, act on opportunity, and often take those skills elsewhere if you ever wish to have a life here. Yet those houses down on Lower Main Street in Chatham are a testament to the hold of the place on those who would span the globe for their livelihood. It is a good place to live, once you have the means.

That is Cape Cod’s creative economy at work. It was in evidence when Matt Griffin and I set off to tell the story of the Columbia Expedition, and its commander, John Kendrick. It continued when our Hit and Run History crew dove into Cape Verde during the dengue fever epidemic as we followed the Columbia’s track. And when we were stranded in the Falklands for an extra week last year, by making the most of it by getting deeper into our story. We seize every opportunity to increase the value of our cargo.

Cape Horn Through My Eyes

So these two girls, age 7 and 8, left as globetrotting newbies and returned as an experienced travel show crew. Fittingly, they’ve set their sights now on a trip around Cape Horn this spring. Natural science will be at the fore as they explore the fjords, glaciers and penguins at the very end of the Earth.

And perhaps just as fittingly, Sofie’s added another option to her career plans. Besides wanting to be a veterinarian, she told me, “Once Through My Eyes wraps up, I think I want to open a store. But when I’m older because we still have lots of places to go. Like when I’m a teenager.”

Read this and Andy's other columns online at 
The Cape Cod Chronicle

Cape Girls hit Cape Horn [Andy Buckley]

Local Girls series on WGBH crowdsources on Kickstarter
Grab your Teddy Bear and your passport -- Through My Eyes is hitting the road again, and this time, it's penguins!

Following on the success of their China series as the centerpiece of WGBH's Kids site, Cape Cod's girl adventurers have been given a great opportunity. Their friends at Hit and Run History, headed down to the tip of South America this spring, have offered the girls cabins for a cruise around Cape Horn with Cruceros Australis.

Cruceros Australis Through My Eyes Hit and Run HistoryThis is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these girls to share the wonders of glaciers and penguins with classrooms across the country. So many topics can be explored: from marine life to environmental science to culture and maritime history. Just imagine the sorts of adventures Ava and Sofie can share with children in schoolrooms back home, meeting penguins and navigating ice fields.

In exchange for the cruise, TME's part of the bargain is to raise the money for the airfare for us all. That's a fair trade and an excellent way to continue our series. Plus, with HRH's professional camera crew, the quality will be even better.

But they need to raise this money quickly before this offer -- and the ship -- sails. So Through My Eyes, using Kickstarter, is asking you to please make your pledge to support your local public media series that excites and empowers children, parents and teachers.
Be a part of something great and help us make this series happen!

Falklands Ho! on WGBH

Turn it UP.

Join Cape Cod's interpid Gumshoe Historians on WGBH in a few short weeks as we head deep into the Southern Atlantic for our third installment. The adventure of a lifetime continues. Hit and Run History: The Columbia Expedition follows the first American voyage 'round the world down to the Falklands, 300 miles east of the tip of South America.

In planes, trains, automobiles and boats, our crew ranges across the islands, tracking the shipboard violence and treacherous weather that sent a 19-year old sailor cowering in a cave amongst the penguins and ruins 7,000 miles from home.

LAN Airlines Hit and Run History Falklands HOThanks to LAN Airlines, Ocean State Job LotTurismo Chile and the Hotel Orly for helping make this series possible.


Through My Eyes at the Guia Fortress in Macau#10 China: Through My Eyes on WGBH

In episode 10 of the China: Through My Eyes series on WGBH, Sofie and Ava investigate Macau, a former Portuguese colony with a fascinating mix of cultures. How does this place look, sound, smell and taste different from Hong Kong? From Guangzhou? From home?

The girls take a long hike through the streets and parks of Macau, noticing the colorful Portuguese architecture, black and white tiled streets and a swirl of tourists from around the world. Up hills and down, the girls explore this unique destination filled with natural beauty, historic ruins, public squares teeming with people, tiny shops in winding streets and a casino district that lights up the night sky. 

Watch MACAU WOW on WGBH Kids site here.

Running weekly through the fall, Through My Eyes is the centerpiece of WGBH's Kids site.  This elementary education travel series follows these two Cape Cod girls as they visit China's Pearl River Delta in the run up to Easter. Through My Eyes is a production of Thunderball Entertainment Group, the Cape Cod Community Media Center and WGBH Boston. Learn more at www.wgbh.org/tme.

Many thanks to EBSCOCapeKids clothing store and Air Canada for their generous support which made this episode possible. 

CapeKids Clothing

Boston's WGBH is PBS's single largest producer of web and TV content (prime-time and children's programs), including Nova, Masterpiece, Frontline, Antiques Roadshow, Curious George, Arthur, and The Victory Garden. Learn more about China: Through My Eyes on their Facebook page at facebook.com/tmeyes.