Wednesday, 15 July 2009

15 July - Batumi

Today we continued our port visit to Batumi, Georgia. Last night as part of STOUT’s welcome to Georgia approximately fifty sailors were invited to dine on local cuisine and were able to experience a true Goergian meal including traditional toasts. Meanwhile, other crew members chose to take in Georgian culture by visiting the city on their own.

Today several of our crew members visited a local orphanage as part of a Community Relations (COMREL) project. In many of the ports we visit, crew members volunteer their time to COMREL projects as a way of positively interacting with the local community and helping those in need of a little assistance. Each COMREL event presents its own unique rewarding experiences for those who participate. The participants of this event worked steadily to paint the walls and ceiling of the entryway while others painted the floor of a larger adjacent room. After the work was completed the crew served hamburgers to the children and joined them in an outdoor lunch. Several Sailors interacted closely with the children by playing music for them and touring the orphanage.

Onboard STOUT, crew members had the opportunity to conduct training with members of the Georgian Coast Guard. Members of STOUT’s At-Sea-Fire Party and VBSS team conducted training and practiced techniques with the local service members.

The local media have been very interested in our visit and were onboard today to observe our trainig with the Georgian Coast Guard. I expect to see some stories in the local papers about our visit.