"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain


>> Thursday, February 26, 2009

“Hands in the air! Hands in the air!” Yes mon.’ And a lot more was in the air at Carnival 2009 TRINIDAD. Tuesday seemed to be the jump off day for the country’s liveliest moment. Carnival was what everyone expected it to be, crowded, loud, dancing, food, and fun. As the tricks went by the “gyalls” jumped up and down side to side and waved there flags with pride. The costumes were bright and exotic just like the Caribbean itself. I have to say the best part was seeing the Ocean Classroom kids so into the Carnival. You could tell they were having fun with everyone there. The people in Carnival praised the group by dancing with us and just giving us that pure, authentic “Carnival Vibe”. It was just a good day to have fun, dance, eat good Roti!, lime with friends and family, and just celebrate culture and heritage. I have to say it was a good last stretch, especially when Ocean Classroom had got into it with one of the last groups. Oh man, we had a blast and we will do it again!

Jamaine Gooding- Student


WH Scotts

We arrived in Trinidad, as usual, with a list of ships supplies to buy- plywood and fasteners for a linen cabinet we plan on building, some wire for a project with our masthead light, grease for our grease gun, paint, pump rebuild kits, and so on. After Trinidad supplies will be either difficult or impossible to find, so we try to stock up as much as possible. Fortunately if you know who to ask, where to look, and are willing to make a day of it, one can find almost anything in Trinidad.
Thus it was with a mixture of cautious optimism and can-do determination that Mr. Graham and I set out yesterday. Our first (and it turns out only) stop was WH Scotts in downtown Port of Spain which must rank as one of the world’s great hardware stores, as it provides an engaging day trip, offers a very nice selection of high quality English hand tools, and stocks an inventory which has been accumulating for a century. It is a vast place, consisting of not only the three story main building, but also an undisclosed number of satellite warehouses tucked away in the surrounding blocks. While they do have a few browsing sections, with seemingly random selections of tools and materials in glass display cases, the initiate soon learns that this is merely the tip of the iceberg and that the real inventory is tucked away out of view. It is interfaced through a byzantine system of bureaucrats, great numbers of whom are crammed into desks in every nook and cranny. They fight a daily battle against the forces of chaos armed only with ledger books, carbon paper and an extensive internal phone network.
Thus, after stopping by the third floor and admiring the power tools, Mr. Graham and I found ourselves on the second floor sitting on stools and going through our list item by item with a less than helpful woman, while our neighbor enthusiastically tried to sell us a propane powered soldering iron, describing it in great detail and drawing diagrams.
-Do you have grease, for a grease gun? I asked
-you turn the tip 90 degree, use like a hammer, our neighbor interjects
-No, the saleslady said.
Mr. Graham giggles
-Are you sure? I ask. It seems like something you might have.

The lady shrugs and makes a call, confirming that there is no grease. We continue this process for every item on the list, making occasional field trips downstairs, and on one occasion snuck into the warehouse to find the pipe fittings to make a rack after spending nearly 45 minutes trying to describe what we needed and being sent to random warehouses. The back room was filled with pipe fittings, overflowing from all the shelves and forming small mountains on the floor. I began poking around, but was soon discovered by the very old man who presumably is the only one who knows where anything is. After attempting to run me down with his shopping cart he came around and took me where I needed to go, wrote a list of parts and back up I went to the lady at the desk, who was in a heated discussion with a gentleman about a set of wheels for a dolly. We then asked for screws and were sent to the third floor, and after getting those asked for nails and were sent back to the second floor. At which point I told Mr. Graham, “I can’t go back there.” He agreed and we decided that discretion is the better part of valor, paid, and headed back to the ship.
By the proceeding account I do not intend to slight Scotts in any way. In a part of the world where supplies are hard to come by, they maintain an amazing inventory- what other hardware store, for example can you walk into and order oakum and a top quality Sheffield steel box saw? At Scotts, unlike say Home Depot, the customer always know that their shopping success will increase in direct proportion to their patience, sense of humor and dogged, unflagging determination.

Eric Simpson- Second Mate/Engineer


Carib Territory

As we crossed the boarder into the Dominican Carib Territory the people visibly changed. The faces we passed on the road were lighter skinned with high cheek bones and there was not one dread lock in sight. It was like we had left Dominica and were in a completely different country.
We arrived at the home of a little old Carib man who had taken part in the building of the Gli-Gli and was currently working on a smaller fishing canoe. His slight frame was draped in dirty, loose overalls and he surveyed the group of us from underneath his floppy conductor hat. He eagerly showed us pictures of himself working on the Gli-Gli as we stood among the wood shavings in the hot Dominican sun.
We piled back into the vans and drove to the head of the trail that lead deep into the bush. I headed down the trail not really knowing what to expect and after five minutes I was muddy up to my knees, my bare feet slipping and sliding over the ruts in the narrow path. I looked up every so often to see the pack backs of my ship mates bouncing along ahead of me and the green, dripping expanse of rainforest all around.
As we approached the canoe building sight I could hear the thud of axes and the muffled purr of a chainsaw vibrating dully through the trees. When we reached the clearing Chalu, the Carib elder and expert canoe builder, stood in jaggedly cut off shorts wielding an axe half his size. We stepped lightly among the strewn pink wood chips and sat a few feet away from the half finished canoe. The canoe sat balanced on its side as the curve of its bow and stern emerged at the hands of the men’s axes; a perfect example of rustic elegance.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the scene was the efficiency with which all the men worked together. This was partially due to their expertise but mostly due to their complete dedication to their craft. It was so impressive to witness an ancient part of Carib culture in action, being passed down from generation to generation before our eyes. We were able to see what most people are only able to read in history textbooks.
Madeline Owen- Student


Dominican Market

In the early morning, we, the students and educators, wove our way through the crowded streets of downtown Roseau. The streets and walkways were choked with vendors and Busta soda vans. With 22 kids and 1 sidewalk, there was a lot of honking and near misses. We mustered on a corner across the street from a local produce market by a KFC. (These chains are so ubiquitous I’m convinced the Kernel and not Columbus has discovered the West Indies). Christine and Mr. Hunter doled out grocery lists and money in ICI dollars to the students in charge of their respective watches. Annie, who was responsible for A watch, set off to buy ingredients for smoothies. I (Mariclaire), was given the task of finding different herbs and vegetables for dinner with the help of B and C watch. As we headed across the street, we were greeted with blaring reggae music, loud haggling of shoppers, and smoke curling from roasted plantains on a bar-b-que. Madsy, Sally, Hanna, Sari, and I flocked to the grill and stuffed our faces with fruit. In the meantime, Annie, Tristan, and Jamaine, among other members of A watch, scanned the booths for papaya, pineapples, mangos, bananas, and passion fruits. The students made mad dashes back and forth, grabbing groceries and exchanging money. The sun shone hot, even through the bright umbrellas, and a handful of students sought refuge of the booth selling soft drinks. Coca cola comes in obscenely large bottles down here and it DOES taste different. Emily befriended an incredibly sweet Carib woman named Hazel—who told of different methods to cook and prepare and clean vegetables, such as callaso, a leafy green, and a starchy brown turnip-like root called tany. It was not long after this meeting that we gained and extra group member. Witnessing the students scratching their heads and straining to hear names and prices from patois-inflected tongues, a fisherman from the northeast part of Dominica stepped in to help our cause. Sally was one of the first people introduced to him. He—quite literally—took us by the shoulder and walked us through the marketplace, telling us what his personal favorites were, what foods cured what ache, and how to prepare practically everything under the umbrellas and awnings of the marketplace. He told us jokes and about life on the island, his fishing boat the “Miami”, and about his family. He introduced us to a woman named Janet, a direct descendent of the Carib peoples, and from the moment we shook hands he referred to us as his friends. Midday came too soon and we scrambled to purchase our last provisions. With arms aching from heavy-laden plastic grocery bags, sweaty from the humidity, we gathered at the fish market to count off. Later, as we ate our freshly prepared market dinner aboard the ship, we all talked wildly about our day at the market, waving our hands wildly and chiming on and interrupting each other in excitement. We definitely ended on a high note.
Mariclaire Joseph- Student


Captain's Log Archives

>> Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February 11, 2009

At anchor Gallows bay St Eustatias.Well this last week has been great we had a good overnight sail from St Thomas to the BVI with plenty of tacking for the students to get to know Gamage the first few tacks can be frightening propositions for new hands with the crew shouting instructions sheets flogging and the boat tossing about needless to say the students are really getting the hang of sailing Gamage (no surprise) and they are now using only one watch at a time(7 or 8 students) to handle sails.
I am, as usual struggling to learn all the students names and something about them . I am constantly amazed at the amount of talent aboard artists, writers ,sailors, musicians, jokers . people with big dreams its so heartening to look into our future and see these people there .
Today we went up to the Quill an extinct volcano with a rainforest in the crater a very cool experience. There were a lot or Hemit crabs working up the hill except when we startled them and they would roll down again.
Well this crew is coming together nicely working very well to make Gamage go!
Next we are bound toward Dominica.Fair winds Capt. Flansburg


A few more notes from Statia

>> Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Last night, from our anchorage in Gallow’s Bay, we watched the full moon rise above the mountainside of the dormant volcano, "The Quill." This morning we were up on deck before first light to prepare for our summit to the highest point of the north side of the rim, Manzinga, and the descent to the lush forest floor of the crater. The students mustered up the energy necessary to spend all day hiking around the mountainous outcroppings of the dormant volcano. Along the slopes we passed through thorny woodlands and semi-evergreen forests, climbing our way through low branches and hanging epiphytes and gazing in awe of the impressive size of the buttress roots. Soldier crabs, ground lizards and red-bellied snakes were encountered throughout our exploration.

Statia has provided a good place to focus our coursework on topics such as Caribbean poetry, plate tectonics and the historical importance of Statia in the American War of Independence.

Time to run to a student port report and another Beach BBQ!

Christine Honan, Head Educator

PS- We will try again to upload pictures from the nex port...no luck with the connection here.


Students Underway!

>> Tuesday, February 10, 2009

After a little more than a week of being on the boat, the students on Harvey Gamage are settling into a rhythm. The late night watches are getting easier and the sea sickness is going away. After a three day sail, we are currently anchored off of St. Eustasius. At night, while we were underway, the stars stretched 180 degrees from horizon to horizon. With no land in sight, it was as if we could have been the only ones in the world. We have everything we need right here with us, and there is a feeling that we could just sail forever. It is nice to be on land, however, and today we are going to hike into the crater of the Quill, a dormant volcanoe on the island of St. Eustasius. Soon we will set sail for Dominica.
student, Alyssa Reetz
(pictures coming soon....!)


Snorkeling in Statia

The day after our arrival in Statia, we were able to go snorkeling for the first time. Everyone was extremely excited, and the excitement grew as the snorkeling gear was uncovered and boat trips to shore were underway. When all of us arrived ashore, we lugged all the gear and our picnic lunch down the road a little ways to a very small sandy beach. Fins and snorkels were provided for everyone. We all tried to find the right fin sizes, but if we couldn't, then we had to settle for the next best fit. After brief instructions from Christine, it was into the water we went. Snorkeling is a lot of fun. It wasn't a coral reef, but there was an old sea wall underwater that supports a lot of marine life. We swam along it for a little ways, spotting all the little wonders of the water. The vibrant colors of all the tropical fish were absolutely gorgeous. They swam about all around us. Giant sea urchins clung to the rocks like magnets clinging to the fridge. Their sharp quills stuck out in every direction, making them look very trecherous. The underwater world is such a wonderful and mystical place. It was amazing to see it so up close and personal, and I can't wait to do it again. It was soon time for lunch though, and we had to swim back ashore for our PB and J's.
student, Chandler Neale



Gli-Gli? Now I know you guys must be scratching your heads wondering what it is. On February 4th, we all went to Tortola from our anchored boat in Trellis Bay, five students each in our small boat named Sherman. The purpose of our trip was to meet Aragorn, one of the creators of the Gli-Gli project, his small traditional dugout canoe that was built in 1995. When we all got to Tortola, Aragorn made us an offer that if we would help do a beach cleanup, in exchange he would let us sail Gli-Gli. Gli-Gli was built from one tree on Dominica and it was a project for the Carib people to make a connection with indigenous people in the Caribbean region. The canoe actually made an 800 mile voyage to South America. So to sail it was an amazing experience for us. However, I must admit it was scary. We sailed to a little nearby island, swam, explored, and sailed back to Tortola for a BBQ on the beach by the moonlight.
student, Sally Nguyen

For pictures and more information on the Gli-Gli project visit the following link:


Captain Flansburg

>> Sunday, February 1, 2009

Captain Flansburg
St. Thomas, USVI
Harvey Gamage


Crew's Log

This past few days has been a blur of arrivals, departures, last minute projects, cleaning and provisioning with the goal being to get everything as ready as possible for the next four months. Mr Hunter, our cook, would disappear four a few hours and come back leading convoys of trucks full of food of every type imaginable all of which would need to be unloaded packed into our skiff General Sherman, loaded onto the Gamage and stowed. The quantites were so enourmous that soon the normal stowage areas were full to capacity and food was being stacked in odd corners of the main salon and galley.
In the meantime other projects proceeded apace. Third Mate/ Carpenter Mr. Graham made some improvements to the anchor windlass. Deckhand/medical officer John Fagan checked his inventories and made some last minute purchases. Deckhand Jasmine McKracken, who moonlights as a furniture maker made a series of shelves for our new logging system. Deckhand Nell Smith worked on renewing some lashings in the headrig and improving the lifelines. I spent my time attending to some engineering chores, attempting to anticipate anything that might break in the next two months and purchasing spares. First Mate Bill Burke and Captain Flansburg managed to be everywhere at once monitoring, organizing giving helpful hints and making lists. In the middle of the chaos our three educators Christine Honan, Annemarie Gero, and Robin Tiller arrived with a mountain of educational supplies all of which needed a place for stowage.
With the students arriving this afternoon, however, order is finally emerging. The piles of supplies have been tucked into all corners of the ship. The mattresses have been made and the bunks aired out, each with an instructional chart, books and foul weather gear. The berthing areas have all been deep cleaned and now we are stowing those stubborn items which have entrenched themselves on deck- a pile of plywood here a small boat mast there and the tenacious bottle of shampoo. Soon we will do a deck wash and polish brass and then wait. I am confident in saying that we are ready.

Sencond mate/ Engineer Eric Simpson


Total Pageviews

  © Free Blogger Templates Skyblue by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP