"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

Captain´s Blog, Cumberland Island

>> Friday, October 16, 2009

At anchor, Cumberland Island, GA
This entry finds us several hundred miles down the Eastern Seaboard from the Chuckatuck Creek. Our passage and subsequent port stop in Charleston passed in a blur.The Carolina Capes (Hatteras, Lookout, and Fear) lived up to their reputation as we made our way South. We departed the Chesapeake with a fresh headwind, but were able to shape up nicely at ordered course full and by- we’re getting better at it- for Hatteras. Barely clear of the capes, Ali took a tumble down a ladder and sprained her ankle. Once we were sure it wasn’t fractured, we wrapped her up and stood her down. The weather continued to be squirrelly, and we went through a number of sail changes along the way. By the time we were abeam Hatteras, we were barreling along close hauled in a strengthening breeze. This became a strong headwind about the time we hit the Gulf Stream, which was running close to shore. The resulting sea and current made progress difficult and many hands return to the rail to commune with Neptune. The forecast promised a Northerly breeze in the next 12 hours, so we “hove to”, basically stopped the ship under sail to ease the motion, and waited it out. We lost about 30 miles to the ENE as we rode the mighty Gulf Stream, but gained a great deal of energy from the ship’s company. The breeze filled in as promised, and the ship’s routine returned to normal. Students give a daily progress report, updating all hands on our navigational progress, the weather forecast, fuel & water consumption, and any ship’s issues. We knew we were in for some light airs as a High Pressure system moved in, and tried to get as much sailing in as we could. Eventually, a little over a day out from Charleston, the breeze gave out and we gave in and started the engine. It was a sound we heard until dockside. I, for one, am looking forward to the more steady trade winds- even if they are head winds. During the passage, students refined their navigation skills as well as their ability to move through the ship and its operations with confidence and ability. They took on more responsibility for running routines, chores, and sail evolutions. They showed me that they are more than ready for the next phase of they voyage, where they step into the role of the Deckhands. In Charleston, the students scrubbed down the ship and were rewarded with a burgeoning mail call. I’ll let them fill you in on this welcoming and busy port. It was, as always, overloaded. The highlights: Sophie returned, Kayden visited, students talked to home for the first time, lots of exams and quizzes, field trips, provisioning, and errands. We got Ali’s ankle cleared by a doctor. There were visits from family, friends, alum, and onlookers. There were compliments all around from our hosts. Before departing, we officially shifted gears. The students are all in the same watches, but are standing with different mates and crew than they started with. It is the student voices we hear calling sail. They take point in running the logistics of the ship. This is a giant step in responsibility and leadership. I am confident that they will meet and exceed this challenge as they have done all along, but it won’t be easy.We anchored late yesterday afternoon, after a thirty hour passage. Mr. Greg Bailey joined the ship’s company as “supercargo”- to provide the extra license needed for our offshore transit. This is the “Mr. Bailey” who served last fall as mate on Spirit of Massachusetts, and is a welcome addition to our company. (Thanks to Vic of VIP taxi and the crew of the Lucy R. Ferguson for help with his luggage.) The students headed ashore before dawn to watch the sun come up. Cumberland Island is a favorite of our crew, and most are ashore as well. Tomorrow we shift to Fernandina Beach, FL (just a few miles away) to wrap up the final details before sailing for the Caribbean. Wind and weather depending, we’ll be outbound by sunset. The updates will include mostly position and conditions until we reach the Dominican Republic in a couple of weeks. The photos sent will be of darker skinned, lighter haired, salt encrusted young men and women. The video might show a swagger, and I promise any phone calls or e-mails will be in a language close to- but not quite- English. Wish us fair winds and safe passage.

16 October 2009


Total Pageviews

  © Free Blogger Templates Skyblue by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP