"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

Underway to Bequia

>> Monday, February 22, 2010

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Time on a ship has a greater density then its landside brother. Days, minutes, even seconds seem to fill quickly with experience. By the time the sun sets it is hard to fathom all that had transpired during the light of day. The events of the morning seem to exist far away in the world of childhood memories. You often end the day, not only with a sense of accomplishment, but of growth. You are not the same person as when you woke up that morning, you have lived another day at sea, traveled through a foreign country, sang a song with a shipmate, learned about the life thriving down deep, read the fictions devised by an island imagination, studied the cultures of an ancient people, hauled on lines, stood a trick at the helm, witnessed a green flash, and maybe took a nap.

Two weeks and four countries have passed since the students arrived on the Harvey Gamage. In many ways it feels as if all of us have always been here, I can not remember what it felt like before our ship’s company was complete, just a vague recollection of anticipation. The students already seem like different people. Yes, their skin is now tan, hands calloused, and hair lighter from the sun…but it is much more. They have gained an understanding of a new life, a world outside classroom walls and lazy Sunday mornings. I am amazed and proud of how they have embraced this salty world. Everyday is spent in the present, soaking in the adventure, the knowledge and the revelations of each other. Undoubtedly, there will be ups and downs; that is the balance of the world. From what I have seen of their character thus far, I am sure they will handle the days ahead with integrity and an open mind.

I am currently sitting in the Nav Shack writing these thoughts. It is two o’clock in the morning, the ship is off the coast off St.Vincent, looking to drop anchor in Bequia’s Admirality Bay with first light. I am able to sit here and write, grade papers or leisurely drink hot chocolate because I am no longer needed on deck. The students are competently standing their watch. Time, once again, seems to change value. It has become a gift in the early morning hours. The young sailors here have expanded my time, allowing me to accomplish tasks pushed aside in the rush of the day. I am thankful for this and wanting to remember this moment in their experience. Something inside bubbles hot with joy when I think of these fledgling mariners and who they will be upon landing in Boston.

Schooner Equation: 3 days on land = 1 day at sea

-Alyson Graham


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