"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

From the Journal of Jesse Prothers

>> Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Going home after being on a ship for four months is gonna be really weird and sad at the same time. Leaving people that are basically your family now. These are people you love and care for, that you see everyday will become people you can only talk to on the phone or computer. You may only see them, maybe, if you’re lucky, a few more times before you lose touch. Or maybe, you will find a life-long friend that you will talk to everyday and be able to tell them how you feel and what you think. Most of all its gonna be hard to say goodbye. No matter how much you wish it was a “see ya later” or a “goodnight” …it’s now a “goodbye”. Goodbye—never knowing what will happen to that person, not knowing where they are, what they are doing, not seeing their face everyday. Maybe you will wake-up in your bed and think it was all a dream and continue on with your normal life. Or… maybe you won’t be able to sleep at night knowing the same familiar people are all gone and not a hundred feet away from you while everything “normal” has become alien. Adapting… is what will be hardest to go home to.


"The Horizon" by Abigail Campbell

>> Monday, May 17, 2010

Maritime Literature Assignment: Place yourself 50 years in the future: how do you think you will look back at your experience on the Harvey Gamage?

“The Horizon” By Abigail Campbell

The sea had become a part of me, a necessity: blood, water. A home everywhere I looked, the possibilities as endless as the horizon. Craving unpredictability drew me to the places I went, to the people I met, it molded my mind into one that thrived when faced with adventure. It took the better part of fifty years to realize I haven’t changed. Being young, embracing the things I was scared of. I threw caution to the wind and the waves carried me to the place I wanted to be mentally and physically.

I drove past her on way from yoga class. She was sitting in yard, sun reflecting off of her newly varnished booms, oiled deck boxes. She looked different, out of place on land. I parked the car and got out, looking up at the chipped white paint and embellished lettering. “Harvey Gamage Islesboro, Maine” She had been taken from her home, just as I was the moment I stepped off her wooden deck for the last time. She looked older, years of wind throwing itself at her beam, and so did I, but our relationship, our spirits hadn’t aged a day.

I climbed aboard, dust covering the planks I had walked on so many times before. Slowly running my finger along the rail, it lifted the accumulated layer of dirt; it all came back.

My years of following the wind around wherever it wanted to take me began when I was 16. I boarded the SSV Harvey Gamage, dropped my dry-bag full of polypropylene on her deck. Soon after I lost my sun deprived skin, my land hands, and in return I gained a rig and a strong pair of sea legs.

I left my family only to find another aboard. I left my home only to realize I was still in it. Sailing taught me that the world is my home. My mind was permanently opened to the endless opportunities I have found.

Every second of my days I groveled for moments of achievement and challenge. I took life as it came and made out of it the best that I could.

I walked back down the ladder, leaving behind the worn lines and weathered sails, this was the place where my life began.


Charleston, SC

>> Saturday, May 8, 2010

For Moultrie to the northeast, Fort Sumter and the beaches of Morris Island and Fort Wagner, where the 54th Massachusetts Regiment fought so valiantly, to the southwest. Sailing into Charleston Harbor is a history lesson in itself! Docked at the Charleston Maritime Center, we're ideally situated in the heart of downtown, just a walk away from the South Carolina Aquarium, the College of Charleston, the Charleston Museum, and all the shops, restaurants, and tourist traps the city has to offer. We even took in the annual Dragon Boat Festival. We also had the chance to do some well-earned laundry, take some very necessary fresh-water showers, and spent hours at the library doing research for end-of-term projects and catching up with friends online. We also got to meet with the crew of another traditional schooner, the Spirit of South Carolina, who takes local schoolchildren and high school students to sea on programs that last from a few hours to ten days.

Charleston has been good to us, maybe too much so, as good sailors and good ships rot in port. We're looking forward to getting back to sea and heading north toward the mouth of the Chesapeake. Goals: Shooting Local Apparent Noon (LAN) to within a mile and earning aloft clearances. All hands are well and would like to wish our moms a HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!



Fair Breezes, Rain, and Plenty of Fish

>> Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cumberland Island, Georgia is one of the most spectacular places in the country. From saltmarshes to a maritime forest of live oaks slathered in spanish moss, and rolling dune meadows to a long, flat, seemingly unending beach. Feral horses, whose ancestors once served the Carnegie family that owned the island, roam freely and go about their grazing as if there weren't a gaggle of students eating their own lunch just a few meters away. Sharks teeth in the road, armadillos in the forest, and shorebirds all along the beach.

Our passage north to Charleston was fast and exciting. A fair southerly took us at a rollicking nine to ten knots before it died down and sent rain as we approached soundings and the harbor entrance. We caught nine fish on our passage of just two days--five fish in just one 4-hour watch! Lots of Little Tunny and Kingfish for us to eat during our stay in Charleston.

Boxes and boxes of mail arrived, to everyone's delight, and all are well and looking forward to catching up with loved ones soon.



Captain's Blog, April 29

>> Saturday, May 1, 2010

Belize toward Fernandina Beach Fla.

Belize turned into a very nice stop, even if there was some initial trouble with the Belize Customs Official in Placencia. Clearing immigration—no problem. Agriculture? No problem there. Port authority? Easy. Customs, however, said we were “complaining.” So we had to wait overnight and arrange for a water taxi to bring out the customs guy in the morning. Worried about our wayward feline, we hid the cat in the lazarrete and I made Ian (our singer/songwriter) sit on the Laz hatch and play his guitar and sing to cover the sound of her yowling. It wasn’t, ahh, successful. She was so loud you could hear her on the other end of the ship!

Anyway after some money changed hands we were in… no problem. The students were off on high adventure to Mayan ruins and Jaguar preserves.

A few days earlier JB had her head whacked by a preventer block and was still suffering headaches, but was a trooper about it, even during the Garinagu drumming session the students had aboard. We got her to a clinic where the Doc gave her the thumbs up to continue the voyage.

And finally underway bound for Fernandina Fla., some 1000 plus nautical miles away and the longest passage of this whole voyage. The students, now in the Junior Watch Officer (JWO) faze of the trip, plan and navigate Gamage themselves. We make it out of the barrier reef without any trouble, as they are really on their game. Three bearing fixes and radar ranges: challenging navigation, but they take it in stride.

All our time in Belize the wind blew at least 15 kts out of the east or just north of east I was thinking: “Record Passage!” Oh no you don’t, Cap. At the bottom or the reef the wind just died out and we were in for a very challenging sail indeed. You see, we have to balance distance, fuel (for motoring, electricity and cooking), water, and provisions. The cook has only so much food, even if I had him get extra just in case.

No wind day after day, or a very light contrary wind from the North and Northeast. We worked our way oh so slowly up the Yucatan Pennisula with an eye constantly on the wind. For me it was another lesson in how it used to be and how it still is for some folks—it is what I love about the work. There is no one to bail you out, you are on your own. No gas station, no grocery store, and a thousand miles to go.

Well, in the end we still are not in Fernandina and had to stop in Key West for fuel and provisions. The weather just wouldn’t listen to my pleas… “come on just a little fair breeze?”
Now we are just 100 nm from port (Fernandina) and the students and crew are on tender hooks for all the things only land can provide: ice cream, showers, cheeseburgers…

Fair winds Captain Flansburg


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