"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

Student Writing: Transit from the Dominican Republic to Florida

>> Sunday, April 10, 2011

Author: Ashley Charles

Location: Transit from Dominican Republic to Florida

“Look, you can see Miami!” came the call from bow watch. I hastily stood up and surveyed the horizon. We had been at sea for eleven days and the thought of seeing land was almost alien. Catching a glimpse of clustered skyscrapers, I held my breath and pinched myself.

This was our longest transit throughout the semester, and everyone was feeling the effects of our “fluidly dynamic environment.” We had been through fierce wind, no wind, a squall that soaked me thoroughly, huge mahis, pilot whales, going backwards, and I still wanted to hang around the tropics for a bit.

Being part of that long pull to America (1500 miles!) gave me strengthened friendships and new knowledge. To offset the cliché I spent my spare time asleep, which benefited me greatly after getting up for watch at 4 am.

By far, the highlight of the transit was the squall. After hearing the rain drone on, I was about to drift off to sleep when a crack of thunder jolted me awake. I grabbed my foully jacket and hurried on deck. The rain was pelting sideways, and it felt like hard little beads punching my skin. The wind was an angry beast, whipping about my ears and face. It was pitch black, but every so often lightning would flash, brightly illuminating the deck.

Looking through my glasses was like trying to see through a dense fog. I shoved them in my pocket and ran to take in the staysail. Since the wind was so fierce, commands were being screamed to the wind repeatedly, in hopes it would catch our ears. We took in every sail and sea stowed them amidst the blinding rain. I was ordered back down below where I stood over the midships grate, drip drying. I could not get the smile off my face. Nothing would keep me away from such and exciting and challenging part of life; sailing.


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