"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

Graduation Video

>> Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Congratulations to all of our 2011 Ocean Classroom graduates! I hope you all are adjusting to land life well. The news story of our arrival in South Bristol is online, and you can view the video at this link or just check it out in the column to the right. Notice Ben H slaying the interview and the "fantastic" shot of our pennant flying in all its glory. Now you know why we take flags so seriously!



North Haven, Maine

>> Monday, May 23, 2011

School's Out!! Finals are over and the students can now spend the week concentrating on sailing the boat and seeing the Maine coast--when the fog lifts.

Only one week until graduation in South Bristol, ME., and final disembarkation. Contact the office with any questions regarding this event at (207) 633-2750.


Midcoast Maine

>> Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dense fog and contrary winds couldn't keep us from the Maine coast. Project Papers are in and final exams have started, and needless to say the students are looking forward to a week of sailing the Maine coast with their shipboard academics over with. All are well aboard!


Underway: Student Writing

>> Sunday, May 15, 2011



JWO is the most incredible bout of independence this far. It is also the most difficult task we have performed. It requires the knowledge of a mate, the reaction time of a rescue diver, the patience of a teacher, and the strength of a boxer. This challenge will bring the most out of us and inevitably take us to our limit for the last time.


A lot of things can be stressful when you’re sailing. Learning the ropes, getting aloft cleared, or navigating. They all put you on edge. But nothing is quite as challenging as JWO. Being junior watch officer really makes your hair stand on end. You have to control the vessel, tell everyone what to do, and make sure not to run aground. You have to tack the ship, should you need to, and you are responsible for everyone’s safety. The final decision now lies on you if Cap isn’t on deck. You also report directly to the Captain about the vessels surrounding us and all the potential hazards. Talk about nerve-wracking.


Here we are again, in the same hectic conditions of our first passage, yet this time no one is crying, no one is scared. Everyone here has grown immensely, ready to go back and face the real world. That’s what three and a half months does for you.


JWO or junior watch officer is exciting. The crew are still there but you control the ship, the crew only says something if you are going to put the ship in danger. I was the JWO on the twelve to four am watch beating up Buzzard’s Bay with confusing lights all around. At night it is extremely cold and things are a bit confusing so I was a little freaked, but having the boat under my command gave me a huge power trip. I can’t wait to be JWO again.


Tack from left to right, port to starboard. I’m tired; I’m cold, and soaking wet in my last set of dry clothes – so I’ll wear them to sleep in hopes that they’ll dry. Pumps to be manned, dishes to be done, the deck to be washed with simply not enough hands to do all in the time given. We tack again; I’m on the low side taking a strain on the line each time the boat rolls. I do my best to grip and not give any line back, but it’s wet, my hands are numb. Before I know it the line is flogging my palms but I hold on as the waves come over the side.


The bright yellow color of my west marine fowl weather gear is becoming slighted faded and blemished after the wear and tear of East Coast weather. No longer do I look like something that fell out of the pages of the company catalogue, but more like I actually know my way around the boat, with grease stains and anchor rust to prove it.

Joshua Slocum (pen name)

A few days ago, I was out in the headrig attaching the outer jib to the bowsprit with gaskets, when all of a sudden, we passed over the crest of a huge wave and fell into the trough of the wave, thoroughly soaking the bowsprit. It was very fun to be out on the bowsprit when it was going under.


Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I will wake up to commands being called out on the foredeck.

“Ready forward!” (right above my head).

“Helms alee!”(very faint).

“Helms alee!”.

I can hear the sails beginning to luff, the inner jib snapping around, “bang-bang-bang-bang.”

“Let fly the jib.”

More banging. The boat is standing up more now, heeling less, and the staysail sheet block is sliding back and forth on the traveler.

“Pass the jib.”

The inner jib is scraping against the headstay and now people are grunting on the sheet.

“Pass the stays’l!”

“Stays’l club coming across!”

The boat is shifting now, heeling over on the new tack. I fall over in my rack and fall back asleep.


Mystic Seaport Museum: Student Writing

Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea


Like birds our lives take on a migratory path of sorts. We make decision, for reasons that often time we are aware, that direct us to our ports. Years ago when my sister and I were little girls on our way to our grandmother’s house in NY, my mom made the choice to veer off course and took us to Mystic Seaport. I don’t remember this day, but when I arrived here a decade later I could undoubtedly sense I had met the land before. When we went into the endless stretch of barn once used tor twisting fibrous strong into rope, I recognized the sweet smell of ancient wood and sappy wax, and I felt as though I was looking at this sight through child like eyes.

Ben VA

I had a lot of fun in Mystic, CT. It reminded me of home and it was comforting to be there. I had a lot of fun with the sea shanties at the museum. I got a book of them and a bunch of CDs that I can’t wait to listen to when I get home. I’m hoping to sing a few of the songs in the chantey book with my chorus back home, sharing my experience with them.


New York City: Student Writing

New York City


As we move more slowly through the channel, we enter in the sight of the Statue of Liberty. Her mass, the emerald color seeps into the curious eyes of the students crowded around the bow of Gamage. She symbolizes freedom, patriotism, and America. As one who has not experienced her presence before, there’s not better way to have out first encounter. With all out sails set, our mass appears to contest with the size of the buildings and the Statue of Liberty.


New York is bigger and better every time I go. This time I was with a very different group of people and in a foreign circumstance than all the other times. IT was strange to have a time limit on NYC. Usually I get a small amount of input as to what we are going to take part in. This time I was just along for the ride. I let my group of fifteen students and three educators sweep me though the streets, carry me up and down escalators, and transport me to subway seats. The grime of the streets adds to the beauty of the concrete and glass city. New York City, town of bright inspiring lights.


I’ve come to realize how little time we have left on the boat. Time has become weird to me, minutes seem like hours and hours seem like seconds. These two last weeks are going to pass by incredibly fast. With out even noticing I’m going to be back home. The friendships that I’ve made here are going to last forever. I’ve met friends that I love for who they really are. Here we see people at their best and their worst. I have a lot of good memories to take home with me after the trip. New York was awesome; I wish we could have stayed longer. The streets inspired me and made me feel brand new. I loved spending time in the city. After spending three months in little towns in the Caribbean it was almost like a cultural shock.


Happy Mothers Day!!

>> Sunday, May 8, 2011

Central Park, NYC

We'd like to wish all of our moms a happy Mother's Day! 

With Love,

The Crew of the Harvey Gamage


Mystic Seaport

After a fantastic stop in New York City and a short sail in very light breeze up the harbor, through Hell's Gate and east along Long Island Sound, we docked along Chubb Wharf in Mystic Seaport this morning. We'll be exploring the ships, exhibits, and grounds of the Seaport and town for the next two days, when we'll be bound for Stellwagen Bank and Gloucester.

All aboard are well!


Student Writing: Reflections on the End of the Program

>> Monday, May 2, 2011

Author: Ben H.

Four months seemed like a long time when I sent in my application, but now, three months into this adventure, I am realizing how short it actually is. The days until we dock in Boothbay Harbor are quickly disappearing.

I've spent every day since February 2nd with my shipmates, who have become my close friends. It's sad to think about not seeing them every time I wake up, or not sharing every meal with them. We've become so close because we work and sweat together. Together we go through both the fun times and the hard times. We count on each other, we need each other, together we make the crew.

The friendships I've made here are very real, they're not surface relationships. I know my shipmates for who they are. We've all seen each other at our very best, dressed up for town, and we've all seen each other at our very worst, sleep deprived looking terrible, vomiting over the rail. Either way, it doesn't matter.

This trip is soon to come to an end, but the friendships and memories will stay with me forever.


Student Writing: Dolphins Underway

>> Sunday, May 1, 2011

Author: Edgar Allen Poe

The 0000-0400 watch is an unusually unexciting watch, and standing bow watch, alone, near the fo’c’sle hatch, is definitely the most unexciting hour of the watch. During one such night watch several days out of Charleston I was standing on bow watch, trying to make out what I thought might have been the glow of a light on the horizon when I heard splashing and blowing under the bow. Upon further inspection I discovered that it was a pod of dolphins, but not like those you see in the day. These dolphins streaked along side the boat in glowing trails of bioluminescence, so clearly defined against the black water that you could easily make out their details, especially their half moon trails easily keeping them even with the Gamage. The dolphins seemed to enjoy the disturbance caused by our propeller and often dived below the stern for several minutes at a time, reappearing in a streak of light to jump out of the water, stirring up the bioluminescence even more. Eventually they drifted off, swimming further and further away until all you could see was a faint glow in the water, leaving me once more alone on bow watch.


Student Writing: Cumberland Island

Author: Will Burke

In many cases it takes a change in ones environment to realize the subtle details that we experience in our every day lives.

We arrived in Cumberland Island after our short stay in Fernandina, which had been our first stop after eleven days at sea. We were to stay there four nights and five days, what seemed like an eternity away from the Harvey Gamage. We loaded up Sherman and ferried ourselves along with our gear to the pier that jutted out from the island. We left the boat with our seamanship skills sharp as well as a sense of excitement for the upcoming week. Our bags were packed with soccer balls, frisbees, sunscreen, and shore clothes; everything we would need to make out time ashore more enjoyable. We walked about a half a mile down the road (something we were very unused to on the ship) to the dorms where we had been assigned to stay. Once our gear was spread out in our spacious rooms with large beds and mattresses, we walked down tot another building. It was and industrial kitchen, a long room outfitted with brand new stainless cookware: pots, pans, knives, serving trays. It felt as though we had walked into the set of Hell’s Kitchen, extremely elegant compared to the twenty-foot galley on the Gamage. We spent the afternoon and night swimming and grilling burgers (Mr. Petrillo’s secret recipe). And it wasn’t until lights out when I realized how different life ashore really is. As I lay in a bed with sheets, a window open, fan circulating air, and the birds and cicadas conversing outside, I realized that the steady rocking of the ship would not be there to lull me to sleep, that the sound of water against the hull would not be ever present, breaking the silence of the still spring night. For the moment, everything was still. For the moment, everything had stopped moving.


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