"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


>> Saturday, February 11, 2012

Everything floods my brain so quickly – I wonder if having too many new experiences will overload a person’s brain. If it does, then I’m probably very close to that overload. This world is so different from home – there is so much to learn and so much to know. Everyday life itself is foreign. The rhythm of the ship takes time to adjust to.

All students are woken up at 0700 and are given fifteen minutes to muster on deck and be prepared for morning chores. In a half-asleep daze, this task was difficult to accomplish at first. After a week, though, we have all fallen into the rhythm o the ship. Morning chores consist of three different tasks: “Sols and bowls” is the sweeping and scrubbing down of all the bulkheads, sols and heads below deck; “Brasso” finds a person polishing all of the brass on the ship: pinnacle, rails, bell and other bits around the deck; “Deckwash” follows with scrubbing down the decks with high pressure fire hoses and deck brushes. Each of these take about half an hour, and by eight in the morning it is time to eat breakfast.

Brasso polishing is my preferred chore in the sense that it yields the most rewarding results. I polish the bell at the fore mast. Using “Brass-O”, rags and an enormous amount of “elbow grease”, the stained, blotchy bell becomes a shining piece of golden pride. This task, if done well, can take an extreme amount of time. Right up to eight bells – 8am – when the chance arise to put the beautiful instrument to use. “Ding Ding, Ding Ding, Ding Ding, Ding Ding” always sounds louder when its right next to the ringers head. Polishing the brass takes time and love to perfect, similar to cooking. The most important ingredient is love. With the bell, I usually end up singing to it to make it shinier. “Shine On” by The Kooks is the most popular song for me to serenade it with.

Many actions on board require such attention to detail. The Harvey Gamage is the all-providing mother to us all. She is our home and our bed; our school and our workplace. We must take care of her with love so that she will, in turn, provide for us.

This home is beautiful, and the community here is family. Many of us may be strangers now, but in four months I’ll know these people better than my actual family.



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