"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


>> Monday, April 23, 2012

From March 7th, Docked in Freeport, Grand Bahamas.

Photo credit: Audrey Sheehan
I’m sitting against a dock line, my feet on the cat rail, staring out across the Freeport Marina. For some reason the moon has been especially beautiful the last couple of nights, and although you can’t actually see very many stars, the tired twinkling of the container cranes beacons is an interesting substitute. If I stood up and turned around, I’d see more machines, industrial and serious looking, so different from our port experiences to date. Freeport is everything we’ve learnt to despise, to condemn. It is a globalized industrial port with oil tankers, free zones, and environmentally unsound practices. China owns it and the Bush brothers run it… Theoretically Freeport should be the epitome of the worst of the worst, but it’s not. For some reason, Freeport has attracted me in a way no other port has, its real. Whether we like it or not container ships and oil tankers are the realities of the modern world. They’re what todays sailors sail. The support & pilot boats, Tugs & barges, even the massive oil transits here, this is all happening, its real work being done professionally and efficiently. There isn’t ethnic history or tourist following filling up the harbor, there is cranes & pipes & huge mechanical monsters working away. Maybe it’s just the realness that impresses me. It’s kind of like watching Grey’s Anatomy or CSI as a kid. You can’t help but want to be a doctor or a crime investigator when you grow up; they just seem so intense and exciting. Except here it’s real. Basically what I heard Ms.Hughes telling Zack sums it up, “Get involved with this business (modern maritime) and you’ll see the world at its most interesting. That’s always what I’ve wanted to do, what better way to do it than from a boat.”

Brunswick, Maine.



>> Sunday, April 22, 2012

“You have to count your underwear because if you have 30 pairs you can wear one every day!” Elizabeth excitedly told me as she contemplated our time remaining on the Harvey Gamage during a particularly cold bucket shower. We have been living on this ship for three months now, and we are all closer than ever before.
Photo credit: Jackson Stevens
Today is my 17th birthday, and definitely my happiest. Living on a ship is so unlike living in your own house, closed up in your own little world. I woke up at four this morning to get on watch and a flood of Happy Birthday’s comes to my ears. I am special here, completely welcomed and loved. On land, birthdays seem so much less significant… someone could easily think, “Oh, another person out of the seven billion on earth is having a birthday. Woop-dee-doo. Millions of other people are probably celebrating their birthday today, too.” It is nothing like that on the Harvey Gamage. No one can’t acknowledge my birthday- there are only 31 of us on board! In this world I am an important subject in everyone’s life; I felt love from every person on board, as well as from my family and friends back on land.
During daily almanac, I got a huge group hug and everyone sang to me. My watch spelled out “MEG BIRTHDAY” in signal flags on the mainmast and flew them all day (the most nautical birthday card I’ve ever received). Pierre cooked a double chocolate cake for dessert with my name on it. I lost track of how many hugs I got today.

The quote on the board today is on a conversation I had with Audrey last night:
            Audrey: “Meg, what do you want to be when you grow up?”           
            Me: “AWESOME!”


Real Life Literature

Photo credit: Audrey Sheehan

While reading The Sea-Wolf by Jack London, students were asked to write about the parallels between their experience on the Harvey Gamage and Humphrey (Hump) Van Weyden’s experience on Ghost. Here are two exceptional responses.


Although my experience on board the Harvey Gamage differs a lot from Hump’s on the Ghost, I find it easy to relate to many of the feelings he has throughout his journey. In the beginning he talks about adjusting to the ship, especially the way the deck slants and moves constantly under his feet. In Hump’s first moment on deck, he finds himself confronting this problem, as I did my first days on board. He says, “A puff of wind caught me and I staggered across the moving deck to a corner of the cabin, to which I clung for support.” The action of clinging for support, and at times dear life, was one well known to me in my first week here.
Another point which relates my experience to Hump’s is the actions of the boat. As is beautifully worded, “all the while rolling, plunging, climbing the moving mountains… I could hear the wind above… now and again feet stamped overhead. An endless creaking was going on all about me, the woodword and the fittings groaning and squeaking, all complaining in a thousand keys.” I can’t count the amount of times I have laid awake in my bunk listening to all of these noises, and I was instantly able to relate my experience to Hump’s upon reading that passage.


Both Hump and I have gone out of our comfort zone and tried something new. We both are not used to working, cooking, and relying on ourselves. In the book it says, “You have slept in soft beds, and worn fine clothes, and eaten good meals. Who made those beds? And those clothes? And those meals? Not you.” Hump and I have relied on our parents, friends, and people close to us to get things done. Being on a sailing vessel we have learned to be self-dependent and we have learned a lot about ourselves. “All this and more, I have learned.” Being on these voyages we have learned life skills such as relying on ourselves to get things done. Also we have learned how to cook, navigate, and sail in general. The outcome of our voyages will be a positive learning experience.

Photo credit: Jackson Stevens

Students also wrote travel epiphanies, short descriptions of meaningful moments they have had on the trip so far. 


During the passage from the Dominican Republic to Fernandina, about halfway through we were entering the Bahamas, and the wind died. I looked out as the sails flopped lazily in the puffs and swells and realized that we were moving backward. In this moment, I realized how much our world relies on motorization. We no longer allow something as simple and variable as the wind to determine where we go and when we arrive. Then the main engine beeped and roared and we were moving forward again.


>> Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Breakin’ On Through To The Other Side!

We are finally here! Back in the Estados Unidos. It’s been sixteen days since we left the Dominican Republic, light winds gave us the opportunity to make some stops in the Bahamas. We were gratefully lucky to visit The Island School in Cape Eleuthera (http://www.islandschool.org/) and sneak in some last tropical snorkels. Our journey was livened up with a multitude of dolphin and whale sightings. Things were kept entertaining with costume theme watches, make overs, a “shark week” addition to daily almanacs, and April fools and Easter celebrations. Rough weather lead us to duck into Freeport for two nights where we caught up on some course work. As we made our way up the Florida coast, “Shark Week” concluded with a sighting of a big scary dorsal fin near the boat (we think it may be a Blue or Hammerhead shark).

Our first order of business once back on home soil was to give our mother ship some much needed love. Most of yesterday was spent, scrubbing, washing and disinfecting. Today we explore the sights of Amelia Island that will be followed by a visit to Cumberland Island. Both, barrier islands, with drastic differences in development show us first hand our impact on the environment.

We are quite a privileged bunch to have seen & experienced so much! And there is yet so much more to come!

-Mahima Jaini
Marine Science Educator



Oh Little Bird, You’re a round fluffy ball

You don’t belong on my pillow, you should be off singing your little bird call

Norton you’re cute, with your little hops here and there

You’ve turned midships into your lair

Careful little Norton, where you sleep tonight

For what if Calabash were to catch a sight

Of you and your little bird size munch

For Calabash would turn you into his lunch.

On April 9th, on our way back into the states, a Brown Palm Warbler landed on The Gamage. It spent the day landing on heads, catching flies in the main salon, and taking naps in my bed. Warblers, on their migrations North, often get tired and and on shops to rest and so we met Norton.

-Iyla McArthur, Vermont.


>> Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A great BIG thank you to Hanifa Washington Education Director of the Amistad Center- Calle Isabella Zona Catholica, Santo Domingo. Thank you for all your help in making our week in the Dominican Republic a great success!
This has been a valuable experience for all of us involved. The opportunity to work with the women at the Sonido Del Yaque Eco Farm and the children at the orphanage for stateless children will have a lasting impact on the perspective in which we view the world. The students say it best through their own writings- enjoy.

If you would like more information about the Stateless Children and their plight please take a look at the following website-



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