"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

Real Life Literature

>> Sunday, April 22, 2012

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.


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