"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


>> Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The last time I saw my Grandfather before he died, he took me to Newport, Oregon- to the sea, where I could explore the beach and check out the marine museum. I’d told him that I was interested in the ocean, so he wanted to leave me with a push in the direction of my dreams. His goal of sparking my interest in the ocean helped lead me to do a semester at sea in the first place.
The ocean, to me, has always meant more than just a bunch of open water. To me, the ocean is opportunity it is knowledge, and it is greatness. It touches every culture and carries every ship. All I want is a piece of this knowledge, this opportunity, this experience. I will take as much as I can get.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I arrived on board the Harvey Gamage four months ago, which turned our great because it blew my small expectations out of the water. The places we’ve been together have taught us lessons of life and love that we will value for the rest of our lives.
This experience is unique in its way. Never again will we all be back together in the same way, sailing the same waters and seeing the same places. So we’ve learned to value our time together and to value our privileges in life. I have learned the value of teamwork and friendship that I’ve never fully realized before. With these kids, I’ve laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed, leaning on them all along the way. With them I’ve raised sails, conquered the wind and climbed volcanoes. Together, the arduous task of cleaning the entire ship fore and aft goes by quickly and pleasantly. We’ve pushed each other forward and kept each other happy. As I prepare myself to leave my home for the past four months and the people I’ve been with every moment of it, I realize what a priceless experience this has been, and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything. Not the best skiing in the world or the most beautiful spring. I am so glad to have been able to do this.
A quote from Joseph Conrad’s short story “Youth”, which Mr. Bailey read to us on the passage to the Dominican Republic, reflects on a sea voyage… “You all had something out of life: money, love-whatever one gets on shore- and, tell me, wasn’t that the best time, that time we were young and at sea: young and had nothing, on the sea that gives nothing, except hard knocks- and sometimes a chance to feel your strengths…” The sea has showed us all our strengths, and has opened our minds to the possibilities of dreams. We may not always be “young and at sea”, but remember that time when we were?
This invaluable experience requires a huge amount of gratitude. To the crew, who pushed us to learn our duties and lead us in their footsteps- Thank You. To our teachers, who, with their persistent education, became more than friends- Thank You. To our friends and family here today- Thank you for supporting our dreams and providing us this awesome opportunity. Each of us has been gifted with valuable knowledge of life, and I hope that in our lifetime we can spread these lessons of kindness, selflessness and love to the world.

I don’t know if or when I’ll see the Gamage again, but I wish her and future crew fair winds and safe voyages, and the same to my friends as we head back to our own homes and the real world.

Meg, Bettlehem, New Hampshire 


Total Pageviews

  © Free Blogger Templates Skyblue by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP