"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 1, 2012

"If I make it there   I'll make it anywhere  It's up to you  New York, New York"
 Frank Sinatra's voice sang out over the intercom and carried us all on deck. As I left the companionway my breath was taken: above us, Lady Liberty emerged from the fog, tall and noble, and students stood in wonder, all except Patricia and Elizabeth who danced the Foxtrot with big goofy grins painted on their faces. We remained on deck long after the city lights came out. They were a departure from the starry night sky, but they were beautiful.

From the moment we entered Sandy Hook Channel I was inspired by the students. They successfully tacked up and down the Lower Hudson with Brendan at the helm, an impressive feat considering the traffic, variable winds and pressure of getting each tack just right. This would have seemed impossible two months ago, but they they handled it with ease. Peter W had planned our course through tight channels and he and Claire used the chart and buoys to successfully complete the task. Once anchored, Lady Liberty watched over us throughout the stormy night. The next morning we woke to beckoning seas and marveled at the city as we passed through the East River. With students perched aloft photographing the skyscrapers, I couldn't help but revel in the fact that the first skyscrapers were not in cities, but on the sea. Old square-rigged ships carried sails so high they were referred to as sky-scrapers, and above that were the moon-rakers and then star-gazers. Inspiration all around. 

Our passage up the Long Island Sounds was a high point of the trip; the conditions were perfect and we traveled 5 knots using only the staysail. Students were in high spirits despite the cold. In Mystic we made connections to our maritime past, visiting the Charles W. Morgan, various exhibits of all things maritime including figureheads and music, and even had the chance to row whaling boats. Students worked on their ditty bags in a sail loft and experienced Mystic Seaport in the intimate way of a mariner.

Our visit in Mystic coincided well with academics. In Maritime Literature students discussed The Sea-Wolf while sitting in the fish hold of the L.A. Dutton, an old and fast whaling schooner. In Maritime History students are finishing their independent research projects, and those who are researching whaling and fishing sailboats found themselves immersed in their topics of study. In Marine Science students are finishing independent lab reports. With the end of the semester quickly approaching, students find themselves busy, both with schoolwork and with the pressing need to make the most of every second. 

A special thank you to Katie's parents and grandparents for their hospitality. We all enjoyed the barbaque immensely.

Abbey, Literature Teacher


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