"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

Good Vibes & Vitamin D

>> Wednesday, September 26, 2012

“There is nothing I can say that will prepare you for Ocean Classroom,” we were told by the ever enthusiastic Dave Pilla, over six months ago. At the time, none of us could grasp the truth of his words, for this promised adventure seemed but a faraway dream.
Seven days ago, twenty-two eager faces boarded the Harvey Gamage. Our hearts fluttered with nervous anticipation as we peered up through the rigging at the green and white Ocean Classroom flag waving in the bone chilling salty sea air. A wave of shocking reality hit us; we were at last standing on the rocking vessel that we would call home for the next two and a half months of our lives.
Due to foul weather, we were prevented from setting sail that afternoon and we remained docked in Gloucester, Massachusetts for the remainder of Tuesday evening. We kept our positive attitudes throughout our night watches, dreary and wet though it was, and the general buzz aboard the ship was of our excitement to finally get going.
Wednesday morning, we filed our of our bunks below deck and were welcomed by a cloudless azure sky. By noon, we were preparing to depart and get underway to Mystic, Connecticut. The sun shined brilliantly throughout the afternoon, reflecting off the water and creating an endless blanket of sparkling facets of light. Despite generous applications of sunscreen, our cheeks and noses soon became varying shades of pink and red.
Still, spirits were high and we went about hauling on lines and standing at the helm or lookout with enthusiasm. We retired to our bunks at 2200 and immediately drifted off to peaceful slumber. The rocking of the boat kept us comfortable throughout the night.
My watch was woken up at 4:00 AM to begin our four-hour shift. Watching the sunrise after a perfectly clear and starry night only intensified the surreal sensation of being about the Harvey Gamage.
This perfect tranquility was soon rudely interrupted by a nauseosity that resonated in the pit of my stomach. The remainder of my morning, along with several other members of the crew, was spent leaning over the rail of the ship, so sick we could barely function. We were resentful of the endless rolling waves and wondered what in the world we had gotten ourselves into. The day seemed full of negative energy and chains of complaints. We were cold. We were exhausted. We were dirty.
And still we sailed on.
We were naive in our expectations of being underway and learned quickly that this trip would not always be "smooth sailing." The misery nearly all of us felt came unexpectedly and without preparation. It was on this day that we truly understood Dave Pilla's works, which now seemed more of a warning.
At last, bu mid-afternoon the sea began to calm and my seasickness faded away. Several of us pulled out homework and Crazy-Creeks to settle on deck and let the friendly sun kiss our faces. Others stood in circles sharing amusing stories and riddles; the air was filled with laughter and contagious positivity.
In my one week as a sailor aboard the Harvey Gamage, I have learned that the weather can alter my entire perspective of any given day. When it is overcast and air is frigidly cold, I can think of nothing but my desire to be anywhere but here. Everything and everyone makes me angry. I am resentful of the people who wake me for watching the middle of the night and of the educators who assign so much work. But, when the warmth of the sun crawls into my tired bones, the constant state of business on deck is intensely satisfying. We set about our daily work willingly and happily. When the sun shines, we are content to spend the day hauling on lines, checking the boat, scrubbing, washing, studying, and repeating the cycle all over again multiple times. Chores are carried out with alacrity and craftsmanship; we take pride in our beautiful home. It is gorgeous days like this when we look out at the gleaming and wondrous sea and are reminded of our great desire for adventure. I can only speak for myself, but after just one week, the Harvey Gamage and her crew have stolen my heart.


Total Pageviews

  © Free Blogger Templates Skyblue by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP