Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Friday, July 25, 2014
This morning we rose bright and early to wolf down a hearty breakfast of yogurt, berries and pancakes - with real maple syrup. As with all meals on the boat, we stayed considerate of each other while serving ourselves so that the whole crew could savor a drop to lick clean from the bottom of the plate. It tasted so sweet - almost like candy, which isn't allowed on the boat. We are only halfway through our voyage and the students are already consciously jonesing for something - anything! - out of a wrapper. It seems that the meals on the ship have become unbearably wholesome. I'll never forget watching cadet Justin at the New Bedford Ferry Terminal as he pressed his fingers longingly against the glass of the vending machine. I believe his cheek was wetted by a single tear.
A great portion of our time in New Bedford was spent on land! The students were eager to shovel knowledge into the bottomless voids of their own curiosity, and what better place to begin than the New Bedford Whaling Museum? Historical illustrations, a variety of whaling harpoons, a half-scale model of the great ship Lagoda (the largest ship model in the world), and majestic whale skeletons suspended from the high ceilings made for some highlights of the museum. Also fascinating was the gallery of gorgeous lamp glasswork that had emerged from New Bedford as a result of the booming whaling industry; one of the main uses of whale oil was in candles and oil lamps, which burned brighter and cleaner than ever before and caused New Bedford to be known as the "City of Light." The overwhelming class favorite, however, was the gallery of intricate scrimshaw pieces. Hopefully, the boys and girls carry this artistic inspiration with them as they continue to work on their own taguanut scrimshaw pendants!
After the Whaling Museum, we broke for lunch and returned to land to visit the Seamen's Bethel, a real landmark described by Herman Melville in the great novel, Moby Dick. A destination for many a sailor about to embark on his long journey, the walls of the bethel were hung with memorial plaques for those lost at sea (these plaques are called cenotaphs, which means "empty tomb" in Greek).
We rounded out our land adventure with a visit to the Buzzard's Bay coalition. The walls were covered with information about the organization's natural preservation efforts, which mainly focus on education and raising awareness. This discussion was the perfect transition into the next activity, where students sampled water from the side of the boat and ran various tests to measure its purity.
The evening programming included a showing of video footage taken from the tail end of the Golden Age of Sailing, narrated by Irving Johnson. Through this primary source material, cadets were able to see how much sailing has changed since back then, when there were no safety regulations and most of the ships were not equipped with engines, instead flying across the ocean with only the power of the wind. All of the cadets went to sleep eager to begin sailing once again.
After our peaceful night in the dock, we all worked together to swiftly maneuver out of our cozy New Bedford docking slot, saying goodbye to our neighbor, the beautiful and temporarily retired educational vessel, The Ernestina. Setting sail goes more and more smoothly as the cadets become more confident with the procedure.
That's all for now. Pictures to come. Talk to you later in Provincetown!