You cannot spell adventure, without adversity. On August 7th, the long awaited Journey on the High Seas, began for my fellow SCIPpers and I. From first light, I knew there would be peril ahead of us as it rained long before our opening ceremony. But as the time of departure approached, the skies cleared almost as if by fate. I gave our parting words to the crowd that had gathered infront of the Friendship. I must say as we began to sail away from Salem my anxiety built as I didn’t know what to expect. On the first night we faced 8 to 10 foot swells along the sides of the Friendship and I held the first watch and my stomach just couldn’t take the motion off to the side of the ship I went. Storm like weather that I’m sure that the original Friendships crew faced often. We sailed through 12 hours of thick Fog, and when I tell you that there was zero visibility there was zero visibility. It was nerve racking to say the least, but once we got through the cape cod canal, the fog cleared and we could see again. But we were not clear of peril just yet. We used power steering for the first leg of our journey, but as we sailed through the canal it for some reason failed and we began to sail directly towards the walls of the canal. Fortunately for us, the crew had enough experience, and was able to change to manual steering.You’ll notice there is a picture of me, gazing out to the sunset. That was the first time we had seen clear skies the whole trip. The next two days ran so smoothly. We had the opportunity to set all the sails, steer the helm, climb the head rig and become official members of the crew. When we approached Manhattan it was a sight for the eyes. We began to arrive at midnight, and the city light were all on. It was the most beautiful display of lights. We sailed under every bridge, crossing our fingers that our ships mast would clear them. By the time the sun came up, we were sailing right by the statue of liberty and people watched in amazement. The excitement building up at North Cove Marina, for our arrival could be felt from the harbor. The public was so anxious to board but we arrived on Wednesday and their day wasn’t until Saturday. In order to get some publicity for the ship, we walked to the Today Show in full uniform, to see if Al Roker would give us a hand. Once that was out of the way we had to service the Youth from the Gateway Parks, and Fort McHenry through the Youth Summit we had organized. Together with my fellow SCIPs we organized programs such as Cargo Hauling,Dead Reckoning, Shared Stories of being out at sea, and Fort McHenry chipped in with a Cutlass demonstration. It was a youth led event that went extremely well. By the end of our Summit, we took the youth out for a day sail, where they got to see how we had worked and lived for 3 days. It was an experience I’m sure they won’t forget. This experience was so liberating, and the Americas Great out doors intiative has forever changed my life. Never in my life had I imagined that I would sail on a tall ship to New York. I formed bonds that I never thought would exist. It is an adventure I will always share with others, and I hope that someday I get to see more youth being able to do this. I commend my fellow scippers for their courage, and the crew for their patience. As for myself, I give myself a pat on the back, for showing I had the resolve to push beyond my own limits. I hope when you read this, you know that adventure, tradition and history are very much alive in the 21st century and that America is still beautiful. Hip hip Huzzah!
Until next time,