Ocean Classroom 2020: Laughs, Hard Work, and Surprise Visitors

Posted by Ocean Classroom


Proctor's Ocean Classroom 2020 continues to explore the coast of Maine as they enter their third week at sea. A surprise maple syrup drop-off near the Isle of Shoals from Brooks Bicknell '77, Jackson Bicknell '11, and Hunter Churchill '01 on Sunday afternoon provided a rare connection to the outside world for our students. Check out recent Ship's Logs from the schooner Roseway for more updates and read on for reflections from students at sea! 



Mitchell | Somes Sound, ME

Friday, September 25, 2020

We’ve been on the Roseway for a little over a week now and we’re currently staying in Somes Sound, Maine. Last night we dropped anchor a few minutes away from where we are staying tonight because there are so many lobster pots in this area. This morning during breakfast, Ms. Miller-Shelley weaved the Roseway through all the lobster pots and got us safely to our current anchor spot. After that, the students and educators prepared to step foot on land for the first time since getting on the boat. I, personally under the impression we would be going on a short, easy hike. I was wrong. Maybe it is because I haven’t walked more than 100 feet at a time for a week, but the hike felt endless. We got two lookout points on two separate hills. The hills weren’t especially tall but the trails were borderline vertical. Views were great through, very pretty. Towards the tail end of the journey we stopped for a sit spot with Thane. A sit spot is basically just an hour of quiet alone time, usually done in nature. When we got back to the Roseway all the students and some of the crew did a swim call. I was also under the impression that the water could not be as cold as it was on Hurricane Island. Wrong about that one too. It was necessary though, everyone was getting pretty smelly.



Ollie ‘21 | Seal Island, ME

Saturday, September 26, 2020 

Today we woke up to a blanket of fog. The ship was socked in fog with no wind for us to set sail. We hauled anchor and motored our way to Swans Island. The fog was just as thick so we anchored in a small fishing port surrounded by lobster boats. The ride over was stressful because the blanket of fog made it hard to spot lobster pots so we had to find new ways to navigate. Once we anchored, small boats were launched and we all went ashore. After a quick hike to a lighthouse, we took a minute to enjoy the view. We made our way to the beach, where we tested pH, oxygen, and nitrate levels of the frigid Maine waters. After our hike we got back on the small boats and headed back to Roseway, where Sean, our fantastic chef, greeted us with a warm meal.



Dylan ‘21 | North Haven Island, ME

Sunday, September 28, 2020 

Today, our second Sunday aboard Roseway was…eventful. We awoke to the sight of surrounding fog which made for quite a damp morning. During our morning muster we were told that, after our morning chores, we would be motoring from Swans Island to Isle Au Haut (pronounced isle a ho) where we would spend the afternoon savaging the rocky coast for muscles, clams, and crabs. After the launching of the small boats and our touch down on land everyone quickly started to submerge in the muddy beach, flipping rocks and getting our hands dirty. I have to say, despite coming back smelling like low tide it was very fun. We ended up with four full buckets of muscles! We found one clam but did not keep it, but the crabs were plentiful. We did not take any back however because they were simply too small, though it was fun trying not to get pinched while picking one up! If I had to guess I'd say we collected anywhere from 150 to 200 muscles within our small area of search. We are all excited to eat our hard earned, hard picked collection. Afterwards, while waiting the small boats shuttling to and from Roseway, a massive, all out free-for-all seaweed war broke out. The instigators remain unknown, but it escalated quickly and left many picking off bits of seaweed for hours. The highlights of the glorious battle were Mr. Terry athletic evasive maneuvers and, of course the heaping piles of seaweed that Thane dumped onto unsuspecting victims. It was a very fun memorable experience and if your still having trouble picturing it, just imagine a snowball fight with seaweed. After a we ended the night with a swim call so everyone could wash the smell of mud, muscles, and seaweed off. We then lifted the anchor and set the sails, headed toward North Haven Island. After a few short hours underway we arrived. After a delicious meal, night was filled with ditty bag making, board games, and homework. With everyone sound asleep in their bunks dreaming of our collected muscles, and few on anchor watch I think everyone would agree today was one to remember.



Rachel ‘21 | Pond Island, ME

Monday, September 29, 2020 

After a slow, uneventful morning we anchored near Pond Island. Piling into the small boat we made our way ashore. Seconds after stepping off the boat onto the uneven rocky shore we looked down towards our feet to see all the rocks riddled with shells, sand dollars, and coral. We ventured around and collected little gems to put into a time capsule for next year’s Ocean Classroom. After stumbling around we slowly made our way to the small boats to climb back up onto the boat. My boat was supposed to be driven by Mr. Terry but Katie took over. Wet, cold, and bundled up almost all of us easily made our way back onto the boat. Everyone but Katie- she on the other hand could not bend her leg due to her foul weather gear. Her foot missed the scupper and dangled off the side like the sole towels hanging from the shower. Hoisting her back aboard, we were all hysterically laughing as she laid across the deck. Our calm day stared to take a turn as dinner prep began. The energy picked up with the smell of steaming warm mussels. The crew and students who were stood down rushed around to get well dressed and get off the lingering smell of dirt and seaweed from the previous day. Sharing clothes and jewelry we all came up to the salon, tablecloths set and large bowls of steaming mussels ready for the picking. As we began eating you could hear the crunch of what we all suspected was sand. After further investigation we were all digesting little pearls! Piles of pearls began to gather along the table. As the buckets of mussels for eating depleted and the bowl of empty shells grew, we all began to slow down. Now with the night winding down the salon is full of people, some doing homework, others playing board games, and some just hanging out. Each day keeps getting better. Huge shout out to my family, I love you! Most importantly hugs soon to my dog Sadie!



Cameron ‘21 | Rockland, ME

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 

I sit in the salon, recounting the events of today while being serenaded by McKensie and Katie. As they improvise a ukulele ballad about each member of the Roseway crew, laughter fills the air and I find myself happily present and distracted. Today raced by in a foggy, slow sailing way. We kicked off the day with chores and a beautifully delicious breakfast of nachos and beans. We then set the sails, raised the anchor, and glided through the dizzying fog. Forward lookout suddenly became a game “Is that a boat or am I just seeing things?” or “How far can I see?” Science class then consisted of submerging faces into ice cold buckets of sea water and discovering if we could, in fact, turn into whales or dolphins. This was then followed by a brief history lesson where we strategized, and then went to war with the British at Fort George. Sadly, the battle ended in the “largest navel defeat in U.S. history, besides Pearl Harbor.” We brushed that minor setback aside, and continued with out watch cycles until we found anchorage in Rockland, Maine. Following dinner it was C watches turn for dinner clean up which gradually became a dance party filled with a variety of energetic crew members. Organizing, sweeping, and scrubbing was accompanied by belting, dancing, and laughing. It was, by far, the most entertaining and cleaning session I have participated in so far. As I mentioned previously, the day closed with salon singing, homework, and politics. Thane is currently attempting to show the first 2020 Presidential election debate. Today, a seemingly normal day was non- the -less a blast.



Robin ‘21 | Rockland, ME

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 

Waking up to another day of fog, strong winds, and rain, we got ready for our first day of provisioning food for the next two weeks! With the excitement of getting new food, we also got to pick out our own individual snacks and one group snack for every watch. As the crew took small boats to shore to pick up loads of food, all the students had a fun navigation class with Mr. Terry, Susanna, and Tiffany. We practiced sweating the lines with resistance provided Susanna on one side of the gauntline in one group and in another Mr. Terry was pulling on the stern boat falls looking like Tarzan as students tried to sweat the line and put it to the pin. After sheets and lines, we went into mock gybing and tacking practice with Mr. Terry trying to yell directions through the wind. All the students were running around pretending to know what we were all doing. Once navigation class ended, we piled into the salon for lunch and to get out of the wind. It was a filling meal of Bolognese, rice, and salad. Once lunch was over, we had time to wind down, take a nap, or do chores. Rachel and I decided to take a much-needed nap. As we went down into the fish it was still foggy and windy. About two hours later, I woke up to Cameron telling Rachel that the fog had cleared, and the sun was shining. But what made us spring out of bed and run up the companionway was Cameron saying, “and there are doughnuts from Dunkin Donuts in the galley for everyone!” After enjoying a bite of reality, Thane lead literary class with a few sea shanty songs and review of the questions that we made up for our interviews for our “People of Roseway” paper. With the sun finally out, almost everyone sat outside for dinner on the cabin tops. Feeling the sun on our faces for the first time in 6 days made everyone extremely happy and energetic! To end the night there was a battle between Sean, the fabulous cook, and distributing hot chocolate packets to the students! Unfortunately, Katie and Jamie burnt their tongues. Shout out to my family, I love and miss you, especially my dog Edie!



Camile ‘21 | Rockland, ME

Thursday, October 1, 2020 

Hello outside world! Camille here reporting from anchorage in Rockland, Maine on Roseway. Rabbit Rabbit! Our educator, Tiffany explained to the crew that in order to have a lucky month, the first words out of your mouth should be those words. She was the only person on board who remembered this sacred ritual so tonight, the words “tibbar tibbar” (rabbit spelled backwards) will be muttered around the fish and the foc’sle all throughout the night as everyone drifts off to sleep. The crew woke up to blue skies and a moderate breeze of 18 knots. New month, finally new weather! This beats the 45 knot gusts from yesterday's storm. I can’t believe it is only our second week on Roseway. It is crazy how comfortable I feel here already! I was expecting it to be much harder to adjust to the wild rhythm of the boat and our ever-changing schedules. We had a delicious breakfast of oatmeal, eggs, bacon, and fruit. Our cook Sean is a food wizard. I ate way too much oatmeal which was calling my name after some cleaning the head cardio. After breakfast I got to mail a letter to my family and pulled out my crazy creek for marine biology with Holly at 0900. We have been learning about the mammalian dive reflex which we got to test out yesterday! We hauled up three bins of icy cold salt water and dunked our faces in them for 15 second, holding our breath. We were measuring our BPM’s and compared them today to marine mammals. After Holly’s class we had navigation with Tiffany which was super helpful and productive, also on deck with our papers flapping in the wind and sun piercing our eyes. We went over the process/steps of tacking and gybing, and refreshed our memories on the different jobs of each halyard, sheet, downhauls, and more. Today was laundry day for me and most of the students, because today was the first sunny and dry day in quite a while. Miss Miller-Shelley brought the small boat back to the mainland to pick up the rest of our provisions, (most importantly our first personal snack order- mine is chocolate pretzels!) Then Miss Miller-Shelley also brought back a load of doughnuts which was an amazing surprise! Another notable event from this afternoon was Katie’s homework flying out of her hand and going overboard… and then the pain of watching it float away and sink. She must redo it. 

After a relaxed afternoon, our gym sharks took over midships doing squats, burpees, and pull-ups on the fish’s beam, all while I was sound asleep too! A while later I was woken up as we were raising our sails to get underway, on our 18 hours voyage from Rockland to Casco Bay, in Portland, Maine. We began sailing as the sun began to set, and we left the harbor waving to some strangers chilling at the lighthouse we were cruising by. I do not think I will ever get over how beautiful the sunsets are on Roseway. As the sun slipped down the horizon behind a stretch of mountains Roseway’s glorious red sails were illuminated by a bath if golden sunlight, with our glorious and newly cleaned underwear and socks flapping around in the breeze! My watch, C watch, with Cam, Robie, Jasper, Dylan, Robin, and Jake, had a four hour watch last night from 2000-0000, (8am-12pm). We were all pretty tired from the day but were nevertheless excited to be sailing. I began the night in charge of navigation, as the navigator and felt extremely sea sick due to the moderate swell, and being below deck hunched over a chart at the navigation table. Cam was on the helm steering, also feeling sick. After an hour, I was relieved of my duties and went to my job as stand by, still feeling immensely sick. Luckily, our engineer Nick was awake in the salon and game me some ginger to chew on. I sat on deck and stared at the horizon which was illuminated by a beautiful, full, harvest moon, which Leona told me had rays similar to the sun shooting out if you squint. I felt much better after a bit and continued through watch. The wind picked up a bit, as did the waves, and we had our first person puke! The victim was Rachel, who consented to being exposed in this, and threw up midships directly in front of me. She was congratulated. Forward lookout with Jasper was entertaining as always, and we sun Taylor Swift songs at the bow trying to keep each other awake. Dylan ate it by backing up into the emergency exit hatch above the foc’sle. Just another night on Roseway. I know I have written a but of a novel and am impressed if you made it this far, but I just love it here and am so incredibly happy. There is rarely a moment on board when you cannot hear laughter and the energy of this ship and crew is purely intoxicating. I hope that all of my friends on campus are doing well and surviving without Jake runs! I miss and love you all so much. Same to friends from home to parents, dog Ollie and cat Stella, I hope you are all staying happy, healthy, and safe! Please mail me pictures of the dog and cat! Peace out!



Jasper ‘21 | Cliff Island, ME

Friday, October 2, 2020 

I was in the middle of an interview with the med officer, Cafferty, for a school project when the call for all hands on deck rang out. We are doing an exercise on setting a kedge anchor. Because of the full moon, the tide was a low drain tide meaning that the boat could swing towards the shallows. The kedge anchor would prevent this. The anchor is tied to a huge, thick line made off to a metal machine, the windlass, used to pull in the usual anchor. The kedge anchor works by being moved to deep water, then hauled on to move the boat to it. It is initially moved by towing it with the small boats to the area to be dropped. Ms. Miller-Shelley and Ms. Shooter drove the dinghies while Thane held the anchor fast to the boat he and Ms. Miller-Shelley were on. It took 2 small boats to drag the 300-pound anchor over to the drop zone. When everyone was ready, the kedge was let go and the line was eased out. When the kedge was set, all of the students hauled on the line to swerve the bow to the anchor. Our collective power and teamwork moved the whole boat! This is the way the ships of old used to move in a time before engines when sailing was not an option. It's exciting that now we have become accustomed to the goings-on on Roseway that, as students, we are comfortable enough to start doing complicated techniques such as Kedging. To use a recent personal example, as the foresail was being sheeted out, the downhaul, a line that runs parallel-ish to the boom, got stuck around the fish hold cabin. I noticed this and unwrapped it so nothing would break. This is something that just weeks ago would not have crossed my mind. As Ms. Miller-Shelley-Shelley put it in our conversation, they are not “just a bunch of spaghetti laying around on deck anymore.” Also, hi Mom! I hope you and the family are doing well!



Jake ‘21 | Cliff Island, ME

Saturday, October 3, 2020 

THERE! Finally I pushed the shucking knife into the oyster in my hands. There was a “shick, shick” sound as I scraped the top of my newly opened prize. The pale meat sloshed in a milky liquor. The smell of salt intensified! I took a breath, posed for the camera and thought, “down the hatch.” The taste of salt water was overpowering, and the texture silky yet somehow gelatinous at the same time. One, two, three chews and swallow. It was definitely something different, in fact that had been my first time ever eating an oyster. I can see why people say it’s an acquired taste. Not my favorite but I have no regrets. That was one of my goals from the start, to be open to trying new things. There is a saying on the ship that, “You never regret a swim call.” No matter how cold the water or how much you just want to stay dry, you do it anyway. The water is never as cold as you think. That brings me to earlier today, a swim call. All of us guys were changing in the foc’sle when we heard a puffing from Sean the cooks bunk. We all looked over and saw a giant glazed donut with blue frosting sticking out of Sean’s bunk, slowly inflating. Sean himself was red-faced slowly blowing up the swim tube. The water ended up being much warmer than we all expected, though it was still numbingly cold Maine water. Even still we all took the chance to get clean. Even some of the people that immediately scramble up the ladder (including myself) stayed in longer. The pool float, thanks to Sean, definitely helped. Later in the evening we had an amazing dinner made by some of our deckhands and Mates. It was Sean’s day off (hence the pool float) so the crew took over the galley, filling it with smells of their home kitchens with family recipes and their own twists on existing recipes. Today was a day of taking leaps of faith, whether that be off the side of the ship at swim call or with new food. Today was a good day.

Check out more photos from Ocean Classroom 2020 here!


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