Ocean Classroom: Stars Above and Stars Below

Posted by Ocean Classroom


Over the past two weeks, Proctor’s Ocean Classroom students have experienced life on the open waters. As they entered the Gulf Stream and sailed south, we caught up with the student crew through daily journal entries and photos. Read more from the past two weeks on Harvey Gamage below!

Proctor Academy Ocean Classroom Sailing Ships Maine

Tuesday, October 18 | Miles ‘24 

We all woke up to a beautiful day aboard the Harvey Gamage, currently docked in Gloucester, MA. We started our morning early with breakfast and our daily chores. Breakfast consisted of oats and blueberry muffins. Shortly after, we were invited aboard a beautiful fishing schooner from the 1800s. We all had a tour of the vessel and were able to see what it was like 200 years ago in the fishing industry. We were also taught about the maritime history of Gloucester. Shortly after the amazing tour of the schooner, we had a literature lesson discussing our future assignments and catching up on some work. After our class was dismissed we were starving and thankfully a great lunch had been prepared. Abandon-ship training commenced after lunch, reviewing what to do if we had to abandon our vessel out at sea. 

After the important training, we were granted free time until dinner. We were all very excited to explore what Gloucester had to offer. The first place I went was the nearest laundromat to wash all of my dirty clothes that have accumulated over the last couple weeks. I further explored the city and visited a Walgreens in search of snacks. I was not alone, many of my friends were walking down the aisles looking for goodies as well. After some time, I met up with some of my friends and headed back to the Gamage. After such a fun-filled day, some down time was needed. We came back to the ship to a luxurious meal of tacos waiting for us. As the sky gets darker, we begin to slow down and wonder what tomorrow will bring. 


Wednesday, October 19 | Owen ‘24 

As we embark on our 3rd day in Gloucester, we begin the day with some breakfast and chores. We were given a lesson by Peter about water temperature and density based on salt and other minerals that rise to the surface when colliding with continental shelves. By the end of the lesson we were given an assignment to draw a planet made up of our imagination with its own ocean currents and land masses. After lunch we were then given time to check off sections of our sailing book. Following that we were given a fantastic lesson by Captain about currents and what was currently happening on our eastern coast. Jake then gave us some time to work on our midterms and to go ashore. We then had dinner brought to us by Henry’s Grandma and played guitar and sang as the sun set. 

Proctor Academy Ocean Classroom Sailing Ships Maine

Thursday, October 20 | Olivia ‘23 

My day started at 06:00 as I had watch from 0600-0700. After waking pro-crew up at 06:30, completing boat check, and then waking all the crew up at 07:00 the day was started. Breakfast was bagels, potatoes, and bacon and my watch (C-Watch) was in charge of doing dishes. Then we headed into town and stopped by the fisherman memorial before we headed to the Cape Ann Museum. We saw some amazing works of arts and schooner models. I really enjoyed walking around the museum and learning more about Gloucester’s history. After the museum we went to a cafe which was such a nice treat. I got a smoothie and banana bread, which were both delicious. We headed back to the boat for lunch which was gnocchi! 

The rest of the afternoon mainly consisted of class and debriefing our experience at the museum. Adam expressed that he “really liked how the color of the paintings in the museum depicted the vibrant soul of Gloucester’s working class fishing communities.” We had class with Anna Maria, Holly, and Jake today. We learned more about bearings, currents, ship procedures, and anchorage techniques. With Jake, we had a short discussion about “In the Heart of the Sea” in preparation for our departure tomorrow for Nantucket. I am so excited! I think my favorite part of today was learning and memorizing the different lines, sheets, sails on the Gamage with Ryan and Josh. We turned the activity into small little relay races, it was a lot of fun! Dinner tonight was rice, curry, and vegetables. My watch was in charge of dishes once again, but we all worked together and we were able to get through everything very quickly. The rest of the night was sort of our own time. Most of us worked on our midterm papers or played cards in forward. Overall, I would say today was very successful and predictive and I cannot wait for what our journey holds next! 

Proctor Academy Ocean Classroom Sailing Ships Maine

Friday, October 21 | Carrie ‘23

A day filled with wildlife, joy, and travel. We started our day at the usual 07:00 wake up and breakfast at 07:30. What a beautiful Gloucester morning! After my typical morning oatmeal, I was ready for the day. A-watch got us underway out of Gloucester at the crack of dawn. The sun was still rising on our bow, and the distant Boston skyline on our starboard side. I spent the morning with a brief pre-lunch nap to prepare for my 12:00-16:00 watch. Lunch was absolutely incredible , together we spotted 5 humpback whales. It was so breathtaking and only got better! We spotted a feeding frenzy in the distance, birds, jumping fish, fins and chaos. As we got closer dolphins were jumping and swimming all around our bow. It was so beautiful! 

We were about three hours into our 22 hour venture to Nantucket when we set sails to heave to and had class about 17 nautical miles off Provincetown. We learned about knots and more about our sails. After about an hour, the clock hit 16:00 which meant C-Watch was soon to be relieved. I headed back down to my bunk for some quick rest and then got woken up by the sound of the sails luffing and the call “hands to trim sails”. We were beginning a tack. It was just before sundown and the winds had picked up and only sound was the winds filling the sails. Soon after sail sheets were made fast, we were sailing 10 knots which was unreal. Waves were crashing and spraying over the rails. It felt as if we were in a movie! We had a beautiful sun set and a great warm dinner in the salon. I went down to my bunk to throw on all my layers and to grab my harness before C-Watches 20:00-0:00 watch. The stars were spanning the entire sky and below us were glowing bioluminescence. Stars above and stars below we like to say. It was another breathtaking day on the Gamage. 

Proctor Academy Ocean Classroom Sailing Ships Maine

Saturday, October 22 | Charlie ‘24 

Today I was the chef’s helper so I got to sleep a whole night for the first time in a while. I woke up at 0530 to help cook breakfast. Soon after breakfast I was playing guitar and noticed some dolphins about 50 feet away. The dolphins came up and swam right next to our boat. They were so close you could hear them talking under water, it was one of my favorite moments yet. Shortly after, I spent my morning reading and working out. Before lunch, I went down and helped prep the food. I spent the afternoon playing some more guitar and hanging out with friends off-watch. Dinner came around and it took a while to make but we got it done and ready on time. After dinner, we mustered and then I had a 4 hour (1800-2400) watch. 

Proctor Academy Ocean Classroom Sailing Ships Maine

Sunday, October 23 | Ben ‘24 

After anchoring outside Nantucket, we got the chance to go ashore and explore and learn about the island’s history. Nantucket was mentioned a lot in the books we read this summer, including “In the Heart of the Sea”, so it was cool to be there in person. We got to Nantucket and we walked around. It was very interesting to see the old buildings. We went to the African American Museum on the island but it was closed, unfortunately. We ate lunch in the rain under a tree as the rain kept on coming down. Everyone was soaked, but the morale was still high. Then we went to a historic burial site for African Americans. The rain stopped for a bit and we had class at one graveyard and talked about the significance of the place. It started to rain a lot heavier now, worse than earlier, and we had to get back to the boat. We walked to the dock and waited (while being drenched!). Luckily Sam Liddle’s mom provided shelter for us and we were welcomed into their home. It was great and I am very thankful for their hospitality. We got to shower and dry our clothes. We had a great dinner, so much better than on the boat, and while not everyone could stay some of us went to other houses (friends of the Liddles). It honestly was great being in a dry place and comfortable beds for the night!

Proctor Academy Ocean Classroom Sailing Ships Maine

Monday, October 24, Thea ‘24 

The morning felt like a whole new world. Waking up from our full night’s sleep either in king sized beds or cozy couches in a home with a real foundation and walls. To be honest, it felt bizarre; the rockiness of the sip caused by the sea state when getting woken up had become so normal to us. A little bit of land sickness overcame me as I stepped out of bed. It felt so strange. We were gratefully greeted by the hospitality of the Liddle family the night before when things went a little south and the weather halted us from leaving Nantucket Island. As much as we loved taking showers, washing our clothes, and sleeping in real beds, it didn’t feel like home. Our home was on the water, out at sea. 

Anyways, fast forward to 06:00 and we were all waiting at the dock with our stuff from the day before. We waited for the two little boats to come transport us back to the Gamage. Owen, Charlie, Zach, Miles, and I were the last to be brought back to the ship. ONce we passed the breakwater, the mast of the Harvey Gamage peaked through the fog bank, Proctor’s flag flying in the wind. Catching a glimpse of our home, a silent understanding settled over us as we all took in the beauty of our new home; one which we gained a newfound respect for. As we came upon the ship, we ran out of gas. Swaying back and forth in the waves, we switched to our second tank. Multiple attempts were made to start the motor, but it continuously failed. Miles stepped in and saved the day as he started her up on the first try! We got back to the ship and prepared to get underway. Our next stop was Martha’s Vineyard to re-fuel and then our three day passage to Cape May, New Jersey and on to Baltimore, Maryland. B-Watch was on watch for the time being, while everyone took long, needed naps.

Once we arrived and fueled in MV, A-Watch took the deck and embarked on our journey down south. It was a chilly, spooky evening.  The fog was so dense, the bowsprit was invisible. Eventually, time passed and it was time to switch over the watches. A Watch was relieved and slept like babies. We were woken up for our 0000-0400 watch. As my sleeping self stabled myself on deck, I heard shots of excitement coming from the bow. Chuck and Owen invited us to watch something magical - over the side, pods of dolphins covered in bioluminescence were riding the waves on our bow! They would swim away leaving glowing trails of green water, then swim back in and continue to ride with the waves. It was beautiful, something I’ve never seen before. It was such a magnificent way to end the day, and start the new one. 

Proctor Academy Ocean Classroom Sailing Ships Maine
Check out photos from Fall 2022 Ocean Classroom on Flickr!


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