Crew Blog Entry #1: Casey Holt - Program Manager
To the Ocean we WEnt!
I know everyone (my mother included) are anxious to hear all about Oliver Hazard Perry's first ocean-going experience. First off, how cool is it that I'm even included in such a monumental moment for a ship? There is an energy on board that is full of excitement, and a sense of pride that the crew hold knowing they are shaping the future of this vessel. But profound realizations aside, I thought I would talk a bit about what transit on board has looked like thus far. (Currently I write you this as I sit in shorts and sip sweet tea in Charleston South Carolina.)
At first....it was cold. On board we are split into 3 Watch Teams on a rotating schedule of 4 hours on, 8 off, with the exception of two shorter 2 hour watches (dog watches) which rotates the Watch Teams through standing watch at all different times of day. Therefore, we had to be prepared to stand on deck for four hours in a variety of different conditions. The previous watch wakes you 15 minutes before you are expected on deck, which means about 10 minutes of piling layers upon layers until it gets to hot down below, and you must finish the bulking up on deck. That being said, the weather was particularly tame, and we all rejoiced in our bulky wool sweaters that we need not be foul weather geared up (foulied up) 24/7.
Once on deck, the Watch Team rotates through Helm, Boat Check, Lookout, and Lookout Runner. There is a certain calmness that comes with standing watch, especially if you are lucky enough to be placed on deck during sunrises and sunsets. We've witnessed many a dolphin playing up at our bow, just as the sun enters or leaves the day. To say it feels like something out of a National Geographic documentary is a bit of an understatement. Screens aren't allowed on deck, so I recall for you these moments of beauty from memory, but trust me when I say screens wouldn't even do the skies and sea justice. If you have the opportunity to be out at sea you understand the special nature of these moments. It's easy to forget you are up at odd hours and working like crazy when these moments of true bliss arise. It makes the whole thing worth it in seconds.
Now in Charleston, the crew rejoices in the transition from beanies and scarves to sun hats and shorts. And as we near Florida, we are filled with the excitement to share these moments with the trainees we will take with us on our first international voyage to Cuba. To give others this world of simplistic happiness is an honor we hold near to our hearts. I leave you with a poem, and I hope the coming weeks result in 'Sea Fever' for the sailors we bring on board.
By: John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea’s face, and a gray dawn breaking.
I must down go to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.