Navigating Cuba – and Washington
As she sailed home from Cuba, our schooner recently moored with our friends at the Capital Yacht Club and hosted a small town-hall discussion, weaving stories of our winter programs with speculation on the future of American travel to Cuba.
The DC event kicked off with a welcome from Phineas Sprague, owner of the Harvey Gamage and a 22-acre shipyard in Portland – and closed with remarks by U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, who lauded the boat’s work in the context of changing US-Cuba policy.
Each port of call along the U.S. east coast is chosen for a specific reason, whether it’s the slavery history of Sullivan’s Island, SC or the personal perspective of Boston’s Cuban-American community. Obviously, Washington plays a unique role in any conversation about Cuba.
All agreed about the challenges of preserving Cuba’s extraordinary environmental achievements while ushering a new era of American engagement. Fundamental to Ocean Passages is mutually respectful dialogue about our shared maritime heritage with Cuba – and how that helps overcome political obstacles that have plagued relations for nearly six decades.
Living and learning on the ship is a life-changing adventure, but there’s more to our program than just sailing aboard a Tall Ship. Our DC gathering of Congressional and Cuban officials, Cuba scholars and marine environmental experts, together with crew and students, was another step toward mutual understanding – in our own country as well as in Cuban waters.
To keep the sea stories going, the Harvey Gamage will now call on Washington twice a year, with each Maine-Cuba passage. We look forward to her return this October for the grand opening of The Wharf – and for many years to come.
Photo credit: Jocelyn Leighton