A Practical Education

 Our students & crew walk the hallways of Congress to brief legislators on the Ocean Passages mission

Our students & crew walk the hallways of Congress to brief legislators on the Ocean Passages mission

Thanks to the hard work of those behind the scenes at Ocean Passages, our students and crew had the good fortune to meet with some of their congressmen and senators while in DC.  Each person aboard had a meeting with either staffers from their home state, or, in some cases, a congressperson made time to hear our story personally.  We learned how to do this, in true sailor fashion, by doing.

Often when someone goes to an appointment at a congressional office, they arrive in a slick suit with polished language and perhaps a dry and intricate message about policy.  The Gamage crew instead arrived on Capitol Hill in matching ship t-shirts with an engaging story about sailing to Cuba.  Our message was delivered in the students’ and crews’ own words in each office, but the main themes were the following: we are excited to sail to Cuba, we understand the travel warning, and nonetheless, we are going forth in goodwill and friendship to interact with those in Cuba.

Please scroll down to hear some of this experience from the perspective of our Chief Mate, Rob Laymon.

                                                           Chief Mate Rob Laymon

                                                          Chief Mate Rob Laymon

It’s sometimes forgotten that democracy depends on people talking to each other.  This lesson came home to us during two days of meetings with national legislators and their staffs on Capitol Hill.  Nearly all of us met with his or her home legislator or their staffers October 23 and 24 to talk about our program and the importance of citizen diplomacy.  Regardless what policies may be in force or relaxed, one sure way to find harmony is to work together in goodwill.  And where better to do this — we say, where better to do this than a Tall Ship, where the tasks are small but crucial, and where if folks fail to cooperate, the boat fails to sail.  And as we know, sailing, once it happens, is magic.  Our government representatives seemed to agree.  Big thanks to all of them!