The Pangaea Crew was fortunate enough to have Zackery Good join us on of our recent expedition to Grand Cayman Island. Zack is a recent graduate of the Masters of Professional Science program at the University of Miami, and is actively working to stop seismic airgun testing in Florida waters through his association with Oceana Florida. He had never had the opportunity to experience offshore sailing before, and had no idea what to expect on board Sea Dragon. He had a lot of time to gather his thoughts while at the helm, and kindly wrote this blog post about his experience on board.
By Zackery Good, Oceana Florida
If there’s one thing I learned from sailing with Pangaea Explorations it’s the importance of letting go—unless you’re about to go overboard. If that’s the case, please hang on.
Whether it’s letting go of life’s daily distractions such as email, texts, and phone calls or letting go of the line running through your hands to avoid a wicked case of rope burn, sailing with Pangaea Explorations points out how important it really is.
Pangaea Explorations is a marine conservation organization based in Miami, Florida. They strive to actively strengthen the health of marine life through exploration, conservation, and education work. They also hope to inspire and develop a new generation of leaders in conservation science, communication, education, art, and policy.
To be honest, I didn’t think my trip with Pangaea would change me, but as we made our way from the docks at Key West out to the Sea Dragon, I got the sense that this was going to be a transformative journey after all. We gathered down below for a pretty standard safety and expectations briefing. Shortly after that we were being gently rocked to sleep in our bunks anxiously waiting for morning when we would set off for Grand Cayman.
In the morning I checked my phone and email one last time as I watched both land and cellular reception dwindle in the distance. I was really doing this. I was going to be at sea for a week. Most of the day passed without anything particularly spectacular happening. We each took turns at the helm and helped to raise, lower, and adjust sails as needed. Driving a sailboat is surprisingly easy. If you’ve driven a Lincoln Town Car you can probably drive a sailboat.
That night I was spectacularly seasick. As I heaved up what had been a delicious pasta dinner I found myself wondering if I could actually make it to Grand Cayman or if I would just end up inside out. In the end, there’s something cleansing about a good puke. I drifted off to sleep feeling wonderfully empty—letting go of the sickness and embracing my journey.
I was up early for watch the next morning feeling miraculously better. A decent night’s sleep had cured my seasickness and I was ready for the challenges the wind and the sea had in store. The sails billowed and the deep blue of the waves was set off against the crisp white of the foam our wake created. I didn’t even miss the trappings of everyday life. In fact, I was delighted to be off the grid. The only things I needed were the boat, the sea, the sky, and my shipmates. Well, I also needed some ointment. Rope burn hurts.
In the early morning of day three we passed several cruise ships. I couldn’t believe how bright they were compared to the inky black of the waves and gentle sparkle of the moon and the stars. It’s a surreal feeling to pass these little floating cities. Another reminder of how hard it is to let go of everyday life. Yet, also a reminder of how nice it is to be free of its restrictions.
Day four arrived and Grand Cayman approached. I felt torn between my itch to explore a new place and my desire to stay at sea. However, once Grand Cayman was in sight I couldn’t wait to explore. In the wee hours of day five we moored offshore and put the boat to bed. I couldn’t believe I was finally there and I couldn’t believe the boat was no longer moving. It felt odd to be able to walk without swaying from side to side.
After letting go of so much from my daily life I can’t believe I’m back writing a blog, checking emails, and texting like a fiend. I miss the simplicity of the open ocean. I long to let go again.
Thank you, Zack, for being a fanastic part of the Pangaea Crew. We hope to see you back on board in the future!