June 27, 2013- The Beginning!

Newport RI to Grand Manan Island June 27-30, 2013

Crew Members on Board:

Eric Loss-Skipper

Shanley McEntee- First Mate

Kate Gardella-Administrator/Marketing Coordinator

Mitchell McLean-Deckhand and all around awesome guy

Margaret Palicka- Grade 7/8 Educator from Maine

Richard Rienert- Oceanographer, Torontonian, overall superstar

Departure time: 8:30 am, June 27, 2013.
Blogger of the Day: Asta Mail

I have worked really, really hard to make this expedition what it is. It’s not a perfect project, and I am still looking for adventurers who are willing and eager to take part. It’s been challenging, learning how to organize, coordinate, schedule, and market a project of this size to a community who doesn’t know who our company is, or what we do.

It’s also been difficult to work independently, not only from my coworkers, but also the people and places we will be visiting.  I have fought through these difficulties though, and accomplished more than what I expected of myself in this time. There has been a significant learning curve, but I am astonished at what I have learned, and how much more confident I feel now that the planning stage is over.

If only this confidence could carry over to the water.

As some of my friends and family may know, I am not an accomplished sailor. I have been on the water my whole life, but seldom on a sailing vessel, and I was rarely for more than 8 hours at a time. My watery excursions consisted mostly of looking for marine mammals a few miles off shore, or exploring the nicest dive spots or reefs with tourists.

My first sailing experience on Sea Dragon was an absolute eye opener. It was both exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. I experienced my first ever bout of seasickness, which I managed to subdue enough to still be a working member of the crew, although just barely. But that first moment, when Captain Eric Loss put me at the helm, and literally “showed me the ropes”, was one of the most exciting moments of my life. I was finally becoming a sailor, something I never truly thought I would have the chance to do. Watching the endless sea of stars above me that first night as we rocked along the soft waves was absolutely breathtaking, and the simplicity of life on board enchanted me. I loved the ability to let go of my digital leash, disconnect from cyberspace, and just be where I was, for once. My heart would pound as I navigated the boat into the right angle to the wind, and held fast as we swayed through the waters. Watching land slowly reveal itself again as we neared shore was a relief, and also a bit sad, because it meant going back to reality once more.

Now, I am going to join the crew of Sea Dragon for an incredible four-month expedition through the Great Lakes.  I’ve read the books, I’ve stayed up to date with the current policy issues, and I’ve read the teaching curriculums. I know the lakes, but at the same time, I don’t  know them at all.

I don’t know what it’s going to feel like to enter the St. Lawrence with the wind blowing in my hair. I don’t know what emotions I will have as we float through the 1,000 islands chain. I have no idea whether we will have a smooth sail, or encounter summer gales. The idea of not knowing what is to come is exciting, and a bit frightening. But as all my adventure heroes knew, the best adventures are the ones where you’re plunged into the unknown.

So, here we go! I’m off to see the world from a new perspective, along with some of my favorite fellow adventurers. I’m so lucky to be joined by an amazing crew, who will also be blogging and capturing their sailing experience through their writings, photos and videos, which will be posted to this blog.

I can’t wait to share this experience with them, and become a stronger, more competent sailor along the way. Here’s to the adventure, and here’s to you, dear readers, for following along!

-Asta Mail

North Atlantic Right Whale

North Atlantic Wright Whales- Hopefully we will see some along the way!


The thousand Islands bridge