As a young tyke growing up around the decaying maritime glories of Baltimore, I was lucky to sail aboard The Lady Maryland. The feel and scent of her wooden decks, polished brass, and wet wool still haunt me, actually. Those voyages were coupled with a feisty choir teacher, John “Doc” Merrill, who taught me my first few Sea Chanties. (and we all know where that led…)
While I loved the marine world from a deeply emotional place at the time (my Aunt had been an underwater photographer before passing away), and loved science because, let’s face it, I was an enormous nerd, Tall Ships and Sea Chanties are what made me fall in love with The Sea. The lore, legend, history, and traditions that surround all maritime endeavors are a big part of understanding man’s interactions with the marine world. And there is a lot that is rich and satisfying to be discovered.
So, to give other kids this opportunity to meet a bit of their Seafaring heritage, I’d urge you all to donate to Ahoy Mate! Student Explorer! over at DonorsChoose.org. This is part of the Oceans in the Classroom Initiative setup by Kevin Z and a rogue’s gallery of other ocean bloggers. The project would send fourth and fifth graders from a high poverty school to visit the National Maritime Museum in San Franciso, and spend the night on the Balclutha, a ship that I’ve spent many nights chantying on.