My dad made a funny comment asking me “What did you do during the summer”. It was funny because he was there with me all summer as I traveled across country by car from California to New York City in about 48 hours then spending a week on the east coast being a tourist. Enough about the boring stuff though. Here is part of the awesome time I had this summer and one of the reasons I enjoy Sea Scouts so much. This last august I had the great opportunity to be able to spend a week at sea aboard the USCGC Barque Eagle. If you do not know what the CGC Eagle is here is just some quick information. The CGC Eagle is a 295ft Barque training ship that is used to train future officers of the USCG.
The cruise was absolutely amazing and all of the people on board made it a blast. The cooks even taught me how to dance; you know the sprinkler or whatever they call it. Two other Sea Scouts were also aboard. Madison was in the same sail station as me and Natalya, who was so busy climbing the rig that I barely saw her. All of us got to climb the rigging, in fact on our first day underway we did an “up and over” drill which involved instruction on how to climb. The rig was huge; it towers at 140 feet tall. It was not the average everyday climb but it was so awesome to climb up it.
We did a bunch of other activities like getting into survival suits, putting on fire turnouts, sharing knot knowledge, and even polishing some brass to make the ship look good. The watches were even fun, standing on the bow or holding on to the wheel (which is three wheels all on one axle) at 2200 making sure that you do not hit anything in the vast ocean or during deck watch, where we had to haul sails early in the morning. Hauling the lines was crazy, it took a minimum of eight guys to haul on a line. The halyard that is used to actually haul the yard up took about 40 people on one line. That was one heavy spar. We all also had an engine watch which consisted of taking rounds with the engineer or playing cards while waiting to check the engine again. With the watch being four hours we also go to know a lot about each other. Did I mention that the food was absolutely amazing once we got off watch too, I believe we had steak twice.
Overall it was an unforgettable experience and I had a ton of fun. The men and women of the Coast Guard were always hard at work training everyone and teaching everyone leadership. It took every person on the boat to make it sail to its destination. It was an awesome sight to see when all but one of the sails went up. It seemed that we hit the dock just as fast as we got out on the boat. All in all it was the best cruise I have ever been on.
Western Region Boatswain’s Mate