“There is a witchery in the sea, its songs and stories, and in the mere sight of a ship, and the sailor’s dress, especially to a young mind, which has done more to man navies, and fill merchantmen, than all the pressgangs of Europe.” ― Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor’s Life at Sea
That’s a quote by Richard Henry Dana Jr, author of the 1840 work “Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor’s Life at Sea.” Granted, he was talking about the difference between being forced to sea by the Navy and feeling the inescapable tug as a free man. While there are no pressgangs to capture passengers aboard the Niagara, she is always willing to fulfill those fantasies that for centuries have filled ships’ berths. This season the Niagara and her crew had the pleasure of welcoming a great group of adventurous and lively high school students into their midst.
For two weeks, these trainees learned how to sail a square rigged tall ship. That is a simple statement covering for an indescribable complexity that is best understood by experience, so please forgive the feeble words in this blog that do the program so little justice.