Entry written on August 6, 2014
[One requirement of being a 38th Voyager was to submit one-page contribution to the “Collective Journal” in which each participant conveys his or her “experiences and emotions . . . on board the Charles W. Morgan.” Below is the text of my submission.]
As a teacher of Melville who does much of his research on Moby-Dick and the Arts, my primary professional challenge is to continue and discover—and articulate—fresh ways in which Melville’s nineteenth-century novel remains relevant to twenty-first century life. My experience on the 38th Voyage of the 19th century whale ship Charles W. Morgan has brought me into the 21st century in two new ways.
I had expected to write a creative-non-fiction essay as a result of the voyage. Instead, I have written and posted my first blog, In length, Sailing on the Whaleship Charles W. Morgan in June 2014 (https://mobyart.wordpress.com/) turned out to be more like a book than an essay. But it differs from a book in being rich in illustrations, mostly from the photos I took myself on the Training Day and during the Voyage itself. I currently feel that the blog itself is the best expressive vehicle for what I have experienced (rather than an intermediate step toward some more scholarly print publication).
I had not expected to post my first YouTube video as a result of this voyage. I did feel I owed it to the voyage to purchase a GoPro camera in case it might help document what I saw. I also bought a head strap in case I wanted to run the camera while both hands were busy. This worked well when I decided to climb up the rigging of the foremast of the Morgan. When I saw footage of the ascent after getting home, I decided to make it my first YouTube video. I called the video Old Whale Ship, New Go Pro, Rookie in the Rigging (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP8XLp8CjbA). Watching the video taught me something important about truth versus representation. The “fish-eye” lens makes the climb look more dangerous than it actually felt.
I hope and expect that showing the blog and YouTube video to my tech-savvy future students will bring them closer to my once-in-a-lifetime experience on the Morgan.