The Voyage is about to Begin

Ryan Leighton

Ryan Leighton

Call me the Morgan Stowaway.

My name is actually Ryan Leighton. I’m boxed up and stowed away, and considering the size of this crate, it’s going to be a cozy couple of days before anyone finds me…..OK, I’m not actually inside a crate, but since I am 6 foot 3 inches tall and the Charles W. Morgan‘s berths are only six feet in length, I might as well be a contortionist.

So you might be wondering how I ended up on the world’s last wooden whaling ship, and who in their right mind would allow me aboard this National Historic Landmark? More importantly, how exactly could a lowly stowaway contribute to such a significant voyage?

The truth is, I don’t have an answer yet. But for the next two months I want to take you along with me as we sail through New England’s historic ports and passages. I want to experience, learn, and discover stories that might grant us the answers we seek, or let’s face it, completely scare us.

Yes, I’m abandoning the landlubber amenities because, one, an espresso machine probably doesn’t belong on a 19th-century sailing ship, and two, no one on this voyage probably wants to watch my special edition DVD box set of “Charles In Charge.”

It's still hard to believe that from June until August I'll be sleeping below the deck of the Charles W. Morgan.

It’s still hard to believe that from June until August I’ll be sleeping below the deck of the Charles W. Morgan.

So sayonara Starbucks, popcorn, video games and BBQs. So long mom and dad, I’m trading in the 9 to 5 desk job for the salty sea breeze and a few showers in between.

I have my reservations of course, because let’s face it, nobody knows me yet… and that can be a bit daunting. I also have a confession: I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO SAIL A BOAT, especially one that’s 113-feet long and has 19 sails, and more moving parts than a  space shuttle. I wonder what will the crew think of me? Will they like the stowaway? What if they don’t?  What if after several days at sea without a shower, I become really smelly and no one wants to stand near me? Will they say, “Oh there goes that stinky stowaway, keep your distance from that guy!” These are legitimate concerns!

Then again…nobody knows me yet, so what better way to begin an adventure than by diving in head first? So what if I smell a bit salty? Body odor builds character. And who cares if I can’t recite the bazillion parts of a fully-rigged whaling ship? What is a booby-hatch? I guess I’ll find out soon enough…

This summer I want to explore every inch of the Charles W. Morgan and find out her best kept secrets. I want to take you behind-the-scenes and meet all the crew members, the voyagers and visitors this summer. I want to climb to the top of the main mast, and watch the stars come out during a night’s watch, and I want to fully embrace every aspect of my experience aboard this amazing ship.

But most importantly I want to get to know you, and for you, to know me. You can follow all my adventures through my daily blog and Twitter feed, and through Mystic Seaport’s Facebook and Twitter feed.

I think it’s about time to come out of hiding. The 38th Voyage is about to begin.  Won’t you join me?

~ Ryan Leighton “The Morgan Stowaway”