Last hurrah on the last wooden whaler

Charles W. Morgan

I spent my last night on the Charles W. Morgan alone, in the dark on the world’s last wooden whaling ship. How fitting for a stowaway.

All of my crew mates had packed their bags and left the ship heading in different directions. For some sailors, home was just a few hours away. For others, home was over the horizon, sailing to the far reaches of the world.

During my two months on the Morgan I grew accustomed to the sounds of the ship. The laughter from the living quarters, the soft strumming of a guitar, and the movement of the rigging in a light breeze were all sounds that brought me comfort.

The deck prisms were still illuminated from below as if I would find people hanging out below decks. But all the bunks were empty. She is once again a quiet ship.

photo (44)

For those of you who have followed my blog this summer, we have seen and done some incredible things together. The people I met and the stories I heard will stay with me forever.

For me as the stowaway, it wasn’t about how many likes we got on Facebook or how many tweets were shared. It was about the stories. The stories of the sea have been passed down through generations. They help bring us together and keep the history alive. 

I am privileged that I could share my stories with you. Together we explored the sand dunes of Cape Cod, traveled sacred paths with the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, and even stood high atop the Morgan’s mast watching whales swim alongside a historic whaling vessel. There aren’t many people alive who can say they’ve done that!

I put together this video with some highlights from each port this summer:

Although the Morgan is once again at rest at Chubb’s Wharf in Mystic, her story doesn’t end here. The maritime historian Edouard Stackpole once wrote “The scope of [the Charles W. Morgan’s] historical future was to extend far beyond the horizons of the world of her time.”

In that respect I would say the 38th Voyage was a success. And if Mystic Seaport ever decides to have a 39th Voyage, you’ll find me hiding below decks!

To all my followers, it’s been a great ride. I’ll see you on the next adventure.

-Ryan Leighton

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 12.44.35 PM