Overview

Navigate the waters of change from Canada to Cuba aboard our 131-foot sailing schooner!  Snorkel pristine coral reefs and engage hospitable Cubans at an historic moment.  On a three-month fall or spring gap program, this is your chance as a citizen diplomat to be the change.

Ocean Passages combines traditional hands-on sailing with a chance to experience historic change underway in the spectacular marine environments of southern Cuba.  
Based in Portland, ME, we offer fall and spring voyages along the east coast of the United States to and from Cuba.  These gap programs include a full month of extended sailing in Cuban waters and excursions to coastal communities along the island’s southern shore.  All the programs operate from the ship’s Cuban homeport of Cienfuegos harbor, one of the most captivating bays in the Caribbean. 

No sailing experience is needed, but team spirit is essential to keeping the ship on course.  You’ll explore breathtaking cays together, stand watch on the bow, swap stories in the galley and experience first-hand the overdue re-engagement between Americans and Cubans.

Each leg of your journey will explore the quickening pace of change in Cuba, a proud island neighbor now emerging from a half-century of isolation from the United States.  Aboard our Maine schooner, you’ll navigate by the stars, snorkel on remote reefs, explore mangroves – and engage directly in the dialogue about a post-embargo Cuba.  Our 2018 gap voyages sail this spring (March 18 to May 24) and next fall (Sept. 9 to Dec. 19).

Cuba is undergoing fundamental transformation, with deep consequences for Cubans and Americans.  Our voyages seize this moment, up close and personal – charting a 21st century course from the unique perspective of a 19th century Tall Ship.

8 Participant Reviews

Write a Review
Science and Sea

Science and Sea

5
Reviewed on 12/1/2017 by

I cannot recall a time in my life where I felt happier than my weeks spent on board the Harvey Gamage. Smelling the Simple Green and bleach while cleaning the heads and feeling the power of the fire hose when washing the deck were exciting to me. Being woken up for a 2:00AM anchor watch was well worth being tired for my sleepy eyes to be able to see the stars on a cloudless night out on the open ocean. The program that I was a part of on the Gamage gave me the opportunity to discover something I love that I may never have thought about. I would strongly recommend any Ocean Passages program to anyone who even thinks they might like to sail.

Dope Boat

Dope Boat

5
Reviewed on 11/30/2017 by

It is not often that an opportunity to sail on a 131ft schooner presents itself but when it does you have to seize that opportunity. My time on the Gamage was amazingly fun and insightful. I have been sailing for several years now but sailing on a tall ship was a whole new experience. Physically and mentally demanding but constantly rewarding. I was on the boat to participate in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner and the days after to sail from Portsmouth, VA up to the docks of my own St Mary's College of Maryland. Amazing crew. (awesome oyster roast award ceremony after the race) Beautiful stars at night. Best of luck to the crew in Cuba!

Harvey Gamage ROCKS

Harvey Gamage ROCKS

5
Reviewed on 11/29/2017 by

I was on board the Harvey Gamage during the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, and it was an amazing experience. I was able to get hands-on experience with all aspects of "schooner life" and I was taught in a direct yet reassuring environment. The captain and crew were all welcoming, amazingly friendly, and extremely patient while I attempted to learn the ropes. I made friends with some pretty exceptional people, and I can truthfully say that I will be looking forward to the next time I'm able to board the Harvey Gamage!

Genuine Connections on the Gamage

Genuine Connections on the Gamage

5
Reviewed on 4/20/2017 by

When our group of nursing students at USM was told at the last minute that we would be traveling to Cuba and living on a boat there, most of has no idea what to expect. But what an unforgettable and amazing experience it was! We had the opportunity to live, work, and learn side by side with fellow students and the crew members. Throughout that process, we formed deep friendships that have only grown further since our return to the U.S. We were responsible for cleaning the ship, helping with meal set up and dishes, sailing the ship, and ensuring that everyone was safe and in a good mental head space. We were always looking out for one another and willing to help with any extra responsibilities to make sure we all had a good experience. I don't think I have ever laughed so much as I did with this group of people -- being in such close quarters and going through a totally new (and exciting and exhausting) experience made it easier to bond and be on board with the whole experience. I felt like I had the opportunity to learn a lot about sailing in and of itself, but also about how to work with a team and how to take care of my own needs while being respectful of my responsibilities and those around me. I am so thankful for this opportunity and would not change it for the world. Thank you Harvey Gamage for a wonderful start to 2017 and for the lifelong friendships you helped foster!

Harvey Gamage

Harvey Gamage

5
Reviewed on 3/21/2017 by

What started out as a trip to the Dominican republic quickly turned into something unexpectedly great. Due to a national emergency our trip with USM to the DR, this resulted to within a month and a half a switch to Cuba on the Harvey Gamage. This is a very different trip than any of us expected or imagined. What was going to be a nursing trip to open clinics for people in need turned into a trip of international cooperation between USM and the Cuban healthcare system. We got the privilege to visit and connect with a Cuban nursing school and several hospitals all over Cuba and it was only possible with this ship. That itself was life changing but living on this ship brought this to a whole new level. What started out with a group of 20 or so people who did really know each other changed over time on this boat to not only a group of friends but to a family of which all our lives were changed forever. This boat was definitely not a cruse ship everything to make a schooner run requires work around the clock and I literally mean around the clock. We literally while learning nursing in a different culture got to learn how to sail a ship. The crew was amazing and were great teachers there was no shaming and they all taught by example but also expected us to pitch in and help as part of the crew you got to be well... part of the crew. By us all diving in and working together we grew as people, as a community, and as family. I loved my time on the harvey gamage the boat was an amazing experience the crew were even more fabulous. If you take a trip on this boat I guarantee you won't regret it and that if you let it and are willing it will change your life. Happy Sailing!

Hey Harvey Gamage, I love you like CRAZY

Hey Harvey Gamage, I love you like CRAZY

5
Reviewed on 3/13/2017 by

A little over 2 months post-trip and I still struggle to find the right words to describe all that this trip was. The Harvey Gamage and Cuba helped me to learn more about myself that any other experience in my 22 years here on earth. Living on a ship, working together to live day by day created unbreakable bonds between myself, my fellow peers, and the ship's one-of-a-kind, incredible crew. Having been responsible for caring for one another, caring for the ship, and caring for the country around us was a surreal experience that was both challenging and utterly rewarding. We kept the ship clean, we sailed the ship, and we made sure the ship and ourselves stayed safe. Everyone was always willing to lend a helping hand. It was always so comforting knowing if there was something you felt you could not do yourself, there was someone behind you willing to teach you and help you accomplish any task at hand. Cuba and Harvey G is something that I will never forget. I am so grateful for the people and the places that are now some of the fondest of memories. I hope one day to return to Cuba and to the Harvey Gamage. I think everyone needs to live through an experience like this one...I mean...you haven't lived until you know the true meaning of "soles and bowls"! Until next time Cuba!

Travel, Learn by Osmosis, Be Challenged, Grow

Travel, Learn by Osmosis, Be Challenged, Grow

5
Reviewed on 3/13/2017 by

As a USM student, I was aboard the Harvey Gamage in Cuba in December/January 2017. Living, learning and becoming part of the Gamage family will always be a meaningful part of my life. Captain Flansburg and the crew were excellent; patient, competent, personable and welcoming. I'm not sure how many times Graceson showed me how to tie a half hitch but it was always in good humor. As part of the crew you quickly learn how to be a team player, even though you are doing something you've never done before, but you rise to the occasion, as your role aboard the ship is essential to all your shipmates. I loved being awakened at some odd hour to stand watch, never sure what I would find on deck; anchored or underway. It often felt like Christmas morning when I climbed the ladder and looked about. Several nights I would lay on the deck and drink in the stars for awhile. I loved jumping off the cap rail into the bay for a swim. Shanna made impossibly delicious meals, one right after the other. Magical! I created friendships with fellow students I otherwise would probably never have gotten to know. Thanks Harvey Gamage I Love You Like Crazy!

Sailing to Cuba!!

Sailing to Cuba!!

5
Reviewed on 11/29/2016 by

Sailing to Cuba and back with Ocean Passages was incredible and I will never forget it. Those six months aboard Harvey Gamage changed my life! When I joined the ship just after Thanksgiving we headed south from Maine, ice was falling from the rigging as we sailed from Portland and I admit those first few, cold days made me wonder what I had got myself into. But looking back, I would not change a single thing about that trip. Cuba was so amazingly unique and experiencing it aboard a traditional wood schooner added a special dimension. It was so much more than just sailing: we’d sail into port and the Cuban people would greet us; they were so sincere and welcoming. More than once, a family invited me back to their house and showed me, with extraordinary pride, their home. Coming from a big city, it was quite a contrast and opened my eyes to another way of life. Being part of a ship’s crew – anchoring in a cove and snorkeling on reefs, diving into crystal clear turquois blue water, taking an entire day to buy 550 eggs for the galley, waking up at 4 am to put a reef in the main and fore while its blowing 30 knots – all of it made me closer to my shipmates than anyone I’ve know in my life. On a boat there is no room to shrug your duties – your learn to depend on each other – that lesson and all the memories of Cuba and its people and the sea will stick with me for the rest of my life.

8 Participant Reviews

Write a Review
Science and Sea

Science and Sea

5
Reviewed on 12/1/2017 by

I cannot recall a time in my life where I felt happier than my weeks spent on board the Harvey Gamage. Smelling the Simple Green and bleach while cleaning the heads and feeling the power of the fire hose when washing the deck were exciting to me. Being woken up for a 2:00AM anchor watch was well worth being tired for my sleepy eyes to be able to see the stars on a cloudless night out on the open ocean. The program that I was a part of on the Gamage gave me the opportunity to discover something I love that I may never have thought about. I would strongly recommend any Ocean Passages program to anyone who even thinks they might like to sail.

Dope Boat

Dope Boat

5
Reviewed on 11/30/2017 by

It is not often that an opportunity to sail on a 131ft schooner presents itself but when it does you have to seize that opportunity. My time on the Gamage was amazingly fun and insightful. I have been sailing for several years now but sailing on a tall ship was a whole new experience. Physically and mentally demanding but constantly rewarding. I was on the boat to participate in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner and the days after to sail from Portsmouth, VA up to the docks of my own St Mary's College of Maryland. Amazing crew. (awesome oyster roast award ceremony after the race) Beautiful stars at night. Best of luck to the crew in Cuba!

Harvey Gamage ROCKS

Harvey Gamage ROCKS

5
Reviewed on 11/29/2017 by

I was on board the Harvey Gamage during the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, and it was an amazing experience. I was able to get hands-on experience with all aspects of "schooner life" and I was taught in a direct yet reassuring environment. The captain and crew were all welcoming, amazingly friendly, and extremely patient while I attempted to learn the ropes. I made friends with some pretty exceptional people, and I can truthfully say that I will be looking forward to the next time I'm able to board the Harvey Gamage!

Genuine Connections on the Gamage

Genuine Connections on the Gamage

5
Reviewed on 4/20/2017 by

When our group of nursing students at USM was told at the last minute that we would be traveling to Cuba and living on a boat there, most of has no idea what to expect. But what an unforgettable and amazing experience it was! We had the opportunity to live, work, and learn side by side with fellow students and the crew members. Throughout that process, we formed deep friendships that have only grown further since our return to the U.S. We were responsible for cleaning the ship, helping with meal set up and dishes, sailing the ship, and ensuring that everyone was safe and in a good mental head space. We were always looking out for one another and willing to help with any extra responsibilities to make sure we all had a good experience. I don't think I have ever laughed so much as I did with this group of people -- being in such close quarters and going through a totally new (and exciting and exhausting) experience made it easier to bond and be on board with the whole experience. I felt like I had the opportunity to learn a lot about sailing in and of itself, but also about how to work with a team and how to take care of my own needs while being respectful of my responsibilities and those around me. I am so thankful for this opportunity and would not change it for the world. Thank you Harvey Gamage for a wonderful start to 2017 and for the lifelong friendships you helped foster!

Harvey Gamage

Harvey Gamage

5
Reviewed on 3/21/2017 by

What started out as a trip to the Dominican republic quickly turned into something unexpectedly great. Due to a national emergency our trip with USM to the DR, this resulted to within a month and a half a switch to Cuba on the Harvey Gamage. This is a very different trip than any of us expected or imagined. What was going to be a nursing trip to open clinics for people in need turned into a trip of international cooperation between USM and the Cuban healthcare system. We got the privilege to visit and connect with a Cuban nursing school and several hospitals all over Cuba and it was only possible with this ship. That itself was life changing but living on this ship brought this to a whole new level. What started out with a group of 20 or so people who did really know each other changed over time on this boat to not only a group of friends but to a family of which all our lives were changed forever. This boat was definitely not a cruse ship everything to make a schooner run requires work around the clock and I literally mean around the clock. We literally while learning nursing in a different culture got to learn how to sail a ship. The crew was amazing and were great teachers there was no shaming and they all taught by example but also expected us to pitch in and help as part of the crew you got to be well... part of the crew. By us all diving in and working together we grew as people, as a community, and as family. I loved my time on the harvey gamage the boat was an amazing experience the crew were even more fabulous. If you take a trip on this boat I guarantee you won't regret it and that if you let it and are willing it will change your life. Happy Sailing!

Hey Harvey Gamage, I love you like CRAZY

Hey Harvey Gamage, I love you like CRAZY

5
Reviewed on 3/13/2017 by

A little over 2 months post-trip and I still struggle to find the right words to describe all that this trip was. The Harvey Gamage and Cuba helped me to learn more about myself that any other experience in my 22 years here on earth. Living on a ship, working together to live day by day created unbreakable bonds between myself, my fellow peers, and the ship's one-of-a-kind, incredible crew. Having been responsible for caring for one another, caring for the ship, and caring for the country around us was a surreal experience that was both challenging and utterly rewarding. We kept the ship clean, we sailed the ship, and we made sure the ship and ourselves stayed safe. Everyone was always willing to lend a helping hand. It was always so comforting knowing if there was something you felt you could not do yourself, there was someone behind you willing to teach you and help you accomplish any task at hand. Cuba and Harvey G is something that I will never forget. I am so grateful for the people and the places that are now some of the fondest of memories. I hope one day to return to Cuba and to the Harvey Gamage. I think everyone needs to live through an experience like this one...I mean...you haven't lived until you know the true meaning of "soles and bowls"! Until next time Cuba!

Travel, Learn by Osmosis, Be Challenged, Grow

Travel, Learn by Osmosis, Be Challenged, Grow

5
Reviewed on 3/13/2017 by

As a USM student, I was aboard the Harvey Gamage in Cuba in December/January 2017. Living, learning and becoming part of the Gamage family will always be a meaningful part of my life. Captain Flansburg and the crew were excellent; patient, competent, personable and welcoming. I'm not sure how many times Graceson showed me how to tie a half hitch but it was always in good humor. As part of the crew you quickly learn how to be a team player, even though you are doing something you've never done before, but you rise to the occasion, as your role aboard the ship is essential to all your shipmates. I loved being awakened at some odd hour to stand watch, never sure what I would find on deck; anchored or underway. It often felt like Christmas morning when I climbed the ladder and looked about. Several nights I would lay on the deck and drink in the stars for awhile. I loved jumping off the cap rail into the bay for a swim. Shanna made impossibly delicious meals, one right after the other. Magical! I created friendships with fellow students I otherwise would probably never have gotten to know. Thanks Harvey Gamage I Love You Like Crazy!

Sailing to Cuba!!

Sailing to Cuba!!

5
Reviewed on 11/29/2016 by

Sailing to Cuba and back with Ocean Passages was incredible and I will never forget it. Those six months aboard Harvey Gamage changed my life! When I joined the ship just after Thanksgiving we headed south from Maine, ice was falling from the rigging as we sailed from Portland and I admit those first few, cold days made me wonder what I had got myself into. But looking back, I would not change a single thing about that trip. Cuba was so amazingly unique and experiencing it aboard a traditional wood schooner added a special dimension. It was so much more than just sailing: we’d sail into port and the Cuban people would greet us; they were so sincere and welcoming. More than once, a family invited me back to their house and showed me, with extraordinary pride, their home. Coming from a big city, it was quite a contrast and opened my eyes to another way of life. Being part of a ship’s crew – anchoring in a cove and snorkeling on reefs, diving into crystal clear turquois blue water, taking an entire day to buy 550 eggs for the galley, waking up at 4 am to put a reef in the main and fore while its blowing 30 knots – all of it made me closer to my shipmates than anyone I’ve know in my life. On a boat there is no room to shrug your duties – your learn to depend on each other – that lesson and all the memories of Cuba and its people and the sea will stick with me for the rest of my life.

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