Taking to the Seas Like Phoenicians

Written by guest bloggers Quentin Bazar, Tycho Burwell, Finlay Carmichael, Ellie Damiecki, Joshua Enright-Rabin, Ella Griffiths, Orlando Narizzano, Ava Seccuro, and Josie Smith. Thanks, sixth grade!

Recently, the sixth grade class at Ross School went on a sailing trip to bring our Phoenician unit to life. On Oct. 24, we got a chance to go sailing on Noyac Bay with 8th grade teacher Mark Tompkins, 6th grade teacher Deborah Minutello-Bartlett, and LS art teacher Soraya Brooks.

We went on the sailing trip to incorporate our study of the Phoenician mariners, whom we are learning about in Cultural History. We learned how and what they traded along the sea routes, their culture, the kinds of ships that they had (three different types: a boat that was used for taking warriors into battles, ships that would do all of the trading, and a ship that was a cross of both of them), and how they sailed toward the wind. We also saw how they drew maps to figure out where they were. We got to draw our own map in our sketchbooks that Mrs. Brooks brought for us. It was nice to get a little perspective on the Phoenicians’ everyday life on the sea.

We were broken up into small groups of five, plus a captain and one teacher. One of the boats that we sailed on was a small green and black boat that had a sail and a small cabin. As we were sitting in the boat, a gust of wind blew us one direction and the whole boat seemed as if it was going to tip over. On the sailboat we talked a lot. Some of us tested how fast we were going by climbing onto the front bow and dropping a paper ball off. Our first attempt was a fail; for the second attempt, we used a flotation device and tied it to a rope before dropping it off. It took three seconds for the flotation device to reach the end of the boat.

Some funny things happened too, like Gianna losing her headband, Orlando’s super cape, and Finlay’s encounter with irony. Gianna was wearing her headband over her hat, but when she leaned back, her hat slipped off her head. She quickly grabbed it, but the headband fell into the water! When Orlando first went out, his coat was flapping in the wind, which made it look like a cape. And just as Finlay started yelling,“This is so much fun!” a wave slapped him across the face. Ian got the wettest; it looked like he jumped or fell off the boat.

Ava Seccuro summed up the experience, saying, “I thought our sailing trip was great fun and we learned so much about the Phoenician mariners and what their life was like. We were able to draw our surroundings like they did, but most of all, it was really fun! I personally had never sailed before and I’d want to do it again because of this trip.” Ella Griffiths agreed, adding, “Now I understand how hard it was for the Phoenicians to sail on the ocean. If we only were out there for two hours and I was ready to get out of the boat, then I would never be able to be a Phoenician.”