| Baltic Sea |
When I “saw the sea” for the first time, I realized how different ideas of what the cruise really is I had as a totally blind person. Those who have not tried cruising will never understand it. It is not possible to describe that, it’s not even possible to give a blind person an idea of sounds, a spark of anxiety, a flavor of uncertainty, the will to overcome one’s weaknesses… The memories of the cruise compose an electrifying mixture of experiences. (Roman Roczen, a sailor and a singer, the originator of the project).
“See the Sea” is the innovative idea of “Gniazdo Piratow” (The Pirates’ Nest) Foundation. The project involves a sailing cruise in which blind and visually impaired people constitute half of the crew, most of them for the first time at sea. They sail with great Polish seamen on board the world famous Zawisza Czarny – a legendary tall ship. Uniquely, Zawisza Czarny is not a special ship for the disabled. Apart from “a speaking compass”, it has not been adapted for them in order to provide the crew with the genuine experience of the cruise, and let them really “see” the sea. The aim is to train visually impaired crew members in the so-called “hard skills”, such as navigation and steering, reefing, cordage, operating mechanical equipment, and at the same time to develop their “soft” skills, like the courage to take up new challenges, new patterns of behavior, starting and maintaining interpersonal relations in hardships of the sea life.
“See the Sea” project also aims at raising the public awareness of the ability of the visually impaired to get involved in various tasks even in difficult circumstances, and therefore break the lingering stereotype of the visually impaired as hardly able to function in the society of the sighted.