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Seabbatical Recap: Traveling, Volunteering and Learning

Posted by David Bill on Jan 7, 2016 2:37:46 PM

After 27 years of teaching at Tabor Academy, I had the good fortune to receive and enjoy a fall semester sabbatical, which I have dubbed my “Seabbatical.” My Seabbatical has provided me the time and space to travel, write, volunteer, collaborate and spend time with my daughter. I’ve been asked countless times, “What have you been doing on your sabbatical?” My typical reply is, “ALL of the things that I wouldn’t have time for when I am working:”    


The Spanish Virgin Islands, my favorite sailing territories, are outlined by St. Thomas, Vieques, Culebra, and Puerto Rico. My Seabattical provided me with the time to voyage, swim, snorkel, practice my Spanish, and live-aboard a Jeanneau 349 cruising sailboat. I lavished in the 84-degree air temperature, the 82-degree water temperature, and the consistent 20-knot easterly trade winds. I was in sailing and swimming heaven! Meeting new people and experiencing new places, I was continually reminded that in Puerto Rico, the culture is all about IMG_4560.jpgthe romance


During my sabbatical I took pause to write a series of eleven Seabbatical Log essays. In addition to this writing series, my latest professional technical writing was published in the December 2015 Small Boats Monthly on-line publication. My product review was my about the merits of Linseed Oil Based Paints. As part of the research for this article I ventured to #10 Seabbatical log IMG_5019-300x225.jpgpost: Mystic Seaport to interview the shipwrights for the Charles W. Morgan restoration. During the entire restoration linseed oil based paints were used for historical and practical reasons. You’ll find a greater level of detail about the review in my 

Volunteer and Collaborate

During the fall I volunteered at the Lloyd Center for the Environment in Dartmouth, Mass. I painted their marine critter touch tank, raked leaves, and maintained the public walking trails. I am currently working with the Lloyd Center, the Padanaram Oyster Farm, and the Dartmouth Harbormaster to develop a collaborative oyster growing education program at the Lloyd Center for this coming summer.

IMG_0246.jpgSpend Time with My Daughter

With a more flexible daily schedule I’ve been able to regularly assist my daughter in her afterschool job of mucking horse paddocks at the barn. I’ve found that slinging horse manure with your daughter provides for occasional intimate conversations and at other times silence. When you have a pitchfork in your hands there is no time for texting and YouTube. I’ve also been helping her learn how to drive. An activity that is not for the faint of heart I assure you.

In a couple of weeks I enthusiastically return to my full-time faculty responsibilities. I do so with a set of recharged batteries and renewed vigor!


Watch David Bill Discuss Tabor's  Unique Nautical Science Program


Topics: Tabor Academy, School by the Sea, Tabor Portraits, Faculty News