Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Week on the Clearwater

I have just finished a week of sailing, educating, fishing (with a net), singing, and more on-board the Clearwater. I boarded in Beacon NY on June 12, and left the boat at Croton-on-Hudson NY on June 18. Here are a few of my photos of my adventure.

Captain Nick uses a block and tackle to handle the tiller while most of the crew were delivering the education program and not available for tiller duty.

The tiller has this bigger than life-size fist carved into it. It is great to be working the tiller and holding onto this fist. In light wind, one person can handle the tiller, but when the wind is strong, several people are needed to steer.

Shade was hard to come by. Here is a row of crew sitting along the shade made by the boom. We were simply drifting in the middle of the Hudson River during lunch in the hot sun. The sails were down and we were preparing to dock the boat in Croton Point Park, NY where the Great Hudson River Revival festival was being held.

Pete Seeger, one of the primary advocates for cleaning up the Hudson River in the 1960's and one of the Clearwater founders signs autographs after singing at the Strawberry Festival in Beacon NY.

Here I am in my rain slicker during the Public Sail of Beacon NY. This was the first sail of about 12 sails we did during the week. Fortunately, this was the only sail I needed to use foul-weather gear during the week.

Captain Nick teaches two high-school students to handle the tiller. In high wind conditions, it may require four or more people to handle the force on the tiller.

The Mystic Whaler sails near Clearwater. Both Captains were enjoying the opportunity to compete with each other and get the most performance from their boats. Although they were not racing, they seemed to enjoy forcing the other boat to tack and demonstrating their ability to head closest into the wind.

The Mystic Whaler, a sister ship of Clearwater sails nearby of Croton Point. Both Clearwater and the Mystic Whaler were part of the Clearwater Festival that was held at Croton Point Park on June 19-20. This is a major annual music festival that is put on to support the Clearwater environmental mission.

Education Intern Laura teaches Hudson River Valley History to a group of students in the main cabin. My bunk was in the stern just off the main cabin. Twelve people had bunks in or just off the main cabin. Pretty close living, but fun for a week. Some of the permanent crew call their bunk 'home'.

Education Intern Laura teaches a group of students from a school in Harlem how to read nautical charts at the Navigation Station.

Two of the volunteer crew members (Lane and Beth) doing their dish-washing chores. Everyone including the captain, the crew, and volunteers had chores to do. A great experience in group living.

The fish, crabs, etc. are being removed from the Otter Net and put into what was called the "Fish Ambulance" before being sorted into various fish tanks at the "Life Station"

Here is a shot of dinner in the main cabin. About 16 people comprised the on-board staff for the week. Mandy, the cook, prepared three excellent meals a day. It was crowded if everyone was eating in the main cabin - but on most days the weather was fine for eating on-deck.

Deck hand, Chelsea prepares the Otter Net for tossing into the Hudson. During the week, we caught shrimp, crabs, Hog-Chokers, Perch, Flounder, and some other sea critters. These all get discussed in the "Life Station" during the education sails.

Deck Hand, Chelsea, sings the student written song (done to the tune of "This Land is Your Land"). The song contained verses about arithmetic, hair gel, and Jamaica, in addition to verses on sailing.

Permanent crew member, Chelsea, works with students in writing a song about sailing on the Clearwater.

Beth, one of the volunteer crew members, shows a crab caught in the fishing net to a group of students at the "Life Station".

This is a photo during a "Public Sail" at the Strawberry Festival (June 12, 2010) aboard Clearwater. I am standing about mid-ship looking toward the stern. The Clearwater is about 106 feet in length.

Captain Nick Rogers teaches a group of fifth grade students to sail Clearwater using the tiller during one of the several education sails during the week.

Yes, you too can be a Clearwater Volunteer and spend a week on-board Clearwater. Check out this opportunity at where you can become a member and submit an application to be a volunteer. Clearwater sails primarily in the Hudson River Valley south of Albany starting in April and ending in October of each year.