Going up to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut was like a Schooner Reunion for me. We started off at the train where Captain John and Captain Pat from the Mystic Whaler picked us up. This summer I had the pleasure of sailing with them for a week. Along with Captain John and Pat was Nelson the mate from Schooner Pioneer. Captain Syed was also there. After we all said our hellos we got into the cars and headed towards Mystic Seaport. We got out and started walking to Schooner Amistad. Mystic Seaport at night, during the weekend before Halloween, is the scariest place in the world. People in scary suits everywhere you turn. We finally arrived at the boat and the reunion continued. Captain Rose greeted us and the crew did as well. Charlie was so happy to see us. The first thing that came out my mouth was “you still can’t tie a granny knot” the crew laughed.
The next day was time to get to work. We started by taking the fore sail off followed by the main sail. A little bit later in the day we took down the four top mast. That is when the work really started for me. We took down the fore top mast but there was still things to be taken down. That’s when I came into play. They sent me up aloft to send things down with Captain Syed. I have been up before but I have never done work up there. They are two different things. It is so much harder and you have to think ten steps ahead because if you don’t don’t something can go wrong in an instant. My heart was beating out of my chest but I got the job done.
On Tuesday in our Vessel Operations class, we went on a research vessel called the Artic Sunrise. The Artic Sunrise belongs to an organization dedicated to saving the Earth from pollution called Greenpeace. When we were on board the vessel we got to tour it and heard a little bit of about where Greenpeace got the ship from and the whole story behind it. We learned some really cool and interesting things.
When we were on board the vessel a thought occurred to me. Greenpeace and the Billion Oyster Project have basically the same goal in mind. We want to end pollution and make our water bodies back to its natural state. They do a lot of the things that we do just on a bigger scale. They travel around the world. We travel around the Harbor. They take water samples. So do we. It is good to know that their are other people who have the same goal as us and that is to end pollution and restore the world back to its original state.
Today The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School attended the first ever Maritime Career fair. There were so many tables at the fair. Hornblower, FDNY, NYPD, City Wide ferry, Millers Launch, and so much more. We started with a general introduction of all the company’s that were there. They passed the mic around and everyone got a chance to talk. Following that we all got a chance to break off into separate groups and explored the different tables that were offered at the fair. Immediately after we broke from the big group, I went over to the Millers Launch table to say hello. I worked at Millers Launch for my summer internship it was good to reunite with them. After that I went to my next table.
My next table was none other then the great SUNY Maritime. The best Maritime College there is. The tables’ leader was, dean of admissions, Rohan Howell. This was my second time meeting Rohan. The first time I met Rohan was at SUNY Maritime during another one of my summer internships. We had a conversation about SUNY Maritimes two-year program and what it had to offer. When he explained the two-year program I was sold on it. He also mentioned that after my two-years there I could possibly transfer into the four-year program. SUNY Maritime is defiantly the college for me!
It was a normal school day when Captain Aaron shows up at our lunch and says we are going on a site visit to a cruise ship. Everybody was so excited. He told us to rush to the mast center right after our classes and that’s exactly what we did. Indy 7 was waiting for us at Pier 101; we dropped lines and went on our way.
At the cruise ship we were escorted by an apprentice named Tabby to the ship. We enjoyed a few conversation and then we made our way to the Main Bridge. We were all squished inside the elevator but we were still enjoying ourselves . We saw the Main Bridge and then the engine room.
As we left the engine room, I looked to the wall and I saw the station bill. The station bill basically took up a whole wall. It was ten times bigger than the station bills that we have on our school boats. Everybody down to the cook has a responsibility. Everyone plays an important role and that’s what helps keep the boat running and everybody safe in case of an emergency. Safety is always the most important thing as a boat is underway. That is exactly what the station bill provides. On a cruise ship the crew is responsible for hundreds of passengers live’s. Without the station bill nothing can run fully. The station bill being the size it is really matters. Every crew member counts no matter what you do.
A normal CTE day is walking to the mast center at the beginning of sixth period, meeting in the classroom and talking about what our agenda is. Today was a special day though. We met outside and immediately started walking to the ferry in a rush. As we were walking, Gino and I were having a conversation about what we could be doing today. We looked towards the seaport and saw Wavetree’s head sails up and realized where we were going today.
On our ferry ride Captain Aaron mustered us up and told us the plan. We realized we were completely wrong. The plan for today was a site visit, just not to Wavetree. We went to pier 15 and took a ride on one of Hornblowers boat. We all gathered our tickets and went straight up the stairs to the wheelhouse. There we met up with Captain Jose. He said hi to us and gave us a breakdown on what we were going to do today. It was a tour of lower Manhattan on the water. We all went our separate ways to explore the boat. As we went to explore we saw all of their safety equipment and compared how it differs from ours. Everything was pretty much the same just on a wider scale.
As we were on our way back Kim took the helm. At that moment I was scared for my life! Just playing, Kim did great at the helm. Following that Captain Jose took the helm and docked the boat and that was the end of our voyage. It was a great day!
Young men at the helm on sloop clear waters was a great learning experience. The program started off with us breaking into watches. I was in none other than green watch. Our watches got to know each other and learn everyone’s name and where they are from. After we got to know each other a little bit better we learned our main task for the rest of trip. Our task was the main sail. We stay in charge of the one and two position. The one position is where you tie the stopper knot and the two position is when you make it off to the cleat. I usually did the one position.
At the end of the trip we had a sloop Olympics. The Sloop Olympics consist of being able to tie knots and answer questions at the same time. Another part of the Olympics was being able to bring the jib up as a team. The final challenge was line tossing and coiling. Each category was split into two different parts; style points and time. We started off with knots. I tied every knot first but it was also about your whole team getting the knot. We can help out by telling them what to do but not physically helping. After we all tied the knot we would all have to answer the question as a group. After that was raising the jib sail. We had the worst overall score when it came that. Finally we had the line tossing and coiling, my team had the most style points but had a bad time. However I had the best individual time when it came to the tossing and coiling. My time was 43 seconds. The time came when they said the winner. It was a three way tie.
August 11 2017 was the return of SUNY Maritime training ship Empire State. The Empire State went on its annual summer voyage with hundreds of students to receive training. August 11 was also one of the days I came for my internship at the college water front building. Terence and I walked inside the campus and were so surprised. There were so many parents ready to sunrise their child and give them a warm welcome back. Terence and I proceeded inside the water front building. Rob the waterfront director at SUNY maritime immediately offered us breakfast and told us what the plan for today was. On the agenda it was to refuel all the small boats and then go check out the sail boats and make sure they are still on the moorings and not floating away. In addition to that we were told that we would be catching the lines for Empire State.
After we finished our breakfast we did what rob told us to do. As we were coming back in from checking on the sailboats we got a radio call from Rob telling us to come back in immediately come in. Our initial Thoughts were asking each other if we did anything wrong. Webbing thought we did everything fine. We docked the boat and ran up stairs to Rob. Rob informed us that we will be each be taking our own boat with passengers on it to go check out Empire State. Rob told Terence to grab one of the Boston whalers and he told me to grab the red safety boat. We went down stairs and prepared to depart. Rob came down with the passengers who were all parents of students on the training ship. But something was wrong. Rob did not have his personal flotation device on. He told us that he wasn’t coming and this was all up to us. I dropped my lines, Rob gave us a kick off the dock and we were off. We did a quick circle around the ship, took some pictures for about 15 minutes, and we headed back in.
The next part of the day was the best part; catching the ships lines. In order to catch the ships line we needed to have the proper equipment. We needed helmets and gloves. We were told where all the lines would be placed. A couple minutes went by and the time has finally come. The captain on the radio told us our commands and we were ready. They sent us the stern line by throwing a monkey’s fist which we had to pull in to get the eye of the line on the cleat. “Stern line on” was what the guy said on the radio and our job was done.
After the ship tied up we greeted all of the students coming out. One of the students being a Harbor school alumni, Malachi. We gave him a quick round of applause, a handshake, and he left. That was such a great day at SUNY Maritime.
The Annual Tug boat race on the North River was such an amazing event; this was my second year attending. My first year was on the vessel Sea Wolf with fellow classmates Terence, Bri, and Steve. The first year I was more of a spectator watching the crew do all the work. This year, I was the crew. The boat that I was crewing was none other than the South Street Seaports W.O Decker. The day started off with a morning muster at 0800 aboard Decker. The muster was led by first mate Lisa. She gave us the breakdown of how the day was going to go. At the morning muster, I learned that I will be representing W.O Decker in the line tossing competition. Instantly my heart dropped and my legs began to shake. But I brushed it off and stayed focus on the muster at that moment. After the muster we all had a quick breakfast provided by Captain Aaron. Then as soon as we were done, we dropped lines and left
The day started off with a quick little boat parade. All the boats lined up and got introduced and headed up the river. Directly after the parade is when the real crave started. The horn blew and we were off. Instantly W.O Decker fell behind all the other vessels. We turned more into a spectator boat. We started to get washed around the wakes of other tugs. However, it was fun while it lasted. After the race we did a little head to head to see which tug has the most power and could push the most. W.O Decker went against Capt. Brian McAllister; the newest boat at the race. We lost, the McAllister boat wasn’t even pushing ahead and we could barely move it. After we had the good old tug tug battle, it was time for the moment of truth, the line tossing.
The line tossing is the ultimate bragging rights. I was going against so many great people and had a lot to prove. One of the boats I was going against was Susan Miller and Catherine Miller. Susan Miller and Catherine Miller were two of the boats I worked with over the summer, they were part of my internship at Millers launch. They also are the ones who helped me perfect my line tossing. Having them watch me was a tremendous amount of pressure. Before the line tossing actual started, I had to get some practice in. I practiced on the bow bit on the boat. The eye of the line was huge. It was the same size of me. That did not help me out at all. I was rusty and nervous, a bad combination in a competition. At the moment I was stalling and trying to get as much time as I can. Finally Captain Aaron asked me if I was ready and my response was “it’s now or never”. We started to go in and everyone is super hype. So many eyes on me. Everyone on the boat was calling my name.” Bryan you can do it”(Elijah), “no pressure Bryan except if you miss you let everyone down….just joking everything will be fine”( Lisa). The horn sounded and the clock was on. The way the line tossing works is you get three chances to toss it on to the bit and if you miss you lose. My first toss was off to the left and the whole boat had to reset. We backed up and approached again. “Port side toss” was what I was told. That’s exactly what I tried. But once again I missed. This was my third and final try. I look around and see classmate Steve and I know I wouldn’t miss now or he will go back and tell the whole school. I looked him in the eye and whispered this one is for you. I tossed the line with everything I had. It seemed like everything was in slow motion. Cheers still going “ Bryan Bryan”. I missed my throw and final toss. I held onto the line just a little too much and fell short of the bit. I pulled the line in with my head down ashamed. I was so upset letting the pressure get to me. Then I hear give it a good round of applause for Bryan. That is what Maggy said on the microphone. That was music to my ears. She told everybody who I was and what school I was from and everyone started to cheer. Not the type of cheering I wanted but I took it and ran with it. Suddenly I start to feel better and went on with the day super happy.
Toward the end of the day we had an award ceremony. That was also the time I got to see a lot of old friends and co-workers from Millers Launch. Everyone gave me a warm welcome and asked me how I was doing. After the little reunion we went on with the awards. W.O Decker got the most vintage tug award. Not the best award but an award none the less. After the award ceremony we got a tour of McAllister’s newest boat. And then the day was over.
This would be my second year going to fishers island. At first I thought the trip was going to be boring. I figured I’d already done everything there was to do.
To start off we got all our phones taken away as soon as we got on the bus. At that moment I thought this trip was going to be horrible and a long weekend.
It was still a long weekend but it turned out to be incredible. Without phones, we were allowed to grow together and get to know each other. We were forced to talk to each other. At first it was awkward because some of the students I didn’t know. But that quickly changed. We started to talk to each other and play around with each other and just having great vibes.
On top of meeting and making new friends I got in a lot of good boat handling training. I had practice doing tight turns in place and learned valuable docking skills that I will never forget. This best part of trip was the bonfire. Hanging out with my old friends as well my new friends. These are high school memories I will never forget.
Buying a boat as a young man in New York is difficult. Boat prices are insane in the city. The solution to that is going to other places. I started to look for boats outside of the city. Places such as Baltimore, Connecticut, Long Island and even as far as Virginia. The next problem that is getting the boat out here to the city. My mother, Terence, and I have already started to plan a road trip out to different places. Terence is another student from New York Harbor School who is a part of the process of getting a boat. The reason we are getting a boat is so we can work on it and learn as much as we can about boats on our own. Another reason is that not many 17 year old juniors in high school can say they bought an old boat and fixed it up. A lot of grown people can’t even say that. But the hardest part about buying a boat is finding a place to PUT the boat for a reasonable price with electricity, water systems, sewage disposal, etc. But for now I am still in the looking process. Wish me luck!!!