From Juniors

Fishers Island Community

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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.

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Fishers Island (Oyster Farm Boats)

IMG_0129This picture above shows me on the bigger aluminum boat ; 35 feet with an outboard engine, that was towing the smaller green boat ; 20 feet with an outboard engine, that go stuck by the oyster farm with Jeremy (Aquaculture teacher)  and some of his students.

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The picture above shows me steering the smaller green boat going back to the Malinowski dock from the Fishers Island’s oyster farm.

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This picture shows Max, Pete’s son, on the left and Theo, Aaron’s son, on the right (and me) on the 20 foot fiber glass boat while we were tied up to fuel. Theo and Max were practicing their line throwing skills. For their age, I’d say they were pretty good at it.

My First Marine Internship Interview

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When I first sat down with Internship Coordinator Estefany Carmona, I was very nervous but I felt quiet prepared. I knew I was very hard working and I felt this job was meant to be mine. I gathered all the information nesscessary and I felt as if nothing could go wrong. When I finally met with her, I was asked questions that I never thought were gonna mean something to someone. She asked me about what I do in my classroom and what I took away from it. I wish I had prepared for her questions ahead of time. For example, she asked me what was a strength and a weakness of mine. I felt as if my interview went really well and it couldn’t have gone any better.

Working On My Own Boat

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I got to work on my boat. It was great. I don’t get out on my own boat that often because school takes up all my time. I have a 29ft Shamrock with a twin screw––a great boat. Today, I took the shrink wrap off and started a full cleaning, and getting it ready to be put in the water. I really like running my boat. It’s a great experience. I did also some work on my dad’s boat which is a 42ft. Hopefully today I can put both boats back in the water and go out for a sea trail.

A Breath of Clean Air at Fisher’s Island

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City air tastes different from rural country air. There is a a certain heaviness that comes with city air. Maybe it’s the cloud of pollution that lingers or maybe it’s due to the lack of vegetation. The water is the same way. Here in the city it’s green, sometimes yellow and gross. The water at Fisher’s Island was crisp and salty. There was no undercurrent of the rotting, toxic waste smell that the harbor maintains.

As we revved through the the calm water towards the oyster farm I couldn’t help feeling more awake then I’ve ever felt before. This was truly an amazing opportunity to expand my knowledge. We practiced pivot turns––backing up and maneuvering in tight spaces.

We docked, aware of what the current and wind were doing as we approached at a 45 degree angle, learning that it’s just as important to watch the scuba divers in the water as it is to secure the boat. Nothing was rushed and every step was thought through until the plan was clear as the water was when I reached down and grazed my hand on it’s surface. The oyster cages were even visible underwater! It is a place I hope to see again.

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Buying a Boat

Boat-for-saleBuying 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!!!

Port of Sector New York

Visiting the USCG pt2

Last week my vessel operations class went to the port of sector New York to meet the Captain of the Port of New York, Micheal H. Day and see VTS (Vessel Traffic Services) in action. Unfortunately Captain Day was preoccupied and couldn’t meet with us and we instead met with the Senior Reserve Officer (SRO) for USCG Sector of New York, Captain Matthew McCann. He had over 20 years of experience in the Coast Guard.

Captain McCann explained to us the responsibilities as captain of the port and explained to us how he moved up through the ranks to where he is today. Vessel Traffic Services is very similar to Air Traffic Control except instead of queuing up airplanes for takeoff and landing, they monitor anchor sites, make vessels aware of other large vessels and overall ensure the safety of mariners. VTS however doesn’t cover any vessel under 200 feet or 100 gross tonnes; they control traffic within the harbor through a plethora of techniques. Not only do they rely on radio communications from vessels but have also an extensive network of high definition cameras along the harbor and electronic charts that allow them to control the craziness that is commercial shipping in New York Harbor.

My fellow students I got VIP access to see what VTS was really like and got to talk to real VTS operators and watch them in real time. The VTS operators offered a wealth of knowledge and told us not only about their experiences in VTS but through out the Coast Guard. However, not all operators were enlisted. In fact, nearly half of them were civilian which showed me something I never knew before: I could work for the Coast Guard without being enlisted! It also taught me how much logistic work goes into shipping. This trip opened my eyes to new careers and interests.

Maine Maritime

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A group of harbor school students and I went to Maine Maritime Academy in April to learn about their curriculum and the academy as a whole. As pictured below Captain Rick Miller is giving us an intro in celestial navigation using sextants. He explained how a sextant is used; first you find the star in your eyepiece, then bring it down to the horizon using the multiple mirrors and then read the angle of the star and use that information for navigation.

We went to the Kennaday Planetarium where we viewed the ineffable night sky of Castine, Maine. He explained to us that in celestial navigation they use 56 stars as well as polaris, the sun and a few planets. It’s vital we learn celestial navigation and paper charts because GPS can go awry during solar flares and other electromagnetic events.

Overall he taught us the importance of redundancies as well as giving us a wonderful introduction into the wild world of celestial navigation. The trip gave us an experience very few people get before attending Maine Maritime and gave us a true idea of what maritime college life is like.

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