The skills of stemming, warping, and crabbing are nothing to be taken lightly. It is quite difficult to learn and put these type of concepts into perspective in an ordinary classroom. Fortunately enough our classroom consist of New York Harbor. The class and I were asked “how can we dock the Indy 7 when current is doing this and you have this much space”. All students attempted the question but could not get the answer correctly alone. We worked to together to finally answer correctly, then Aaron told us to grab our bags and gear; a familiar phrase to start the second part of class.
Loaded and prepared to depart, we were told to head towards Pier 15 and were ready to learn. We dropped two students on the dock to catch lines for the first docking while I was the helmsman. Aaron told me to balance out the current using the throttle so we wouldn’t be moving forward or in reserve but holding my position; in other words stemming. I was told to stay straight, grow a feel, and realize what the vessel is doing. It is amazing to learn in a classroom environment then apply what you have learned to real life scenarios. When I began making my approach towards the dock I was bringing my bow towards port. While using the current, Indy moved towards port close enough to send lines and dock; this is crabbing. Having two lines on (Bow line and Stern spring) I was able to swing the stern around the pier while backing on the Spring and easing the bow line the boat was about to dock; this is called warping. Just another normal day at Vessel Operations.
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.
When the Vessel Ops class took a trip to Greenpeace, which is one of 3 vessels in an environmental activist fleet, one name stood out to me most. Pete Wilcox ,captain on the activist vessels, he’s been through a lot while trying to save the Earth from people and companies trying to harm it. He was on board when the boat, Rainbow Warrior, was blown up by French military members in New Zealand in 1985. Pete was also on the Arctic Sunrise when it was taken over by the Russian military in 2013, and he spent two months in Russian jail.
Mr. Wilcox supported many campaigns :
- 1981- Offshore oil drilling on Georges bank
- 1993 – Exposed Russian dumping of nuclear waste in the Sea of Japan
- 2007- Research trip to Greenland to document global warming
In April of 2016 , he released his book Greenpeace : My Adventures In Protecting The Of Our Planet.
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.
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.
Where do I start?
Freshman year: I started waterfront , that was the best choice I have ever made in my life so far. We worked on the boats at that time but other times we went on class trips; one trip was to Red hook, Brooklyn. That is where Water Taxi’s Homeport is; that day we were given a chance to go on their small and large boats as well as the Shark boat.
Sophomore year: A select few got a chance to go on one of the Water Taxi boats to talk to the captain, Juana Garcia. That alone was a big opportunity considering she is the first female captain at Water Taxi so I had many questions. After everybody left I was still their talking to Juana and the deckhands, I started to question what I wanted to do in future.
Junior year: As a intern at waterfront, my connections branched out in a lot of different directions. I found myself being involved with Water Taxi more often. The fact that I knew a lot of people that worked there helped tremendously. I knew then that Water Taxi was the perfect place for a stepping stone into the Maritime Industry.
Senior year: Looking back at it now , its mind boggling that I came this far. The summer of becoming a senior, I started actually working for Water Taxi. The vibe there is so family like . They make me feel included with everything and now that I’m checked off, I get to put my own mark on Water Taxi, and hopefully help inspire a young teenager just like I was .
( picture to the right )
USS Independence CV-62
Indy 7 is a retired Navy launch from the USS Independence (CV-62), a forrestal-class aircraft carrier. USS Independence was built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and launched on June 6, 1958. She followed by getting commissioned the following year on the first of January.
USS Independence spent her early years in the Mediterranean Fleet. She made a single tour off the coast of Vietnam in 1965. Independence also carried out airstrikes against Syrian forces in Lebanese Civil War, and conducted operations over Iraq enforcing a no-fly zone.
After her long history, the USS Independence is now awaiting to be scrapped at Brownsville, Texas.
Class and Type of Ship: Forrestal-Class Aircraft Carrier
Namesake: “Freedom of control by others; Self Government”
Commissioned: January, 10 1958
Decommissioned: September, 30 1998 (Roughly 40 years of service)
Motto: “Freedom’s Flagship”
Displacement: 60,000 Tons (Standard)
80,643 Tons (Full-Load)
Length: 1,070 Feet
Beam: 130 Feet
Horsepower: 280,000 Horsepower
Speed: 33 Knots
Range: 8,000 Nautical Miles at 20 knots
Crew: 3,126 Ship Crew
2,089 Air Wing
70 Flag Staff
Aircraft Carried: 70-90
(USS Independence (CV-62), with sister ships, USS Saratoga (CV-60) and USS Intrepid (CV-11))