Thursday, October 1, 2015

On the A.J. Meerwald

I'm on a day off from my job as a deckhand and I've been motivated to start blogging again after being interviewed by my shipmate, Erin, for her blog. I'm working on the schooner A.J. Meerwald in New Jersey and I'm loving being a tall ship sailor. We do day sails for the public, private charters, and educational sails for school groups. The Meerwald is an 85' wooden schooner (meaning we have at least two masts with the main higher than the fore) built in 1928 for oystering. As a deckhand, I do everything from raising and lowering sails, to maintaining the boat, to teaching people about local marine science and the boat's history. We often work 12 hour days and the work can be hard but I like it because it's different every day and there are few things better than sailing along with all the sails set and a good breeze and sea swell.
One of my favorite views
It's hard to summarize my time here so far. My first day on the Meerwald was August 15th but I feel like I've been here for forever. I love the crew and life on a boat. We've had some great times and awesome adventures in the past month and a half, exploring different ports and meeting lots of cool people, and we're looking forward to more in the last five weeks of the season. In particular, the Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race is coming up and we should hopefully get some good sailing in!

We are currently in our home port of Bivalve, NJ which is not even really a town with  its population of 6 people, a clam plant, an oyster plant, a Rutgers University research station, and our Bayshore Center. We do have a crew house here where we often sleep or spend days off when we're in Bivalve and the marshes and woods are beautiful so it's not a bad place to be.
Lake Audrey near Bivalve

We are all waiting see what happens with hurricane Joaquin. It's been cold and rainy and windy and we've had some seriously high tides but no one seems to know whether or not the storm will actually hit. We may sail to another port up the Delaware River to wait out the potential storm or just anchor out here. Either way, I'm pretty excited about the prospect of hunkering down and hanging out if we do get a big storm!

Our flooded dock

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