By Jacinta Early, Onboard Educator
As the Clearwater sailing season has ended, the weather has turned cold and the leaves are falling from the trees; it also is a time for an educator to leave (temporarily) for the winter. This year I am that educator and today is my last day until March.
This year has been an interesting one to say the least. I arrived to America without ever seeing a Clearwater program being run, and was excited and nervous for the challenge. In my first few days of working for Clearwater, I helped the crew with maintenance in Kingston. It was my first introduction to not only the crew, but the boat itself, which was still in pieces so, it was hard for my brain to understand how it was supposed to look like a boat.
After some office training with the crew and the education staff, I started off on the schooner Mystic Whaler, our sister ship, for a couple of weeks to learn the ropes (harr-harr) while the sloop Clearwater was undergoing maintenance. Under the watchful eye of the previous educators, Shannon and Maija, I was able to get comfortable for what was in store for me on the Clearwater.
In the spring, I helped with the shore programs and classroom programs and got the rhythm for teaching people about the Hudson River and all the beauty it had on offer.
The first time the sloop was ready for sailing wasn’t until the festival in June, which meant my first sail on the Clearwater was at the Great Hudson River Revival – an experience I am not soon to forget!
In August, the Young Women at the Helm program was one of the most intense and worthwhile programs I have ever run. Over 3 days, not only did I help young ladies become leaders, but they helped me grow as an educator as well. They definitely taught me a thing or two as well!
Over the course of the season I have fallen in love with Hogchokers, American Eels, and Pumpkinseed Sunfish. Also, the crew introduced me to mandolins and how beautiful they sound and how fun they are. Now I own one.
After many ups and downs this season had in store for me, I am sad that this season is already over as it feels as if I only just arrived into the US, bright-eyed and bushy tailed (it was pointed out to me that this is Australian slang after I wrote this, to clarify it means “ready and raring to go!”). I will be back again next season, but for now I am really glad that I will be back in Australia visiting my family and lifeguarding during the Australian summer until next season. I will be missing all of the great new friends I have made in the Clearwater family, and hope to keep them for many more years to come.
Keep the boat safe while I’m gone; I promise I will be back!