Letters from the Kids: Best of 2011

Every year hundreds of students sail aboard Clearwater and the Mystic Whaler. Many of them share their thoughts, poems, drawings and new found knowledge with us afterwards. We LOVE receiving notes from students about their experiences and wanted to share some of the best of 2011 with everyone.




Tug Of War

Mrs. Wallace’s and Mrs.Slafani’s class were at Yonkers Pier. We were supposed to sail the Clearwater, but we couldn’t because the wind was striking as fast as lightning.

“Switch!” yelled Jocelyn.  My group, King of the Seas, was at the geology station. It was just about time to switch stations. Our next station was Tug of War, and our leader at the station was Chelsea. The station was based on pulleys. “Alright everybody, who is feeling strong today?” she asked. Max and I raised our hands. “You two get on this side of the rope. Now you four get on the other side of the rope,” said Chelsea. “Four verses two, they are surely to win,” I thought. “When I count to three and say pull, you tug on the rope. Ready 1……2…….3……….pull!!” We pulled as hard as our hands can pull. The rope was scratching against my hands, but I kept on pulling. We were pulling really hard. And…………….WE WON!!! 

 I was surprised to know that we won. “Guys good job!” yelled our leader. So you want to know why this team beat the other team?” asked Chelsea.  “YES!” we all screamed loudly. “So does anybody know why they won?” We all began to the think at once. Then I got it. “I think we won because we had a help of a simple machine, the pulley,and they didn’t.” She said, “Yes you are right since there are five ropes coming out, you two had the strength of ten people because 2.5=10.” “Ooo…” we all cooed. 

“Alright everybody time to switch,” said Jocelyn. “Just in time to finish,” said Chelsea.

From the Clearwater Sloop field trip, I learned:


  • They scrub the decks with salt water
  • Just because the water looks dirty doesn’t mean it is dirty
  • Pulling the line to raise the sails is not easy
  • Pulleys are a great help to raise the sails
  • One small creature called the zebra mussels can ruin the whole river.


     I would really like if we would be able to go back on the Clearwater         because we could catch fish, steer the sloop, haul up the sails, and MOSTLY………..sail the Clearwater!


Clearwater Reflection

It was an ordinary morning in Main Street School.  We had math, reading, writing, and social studies. But the afternoon wasn’t ordinary at all; we were going to the Clearwater sloop. Once we got there it was very windy, which I thought meant that we would sail very fast. But the wind was so fast we couldn’t sail. We still had a great time aboard the Clearwater, even on the dock. When we got to the dock we chose our group name and found out our group leader. My group’s name was the “Blue Crabs”, and our leaders name was Irene.

The first time I saw the Clearwater I was amazed, it was enormous. It seemed even longer than 106 feet. It also seemed even taller than 108 feet. On the Clearwater we visited many great stations or areas. One of our first stations was going below deck and seeing the boson’s cabin and the engine room.  Did you know that the Clearwater still has its original engine? I sure didn’t. Soon after that station we got to man the tiller. It probably weighed 1,000 pounds!  After that, we heard how the Palisades were made and that under our feet was lava. Then, we tried to raise the 3,000-pound sail. Nobody could do it by themselves but together our group could raise the sail. After that we played tug-of-war. Which we later found out it was completely rigged! Then we sang a few songs and had a moment of silence.

After all of that we got see the living area for the crew. I was truly amazed that so many people could sleep in one small room. Then we saw a fish called a Hogchoker. It felt like jello on one side, and it was very scaly on the other side. It even had two eyes on one side! It also had a crazy camouflage.  When Irene tried to flip it over, it flipped over the tray. We were all laughing and screaming until it was put back onto the tray.  Then we went to paint pumpkins. After that we went to measure the dissolved oxygen level in the Hudson. It was 11 parts per million.

After it is all said and done, even though we didn’t get to sail on the Clearwater, and never even left the dock, it was still a great field trip. We got to see all of the parts of the boat raise the sail, learn about the Hudson and Pete Seeger and even see a fish flip like crazy. So in other words, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’d have to say that my favorite part of the trip was seeing the fish do all those crazy flips. I mean when do you get to see a fish do so many flips when it is out of the water, and stay on a boat that you learned about in school. Not very often.

Clearwater Reflection

Wow! What a day, I said to Annalise who was sitting next to me on the bus.

I got up out of bed at 7:00am, and that’s early for me but it was worth it we were going on the fames boat that started envermentle laws…..THE CLEARWATER! I got to school in 4 lairs of       clothes and was sweating, but I wasn’t alone. My whole class was just as prepared as me! It started out as a normal day in class tough we had math, snack, reading, writing and then lunch in the class room so not absolutely normal. “The bus is here” We all lined up and while I was still hesitating to bring my book are not, I ended up not. I sat next to, Arielle, and Annalise, on the bus.

Were here! I was so excited, Mrs. Sclafani class got out of the bus first while Mrs. Wallace went to tell the crew we were here. We had to sit on the concrete wall and wait for a minute for Mrs. Wallace {it was really windy]. When Mrs. Wallace came back she said that we were not going to sail because it was too windy. That really made me upset, than a lady came out from the docks, her name was Joslyn. She said that we were going to have a lot of fun today even tough will not be sailing. We were paired up with groups after Joslyn’s speech. My group leader was named, Kasey. There were five people in my group including me. We had to come up with group names, and it all came down to the purple umbrellas!!! I didn’t approve of it but it was ok.

We got on the ship one at a time and I was last to get on. The first thing we did was roam around the ship for a little while, and then we started to gather around and sing” What do you do with a drunken sailor?” After that we started stations, the first station the purple umbrellas were at was “Life”. What we did there was look at fish they caught from the seining net. If we had sailed we would look at fish we caught. The fish they caught were a Hogchoker, silver side and a tiny crab.  At first we didn’t know what type of fish the silver side was so we had to look at a book to identify fish and yes it was a silver side! At the time we were done identifying the silver side it was time to switch stations. After that we went to the station were you color a small pumpkin that was very fun I made a face on my pumpkin and gave it teeth! The next station we went to was “chemistry”. We did a chlorophyll test and a salinity test. The water was mostly brackish. The next station we went to was called “Rocks”. That is where we mostly learned about how the Palisade Mountains were formed. But my group had to stop because we were talking too much and being silly {I don’t think Dylan and I were doing anything}. And last but not lest was “tug a war”.  The team on the right side always won! Then she finally told us why…… It was a pulley! A pulleys job is to raise the sail so it only pulls one way! Now it was time to leave the famous Clear Water the ship that stated enviermental laws but it was time. I had a lot of fun. I said good bye to my group leader Kasey as bus came. Mrs. Wallace did a head count then we went on the bus. I sat down next to Arielle and Annalise on the bus.


The Clearwater trip was so much fun. I was sad when we had to go home. All the stations were fun and cool to learn about at the same time. We got to do chemistry tests and we even learned how the Palisades cliffs were formed. It was definitely the best field trip ever. I wish we did it every year.

I can’t wait, I thought in my mind, as we got to meet the first mate. The first mate was talking about how the Palisades were made. He handed all of the people in my group a rock. Then he said that there are three different types of rocks. The first mate told us that there was a huge ocean, miles and miles deep of magma. Then he picked two people in our group to be magma. He said the people that were magma were supposed to be very hot and go through all of the other rocks which were the rest of the group and me. Then he explained that the magma went into the other rocks and then all of the rocks were very small. Over the years the water from the Hudson River washed all of the other rocks away to make what we now call the Palisades.

“Ok,” said Chelsea, our next station director, “we are going to play tug of war,” sounds really fun I thought. The first round we played two people verse four people. We played and played but it seemed that only one of the sides was always winning. About five rounds had passed and all of us were getting very tired.  One minute after, I thought I was about to die from exhaustion. Chelsea said that the rope was impossible to pull on one side and only one of the sides could win anyway.

Next we went to the fish station. We looked at all different types of fish but our director only took out one of the fish. It was called a hogchoker. It was flat and really well camouflaged with the sand. Everyone got to touch the hogchoker, which was very slimy, we tried to flip it over so we could see what its stomach looked like. Its stomach looked like white leopard skin, we put it back in the tank where it slowly fell to the sandy bottom and we could barely see it.

At the science testing station, we tested the dissolved oxygen which was ten grams per million. We also did a salinity and turbidity test; these tests were the best station of all. Everyone got to participate in the great and fun experience. The science station was our last station after all of the stations we waved goodbye and left with great memories.

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