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These last few days of summer brought me across the Hudson River. I had two amazing days chillaxing with some good friends on the Clearwater sloop – a replica of 18th/19th century sloop, now a symbol of environmental awareness- on the Hudson River.
Though not surprising, this experience brought back a similar vibe from my trip to Easton Mountain last summer. Again, I had the opportunity to relive being in the safe comfort of nature. Only this time, we went fishing, raising the headsail and mainsail, sailing thereafter, climbing the mast and rowing a smaller boat. Activities, some of which, were very new to me.
Of course, The Clearwater sailing experience is an open summer opportunity to queer folks and allies to learn about the ecosystem of the Hudson River. Nothing beats a new and educational experience. It was a safe and exciting two day boating and camping trip, so if you don’t get seasick very easily and wouldn’t mind sleeping outside in tents, I would encourage it next year… plans are to have more people on deck. The boat holds up to 50 people.
My favorite part of the trip was steering the entire boat. Working with the captain: following instructions and making sure that we went in the right direction, making it to the right side of the river and docking correctly was a thrilling, demanding but fulfilling experience. Teamwork!
Our fishing however only brought out two fishes. We threw out a net – hands to rope, rope to net- but only came up with two fishes. Cat fishes. We learnt that the size of our catch depends on the weather and where along the river we are. Accordingly, the first day was windy and rainy. We kept sheltered and simply stayed on the boat until the water was calm.
By night, I was fighting a miserable fever that came up on me from the day before, my guess was that it was from lack of sleep. I found myself wanting to just lie in a bed. But the more active I remained, the better I felt. Lesson learnt: sometimes we cope better by just doing. I got through my awkward fever and I enjoyed the rest of night. Listening to spoken word from some talented crew members re-inspired me to start writing poems again. There were some powerful and personal stories that touched me meaningfully.
After a busy day, night found us snoring by the coast in tents. At least, I snored. Too bad by morning everyone knew. All I remembered was that I had a good sleep, except we were close to a railroad and cargo trains kept going by every hour or so. But nevertheless, we were all rested and prepared for another day on the river.
I had a good time going out on the river in a small boat and having second rowing experience; my first was only last summer on Easton Mountain. This time it was a more challenging experience because I had not one but two bows and I had to make sure that I kept pace with my fellow rowers. The water welcomed us with strong waves but we manned through the whole thing and made it back to shore.
After that, all buckled up, I climbed the sloop’s mast, up to about 10 steps from the top. That was a thriller. Five steps up the ladder I almost went back down. I don’t think I am one to be afraid of height, I love the thrill I get from heights so I just kept going. As I kept sliding my leg up one more step and then another I finally made it far up enough to have my own private view of the landscape and the river that surrounded the boat.
And then all good things come to an end. At the end of the second day, we were packing and getting ready to depart. After we docked there is that feeling that comes out of nowhere and you just don’t want to go home anymore. Well, it came and it was just too hard to think that we were ever leaving each other. Two amazing days shouldn’t have to end so soon but it was worth it. But regardless, I’m happy I had such a unique exposure.
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