This past week Gracie spent a few days aboard the Mystic Whaler where she got to experience the lower estuary, and all of its wonders.
“This past week I had the opportunity to live and work on the schooner Mystic Whaler, while docked on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The Whaler participates in Clearwater education programming each spring, but because of the ecological differences along the estuary, the discussions onboard were different than those that I had been experiencing upriver. The mountains and valleys upriver are replaced with endless buildings and skyscrapers in NYC. While at the navigation station, students determine the boat’s location using landmarks (towers, flagpoles, spires) and a chart. Picking out distinct landmarks in the harbor while watching ferries, tour boats and cargo ships was a challenge, yet endlessly engaging. At the water quality and the fish stations, my typical introduction about freshwater was irrelevant since we were sailing through the saltiest water in the estuary. The fish that we caught, like the pictured flounder, would never be found upriver. When it was time to return to the Clearwater, I reflected on how much the Hudson River ecology changes just between NYC and Beacon and how unique this estuary is.”