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Tuesday, August 9, 2011


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Friday, August 5, 2011

Waiting for the Fish to Bite

Waiting for the Fish to Bite: An Afternoon with the High Schoolers
The second session of the high school junior summer program has begun, and the small group is ready to get their feet wet with sailing, fishing, and other adventures that await them. I hung out with them at the beginning of the week, and got a chance to get to know this sessions oldest group of sailors and marine enthusiasts!
The latest group of high schoolers!
The newest batch of high schoolers seems to be enjoying their time at the WFC so far: Logan, who attends North Shore High School, has been a junior summer participant here for many years, and is enthusiastic for the summer that awaits him. Though the group gets along well with each other, they are all looking forward to different aspects of the session: while some of the kids are ready to sail fast, others are more interested in learning about crabs and fish, or the overnight that waits at the end of the summer.
Quite a catch!
Rosina was the first of the high schoolers to catch anything as they went fishing this week, and was excited for her big catch! It was a rather relaxing afternoon on the pier for the high schoolers, and there seemed to be luck in the air - not only did Rosina catch a fish, but Logan got a fluke that was at least a foot long (though they had some trouble reeling it in, and it slipped off before we could pull it up), and I even reeled in a little guy! They were all released back into the ocean, of course, but it was fun to hang out with the group for the afternoon.
Nick relaxes while hoping for a bite.
Logan's fluke that we didn't quite catch...
Joe casts a line
Logan hoping he's caught something big!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pirate Day Floatsom Contest

First Mates
The overcast weather today didn’t stop the First Mates from having a great time indoors and out! Since today was the WaterFront Center’s annual Pirate Day, we celebrated with a contest of sea vessels so fearsome it would intimidate even Blackbeard himself. With only a bag full of recyclable, floatable materials, some tape, scissors, and their imaginations, the First Mates got to work creating some very interesting vessels that they hoped would withstand the rough conditions out in the bay. The atmosphere was tense as the kids worked tirelessly to get their vessels just right, hoping to be dubbed to the most worthy pirate here at the WaterFront Center.

Once they had completed their ship-building, the kids headed to Beekman Beach to test out their creations. They lined up on the beach, awaiting the signal to send their ships into the water, and at the start began blowing, making waves, and trying everything to get their boats moving without using their hands - it was an exciting scene! The first round winner was Jack, whose very flotatious boat withstood the rough waters of Oyster Bay. The second round winner was Courtney, who used a variety of materials to make her boat practically indestructible. Congratulations to all who competed, and happy Pirate Day - argh!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


With perfect weather and an appetite for adventure, the Sound Swashbucklers were bound to have a good time on the beach today! Instead of kayaking, the kids spent their afternoon exploring the beach for sea creatures and other discoveries. Using seine nets and dip nets, they fished for eels and crabs, and were excited to find a variety of animals, shells, and sea debris that they added to their buckets, and to the Touch Tank. 

Among their discoveries was a large welk, a tiny baby horseshoe crab, and several large American eels! The kids couldn’t have been happier than they were just exploring the beach, asking questions about the various sea creatures and getting sandy and wet throughout their adventure. Squeals of excitement could be heard across the beach when they pulled in a seine net filled with animals and shells - you would have thought they found buried treasure! It was clear that these guys are super enthusiastic about what they’ve learned so far at the junior summer program, and I had a great time hanging out with them!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gone Fishin'

This morning, the Bay Buccaneers group kicked back, relaxed, and went on their own personal fishing trip here at the WaterFront Center. It was a hot morning, but the kids nonetheless enjoyed their time out on the pier, relaxing and enjoying the suspense of waiting for the fish to bite! Lucky for us, there were quite a few hungry fish in the water, and our group caught several of them before releasing them back into the ocean. The Bay Bucs were super excited to catch some fish, and had a great morning hanging out!

Thomas casts a line!
Evan examines his first catch of the day.

Sophie and her catch

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Day At the Beach

A Day at the Beach with Operation Exodus
It was the perfect day for a trip to the beach, and lucky for us Operation Exodus stopped by to learn about Oyster Bay’s marine environment, and get their feet wet with some fun shore activities! The group of 60 kids, who ranged from second graders to seventh graders, arrived this morning ready to brave the heat and enjoy the beach, and as we headed out to Beekman Beach to examine the environment a little more closely, the kids were excited for their adventure. The first part of the day was spent walking the beach, looking closely at the sand to see what they could find, and learning about the many different animals that can be found on the beach, in the water, and in the small tide pools that form during low tide. The older group was fascinated with the mud snails, which can be found on the beach at low tide. 

The group then had the chance to do some sniggling - trying to catch American eels with nets in the river. These eels, which are small, slimy, and harmless, hide out during the day under rocks, and hunt fish at night - we had some luck catching a few, and got to get up close and personal with them once we had put them safely in buckets. The kids were super enthusiastic to get to see these animals up close, and screamed with excitement as the little eels swam into their nets from under the rocks - pretty cool!

We left the water shortly after, and took a seat in the shade to become more familiar with a few more animals from the touch tank. Both the younger group and the older group sat beneath a tree by the beach to learn about horseshoe crabs, spider crabs, sea stars, and a few other animals that can be found here in Oyster Bay. The kids were eager to touch and hold the animals, and remained enthusiastic (but still respectful!) as they passed the mussels and snails from hand to hand, and had a blast getting to know our resident sea creatures! “They had a good time,” said one of their counselors, who added that despite the heat, the kids truly enjoyed their day on the shore. Operation Exodus, based in Manhattan, is a program for New York City youth that gives them the chance to get out of the city and do different activities throughout the summer. We were delighted to host this week’s adventure for the group, and hope to see them again soon!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Grenville Baker Boys and Girls Club

Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club: Sailor Extroardinaires!
The young sailors of the Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club had a great morning of sailing today, with solid breeze and warm weather that made for excellent racing conditions! The enthusiastic campers are in their second week of a two week long sailing camp through the Boys & Girls Club, and are clearly learning a lot - their Sonars were sailing smooth this morning as they raced each other and the students of Nassau Community College, and were having a blast doing it. 

Darren, the kids’ counselor from Grenville Baker, joined me on the boat to take some pictures of his own, and explained how much the kids enjoy getting out on the water each day and trying a new activity: “The kids have a lot of fun, that’s all that matters,” he said. The kids come from all over the area to participate in this summer program, and definitely seem to be taking advantage of the opportunity to get out on the water and learn how to sail. The four Sonars were flying in the morning breeze, and the kids were loving every minute of it - I watched from the boat as they worked their muscles getting those sails trimmed in, and enjoyed the cool sea spray on their faces that was a certain relief from the heat. 

It was obvious that these kids were enjoying themselves, and I hope they have enjoyed their two weeks sailing with us here at the WaterFront Center!

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