For my latest pictorial book “Our New Jersey” I had the privilege to photograph a true state treasure, the A.J. Meerwald. It was an opportunity to join the crew and experience what it is like to sail on the high seas of the Delaware Bay in an authentically restored 115 foot, 65 ton, 1928 oyster schooner.
Being a true landlubber through and through, the challenges of photographing on a rolling ship proved difficult. Thankfully Captain Jesse kept a close eye on me as I grabbed for the main sail between pictures.
His crew are enthusiastic caretakers who proudly display their incredible skill of turning the ship on a dime, all to the whims of a demanding photographer. For more of my images aboard visit my site
For anyone wanting to sail back in time to the turn of the century, I would highly recommend you weigh anchor and journey to a place where the shipbuilding industry in South Jersey was once a mainstay of the local economy.
A little history:
The Meerwald was one of hundreds of Delaware Bay schooners that worked the region’s oyster industry. She is listed on the National and New Jersey Register of Historic Places, and in 1998, Governor Christine Todd Whitman signed a bill officially declaring her New Jersey’s Tall Ship.
The ship was built by Charles H. Stowman & Sons in South Jersey specifically for dredging oysters from the shallow Delaware Bay. It’s new role as an educator, the Meerwald sets sail seven days a week to instruct school children and adults on the culture, maritime history, rich natural resources and environmental challenges of New Jersey’s coastal waters.
The future of the Estuary is in the hands of our young people. The Bayshore Discovery Project creates a legacy of stewardship through diverse, intellectually vigorous education programs. For more information, visit http://www.ajmeerwald.org/