Just before my dad passed away at age 94, he and my mom talked about my love of boating. They both knew I had been admiring a particular boat for sale but also realized I probably couldn't afford to buy it. So just days before we would say our last goodbye at a hospice in Florida, my dad whispered in my ear and said he wanted to buy me a boat. I was so grateful and would have eagerly traded his gift for any amount of extended time with him. I loved and respected my dad.
Today, a few years after his passing, his parting gift is where I spend a lot of time thinking about and enjoying life.
I named the boat, The Casalecki, which is a word my Dad made up and often used to describe something he thought was grandiose or magnificent. It's an appropriate name because being in my boat is a magnificent experience. It is very casalecki, as he might have said. After all, my boat is where I thought about writing a book about the history of Raritan Bay and the waterways which flow into it.
Over the years, I've been boating in Raritan Bay under many different circumstances. I've been serenely comforted by the calmness of the water's surface as I watched a beautiful sunset. I've been very worried when I ran out of gas, or my motor stopped for no apparent reason, and I had to wave to passersby for help. And I've also been terrified when I was in the middle of a horrific storm and thought my boat would sink. Thank goodness for the U.S. Coast Guard, who rescued me.
The history associated with Raritan Bay, and the waterways which fill it, is the focus of this book. Many of the historical events described in the book are associated with the bays, rivers, creeks, harbors, marshes, the ocean, and so on. The water will be the common thread that weaves these stories about our past together. In many ways, my boat is positioned perfectly in Raritan Bay directly over an historic epicenter where the seismic waves of events from the past are radiating outward in all directions.
I hope you enjoy our journey through time as we explore the incredible history of Raritan Bay.