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Daily Log: Tuesday, October 14th

0700 hours

Current Position: Anchored at Grave's End Bay, off Brooklyn, NY.
Latitude: 40˚ 35.3'
Longitude: 074˚ 00.3'

Day Five of the 2008 Masters Voyage of Discovery.

The Half Moon is still due to remain anchored here in lower New York harbor for another 24 hours. This scheduled layover allows the students to focus their full attention on collecting data for their presentation projects.

0815 hours

Our day begins with freshly made French toast and sausage.

Freed from the task of weighing anchor, the students dive straight into their projects after breakfast.

1000 hours

Evi and Christina collect one of a series of water samples for their comparative temperatures project. Since their project allowed them to collect data while the ship was underway from Haverstraw Bay, they'll complete their data set by midday.

1100 hours

Once students have completed their data collection, they're free to engage in the other major activity of the day: expeditions in the Zodiac, the Half Moon's inflatable tender. Groups of students will head out with senior crew members all day to explore the Brooklyn shoreline, searching for interesting flora and fauna to collect for observation.

While the first Zodiac expedition is away, work continues on board the Half Moon. While Bennett collects a water sample for a salinity reading, Ross collects water so he and Jonathan can scrub a spill off the deck.

1130 hours

Mr. Schuijer wraps up his morning completing his repairs to the helm hutch bulkhead.

Meanwhile, Jonathan and Bennett remain hard at work in the fo'c'sle (pronounced "FOKE-sil," short for forecastle), analyzing their salinity samples.

Down below, Mr. McLaughlin enjoys a full galley of assistants as we head toward midday. We'll be having sandwiches for lunch as soon as some special visitors arrive. In the meantime, he dispatches Natalie with a checklist to take everyone's specific lunch orders. Ham or turkey? Cheese? Lettuce? Mayo? So many options!

1145 hours

One advantage of our extended data layover is that should a student team discover that their research isn't panning out, they still have time to shift gears and tackle a different subject instead.

Last night, overcast skies prevented Ross and Greg from collecting their celestial tracking data of the Moon. As they contributed to the Deck Log this morning, they've used that work to switch their project to tracking the height of tide instead.

1315 hours

As Greg clocks a current speed reading for the Deck Log, the crew is getting antsy for lunch. Before we can dig in, we need to wait for the Zodiac to return with the second expedition team -- and with our special guests!

1330 hours

Soon enough, Mr. Morel and Peter escort our visitors to the ship.

1345 hours

Our guests are a pair of journalists from the Westchester County Journal News. Angela Gaul (lower left) is a photographer who will spend her time on ship taking photos and video of our eager crew.

She is accompanied by reporter Stacey Anderson, who interviews the crew about their experiences on board.

As soon as our guests are on board, we make short work of our individualized sandwiches. We whip up lunch for our visitors, too.

1400 hours

After lunch, we call for a deck wash to clean up some spills.

While the student crew scrubs the deck and gets their feet wet, Ms. Reilly notices that most of the senior crew have been treed on the fore deck. A little too chilly to want a soak?

1415 hours

After the deck wash, Mr. Chase and Mr. Hourigan retain the students for a quick briefing. The presentation teams need to create preliminary graphs of their findings for their teachers to review. This will help them decide whether they need to collect additional data.

1430 hours

As one such team that decided to switch topics, Ross and Greg continue to take soundings throughout the afternoon. They've decided to collect their data points from the beak rather than the main channels, saving them the time required to get into safety harnesses and climb into position every half an hour.

Meanwhile, having collected their data, Evi and Christina retire to the fore deck to prepare their initial graphs.

1500 hours

Our third Zodiac expedition is ready for launch! This team will go out to explore the sandy beach dimly visible in the background.

1515 hours

Before our guests depart, Ms. Gaul wants to climb aloft to grab some stunning shots of the ship and the bay. Andrew leads her through her initial harness training, while Ms. Reilly takes over in the rig.

Of course, every good photographer knows that if something didn't happen on camera, it didn't happen at all. Ms. Gaul entrusts her camera gear to Captain Reynolds and Ms. Smith to capture her ascent.

Mouse over for a closer view.
Photographer Angela Gaul climbs to the main top.

1530 hours

Ms. Gaul is soon aloft in the main top and snapping away.

As the afternoon winds on, most teams have finished collecting data and, like Lizzie and Andrew, are hard at work preparing their graphs for review.

Mouse over to put
Luke to work.
Luke chops garlic.

1600 hours

Down in the galley, Luke has demonstrated a natural gift for crushing and chopping garlic for tonight's dinner. We learn he's a skilled cook at home as well.

1630 hours

After spending the morning collecting turbidity readings, Jena and Natalie were dissatisfied with the results. They'd made no errors, but their readings remained static as the tidal currents shifted -- which is typical for these relatively shallow, churning waters.

Thus, they've chosen to switch to a more dynamic subject for their research project: mechanical advantage. Ms. Smith leads them down to the orlop deck to introduce them to the principles and equipment they'll be using. With that under their belt, they'll construct a model block-and-tackle rig.

Mouse over to lean into the wind.
Andrew is buffeted by the wind.

1645 hours

The reason Jena and Natalie have moved below decks is simple: to get out of the wind. Ironically, after days of attempted sailing under little more than erratic breezes, the weather front that blew through last night has today brought steady, strong, and building north-westerly winds. Were we not in the middle of our layover, this would make glorious weather for sailing!

Meanwhile, the third Zodiac team has returned, and they've hit the jackpot!

The nearby beach has proven a veritable gold mine for finding shells, hermit crabs, and other wildlife specimens. Visit the Learning Page to see our prize collection in more detail.

Evi's found some interesting man-made objects as well -- what appear to be three stacking, terra cotta pots, most likely used for holding sauces. Native artifacts of the Delaware nation Captain Hudson's crew encountered in these waters in 1609, or, just perhaps, leftovers from a cookout this summer?

The world may never know.

Meanwhile, on the weather deck, Jena and Natalie have advanced from their model to a full-scale block-and-tackle rig. With the guidance of Ms. Reilly and Ms. Smith, they will spend the rest of the afternoon configuring their simple machine to lift a 60 lb. lead ingot.

1700 hours

With the Zodiac back at the ship, our guests must take their leave. We wave farewell to Stacey Anderson and Angela Gaul as Captain Reynolds returns them to shore.

1800 hours

When the Captain returns, there's just enough time for one last Zodiac expedition. Christina has been waiting patiently for her chance all day, and when it turns out that she's the only student scheduled for the trip, she recruits her friend Evi to accompany her.

For this expedition, Captain Reynolds opts to explore a nearby creek-fed inlet hidden away nearby. Decades ago, this inlet was a thriving port, and is still dotted by the skeletal remains of abandoned piers and barges. Nature has moved in to reclaim the area; here, the rotting hulk of a wooden barge has become the bed for a grassy wetland.

As the Zodiac team makes its way back to the ship, they stop by a nearby dock to recover a trap placed here by the first Zodiac expedition this morning. They discover that we've captured... some sausages! (Apparently an invasive species not native to these waters.)

Alternatively, it may just be that the breakfast leftovers we used to bait the trap didn't attact much business.

1815 hours

On the expedition's way back to the Half Moon, they motoring directly into the wind. The waves are choppy, and as they bounce along the crew gets more than a little wet! Nobody really seems to mind, though.

As the Zodiac returns to the ship, the sun sets on our data layover. Our Voyage of Discovery is nearing its end.

Eager faces greet the Zodiac on its return. Jena and Natalie peer out from the gun port...

...while Jonathan, Bennett, Luke, and the senior crew help secure the boat from the deck.

1830 hours

With all hands on board, it's time for dinner. Tonight, we're having lasagna, salad, and garlic bread.

The student crew -- or as we've come to dub them, "the vultures" -- have worked up quite an appetite today. They perch over the food, eagerly anticipating the wondrous command that they can dig in -- and then immediately return to their perches, waiting to swoop in on seconds.

2000 hours

After sunset, the night quickly grows chilly. The crew retreats below decks to examine their data and start work on their final student presentations.


Hanging out and chatting with friends is on the agenda too, of course.

2200 hours

With a full moon blazing from behind the clouds, we call for lights out and anchor watch begins. Tomorrow brings the culmination of the students' work -- and their final full day on board.

It also brings an early start; to catch the tides, we'll be weighing anchor at dawn. Everyone is eager to get to sleep tonight.

Next: Student Presentations!

On October 2nd, 1609:

The second, faire weather. At breake of day wee weighed, the wind being at North-west, and got downe seven leaguesl then the floud was come strong, so we anchored. Then came one of the Savages that swamme away from us at our going up the River with many others, thinking to betray us. But wee perceived their intent, and suffered none of them to enter our ship, Whereupon two Canoes full of men, with their Bowes and Arrows shot at us after our sterne: in recompense whereof we discharged sixe Muskets, and killed two or three of them. Then aboue an hundred of them came to a point of Land to shoot at us. There I shot a Falcon at them, and killed two of them: whereupon the rest fled into the Woods. Yet they manned off another Canoe with nine or ten men, which came to meet us. So I shot at it also a Falcon and shot it through, and killed one of them. Then our men with their Muskets, killed three or foure more of them. So they went their way, within a while after, wee got downe two leagues beyond that place, and anchored in a Bay, cleere from all danger of them on the other side of the River, where we saw a very good piece of ground: and hard by it there was a Cliffe, that looked of the colour of white greene, as though it were either Copper, or Silver Myne: and I thinke it to be one of them, by the Trees that grow upon it. For they be all burned, and the other places are greene as grasse, it is on that side of the River that is called Manna-Hata. There we saw no people to trouble us: and rode quietly all night, but had much wind and raine.

-- Robert Juet's Journal.


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