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Daily Log: Wednesday, September 9th

0600 hours

Starting Position: Moored at Battery Park, New York City, NY.
Latitude: 40˚ 42.1'
Longitude: 074˚ 00.9'

Day One of the first leg of our 2009 Fall Voyage of Discovery.

Having arrived late yesterday, our new student crew rises bright and early this morning to greet their first full day on board -- and what a day it promises to be!

0645 hours

Captain Reynolds begins by convening the crew for a meeting. Later this morning, the Half Moon will play host to a royal visit by His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, heir apparent to the Dutch throne, and his wife, Her Royal Highness Maxima. We cannot begin to express the magnitude of this honor, and the first hours of the day will be dedicated to preparing ourselves for their arrival.

But first, some more immediate business. Now that the entire crew is present and accounted for, Mr. De Leeuw and his students present captain Reynolds with a Frisian flag to represent the Province of Friesland (Fryslân). Each of the red lily leaves traditionally represents one of the seven original countries of the Frisian people.

Naturally, we run the Frisian flag up the main mast immediately, flying it under the tricolor national flag of the Netherlands.

0700 hours

Henk Morel also steps up with a gift for the ship, courtesy of the Andries de Jong company in Amsterdam...

...a massive flag of the city, which we traditionally fly from the mizzen mast (on the Half Moon, this being the rearmost mast). This Amsterdam flag dwarfs the one we fly now! Captain Reynolds is touched, and opts to save the gift for special occasions.

0715 hours

After the flag ceremonies, Mr. McLaughlan brings up breakfast: a ham and egg cassarole that disappears quickly.

0845 hours

The crew is now taken care of; time to attend to the ship. Mr. Van Grondelle and Mr. Collens oversee a quick but thorough deck wash.

0930 hours

We spend the remaining hours preparing living exhibits of the Half Moon's history and educational programs. On Voyages of Discovery, we convert the foc's'le (short for forecastle, the raised structure at the bow of the ship) into a science station. (The students will be seeing much more of this in the days to come.) For now, we use the space to display the various materials and resources we have on hand.

The students will also play a major role during the royal visit. In fact, from our vantage point, they're the central focus of our entire presentation, as well they should be.

Mouse over to set the fore course.
The foredeck team practices setting the fore course.

One team of students will set the fore course when the royal couple arrive. This team, which includes Ben and Vincent on the fore deck and Ellis (seen in position above) and Joram tending the sheets from the weather deck, spend the remainder of their time receiving their first practice session in sail handling. Mr. Prime and Mr. De Leeuw assist, while Henk Morel -- an experienced sailmaker himself -- displays his skills by mending a canvas boot (a wrap which channels rainwater running down a mast away from the opening in the deck).

0945 hours

As the hour grows near, the media gathers at our gangway and the excitement truly begins to build.

Our second team of students, comprised of Dennise, Emily, Pwint, and Raynika, practices coiling lines under Mr. Van Grondelle's guidance.

After Ms. Oosterloo leads our third team of students through harness training, Eli, Eric-Jan, and José ascend the rigging.

1000 hours

With displays of our historical artifacts in place on the weather deck and orlop deck, everything is now in place. Captain Reynolds calls everyone together to ensure that every detail has been attended to, then sends everyone to their positions.

1030 hours

As the royal motorcade approaches, officers of the Royal Netherlands Navy form a special honor guard to line their path to the ship.

L-to-R: Dr. Andrew Hendricks, His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, Her Royal Highness Máxima, Captain William Reynolds. Photo credit: www.ny400.org

Finally the moment arrives. The guardians of the New Netherland Museum, Dr. Andrew Hendricks and Captain William Reynolds, proudly welcome Prince Willem-Alexander of Orange, Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, and Dutch Cabinet Minister Frans Timmermans on board the Half Moon.

We've borrowed the photo above while we seek clearance for our own images; we'll announce any updates to this log entry.


As they tour the weather deck and orlop deck, the Prince of Orange and Princess of the Netherlands prove particularly inquisitive about the Half Moon's educational programs and international outreach. They interview the students and are even kind enough to pose with them for a group portrait.


On his own initiative, His Royal Highness climbs up to the fore deck to speak with our sail handlers. As he tours the ship, the Crown Prince contrasts his own naval experiences against these demonstrations of life on board the VOC Halve Maen 400 years ago. In some ways, nautical life has vastly evolved over the centuries -- but in other aspects life at sea has barely changed at all!

1100 hours

It seems that the visit is over in a flash, but the royal couple's tour of the Half Moon is just the beginning of their busy itinerary. They soon move on to unveil the neighboring New Amsterdam Pavilion, a gift from the Netherlands to the City of New York.


1145 hours

The end of the tour isn't the end of the royal visit, however. After a meeting with Mayor Bloomberg and other officials, the royal couple return to use the Half Moon as a backdrop as they present the city of New York with a gift of 120,000 tulip bulbs.


Her Royal Highness Máxima also takes center stage to baptize a new species of orange tulip, the "Tulipa Henry Hudson," ceremonially dousing the bulbs with champagne before planting them in New York soil.

1200 hours

With the end of the tulip ceremony, the royal couple moved on to their other functions in the park pavilions. Our vantage point is limited to the ship, but you can click here for a broader view of the day's NY400 celebrations (external link).

Mouse over to spout off.
A drain grate spouts like a whale's blowhole while the Half Moon rocks on the heavy surf.

1215 hours

The Half Moon will remain moored at the Battery for a few more hours, with a few of our crew members stationed on shore to field questions from interested visitors. However, the crew's primary focus now turns to our departure. Of course, the turbulent currents here make it seem as if we're already at sea. In fact, the wave action is turning the nearby drains into blowholes!

Before we go anywhere, however, we need to bid farewell to Janine Oosterloo. Her plane leaves in a few hours, and so after her week on board she can no longer delay her departure. From here she returns to the Netherlands, where'll she'll continue to act as the ship's local emissary.

1230 hours

After such an exciting and eventful day, it's only natural for the crew to call it a night and hit the sack...

...regardless of their rank. Goodnight, all!

1300 hours

Hold on a moment -- you mean it's only lunchtime? And we still have a full afternoon ahead of us?

Back to work, everybody! But first, the crew replenishes their reserves with a quick lunch.

1345 hours

The next hour is spent packing up the ship's historical exhibits, wrapping up with a second deck wash for good measure.

1400 hours

As we wrap up our activities at the Battery, Captain Reynolds invites all of our crew members to give themselves a well-deserved pat on the back.

1415 hours

With the Half Moon now ship-shape, we shift our focus back to the crew members themselves. This morning, each group of students had time to focus on just one aspect of shipcraft: line handling, sail handling, or working the rig. Now we have the time to expand that training to everyone else. Mr. Van Grondelle starts by leading the students who still harness training through the proper safety procedures for climbing aloft.

1530 hours

Work continues throughout the ship as the afternoon continues. Down in the galley, Raynika and Dennise help Mr. McLaughlan to prepare dinner.

Mouse over to brief the crew on our departure plans.
Captain Reynolds briefs the crew on his plans for departing from Battery Park.

1645 hours

With our responsibilities in Battery Park concluded, the ship's departure is now imminent. With photographer Mario Tama joining us for the day's sail, Captain Reynolds calls for a crew meeting and lays out his plans to leave the dock under sail.

It's been a decade since their first Voyages of Discovery, and Mr. Collens and Ms. Laufer are eager to hit the water and set some sail.

1700 hours

On the fore deck, Mr. Prime's foremast team sets the fore course (purposefully bracing and backwinding it to push the ship's bow away from the seawall).

Meanwhile, Ms. Laufer is instructing the main mast team. First, she shows Eli the lines used to set the main course: the clews, bunts, and martnets.

Mr. Woodworth must return to life on shore, so he remains behind to cast off our docklines as we depart. He isn't quite done with the voyage yet; while we sail across the harbor, he'll be transporting our historical artifacts from Staten Island back to Albany, where they'll next see use on September 26th.

Ms. Laufer has now stepped over to the starboard rail to offer the same sail handling instructions to Eli's counterpart, Raynika.

With all hands working in cooperation, Captain Reynolds allows the strength of wind power alone to push the Half Moon away from the pier.

At the last minute, the wind turns flukey (unpredictably changing in strength and/or direction), so we resort to a quick bump from the ship's engine to see us away.

1715 hours

We look back as we depart from the Half Moon's first visit to the Battery, the towers of lower Manhattan still looming above us.

With the Manhattan shoreline receding behind us, we adjust the sails and set a southerly course for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (and beyond).

1730 hours

The crew bustles along the weather deck as the Half Moon slices across New York Harbor.

Photo op! Both our Frisian and American students excitedly cluster along the starboard rail to take in the sight of the Statue of Liberty. This is the first time anyone in our young crew has seen the famed landmark, but they'll have plenty of chances to see it again in the coming days.

1745 hours

Mr. Rodriques and Ms. Laufer are dispatched to the beak to set the spritsail and thus capture more wind.

1800 hours

Back on the weather deck, the senior crew has set out a modern navigational chart for the students to examine. Once they learn how to read the chart, they'll be able to track the ship's progress themselves.

1800 hours

The Half Moon is now approaching the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Staten Island with Brookyln. The Narrows mark the end of the sheltered upper bay of New York Harbor. Raritan Bay lies to the south, with the open Atlantic awaits beyond that.

1830 hours

As we approach the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, a massive freighter passes our starboard rail. Each block visible on its deck is a shipping container the size of a train car.

With that in mind, I don't think we need to worry about clearing the bridge!

Mr. Van Grondelle oversees another group of students getting their first chance to practice sail handling. We douse the sails as we approach our destination for the day in Raritan Bay.

1900 hours

As we reach the anchorage, Captain Reynolds calls for a sounding. Mr. Van Grondelle leads Mr. Collens and Mr. Hensel out onto the fore channel to refresh them on how to use a lead line to measure the water's depth.

Mouse over to let fall the anchor!
Ms. Laufer is at the ready as the anchor rode quickly pays out.

1915 hours

The captain is satisfied with the sounding team's readings of three fathoms depth, so he gives the command to let fall the anchor. Down on the orlop deck, Ms. Laufer waits to secure the anchor rode at a length of 150 feet.

As soon as the anchor is set, Mr. McLaughlin serves a dinner of chicken and biscuits on the weather deck. Meanwhile, we've realized that our guest Mario Tama is still on board, so the captain races the setting sun to zip him ashore in the ship's inflatable tender.

2100 hours

Ending Position: Anchored at Gravesend Bay, NY.
Latitude: 40˚ 35.9'
Longitude: 074˚ 00.9'

The students' first full day on board is now winding down into a pleasantly calm evening. With Captain Reynolds back on board and catching up on dinner down below, Mr. Van Grondelle leads the students through their first anchor watch briefing. That done, the students have another hour to settle into their bunks and relax before lights out.

Almost forgot! It's Ship's Chronicler Mangrum's birthday today, so he is duty-bound to appear on camera at least once. (Senior crew members have family following along at home too.) See you again next year!

Next Time: The Frisian Delegation.

Robert Juet's Journal

The Halve Maen remains anchored at Raritan Bay. Operating under the belief that any Lenape who come out to the ship may be from the same hostile group that has just killed John Coleman, they rebuff any overt attempts to trade, suspecting treachery. They attempt to take three Lenape men hostage, but one of them leaps overboard.

The remaining two captives will remain on board for nearly a week. This kidnapping will eventually lead to a significant battle on October 2nd, 1609, as the Halve Maen returns downriver and past everyone they've already encountered, for good or ill.

On September 9th, 1609:

The ninth, faire weather. In the morning, two great Canoes came aboord full of men; the one with their Bowes and Arrowes, and the other in shew of buying of kniues to betray vs; but we perceiued their intent. Wee tooke two of them to haue kept them, and put red Coates on them, and would not suffer the other to come neere vs. So they went on Land, and two other came aboord in a Canoe: we tooke the one and let the other goe; but he which wee had taken, got vp and leapt ouer-boord. Then we weighed and went off into the chanell of the Riuer, and Anchored there all night.

-- Robert Juet's Journal.

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