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Daily Log: Thursday, September 10th

0700 hours

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

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

We wake this morning to a fine view of the waters of lower New York Harbor and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, marking our gateway back into the upper harbor. The weather remains pleasant, but clouds are streaming through the skies above, all blown in from a south-easterly direction.

0830 hours

After breakfast. Captain Reynolds convenes a crew meeting to review our plans for the day. Although we do have additional visitors joining us this afternoon, our time on board is largely our own. Today, the students' orientation in shipcraft will begin in earnest.

Mouse over for another view.
Mr. Van Grondelle diagrams the dousing lines for the student crew.

0930 hours

After the meeting, Mr. Van Grondelle and Ms. Laufer split the students into two groups. Our bosun keeps Port watch on the weather deck, where he provides them with a detailed introduction to sail handling -- complete with rigging diagrams!

Meanwhile, Ms. Laufer works with Starboard Watch down on the orlop deck. This group is focused on line handling, but since the entire crew was introduced to the basics yesterday afternoon, Ms. Laufer takes the opportunity to teach the students various knots.

We've also used this morning to present each student with their own personal copy of the Replica Ship Half Moon Crew Rating Log. The knots Starboard Watch learns here will help accelerate them up the ranks.

After each watch has received enough training, the students switch positions, with Starboard Watch heading up to learn sail handling and Port Watch coming below decks to learn knots.

0945 hours

After these initial lessons are over, the students have time to update their journals and read through their Crew Rating Logs. José and Ellis battle the encroaching chill in the air as they update their journals on the weather deck.

1100 hours

Time for the students to take a deserved break. Captain Reynolds hauls his laptop down from the captain's cabin and gathers everyone around for mail call.

The students love hearing e-mail from home, the more relatives writing in the better. And when those relatives use excrutiatingly cute nicknames for the students, everyone else loves to hear from them too!

1115 hours

After mail call we starting preparing for our departure. Mr. De Leeuw joins the rig team, climbing aloft to help unfurl the main course.

The strong and steady northerly winds which make the prospect of today's sailing look so promising actually indicate that our weather is about to take a turn for the worse, but we'll save that for tomorrow. For now, simply know that a pair of pressure systems -- a high-pressure system to the northeast, and a low-pressure system to the southwest -- are moving in toward the coast.

1130 hours

But those concerns can wait. At the moment, the Half Moon is almost ready to move out!

Mr. Van Grondelle assigns everyone to a variety of positions as the crew prepares to weigh anchor for the first time.

Weighing anchor is one of the most complex tasks on the ship, requiring the involvement of nearly the entire crew, all working in three teams.

The fore deck team consists of Joram and Mr. Hensel, with Mr. Rodriques stationed on the foredeck channel. Joram is the currently stationed lookout, and so it is his responsibility to indicate which way the anchor rode (line) is trending, and whether it is slack or taut.

Mouse over to walk the upper capstan.
The crew walks the capstan.

Vincent, Ellis, Dennise, José, and our full supply of Mennos are assigned to the capstan team. They'll provide the manpower needed to haul in the anchor rode. Throughout the process, Ben is at his post at the helm.

Mouse over to tend the lower capstan.
Eric-Jan and Emily tend the rode as it passes around the lower capstan.

As the weather deck team spins the capstan above, Eric-Jan and Emily tend to it below, keeping the rode taut as it passes around the lower capstan's waist to prevent overrides (snags).

The rest of the belowdecks team is stationed farther foreward of the capstan. Pwint and Mr. Prime help pull the rode from the capstan back up to the faking team of Raynika and Eli. "Faking the rode" means to neatly fold the anchor line so it can be deployed again at a moment's notice. Ms. Laufer oversees their work while tending the bits; she is ready to make off the rode to the Sampson bars at any time as a backup safety measure.

1245 hours

With everyone working as a team, the anchor is soon back to the surface and secured on the starboard fore channel. As soon as we're off, Mr. McLaughlin and his galley help bring up a lunch of soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

1330 hours

After a quick jaunt across the upper harbor, we pass the Battery once more and reenter the mouth of the Hudson River.

1400 hours

The Half Moon has arrived at North Cove, a marina on Manhattan's West Side where our special guests are waiting to board.

Before we collect our guests, we raise the Frisian colors in their honor (and that of our Frisian crew members, of course).

Mr. Van Grondelle and Mr. Collens zip in to shore in the inflatable tender and soon arrive with our first pair of visitors.

Captain Reynolds welcomes them as soon as their feet are safely on deck. Our first two guests are Oeds Bijlsma, Registrar with the Frisian State Registry, and Georgette Jorritsma, wife of the Provincial Governor of Fryslân.

1445 hours

With a total of nine guests coming on board, the Zodiac makes several runs into North Cove to collect the remainder while the Half Moon holds position off the shore.

1430 hours

While the Zodiac shuttles more people on board, our growing collection of visitors eagerly chat with our Frisian students, asking them about the experiences on board so far.

1445 hours

When the full delegation is safely on board, Captain Reynolds once again welcomes them as a group and delivers a standard safety briefing.

1500 hours

Our guests will remain with us on board for the next two hours Click here for the full roster of our guests' names.

With all hands on board, we turn the ship back downriver, heading for our next destination: Governors Island.

Sadly, despite all the excitment, the dipping autumn temperatures appear to have inadvertently sent a few of our crew members into some form of premature hibernation. We'll check back in with Vincent come spring.

1600 hours

With the northeasterly wind now to our backs, we set sail.

Mouse over to ride the waves.
The Half Moon rolls over the waves off the East Side of Manhattan.

We roll across the waves even with just the fore course drawing. In fact, the winds are so strong today that today's leg of the Flying Dutchman sail race has been canceled.

A ship the size of the Half Moon can handle a bit more abuse than a two-man racing sailboat, however, so these remain fine sailing conditions for us.

1615 hours

We we depart from North Cove, we have a brief encounter with the Dutch traditional lemmeraak Groene Vecht (the Green River Vecht), built in 1999.

A Frisian flat-bottom boat with the Dutch Historical Fleet, the Groene Vecht's crew swoop their vessel in close to exchange pleasantries with our guests and crew before continuing on their way.

1630 hours

During their time on board, the Dutch delegation relaxes, enjoys themselves, and mingles with our crew.

Down in the galley, Mr. McLaughlan and Christophell Morel keep the hot coffee coming as they work on preparing dinner.

1645 hours

We are now approaching Governors Island and the end of our guests' brief voyage.

Located just southeast of the tip of Manhattan, and overlooking the Battery, Governors Island has a long history. The local Lenape called it Pagganck (Nut Island) for its rich nut-bearing forests, and the Dutch settlers essentially kept the name, dubbing it Noten Eylant: Nutten Island. After the English took control of New Netherland starting in 1664, they reserved use of the island for the colony's governors. Thus, Nut Island soon assumed its current name, well over a century before the change was made official.

1700 hours

Back in the present, Emily steers us toward the dock where the Dutch flat-bottom boats are gathering. Meanwhile our guests prepare for their departure.

As we shuttle the Frisian delegation back to shore in the inflatable tender, we have plenty of opportunity to observe the traditional vessels passing by.

This is the Staverse jol De Goede Hoop (The Good Hope). It isn't known when this vessel was first constructed, but it was restored at Brandsma in Rohel in 1976.

We'll post a more detailed look at the Historical Fleet following the conclusion of the Voyage of Discovery; check back at the end of September.

1745 hours

While waiting for the Zodiac, we're highly entertained by the appearance of the Notendop, an 8 ft.-long music boat built in 2007 specifically for the purpose of serenading other vessels. (The name Notendop is a play on words, incorporating both the Dutch word for musical notes and for tiny morsels of food.)

1745 hours

With the Frisian delegation safely back on shore, the Half Moon continues its parade around lower Manhattan. Past Governors Island, we continue up the East River, passing the South Street Seaport along the way.

Alongside playing host to our guests, the students have spent their day poring over their Crew Rating Logs. The students also enjoy comparing the English and Dutch texts, using them to learn a few new words and phrases.

1800 hours

As the Half Moon approaches the Brooklyn Bridge, we end our parade and turn back, once again heading toward the harbor.

As soon as we turn away from the wind, we can once again set sail.

1815 hours

Mr. McLaughlan serves dinner as we reach the mouth of the East River. We bear toward the eastern channel, passing between Governors Island and Brooklyn.

1830 hours

Not long afterward, we reach our final destination for the day at Bay Ridge Flats in upper New York Harbor. With Mr. Rodriques again stationed on the fore channel, we soon lower the anchor to the water line and send it to the bottom. With the anchor holding fast, the Half Moon comes to rest.

Ending Position: Anchored at Bay Ridge Flats.
Latitude: 40˚ 39.8' N
Longitude: 074˚ 01.6' W

1900 hours

As the sun sets over New York Harbor, we spot a number of boaters braving the continually building wind for an evening sail past the Statue of Liberty.

On the other hand, we are growing mildly concerned about the weather forecast. We've already felt a few drops of rain, so we stretch tarps over the main hatch to keep the orlop deck (and its occupants dry), just in case it starts to rain in earnest.

As it happens, we will have definitely made the right call.


2000 hours

The student crew spends their evening in their favorite hangout -- sitting on the (surprisingly comfortable) anchor rode, at the fore of the orlop deck.

2030 hours

Captain Reynolds ends our day by calling for another anchor watch briefing to acquaint the crew with their new surroundings.

After dinner, the teachers gather the students together back down on the orlop deck for a session of journal writing and discussion of the day's experiences.

2200 hours

As we settle into our bunks -- being more than gently rocked to sleep by the wind and rolling waves -- the Twin Towers memorial once again dominates the night sky, presenting an even more powerful image from this great distance.

Next Time: A Blustery Rode.

Robert Juet's Journal

Having remained at anchor in Raritan Bay since September 5th, the Halve Maen weighs anchor at noon and continues working its way around Staten Island. The Halve Maen has not yet reached the Hudson River; Juet's mention of "the River" likely refers to the Narrows, current site of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge -- our starting point this morning.

On September 10th, 1609:

The tenth, faire weather, wee rode still till twelue of the clocke. Then we weighed and went ouer, and found it shoald all the middle of the Riuer, for wee could finde but two fathoms and a halfe, and three fathomes for the space of a league; then wee came to three fathomes, and foure fathomes, and so to sueuen fathomes, and Anchored, and rode all night in soft Ozie ground. The banke is Sand.

-- Robert Juet's Journal.

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