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Daily Log: Friday, September 11th

0700 hours

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

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

Over the course of the night, the weather as grown steadily stormier. The two fronts locally churning the waves yesterday have stalled at the coastline; to the northeast, a high pressure system is turning in a clockwise direction, while to our southwest, a low-pressure system is spinning counter-clockwise. The end result is that these two systems are now creating a funnel effect, drawing in southeasterly winds from far out in the Atlantic Ocean and driving them relentlessly through the narrow gap between them -- a narrow gap that just happens to be located right at the mouth of the Hudson River itself!

0815 hours

The blustery weather reinforces the existing somber mood as the Half Moon remains at anchor today. We honor New Netherland and Half Moon history on this voyage, and today marks a dark chapter in the story of New York. The attention of NY400 Week turns away from the water today to focus on memorial ceremonies.

Our quiet layover here at Bay Ridge Flats serves as the Half Moon's own form of memorial. On September 11, 2001, the ship was anchored at this very spot during a Voyage of Discovery when the World Trade Center fell. You can read the statement Captain Reynolds made at the time here.

That said, life must also go on, and for our crew, that starts with a warm breakfast to dispel the chill.

0900 hours

On days like this, the crew is generally disinclined to spend much time above decks, as you might well expect.

The action moves below decks instead, with the students spending much of their free time in their regular hangout on the anchor rode. The Dutch and American students teach each other card games and generally take these opportunities to better get to know each other.

There is still work to be done, however. Ellis moves up to the great cabin to update her blog for the benefit of her fellow students back at the Bornego School in Fryslân. Should we dub her the Student Ship's Chronicler?

0930 hours

During a break in the rain, Captain Reynolds collects the crew on deck for a look back at the Half Moon's history, including a reading from Juet's journal.

Photo by Rachel Laufer

1000 hours

As the history session continues, Captain Reynolds has the students examine our copy of one of the first existing charts of the Hudson River, created in the 1630s, within a decade of the establishment of the first Dutch colonies in New Netherland. You can get a better look at this chart on the history page.

1100 hours

When the rain picks up again, the crew retreats to the relative comfort of the orlop, where the discussion continues.

Without any guests, parades of sail, or other major activities happening today, the students spend their time focusing on the Crew Rating Log.

As we pick up the scene here, Pwint is intent on working her way through the topics she'll need to master to achieve the rank of Ordinary Sailor. She checks the Duty Roster to doublecheck the answer to the first challenge, which is to name all the members of her watch -- Port Watch, in her case.

Mr. Prime and several other members of the senior crew are also on hand to help students work their way toward the correct answers for their questions.

The Crew Rating Log discussion will continue in one form or another here throughout most of the day, with individual students filtering in and out as their duties pull them elsewhere.

Mouse over to help Emily ham it up.
Emily cooks ham in the galley.

1115 hours

Speaking of students on duty, Emily is hard at work down in the galley as we speak, cooking ham to go with lunch.

As you can see, the senior crew is hard at work down here, too.

1130 hours

The Crew Rating discussion is still going strong on the orlop deck. Meanwhile, however, Vincent is just now becoming the first crew member to actually approach the captain and officially earn the rank of Ordinary Sailor, which equates to Lichtmatroos in the Dutch VOC.

Vincent will hold his position as the only ranked Lichtmatroos on board for the rest of the day, but not for lack of study by the rest of the crew!

1230 hours

As morning turns to afternoon, the weather remains rough and visibility low.

1330 hours

A hot lunch is served on the orlop deck, resulting in a blur of activity. In this case, literally!

1515 hours

Senior crew member Ralf Hensel has come to the end of his time on board. He's been with us since August, but now sunnier shores beckon from afar. During a break in the rain, the senior crew start loading the inflatable tender with his gear.

The morning's Crew Rating Log discussion is still rolling along on the orlop. The students have realized that some of the introductory questions actually have some fairly complex answers. "In what year did the original Half Moon sail?" may be fairly obvious, but knowing "What route did the original Half Moon take?" will require some reading.


1530 hours

Mr. Hensel is ready to go. He offers his fond farewells and climbs into the Zodiac, where Mr. Van Grondelle and Mr. Collens await to transport him to shore.

1545 hours

Dr. Jacobs calls for a crew meeting on the orlop deck to introduce the students to the Deck Log, the permanent record of environmental data we maintain from one voyage to the next.

Today's briefing is just a primer, with all of the attending faculty offering their own words of advice. First thing tomorrow, the students will start taking readings on a regular schedule.

1730 hours

Ellis and Eric-Jan are intent on climbing the ranks, so under Mr. De Leeuw's watchful eye they brave the weather to practice their line handling skills.

1745 hours

Meanwhile, Joram spends his last hour on duty today helping Mr. McLaughlan prepare a pasta dinner.

1830 hours

And speaking of dinner, there it goes! No sooner are the pasta and salad served on the orlop deck than they disappear into our crew.

2030 hours

After a session of journal writing and discussion down below, the crew meets on the weather deck for tonight's anchor watch briefing. Since we're still in the same location, the students are familiar with their surroundings, so we dispense with the necessary business fairly quickly. By the glow of a flashlight, Ms. Laufer reads off the anchor watch schedule.

2100 hours

During the anchor watch briefing, Captain Reynolds mentions that Vincent is still the only ranking member of the student crew. Well, this opens the floodgates, and by the end of the night we've added three more Ordinary Sailors to the roster: Ellis, Joram, and José. Keep checking the Student Crew page each day to see the most recent standings.

After signing off on the students' Crew Rating Logs, Captain Reynolds calls it a night -- as do we all.

2130 hours

As the crew settles in to sleep this evening, the stormy weather produces a remarkable view of the final night of this year's World Trade Center memorial. The memorial's beams pierce the storm clouds and powerfully illuminate them from within, casting skyscrapers of the Financial District in a silvery-blue sheen. Each crew member has their own, personal reaction to the dramatic sight.

The weather forecast promises a brighter outlook for tomorrow's activities. While the rain still needs time to taper off, the easterly Atlantic winds will have finally blown themselves out by the time the sun rises.

Next Time: NY400 Week Continues!

Robert Juet's Journal

The Halve Maen enters what is today known as upper New York Harbor, and the crew instantly recognizes its value as a port. Local Lenape row out to the ship to present gifts to their European visitors. Captain Hudson and his crew accept these gifts, yet remain wary of another potential attack.

On September 11th, 1609:

The eleuenth, was faire and very hot weather. At one of the clocke in the after-noone, wee weighed and went into the Riuer, the wind at South South-west, little winde. Our soundings were seuen, sixe, fiue, sixe, seuen, eight, nine, ten, twelue, thirteene, and fourteene fathomes. Then it shoald againe, and came to fiue fathomes. Then wee Anchored, and saw that it was a very good Harbour for all windes, and rode all night. The people of the Countrey came aboord of vs, making shew of loue, and gaue vs Tobacco and Indian Wheat and departed for that night; but we durst not trust them.

-- Robert Juet's Journal.

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