2009 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery banner
Daily Log: Friday, July 3rd

0915 hours

Starting Position: Docked at the City Pier in New London, CT.
Latitude: 41˚ 21.2' N
Longitude: 072˚ 05.5' W

Day One of the 2009 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery.

As the second annual Half Moon/Goodwin College Fresh River Voyage of discovery begins, we find the ship docked at the City Pier in New London, CT, having arrived here on June 30th. Since then, our senior crew members for this journey have all reported to duty, and we've resupplied the ship. The Half Moon awaits in readiness.

Right on time, the van arrives from Goodwin College with our new crew of students from Two Rivers Magnet School and GHAMAS.

Mouse over to scrub down.
Captain Reynolds and the crew demonstrate how to thoroughly wash one's hands.

0930 hours

As soon as the students and their copious gear are all on board, Captain Reynolds delivers a standard safety briefing. A vital component of ship safety is the matter of personal hygiene; should a disease come onboard the ship (in the form of an ill crew sailor), it can easily flash through the entire crew. After all, we currently have 25 people living on board, with one head (bathroom) among them. Captain Reynolds leads everyone through a demonstration of how to properly wash their hands to eliminate the potential spread of disease.

1000 hours

After the captain's introductory briefing, we divide the students into three groups of four and rotate them around the ship, giving the students personal introductions to the senior crew and the various tasks and locations on the ship they'll need to know.

Dr. Jacobs starts out by giving Loren, Elaina, Alanna, and Tyron a preliminary introduction to the foc's'le, which on Voyages of Discovery serves as our science station, where all of the instruments they will use in their presentation work will be stored.

Meanwhile, on the weather deck, Ms. Laufer leads Alex, Jose, DeNiro, and Tajanae through harness training, their first step toward working the rig.

As of this morning, Ms. Laufer joins a select cadre of Voyage of Discovery alumnae (along with Juia Cosgrove, Carolyn Niehaus, Sarah Read, and Roxanne Wegman) who have returned to experience the other side of a Voyage of Discovery: as senior crew members.

1030 hours

We next catch up with Loren, Elaina, Alanna, and Tyron in the galley. On this, the bottom deck, Mr. Woodworth explains how to use the ship's head and what will be expected of them in several of their watch duties, including fire & bilge checks and assisting the cook in the galley.

1115 hours

The groups mix and mingle a bit as we continue to rotate. On the weather deck, Mr. Van Grondelle, the ship's bosun, shows Alanna, Tyron, Elaina, and Tajanae how to properly belay a line on the pinrail.

With Ms. Koenen supervising, Alanna and Elaina step to the port rail to practice line handling for themselves.

1130 hours

As the operational orientation winds down, we find Loren, Jose, Jon, and DeNiro in the helm hutch. Mr. Van Grondelle (lurking in the lower left corner) shows them how to steer the ship using the whipstaff.

1230 hours

The local media has arrived to see the ship off. Captain Reynolds invites them on board to look around and meet the students. Click here to watch their video report (external link), which includes a quick tour of the ship.

1245 hours

We are ready to depart. With the media and our shore supporters (Lisa Johnsen, Jennifer Reilly, and Ms. Reilly's daughter) safely back on shore, we ready to cast off our lines.

Ms. Reilly handles our lines on the pier. Within a few minutes, we are free and clear.

Mouse over to give fire!
The Half Moon fires a sternchaser salute at New London's City Pier.

As the Half Moon turns away from the dock on the current, we fire a sternchaser salute to New London, our associates, and our sponsors.

As we pull away from the pier, we haul in the ship's fenders, as Nadia and DeNiro are doing here, and store them below decks. Like the fenders on a car, these devices help protect the ship from bumping or scraping along a dock, but are rather unsightly and are best withdrawn while underway.

As the Half Moon turns away from the New London waterfront, the 2009 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery truly begins.

Ms. Laufer has devised a duty roster for the crew, and thus Starboard Watch member Alex finds himself first at the helm. Mr. Van Aken supervises for now, just until Alex gets the hang of steering the ship.

Mouse over to combat scurvy.
Lunch is served on deck, including a bowlful of orange slices.

1315 hours

The students from Two Rivers and GHAMAS are already starting to mingle. Nadia, Loren, Alanna, and Tajanae get to know each other over lunch.

1430 hours

By now, the Half Moon has traveled well out into Long Island Sound. Mr. Van Grondelle convenes the students to introduce them to the principles of sail handling.

After a few minutes of practice, the students have the main course set and drawing.

Meanwhile, Captain Reynolds and First Mate Hansen chart a course to tonight's destination in the lee of Fishers Island.

1445 hours

As the students (not to mention interested senior crew) gather around the capstan, Mr. Van Grondelle continues his sail training seminar, using a trusty whiteboard to diagram the dousing lines of each sail.

Alanna listens in on the lesson from a few feet away, stationed at her post inside the helm hutch.

1530 hours

Starboard Watch member Tyron stands lookout on the fore deck, while his fellows relax around him. The fore deck frequently becomes a favored student hangout on these voyages.

Ms. Crone joins the students on the fore deck, putting the finishing touches on her portrait of the Half Moon's upper decks.

1545 hours

Three decks down, Ms. Koenen and Ms. Giles work on organizing the galley. Ms. Giles, an experienced cook onboard the Half Moon, has joined us to kick off the voyage, but Ms. Koenen will assume her duties as of Day Three.

1600 hours

We're passing within a short distance of North and South Dumpling, a pair of small islands rather less ominously named than New York's Execution Rock.

The Dumplings lie just north of our destination for the day: the cove of West Harbor at Fishers Island.

Photo by Woody Woodworth.

1615 hours

As the afternoon winds on, Ms. Cowles dispatches all of the off-duty students (those not at helm or on lookout) to the shade of the orlop deck, the students' new home until our arrival in East Hartford.

Photo by Woody Woodworth.

While here, the students update their personal journals -- a daily practice.

Photo by Woody Woodworth.

Ms. Cowles also hangs out on the orlop during the journaling session, getting to know her students.

Photo by Woody Woodworth.

1630 hours

As we reach our anchorage off Fishers Island, Mr. Mangrum steps out onto the port fore channel to sound the depths. With a consistent reading of three and a half fathoms, Captain Reynolds gives the order to let fall the anchor.

Ending Position: Anchored at the mouth of West Harbor, Fishers Island, Long Island Sound.
Latitude: 41˚ 16.5' N
Longitude: 072˚ 00.1' W

With the anchor set, we've completed the voyage's first day of travel. The students gathered on the fore deck take a look around.

Photo by Woody Woodworth.

1645 hours

We still have hours of daylight left to us, so we continue the student crew's harness training.

Here, Ms. Giles gives Loren's safety harness a tug to make sure it isn't too loose.

Photo by Woody Woodworth.

1700 hours

Ms. Laufer looks on as Jose climbs into the rig for his hang test.

Photo by Woody Woodworth.

Ms. Giles may be watching the students climb the rig, but we know what she's thinking: She's dying to climb the rig herself!

1730 hours

Cooks Giles and Koenen share a trait in common: they absolutely love working aloft. Here they work together to furl the main course.

The students continue their rig training as the afternoon winds down. The scenic waterfront of Fishers Island nearly surrounds us, and we can already see private fireworks displays going off on shore.

Photo by Woody Woodworth.

1745 hours

Below decks, Nadia, Tajanae, and Alanna enjoy themselves in the galley as they help prepare dinner.

1900 hours

Cut to the next scene: dinner is served! For our first evening on board, Ms. Giles has prepared pork roast with asparagus, baked potatoes, and salad.

1945 hours

After dinner, Dr. Jacobs climbs the rig for her annual hang test. Not long after, as the sun sets, Ms. Koenen concedes to gravity and returns to the deck.

In the final rays of daylight, the student crew is summoned to the weather deck.

They come notebooks in hand, and for good reason: tonight they will conduct their first scientific readings of the voyage.

Captain Reynolds conducts an anchor watch briefing, then explains that we will chart the course of the Moon over the course of the night, recording its elevation and azimuth every half hour until moonset.

2015 hours

In addition, the anchor watch detail will record the ambient air temperature over the course of the night. Tomorrow we'll chart the crew's findings.

While discussing the nocturnal air temperature readings, a lively and unexpected debate arises: should the students record their readings in Fahrenheit or Celsius?

Captain Reynolds bridges the divide by declaring that whomever (sight unseen) happens to be assigned to lookout from 8-9 can choose.

This turns out to be Loren, who decides that she and her peers should record... both scales! So be it!

While Captain Reynolds and the students conclude their anchor watch briefing, the senior crew draws down the ship's flags for the night. On the Quarter deck, Mr. Hansen and Ms. Laufer fold the city flag of Amsterdam.

Meanwhile, the golden sun finally sinks beneath the horizon, bringing an end to the first day of the voyage.

2030 hours

Michael and Alanna take the first quadrant reading of the evening. As Alanna aligns the quadrant's sights to the Moon's lower limb (the bottom of the Moon's disc), Michael takes a reading. They next use a directional compass to determine the Moon's heading, and finally use a thermometer to measure the temperature. They complete their duties by switching places and taking a second set of readings.

2100 hours

The crew is still gathered on deck when the time for the next reading comes along. Captain Reynolds and Dr. Jacobs take over this time around.

Captain Reynolds' reading is nearly interrupted by a fireworks display from the shoreline just south of us. We believe this to have been a private show, but by any measure it's astounding -- the fireworks go on for nearly half an hour. By the time the fireworks reach the finale, it's nearly 2000 hours: lights out on board. Most of the crew heads down to their bunks while the first shift of Anchor Watch begins their hour on duty.

Next Time: Sailing, with Science!


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