2009 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery banner
Daily Log: Saturday, July 4th

0700 hours

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

Day Two of the 2009 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery.

Our new crew rises to greet the first full day of their journey on board the Half Moon.

0900 hours

While most students wrap up breakfast or rummage their gear on the orlop deck below, Alanna reviews the duty roster with Ms. Laufer by the main mast. We'll adjust the watch board shifts each day maintain some variety in the crew's routine.

1015 hours

It's time to move on. Mr. Van Grondelle gathers the crew at the capstan and teaches them how to properly use this massive winch.

1030 hours

After all hands are assigned to their positions, the crew is ready to weigh anchor for the first time. Weighing anchor requires us to divide the crew into three teams. First comes the capstan team, of course, who will combine their strength to haul the anchor rode back into the ship.

The foredeck crew monitors the lay of the anchor rode, and once the anchor breaks the surface, they'll take over from the capstan team to tackle the heavy lifting, so to speak.

Ms. Crone is stationed as communicator to the below decks team, who monitor the anchor rode as it runs into the ship and around the lower capstan. We'll visit them when next we weigh anchor on Day Four.

1045 hours

The capstan team has done their work, hauling the anchor back to the surface. Now it's the fore deck's turn. Ms. Laufer begins by hooking the anchor to a block-and-tackle line leading down from the fore mast.

Mouse over to sweat the anchor.
Nadia stands lookout as Mr. Van Grondelle and Jose sweat the anchor tackle.

Directly above her, Mr. Van Grondelle sweats the tackle while Jose tails. In other words, Mr. Van Grondelle uses his full body weight and the pulley system to lift the anchor, while Jose maintains control over the line, preventing any slack from running back out.

Nadia observes as she stands lookout.

Mouse over to sweat
and tail the anchor.
Mr. Van Grondelle sweats the anchor tackle while Ms. Koenen tails.

1100 hours

Ms. Kroenen steps onto the fore deck to help Mr. Grondelle with a few last heaves on the line as they shift the dangling anchor to the fore channel and secure it.

The moment the anchor is secure, we set all courses and topsails. This is a glorious day for sailing, and we are soon rushing northeast on our way out of West Harbor.

1130 hours

Out on the beak, Ms. Laufer and Ms. Koenen focus on setting the spritsail, which aids in fine maneuvering.

They're both new to handling this sail, and the gusting wind doesn't make the wrestling match any easier, but they gradually heave the yard into place.

With a bit of advice from Mr. Cardoza, the spritsail is soon set and drawing.

1145 hours

We need to brace the sails as we change our heading. On the fore deck, Mr. Van Grondelle shows Jon how the braces affect the yards as they adjust the fore course.

With all sails properly set, we heel to port and slice through the waters of Long Island Sound on an easterly course. Unfortunately, as exciting as this day of sail is, the prevailing winds are actually carrying us farther away from our intended destination of Niantic Bay, which lies west by northwest.

1215 hours

This will have to be enough sailing for now; to reach Niantic Bay, we douse the sails and turn back under motor. Working on the main mast crew, Alanna and Tajanae coil lines to clear the deck.

1230 hours

We catch Ms. Cowles at the helm, standing in for a student who is momentarily needed elsewhere. Steering the ship becomes quite the challenge on open waters; as it tries to swing back and forth under the pressure of passing waves and currents, the whipstaff truly earns its name. It can become quite a workout by the end of the hour!

1300 hours

Ms. Giles serves lunch on the weather deck. Today we're having sausages with peppers and onions, green bean salad, and broccoli.

1400 hours

After lunch, we begin the project orientation phase of the Voyage of Discovery. Dr. Jacobs spends the rest of the afternoon introducing students to the instruments they'll be using for their projects and to fill in the Deck Log.

Here, she shows Jon and Elaina how to use an anemometer to measure wind speed.

1445 hours

The foredeck is once again serving as Ms. Crone's art studio. Today her subject of choice is the red lions adorning the ship's bulwarks.

Meanwhile, Matt stands lookout as we weave through occasional clusters of lobster pots.

The Sound is quite active today, with a steady stream of recreational vessels swooping past for a closer look at our ship.

1500 hours

Orientation continues at the main mast. Jose uses a refractometer to measure the salinity of a water sample while his peers look on.

Moments later, Alanna, Michael (and Matt, who happens to be perfectly concealed between the two here) are introduced to the Van Dorn sampler, which is used to capture water samples at various depths beneath the surface.
Mouse over to brave the waves!
The Half Moon lunges through the crashing surf.

We're making excellent time as we cleave through the waves.

From the way the students gathered on the fore deck happily holler and squeal as we surge over each breaker, you might think they were riding on a roller coaster.

Mouse over for a closer look.
Captain Reynolds and several students pore over a chart of the Sound.

Meanwhile, Captain Reynolds has gathered another collection of students back by the capstan.

Together, he, Michael, Matt, Alanna, and Elaina study a navigational chart to get their bearings on the Sound.

We can find the rest of the student crew by looking back up. Since we're done with sailing for the day, Ms. Laufer and Ms. Koenen have taken DeNiro and Loren aloft to help furl the sails.

1515 hours

Their task complete, the rig team returns to the deck as we continue on our way.

1700 hours

We've discovered that we accidentally marooned our Task Matrix back in Athens, NY. The Task Matrix is a tally board the students use to record their accomplishments during the voyage.

To correct this oversight, Mr. Woodworth starts with a scrap sheet of plywood and starts crafting a fine replacement. We'll check in on his progress again tomorrow.

As the afternoon winds on, some of our off-duty crew members return to their bedrolls on the orlop deck to catch much-needed naps. Admittedly, Jon does look a bit like he's still on duty even when he's asleep.

1715 hours

Tajanae has joined Alanna at lookout as we close in on Niantic Bay, the day's destination.

1745 hours

On the fore channel, Ms. Laufer preps the anchor for deployment, guiding it down to the waterline to ensure it doesn't snag on the spritsail yard or any other obstructions.

In a few moments, the fore deck team has the anchor ready at the waterline. To deploy the anchor, Ms. Laufer will yank out the fid: the wooden "carrot" which secures the lashing holding the anchor to the tackle hook.

As the fore deck crew waits in anticipation, Captain Reynolds carefully positions the ship.

Mouse over to pull the fid!
Ms. Laufer releases the anchor.

1800 hours

"Let fall the anchor!" With that command, the anchor plunges into the briny waters, its chain noisily rumbling out the hawsehole behind it. On the orlop deck, Mr. Cardoza secures the rode at a set length, and the ship is secure.

Ending Position: Anchored at Niantic Bay, Long Island Sound.
Latitude: 41˚ 18.8' N
Longitude: 072˚ 11.3' W

We are now anchored at Niantic Bay, located just around the bend from New London, this voyage's point of origin. This is a significant anchorage; we'll remain here for the next two nights, providing the students with a layover so they can focus on collecting data for their presentations.

1830 hours

With the Half Moon resting at anchor, orientation continues. Ms. Laufer chats with Michael and Matt as they step out onto the channel to practice using the lead line and Van Dorn sampler.

From the west to the northeast, we are surrounded by the pleasant shorelines of Connecticut. To the south, however, it's almost as if we're looking out over the open ocean.

1845 hours

Michael, Tyron, and Matt wrap up their orientation practice for the day as the afternoon winds down.

1930 hours

We have to say farewell to two crew members tonight; Niantic is the final destination for Mr. Cardoza and Ms. Giles, who have other pressing engagements. With dinner in the oven and Ms. Koenen ready to assume command of the galley, they opt to leave tonight rather than in the morning. Thanks for their help in kicking off the voyage!

2000 hours

The Half Moon draws eyes as the sun sets over Niantic Bay. We love the attention from other boaters -- except for the "Arrghers," we must admit. The Half Moon is not a pirate ship!

When Mr. Van Grondelle returns from dropping off our departing crew, he finds dinner ready and waiting for him. Tonight's meal consist of chicken, rice, and corn and black bean salad.

2015 hours

As evening settles in, the students retreat below decks to update their journals. Meanwhile, Captain Reynolds summons the senior crew to a meeting on the Quarter deck to plan the upcoming data collection layover.

2045 hours

The Quarter deck is not precisely the most spacious locale on board, so Mr. Mangrum, Ms. Koenen, and Ms. Laufer clamber up to the poop deck for box seats.

During the crew meeting, we can see several 4th of July fireworks displays going off in the surrounding towns of Niantic, Crescent Beach, Attawan Beach, and Black Point. Ironically, unlike last night, they're all too distant for photos. Sorry!

2230 hours

2000 hours brings lights out and quiet time for the students on the orlop deck. In the galley, the senior crew remains active a bit longer, preparing cocoa and sandwiches for the anchor watch and organizing their roles in the layover.

Over the course of a calm, cool night, the students continue their project of tracking the moon. Otherwise, all is quiet.

Next Time: Data Collection Begins!

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