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Daily Log: Sunday, July 5th

0700 hours

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

Day Three of the 2009 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery.

Down on the orlop deck, the student crew gradually emerges from their bedrolls to greet another day.

We will remain at anchor here in Niantic Bay until tomorrow morning. This layover will allow the students to focus on collecting data for their presentations. On that point, you can see many more photos from today by visiting the Learning Pages.

Photo by Woody Woodworth

0830 hours

After the crew have roused themselves and rummaged their gear, Captain Reynolds starts the day with a crew meeting.

Photo by Woody Woodworth

This will be a long day filled with hard work, so we want the students to fully understand what will be required of them. We're sure they'll rise to the challenge, however.

Photos by Woody Woodworth

And now a quick word from the captain:

Ahoy, birders! A pair of what we believe to be immature peregrin falcons interrupted our crew meeting and left us in awe of their flying panache. We watched them swoop around the ship, diving and soaring, and playing with each other. It was fully ten minutes before we turned our attention back to ship work. Check out the photos and let us know if you have a better idea of what these birds are. Click here to send us an e-mail and put BIRD in the subject line.

-- Captain Reynolds

Photo by Woody Woodworth

0900 hours

Once the crew has managed to return their attention to the ship, Captain Reynolds reveals the ship's new Task Matrix. Now, as students complete various tasks -- from standing lookout and cleaning the head, to learning knots or going on a Zodiac expedition -- they can record their accomplishments for all to see.

1030 hours

After the crew meeting concludes, the students turn their full attention to collecting data for their projects.

The fore deck has become the headquarters of Research Team #1, which consists of Elaina, Loren, and Michael. Along with their senior advisor, Dr. Jacobs, they spend the morning tracking the Sun, waiting for the moment it reaches its apex in the sky.

Even with all hands busy with scientific experiments, basic ship duties must continue. While his research peers Matt and Nadia collect data two decks above, DeNiro has reported to the galley to assist Ms. Koenen.

He spends the hour helping her prepare lunch, starting by cracking a few eggs.

The port main channel serves as the main headquarters for Research Team #3. Composed of Alanna, Jose, and Tyron, they are researching comparative temperatures under the guidance of their senior advisor, Ms. Cowles. They'll spend much of the day working with the Van Dorn sampler to collect water samples from the lower depths.

Research Team #2 has turned the main mast into their laboratory. After Mr. Van Grondelle helps them rig a block-and-tackle system from the mizzen stay, Akex, Jon, and Tajanae spend their next hours testing the mechanical advantage of various simple machines.

1045 hours

And here's the rest of DeNiro's team. Under the tutilage of Captain Reynolds, Research Team #4, make the port rail their home.

After marking the rail at a predetermined length, they'll spend the day tossing small chunks of stale bagels overboard, then timing to see how quickly it takes to float on the current the length of the weather deck.

Meanwhile, Tyron, Jose, and Alanna are still hard at work on the channel.

At the moment they're collecting a water sample to take a salinity reading for the Deck Log.

A few feet inboard, the mechanical advantage crew has their block-and-tackle machine up and running and has already started adding additional leads to test their effect.

1100 hours

Our resident artist, Ms. Crone, has gone into shore at Crescent Beach to paint portraits of the ship. She's... well, she's in there somewhere. We'll see her again later today.

1115 hours

Work continues as the morning winds down.

1130 hours

DeNiro is back on deck after completing his ship duties. Captain Reynolds helps him adjust his harness so he can return to the channel with his research peers.

Up on the fore deck, the celestial navigation team is reaching a critical point. At some point within the next hour, the Sun will likely reach its apex, the highest point it will reach in the sky. Its elevation and azimuth at that moment can be used to determine true noon, true south, and our even our latitude. The team starts taking readings with increasing frequency.

Back down at the main mast, the mechanical advantage team has constructed another simple machine to demonstrate the principles of their subject. This one is a simple lever and fulcrum; by placing weights farther on the lever from the fulcrum, they exert more force than weights of equal mass closer to the fulcrum.

1200 hours

We have a midday visitor! Local artist Jim Hiller has created a poster featuring Henry Hudson and the Half Moon for the New York Quadricentennial, and the captain's invited him out to discuss their plans for it.

While the captain chats with Mr. Hiller, our crew offers his family a tour of the ship.

Ah, to have the glamorous life of a Chief Engineer! While the students work on deck, Mr. Van Aken stays busy installing a new light fixture down in the galley.

1215 hours

Lunch is served! The crew takes a break from data collection to munch on chicken drumsticks, potato salad, and coleslaw.

After a little rest & relaxation, it's back to work for the crew.

1245 hours

The mechanical advantage team has completed their primary research, so they shift their focus to maintaining the Deck Log. Here, Ms. Cowles reviews a cloud formation reference chart with Tajanae.

1315 hours

The students have developed an interest in catching some crabs from right off the ship, and furthermore have cooked up an intriguing method of doing so -- literally! Tying their leftover chicken bones from lunch to long lengths of thread, they hang their bait from the channel, letting it sink to the bottom. As it turns out, it's a highly effective plan! One crab after another goes for the bait and is drawn to the surface. Unfortunately for our crew, however, the crabs all release their bait the moment they break the surface and sink back down to the bottom (roughly 20 feet below us), no worse for wear.

Mr. Woodworth's shoreline expeditions in the Zodiac have been more fruitful, however. Nadia pours salt water into a bucket to preserve some aquatic wildlife samples.

Meanwhile, down belowdecks, galley assistants Alex and Alanna are nearly done washing the dishes from lunch.

1330 hours

As the afternoon moves on, we encounter DeNiro on the channel, practicing using a lead line to take soundings for his team's presentation project. Determing the height of tide here in Niantic Bay is difficult, to say the least, since the Half Moon continually changes position as the wind and current pushes the ship around its anchor line. When we reach the Connecticut River, we'll have the opportunity to dock and provide more reliable results.

It isn't all about hard work today. Over the course of the day, Mr. Woodworth takes several groups of students out on Zodiac expeditions to explore the neighboring shorelines and wetlands.

This is a particularly crucial Zodiac expedition, since it will be exploring the Niantic shoreline right at low tide. With Mr. Woodworth in charge, it will provide a bonanza of aquatic specimens for the ship's aquarium.

While the student explorers are away, their research teammates cover continue to collect data for them -- an advantage of teamwork.

We also have entertaining opportunities for students on board the ship. Nadia is planning on going aloft, so she asks Tajanae to help adjust her safety harness.

Once Tajanae finishes helping Nadia, she returns to her presentation project, reviewing simple machine diagrams with Mr. Van Grondelle.

1345 hours

The afternoon continues with students hard at work collecting data, be it for their presentation projects...

...or for the Deck Log.

1530 hours

The capable Zodiac crew has come back with a copious cargo of Connecticut crustaceans.

1545 hours

Alanna and Nadia have climbed all the way to the main mast top, accompanied by Ms. Laufer.

We don't need any rig crews aloft right now; this climb is purely for fun. The trio soak in the view for a few minutes, chatting among themselves. Ms. Laufer quizzes Nadia and Alanna on the various lines and sails around them.

Down below, we can see another Zodiac expedition loading up to launch.

Mouse over for the big wave!
The crew waves from the weather deck.

Ahoy, weather deck! Wave hello to the home audience!

1700 hours

The final Zodiac expedition of the day returns to the ship.

We couldn't say why, exactly, but we have a sneaking suspicion they ran into some rough waters on their way back to the ship.

1815 hours

It's beef stew and salad for dinner. By now, most of our research teams have collected the majority of the data they'll need.

Photo by Woody Woodworth

1830 hours

After dinner, Ms. Laufer gathers the student crew on deck for a New Netherland history lesson

Photo by Woody Woodworth

You can learn more about Ms. Laufer's history exercises soon on the Learning Pages.

2100 hours

The sun sets, bringing an end to our first day of data collection. The Captain convenes the crew for another brief anchor watch meeting, then releases them to prepare for lights out at 2200 hours.

Photo by Woody Woodworth

2300 hours

As Jose and Ms. Laufer kick off tonight's Anchor Watch, they continue the crew's ongoing project of measuring the altitude and azimuth of the Moon.

Readings of the waxing gibbous moon will continue through the night.

Next Time: Bound for the Fresh River!

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