2009 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery banner
Daily Log: Monday, July 6th

0630 hours

Starting Position: Anchored at Niantic Bay, Long Island Sound.
Latitude: 41˚ 18.8' N
Longitude: 07 2˚ 11.3' W

Day Four of the 2009 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery.

Our layover at Niantic Bay is at an end. The crew rises early to rummage their gear and prepare for departure.

0800 hours

On the orlop deck, Captain Reynolds tends the anchor rode at the bits -- a fallback safety precaution, while Loren and Tajanae fake (neatly fold) the line.

As we prepare to weigh anchor, DeNiro and Jon run the anchor rode around the lower capstan. During the actual weighing procedure, they'll work together to monitor the rode as it winds around the capstan, preventing overrides and other snarls.

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

0815 hours

Up on the capstan! It's a heavy load this morning; the anchor must have a firm grip. We lay additional hands onto the capstan bars, and with some dedicated teamwork ("Two, six, heave! Two, six, heave!") they haul the anchor up to the waterline, where the fore deck team can take over and secure it.

0830 hours

Once the anchor is secure on the fore channel, Mr. Woodworth "breaks" (detaches) the anchor chain.

With the anchor rode free, Jon can run the last of it back up to the the bow to be faked and reattached to the chain. We always need the anchor to be ready for deployment at a moment's notice, just in case.

With the orlop team wrapping up matters belowdecks and Ms. Laufer returning from the fore channel, it's time to bid farewell to Niantic Bay.

With Jon at the helm, Mr. Van Grondelle sets a westerly course toward the mouth of the Connecticut River.

0945 hours

Nothing beats the hot sun like a good deck wash. Not only does it cool off our crew, a deck wash out here in Long Island Sound is particularly beneficial for the Half Moon -- soaking the planks in salt water helps preserve the wood.

1015 hours

After our intensive data collection layover in Niantic Bay (which also came a day early in the voyage, compared to our usual schedule), we let the students kick back and relax a bit today. That said, the Deck Log still needs to be maintained.

As we go, we set the sails for what we suspect will be our final day of sailing on this voyage. Once we enter the Connecticut River, its narrow confines will offer only limited chances to set sail.

1030 hours

Port Watch is again on duty this morning. While we encounter Jose washing dishes in the galley...

...Loren has squeezed into the helm hutch to take control of the whipstaff.

1100 hours

As DeNiro steps in for his hour at helm, the students finally get around to updating the new Task Matrix. One nice side effect of putting it off this long is that the students immediately discover just how much they've already accomplished -- and with half the voyage still to come!

1115 hours

After we douse the sails, Elaina, Matt, and Alanna coil lines to clear the deck. We are still a few hours out from the Connecticut River.

1215 hours

Our hungry crew digs into lunch. Today Ms. Koenen provides us with chicken salad, plus cucumbers, peas, and carrots with dip.

After lunch, Ms. Laufer and Mr. Van Grondelle climb aloft to lower the flagstaffs atop the fore and main masts. Why? Funny you should ask...

1445 hours

The mouth of the Connectict River is marked by shallow shoals, which have historically discouraged commercial traffic on the river. On the one hand, this means that the river's ecology has remained relatively undisturbed. On the other hand, it means that the Half Moon faces obstacles we seldom encounter back home on the Hudson River. At the mouth of the Connecticut River, near Old Lyme, the I-95 Bridge crosses over the river. Clearing this bridge is a tricky business -- not only do we have to lower our flagstaffs, we also have to make sure that we pass under the bridge at low tide, when we have the maximum head room.

We successfully pass under the bridge with, as always, just a few feet to spare.

Past the I-95, the rolling countryside to either shore welcomes us to the Connecticut River. So much water washes through this river that even here, just beyond its mouth, the water has already turned fresh.

Photo by Kipp Van Aken

Our crew is certainly glad for the change in scenery...

Photo by Kipp Van Aken

...and they seem to be in a rather relaxed mood.

1500 hours

The crew settles in to enjoy themselves as we continue upriver.

1530 hours

The afternoon has grown rather hot and muggy as we've traveled upriver -- the first sign that a summer storm may be on its way. There's only one thing to do:

...break out the popsicles!

Regular readers of these logs will also know that where goes ice cream, Ms. Laufer's Cheshire grin is sure to follow.

No cause for alarm, DeNiro! These are squeeze pops, so if any melt we can just toss them back in the freezer for another day.

Photo by Rachel Laufer

1545 hours

Our captain and bosun scan the horizon. I wonder if they can see each other?

1600 hours

Dire news! By our estimates, if we hold to our current rationing, we have only enough of a food supply in the larder to prepare... one cake or batch of brownies per day for the rest of the trip. We'll try to practice dessert restraint, for the good of all.

Meanwhile, the students continue to relax in the shade of the orlop deck, still blissfully unaware that we may have to make do with just one cake a day.

Mouse over to see Ms. Koenen's cards.
#, #, and Ms. Koenan play cards.

In the shadow of the main mast, Ms. Koenen takes a break from the galley to sit down with Nadia and Loren and play a Dutch version of Old Maid.

Mouse over for a closer look.
Gillette Castle.

1645 hours

We blow a horn salute to the crowd looking down at us from Gillette Castle State Park.

The castle was built by the actor William Gillette, a 19th century playwright and actor who found immense success on stage with his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.

Sighting the famed actor's home means that our destination for the day -- East Haddam -- is just around the bend.

Mouse over to launch torpedos!
Er -- rather, launch the tender!
The Zodiac zips upriver, ahead of the ship.

1700 hours

Captain Reynolds dispatches Mr. Hansen and Mr. Woodworth in the Zodiac to scout ahead and sound our approach to the docks at Eagle Landing.

Meanwhile, Mr. Van Grondelle and Ms. Laufer use a monkey's fist to run out our dock lines.

Jon takes over as lookout as we enter our final approach.

For the off-duty Port Watch, life is a little more casual. DeNiro, Jose, Nadia, Loren, and Alanna hang out in the galley, staying cool.

We opt to set the top sails as we round the final bend to East Haddam. Captain Reynolds offers visual commands to the mast teams as they work.

The entire crew scurries to set the tops.

1715 hours

From above, we can see that the briny green waters of Long Island Sound have been replaced by the silty, fresh waters of the river as we make our final approach.

1730 hours

Our destination comes into view. The Half Moon will dock tonight here at Eagle Landing Park, in East Haddam.

Just across the river lies Haddam and the Goodspeed Opera House, which has treated our crews very generously during our previous stops here. Unfortunately, the theater is currently "dark" while between productions, so there'll be no visits this time around.

1745 hours

Ending Position: Docked at Eagle Landing in East Haddam, CT.
Latitude: 41˚ 26.6' N
Longitude: 072˚ 27.5' W

With Mr. Hansen and Mr. Woodworth waiting on the dock to handle our lines, the Half Moon is soon securely moored.

1830 hours

Tonight's dinner is ziti with meatballs, served with salad.

1900 hours

After dinner, Mr. Woodworth reveals the marble cake he baked this afternoon. It disappears just as quickly as dinner.

If you've noticed an unfamiliar face in the photo to the right, that's because we've received visitors this evening! Nick and Nora Reynolds, alums of the inaugural Fresh River Voyage of Discovery last summer (and who just sailed out to New London with us) have popped in to say hello.

After dinner is over and our guests have left, Captain Reynolds convenes a quick crew meeting to discuss the day's events and our immediate plans.

1930 hours

After the meeting, the crew is released for a much-appreciated swim call.

Mouse over to dry off DeNiro.
DeNiro shakes himself dry.

1945 hours

As the students filter back on board, we discover that everyone has their own way of drying out their clothes.

2000 hours

After swim call, Captain Reynolds gathers the crew on deck for our nightly anchor watch briefing. He also points out the depth marker Mr. Woodworth has crafted and fastened to the dock; the students will be using it tonight to track the height of tide from until our departure.

2115 hours

As the crew settles down for the evening, students and senior crew mingle in the galley. Here we catch Ms. Crone painting Nadia's portrait.

2200 hours

As a ruddy full moon rises over Haddam, anchor watch begins. Originally, we were only going to measure current patterns and height of tide tonight, but at Loren's request we'll continue tracking the Moon as well. Tonight the skies will be clear, but we've already heard rumbling forecasts about what we can expect tomorrow.

Next Time: It was a Dark and Stormy Jaght...

Voyage Homepage Daily Log Our Crew Learning Half Moon