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Daily Log: Tuesday, July 7th

0700 hours

Current Position: Docked at Eagle Landing in East Haddam, CT.
Latitude: 41˚ 26.9' N
Longitude: 072˚ 27.9' W

Day Five of the 2009 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery.

While voyages are underway, the Daily Log mentions that our our exact schedule may vary, depending on the weather, and today is just such a day. Our initial plan had been to continue upriver today, but weather reports warn of a massive storm front working its way through the area. In the interests of safety, we quickly decide to remain docked at Eagle Landing for another day. On the upside, this provides our students with a second layover to extend their data collection.

Photo by Woody Woodworth

0930 hours

While we wait out the bad weather just across the river from the Goodspeed Opera House, we start the day with mail call, reading e-mail from the students' parents. Everyone appreciates hearing from home, as you can see below.

Photos by Woody Woodworth

1030 hours

After mail call, we shift our attention back to work. We'll continue to update the Deck Log throughout the Haddam layover.

With much of the students' research already complete and their presentations not due until tomorrow, we enjoy a somewhat relaxed schedule today. Students who want to complete their harness training or climb the rig have ample opportunity to do so now.

Mouse over to measure the humidity.
Loren uses the sling psychrometer.

We continue to monitor relative humidity levels as part of our Deck Log duties. Even without the sling psychometer, however, we can feel the humidity steadily rising as the morning continues. The skies may be calm and mostly clear for now, but this is a sure sign that a pressure front is headed this way.

Ms. Crone paints the Half Moon from a dock farther upriver.

1100 hours

Some of the crew step off the ship to keep themselves busy. While Mr. Woodworth takes groups of students out on Zodiac expeditions to explore the surrounding wetlands, Ms. Crone moves up one dock to paint portraits of the ship.

While our climbers are aloft, they also unfurl the sails so we can squeeze in one more practice session for our sail handling.

Meanwhile, we're also receiving a few visitors down at the park today, including the press.

1115 hours

As our Deck Log readings continue, the relative humidity levels continue to climb steadily.

1145 hours

For the most part, the students have finished gathering data for their presentations and are now ready to focus on analyzing their findings. In the foc's'le (still in use as the ship's science station), Dr. Jacobs convenes with her Celestial Tracking team to go over their data.

Other students are similarly hard at work around the ship. We catch Tyron graphing data in his notebook.

1230 hours

Mr. Wolfe serves a simple lunch of sandwiches and vegetables on the weather deck.

1300 hours

The relative humidity level is becoming oppressive. Look closely at some of the following photos and you may actually see it, in the form of a bluish haze.

The student teams escape the increasingly muggy afternoon heat by shifting their work down to the orlop deck, where they have started the process of enlarging the preliminary graphs they've already prepared for their group presentations.

1315 hours

By now, all of the presentation teams have collected their data. The last team to finish was DeNiro, Matt, and Nadia, who required a 24-hour data set collected here, at a fixed mooring, for the sake of their report on tidal and current patterns.

Deck Log readings, on the other hand, continue into the afternoon. Here, Jose is tracking the originating direction of the wind. In this case, we are experiencing a mounting, southerly breeze.

Meanwhile, the Celestial Tracking team is back at work, preparing their presentation graph under Dr. Jacobs' supervision.

To starboard, just a few feet away, Alex, Jon, and Tajanae continue to pore over their mechanical advantage data.

1330 hours

Watch duties continue uninterrupted, of course. In the galley, Alanna and Nadia clean the last of the dishes from lunch.

The weather is starting to markedly deteriorate. The skies are now completely overcast, the southerly breeze has become a steady wind, and the air is muggy. We send out a final team of students on what will certainly be the final Zodiac expedition of the day.

Not only will this team explore the surrounding waterfront, they have been assigned a specific mission as well: They must sound the docks directly in front of the Goodspeed Opera House. We may dock there during future visits to the Connecticut River, but first we must determine whether the Goodspeed docks can accomodate our 9-foot draft.

As the storm closes in, DeNiro takes some of the final Deck Log readings. The data collection phase of our Voyage of Discovery is officially over.

Mouse over to track the wind.
The US flag turns as the wind changes direction.

1400 hours

The overcast skies are dark and low, and the wind is whipping past. Just as we shoot these photos, the flag turns ominously to point toward the bow of the ship. In other words, the wind is shifting direction from south-easterly to southerly. The turning of the winds means that the heart of the storm is drawing near.

1415 hours

All student activity retreats below decks while the senior crew add additional mooring lines where deemed necessary.

Alex is still hard at work, going over his Mechanical Advantage team's diagrams and data tables.

By the main mast, Elaina doublechecks the Celestial Tracking teams, work.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jacobs and the Comparative Temperatures team are using the galley as a conference room to review their work.

Mouse over to test the humidity.
Ms. Laufer and Ms. Koenen get pelted by the rain.

1445 hours

At last the storm breaks. The skies open up, and... most of the crew has the good sense to retreat belowdecks to wait out the downpour.

The senior crew monitors our mooring lines while the storm's winds flail at the ship, but we hold steady.

(In case you're wondering what Ms. Koenen is wearing on her face -- as everyone in our crew has done when they see this picture -- she's holding her camera case in her teeth.)

1545 hours

The storm has finally passed, taking most of the humidity with it. Everyone's feeling much refreshed, so we celebrate with an introduction to knot trying.

The senior crew begins by teaching the students three basic knots with a wide range of uses: the square knot, the bowline, and the half hitch.

The students are soon showing off their handiwork and testing the strength of their knots.

As the crew grows more confident with their new knot-tying prowess, they can expand into more complicated knots -- or even the art of marlinspike.

Of course, once the students gain new knowledge, you can never know what they'll do with it!

1630 hours

After the knot lesson, we decide that the student crew could afford to blow off some steam. What better way to do that than to grant them shore leave?

Once back on dry land, the crew jumps right into... another knot?

The crew kicks off their shore leave with a team-building game of Human Knot.

All of the players first clump together and join hands, creating a tangle of linked arms.

Mouse over for... knot unraveling? Folk dancing? You make the call.
The crew slowly unravels their human knot in a strange form of dance.

The players must then slowly and methodically "untie" the knot without letting go of their neighbors' hands. This can lead to quite a convoluted dance, we assure you.

Eventually, if all goes well, the Human Knot evolves into a ring of people.

1645 hours

Meanwhile, a few students have chosen to remain on the ship to focus on their own projects. On the orlop deck, Elaina reviews celestial tracking data with her team's senior advisor, Dr. Jacobs.

Meanwhile, Nadia is putting her newfound knowledge of knot-tying to good use by preparing snares for the crew. Sadly for her efforts, the rest of the crew keeps noticing her traps before she can set them off. It turns out that bright orange is not necessarily the best color for the purposes of camouflage.

Mouse over to set the herd against the Dutch lion.
The student crew races past Mr. Van Grondelle, the

After a few rounds of Human Knot, the crew switches to a game suggested by Mr. Van Grondelle and Ms. Koenen: Dutch Lions.

Mouse over to watch the Dutch lions nab their prey.
The Dutch lions catch DeNiro.

In Dutch Lions, the players must race from one end of a playing field to the other. Waiting for them at midfield is a single player, the Dutch Lion. If the Dutch Lion manages to catch a player and, in this version of the rules, lift them completely off the ground, the pounced player becomes an additional Dutch Lion in following rounds.

Within a few rounds, half a dozen Dutch Lions are scattering the herd of players.

Mouse over to pit might against guile.
Matt evades Dutch lion van Grondelle.

This soon leads to interesting emergent behavior. Rather than a simple "every player for themselves" style of play, the players develop various strategies for foiling the Dutch Lions. One of their more successful ideas is to move as a single, linked herd, combining their strength to stymie the Lions' attempts to snatch them.

It sounds like a duel of wits: the Human Knot vs. the Dutch Lions!

1900 hours

The return of rain hurries the students back to the ship, where a dinner of chile and corn bread is waiting for them.

2015 hours

After dinner, Captain Reynolds convenes a crew meeting to brief everyone on the events of the day, tonight's anchor watch, and what will be expected of the students tomorrow.

2030 hours

After the briefing, the students (and a goodly chunk of the senior crew) head back out into the park for soccer and more Dutch lions. Not even a few scattered showers passing through the region can dissuade them this time.

Mouse over to return the Half Moon's salute.
A passing steam engine blows a salute to the Half Moon.

As the sun sets, the Essex Steam Train pulls into its station. We blow a horn salute to the train, which they return.

2100 hours

While the students spend the last of their dwindling daylight playing in the park, Mr. Woodworth has been busy below baking a batch of brownies. All is going well until the last minute -- when suddenly a Dutch Lion pounces!

2200 hours

After dessert, the crew settles down for a final night of anchor watch, with the Goodspeed Opera House gleaming just across the glassy river.

Next Time: Student Presentations!

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