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Daily Log: Wedneday, July 8th

0600 hours

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

Day Six of the 2009 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery.

A range of factors have combined to ensure that today will be long and eventful. Firstly, this is the final full day of the students' Voyage of Discovery; by tomorrow night they'll be back in their own beds. As such, the students are due to deliver their presentations this afternoon. In addition, after spending yesterday battened down in the face of a massive storm front, we must now make up for an lost day's worth of travel.

0700 hours

After rising early, the crew is ready to resume their watch duties and move on. DeNiro takes his place at the helm. Depending on the strength of the current, we could potentially need anywhere from six to ten hours of travel time to reach our destination for the day, Glastonbury.

Mouse over to haul in Line Three.
Jon hauls in Line Three.

Jon hauls in Line Three as we cast off our lines to leave the Eagle Landing dock.

0715 hours

Our layover at East Haddam comes to an end as we pull away from the dock and approach the East Haddam Bridge.

Mouse over to open the bridge.
The Haddam Bridge swings open.

The bridge swivels open as we approach -- which is quite an impressive sight!

Our path now clear, we bid farewell to the Goodspeed Opera House and slip through the bridge, blowing its operator a horn salute as we pass.

Mouse over to see Matt fire a sternchaser salute.
Matt fires the sternchaser.

0730 hours

Just past the East Haddam Bridge, we fire a sternchaser salute as we pass the home of Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, who visited the ship with his family during the inaugural Fresh River Voyage of Discovery last year.

0745 hours

Beyond this point, we enter the upper Connecticut River. This marks only the second time the Half Moon has ever entered these waters.

Of course, one shouldn't explore unknown waters on an empty stomach! Down in the galley, Alanna, Loren, and Tajanae team up on clean up after preparing breakfast.

Mouse over to give fire!
Tajanae fires a sternchaster salute.

0845 hours

We are now passing the home of Mark Scheinberg, President of Goodwin College. Naturally, this calls for another salute! Tajanae takes the honors for this round.

Farther forward on the orlop, Mr. Wolfe is serving hot oatmeal for breakfast.

0900 hours

Once past President Scheinberg's home, the upper Connecticut River beckons.

Photo by Woody Woodworth

0915 hours

Having done most of their work yesterday, by this point in the morning the students have all completed the preparations for this afternoon's presentations. To celebrate, they eagerly jump into another knot lesson, this time expanding their rope repertoire.

Or would that be ropertoire?

Photo by Woody Woodworth

Some of the new knots they learn this morning include the figure eight, the sheet bend, and timber hitch.

Photo by Woody Woodworth

Hungry for even more skillful tests of their knot-tying abilities, many of the students move on to learning the arts of marlinspike.

Photo by Woody Woodworth

1015 hours

When we left the dock just over three hours ago, our estimated time of arrival at Glastonbury ranged between anywhere from 1300 hours to 1700 hours. Some of the students are curious about our progress is fairing against the current, so Dr. Jacobs shows them how to read river charts, and then how to calculate those distances against the ship's average speed to determine travel time.

Photo by Woody Woodworth

1030 hours

On the fore deck, Ms. Crone starts in on a new portrait of life aboard the Half Moon. At the end of the voyage, she will present Goodwin College with a gift of several of these paintings.

Photo by Woody Woodworth

Meanwhile, we notice Mr. Van Grondelle and Ms. Laufer hustling up to the very tops of the main and fore masts. Once standing atop the wooden "cross trees" marking the highest point of the standing rig, they quickly remove the ship's two mast-top flagstaffs.

Why would they do this? The answer lies in the next obstacle we must overcome to complete our journey...

1115 hours

Photo by Woody Woodworth

...the bridges connecting Portland and Middletown. As we mentioned on Day Four, the Connecticut River has historically lacked the heavy industrial traffic common on our home waters in New York. Because of this, the river features several low bridges which we must clear. The railroad bridge is no trouble; like the East Haddam Bridge, it can simply swivel open to admit us. No, the challenge lies with the Arrigoni Bridge beyond.

Photo by Woody Woodworth

We successfully cleared the Arrigoni Bridge last year, but in the wake of the region's recent storms, we estimate the Connecticut River to be running nearly a fathom deeper than it was at this time last year. That means we've lost five feet of clearance!

Will we make it? The suspense is unbearable!

Photo by Woody Woodworth

It's a squeaker, but in the end we successfuly clear the bridge without making contact. Had we not removed the flagstaffs, however, it would have been a different story.

Photo by Woody Woodworth

Once past the bridge, life returns to normal. While Mr. Van Grondelle and Ms. Laufer restore the flagstaffs to their proper places above, the students on deck focus on their new marlinspike project: making monkeyfists. On the Half Moon, we commonly use monkeyfists to pass our mooring lines across wide gaps or around the outer hull where crew members cannot easily follow.

1230 hours

As the upper Connecticut River narrows around us, we take in the beauty of the surrounding woodlands.

1345 hours

We are now approaching our destination for the day, Seaboard Marina at Glastonbury. DeNiro, Jon, and Matt join Mr. Woodworth for one last trip in the Zodiac. Just like a tugboat, the Zodiac wil safely nudge the ship in a chosen direction.

Waiting patiently until then, Zodiac captain Woodworth and his crew do donuts in the parking lot.

On the orlop deck, DeNiro and Alanna observe as Mr. Van Grondelle loads the starboard falconet for a cannon salute.

Mouse over to see Ms. Laufer's cat's cradle.
Ms. Laufer shows off her cat's cradle.

1400 hours

After loading the falconet, Mr. Van Grondelle passes the role of Gunner to Ms. Laufer. While she and her Assistant Gunner Tyron wait, she entertains herself with cat's cradles.

1415 hours

Seven hours after leaving East Haddam, we reach our hosts for the night: Seaport Marina, in Glastonbury, CT. All told, we've made good time!

Mouse over to give fire!
Tyron fires a starboard falconet salute.

Tyron has the honor of firing our salute to the marina as we arrive.

Mouse over to parallel park the Half Moon.
The Half Moon slides sideways into Seaboard Marina.

It turns out that the Zodiac team won't be needed to push us into position at the dock. Captain Reynolds is able to steer against the river's overrun-strengthened ebb current to literally slide the ship sideways into its berth!

With the aid of the marina's owner and attendants, we soon have our dock lines secure and fenders in place.

1430 hours

Ending Position: Docked at Seaboard Marina in Glastonbury, CT.
Latitude: 41˚ 38.9'
Longitude: 072˚ 37.3'

After mooring the Zodiac to the floating dock, the Zodiac student crew stops to chat with Captain Reynolds and the local greeting party on their way back on board the ship.

1500 hours

The student presentations are scheduled to begin within the hour. Ms. Cowles the Mechanical Advantage team with some last-minute advice on how to best reach the audience.

1515 hours

In the final moments remaining to them, the students distract themselves from any possibly stage fright by updating their accomplishments on the Task Matrix.

1545 hours

At long last the time has come for the student presentations. (Click on any of the next few links to view the students' graphs and results in greater detail.)

After the crew gathers on the weather deck, the Celestial Tracking team of Elaina, Loren, and Michael kick off the proceedings with their analysis of the arc of the Moon over the course of four nights.

1600 hours

Just as the Celestial Tracking team wraps up, the owner of Seaboard Marina makes a surprise visit with a spontaneous gift of cool drinks and tasty snacks.

1615 hours

Much refreshed, our research teams jump right back into the fray, with the Current Patterns & Depth of Tide team of DeNiro, Matt, and Nadia next up with their report on the tidal patterns recorded at Niantic Bay and East Haddam.

1645 hours

Halfway there! The Comparative Temperatures team of Alanna, Jose, and Tyron is next up with a lively discussion on air and water temperatures the recorded at Niantic Bay.

1700 hours

Lastly, the Mechanical Advantage team of Alex, Jon, and Tajanae conclude the presentations with the results of their simple machine trials.

During each presentation, the teams also take questions from their peers, such as the one Michael's asking to the right. In some cases the teams offer practical demonstrations of their instrumentation, such as when the Mechanical Advantage team uses the capstan, whipstaff, and bilge pumps to demonstrate the simple machines in use all over the ship.

1715 hours

With a final round of applause, the student presentations reach their successful conclusion. With the challenge of the presentations now behind them, students are completely free to relax for the rest of the day.

1745 hours

Surprise guests! Michael's family has discovered our location and come down to visit. Michael leads his clan through a tour of the ship before returning to his duties.

1800 hours

And here's another surprise! While taking a short walk along the shore, Ms. Crone has discovered not one, not two, but three four-leaf clovers. Oddly enough, another Half Moon crew member, Keith Cardoza, can also claim a talent for finding these rarities.

1830 hours

Photos by Woody Woodworth

Many student crew members choose to spend the last evening of their Voyage of Discovery climbing the rig, just for fun.

1915 hours

The crew winds down after a long day with big bowls of the tasty (but drably named) Irish dish known as "boiled dinner."

2100 hours

After sunset, Ms. Laufer leads the crew through a second session of her Half Moon history lessons, including readings from Robert Juet's journal.

2200 hours

After the history session, it's time for lights out. Since we are familiar with this floating dock and no longer need to collect data through the night, Captain Reynolds delivers the news the crew has been dying to hear: No anchor watch will be needed tonight. Everyone sleeps soundly indeed.

Next Time: The Grand Finale!

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