2009 Masters Voyage of Discovery banner
Daily Log: Friday, October 9th

1045 hours

Starting Position: Docked at Peckham Materials in Athens, NY.
Latitude: 42˚ 16.2' N
Longitude: 073˚ 48.1' W

Day One of the 2009 Masters Voyage of Discovery.

We begin our voyage on a cool and gloomy, overcast autumn day. The intermittent rain is fated to keep our activities fairly low-key today, as is usually the case.

However, the drizzle can't dampen the students' enthusiasm as they reach the end of their long drive up from the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry. Working together, they quickly transfer their gear on board and stow it below decks.

Captain Reynolds is on hand to welcome the students as they step on board. The Half Moon will now be their home for the next full week.

1100 hours

With the rain leaning us toward a relaxed schedule, we give the students ample time to settle in. However, their orientation to the nautical life begins right away. Woody Woodworth, a regular crew member, is on hand to assist with our departure. He leads small groups of students down into the hold to give them one of their first and most important lessons -- how to use the marine toilet, a decidedly complex device.

1145 hours

With the students feeling at home, Captain Reynolds gathers everyone on deck for a formal safety briefing. He introduces them to the proper procedures for a range of potential hazards, from fires and floods or man overboard scenarios.

Mouse over to scrub up.
Izzy, Abigail, Sofia, and Taylor practice washing their hands.

1200 hours

We also discuss the important of strict personal hygiene. The entire crew practices how to thoroughly wash their hands. With twenty-five people sailing on a ship with one head (the traditional nautical term for a ship's bathroom), disease can easily race through the entire crew if we lack discipline. This is never more true than now, since our autumn voyage falls in the heart of the cold and flu season.

1215 hours

After the safety briefing, we move on to our next topic. We present each student with their own copy of the Crew Rating Log, which they'll be able to take home as a permanent memento of the voyage. By mastering the ship's history and operational procedures, the students can rise in the ranks.

1230 hours

After the briefing, the senior crew splits the students into three groups to start learning the basic tasks and responsibilities of proper shipcraft.

1300 hours

After the students have finished their first training session, we break for lunch. Ms. Daley serves heaping sandwiches and much-appreciated hot chicken noodle soup for our first meal.

1145 hours

After lunch, the student group rotate to their next lessons. On the orlop deck, Ms. Laufer briefs the students on the various responsibilities of the Duty Roster.

On the fore deck, Mr. Berg give his groups a basic introduction to line handling, teaching students how to correctly coil and belay the ship's running rigging.

Meanwhile, on the weather deck, Mr. Gans looks on as Mr. Van Grondelle leads his groups through the first steps of working in the rig. After the entire group receives training in the use of safety harnesses, Dante and Abigail look on...

...as Isis climbs into the rig to take her hang test. Check the Learning Pages in the coming days for more information on line handling and going aloft.

Fortunately, the rain has finally let up, so we soon take down the (somewhat claustrophobic) tarps that have been keeping us dry.

1445 hours

After the students have rotated through all of their initial lessons, Captain Reynolds once again convenes the crew around the capstan to introduce them to the history of the Half Moon. He has them take a close look at our copy of one of the earliest existing navigational charts of the Hudson River, dating to the 1630s. Over the course of the week to come, the students will discover that many of the landmarks noted here are little changed, even 400 years later.

1515 hours

After our history lesson, we turn our attention toward departure. Before we break into our assigned positions, however, we call for a round of formal introductions. Each crew member in turn offers their name, where they're from, and their position on the ship.

1530 hours

Time to depart! With Mr. Woodworth having now returned to shore, we set our line handlers in place. Mr. Chase is assigned to Line Three...

...the last line mooring the Half Moon to the barge we call home here at Peckham Materials. Working on the barge, Mr. Berg casts off our other three dock lines, then steps back on board to free Line Three as we pull away.

The students are also in position -- for the next week, many of the ship's duties will be entirely their responsibility. As we pull away, Ben is stationed at lookout while Dante stands ready to haul in one of our fenders.

Our fenders may look quite different from the fenders one might find on a car, but they serve the same purpose. By inserting these soft "cushions" between the ship and a dock, we protect the Half Moon from the scrapes and damage that could be caused by the ship grinding against its mooring.

While underway, however, it's rather unsightly to sail about with our fenders hanging out, so as we pull away from Athens Ms. Laufer hauls in the midship fender while Jason and Brandon both lay in to haul up its aft companion.

Meanwhile, with Ms. Daley's guidance, Matt becomes the first student to take control of the helm.

With our docklines and fenders in and all hands in position, we are away. Our Voyage of Discovery has officially begun. We turn south and soon leave Athens Channel, heading downriver.

1700 hours

The rest of the afternoon passes quietly. The rain holds off, but only just, so most of the crew stays below decks, getting acclimated to their new surroundings. Some students are willing to brave the damp and cold, however. Here, Mr. Berg escorts Ben on his first climb aloft.

It's a high climb, with the mast tops (the baskets better known as crows' nests on other vessels) rising about 60 feet above the waterline, but Ben makes it all the way to the top.

Meanwhile, Dante and Izzy help Ms. Daley wash the dishes from lunch in the galley.

When they aren't assigned a duty, the new crew is free to relax as they wish. As we reach the end of today's leg of our journey, most of the crew is hanging out on the weather deck, chatting and taking in the scenery.

1800 hours

As an unseen sun sinks toward the gray horizon, we near our destination. Brandon is assigned the task of communicator, relaying messages between Captain Reynolds on the Quarter deck and Ms. Laufer, who is tending to the anchor rode (line) down on the orlop deck.

1815 hours

Mr. Berg is stationed on the fore channel. Assisted by the team of Mr. Collens and Mr. Van Grondelle on the fore deck, they lower the anchor to the waterline as we approach the town of Cementon and reduce our speed.

A few minutes later, Captain Reynolds gives the command and Mr. Berg sends the anchor plummeting to the river's bottom. With that, our first day of travel reaches its destination.

(We'll offer a closer look at setting anchor in days to come.)

Ending Position: Anchored between Cementon and Duck Cove.
Latitude: 42˚ 08.7' N
Longitude: 073˚ 53.9' W

With the ship now at rest, the off-duty students gather at the rail to check out our surroundings.

Meanwhile, down in the galley, Jason and Matt put the finishing touches on dinner.

1830 hours

As evening falls over the ship, we serve beef stew and salad to warm up the crew. (Thanks to Vicki Cardoza, who stopped by early this morning to drop off tonight's repast.)

1900 hours

After dark, Captain Reynolds calls all hands on deck once more. This is our first anchor watch briefing, so the captain points out landmarks on shore that will remain visibile through the night and explains how to use those lights to gauge our own position on the water -- and, importantly, whether that position is changing.

2200 hours

After the anchor watch briefing, the students retire to the orlop deck to settle into their bunks and update their journals before lights out. As quiet settles over the ship, we look ahead to what should be a quiet and calm, if perhaps wet, first evening on board. Tomorrow, we plan pick up the pace.

Next Time: Onward through the Lange Rack!

Robert Juet's Journal

As once again we pick up with the VOC jaght Halve Maen, the ship is anchored somewhere near the site of modern-day Albany, NY, most likely in the general vicinity of Henry Hudson Park or the Port of Albany. Yesterday, an expedition upriver in the ship's small boat, or sloep, returned with a report that the Half Moon had indeed reached the limits of navigation -- they could go no farther. At noon, the crew weighs anchor and begin the return journey back downriver -- a route that will bring them past everyone they've previously encountered, for good or ill. The ship sails six miles downriver before an unexpected westerly gust of wind drives it aground on a shoal. After freeing the ship at high tide, the crew sets anchor.

The next day, the Halve Maen continues another 20 to 25 miles, but during the ebb tide the ship once again runs aground on a shoal of oozy silt. While waiting to be freed by the flood tide, the crew ventures on shore and collects chestnuts to supplement the ship's food supplies. Late that night, the ship comes free on the rising tide and the crew sets anchor for the night.

On September 23rd & 24th, 1609:

The three and twentieth, faire weather. At twelue of the clocke wee weighed, and went downe two leagues to a shoald that had two channels, one on the one side, and another on the other, and had little winde, whereby the tide layed vs vpon it. So, there wee sate on ground the space of an houre till the floud came. Then we had a little gale of wind at the West. So wee got our ship into deeper water, and rode all night very well.

The foure and twentieth was faire weather: the winde at the North-west, wee weighed, and went downe the Riuer seuen or eight leagues; and at halfe ebbe wee came on ground on a banke of Oze in the middle of the Riuer, and sate there till the floud. Then we went on Land, and gathered good store of Chest-nuts. At ten of the clocke wee came off into deepe water, and anchored.

-- Robert Juet's Journal.

Voyage Homepage Daily Log Our Crew Learning Half Moon