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Daily Log: Friday, October 9th

0700 hours

Starting Position: Anchored north of the George Washington Bridge.
Latitude: 40˚ 51.9' N
Longitude: 073˚ 56.9' W

Day Four of the 2009 Masters Voyage of Discovery.

We wake off the southern Palisades to find that the ever-shifting weather has turned glassy. Both sea and sky are calm, flat, and silvery gray.

0745 hours

We do have a light northerly wind pushing us downriver, however. We send the senior crew aloft to unfurl the sails and hopefully enjoy another day of light sailing.

0800 hours

With the sails in their gear, we take a break for a hot breakfast.

0845 hours

With these calm conditions, we hope to sail directly off the anchor (without the use of our diesel engine). This is the third time our crew has weighed anchor, so they fall neatly into place as we assign positions.

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

Taylor, Dante, Abigail, and Grace are assigned to the capstan team this morning.

Down below, Isis and Matt tend the rode...

Mouse over to help Ben pass the rode.
Ben hauls the slack out of the anchor rode.

...before Ben helps pass it forward...

...to Ms. Laufer at the bits and, finally, fakers Erin and Izzy.

0900 hours

Our experienced crew has the anchor up and secure before you know it. The George Washington Bridge beckons nearby, the starting line for today's journey.

0915 hours

We are indeed successful at setting the sails and getting underway without use of the engine. We start by setting the fore course, then the fore top...

...before moving on to set the main topsail. We could set the main course as well, but in these conditions it would be just as likely to steal wind from the fore sails as to add to our speed, so we leave it in its gear for now.

Erin reports to the helm as we pass under the bridge.

Photo by Ewout van Grondelle

0945 hours

A few spills at breakfast have left the weather deck looking a bit bedraggled. The solution: Deck Wash! We bring up the hose to spray down the deck. Our drinking water and the head and galley sinks all tap into the very limited water supplies we carry on board. The wash hose, on the other hand, is one of a few systems that draws its water intake straight out of the river, so we don't have to worry about running out.

Photo by Ewout van Grondelle

Deck washes are useful just for keeping the ship clean. On a wooden vessel like the Half Moon, a deck wash actually helps improve ship's seaworthiness! The ship's planking swells as it absorbs water, tightening the seams between each board.

Photo by Ewout van Grondelle

When we take Voyages of Discovery during the hot months of summer, our crew members typically use deck washes to cool off as well, using the hose to spray each other or soak their hair. On a chilly day in mid-October, however, everyone is quite content to stay dry, thank you.

1000 hours

The students continue to monitor the Deck Log as we sail along. As Watch Leader for the morning shift, it's Brandon's turn to record all of the readings throughout the morning. Each day will bring a new pair of Watch Leaders and the accompanying responsibilities.

1015 hours

We spend the rest of the morning quietly sailing past the Manhattan skyline. There's plenty of time for sightseeing.

1200 hours

Sightseeing continues as we reach the mouth of the Hudson River and enter New York Harbor. Grace and Ms. Bruijn join forces over a New York City map to find landmarks.

1215 hours

One of the most historied landmarks in New York Harbor is, of course, the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island.

We continue on our way across the vast harbor. On most weekdays, the upper harbor would be churning with river traffice -- ranging from water taxis and ferries to massive freighters and tankers -- but since today is Columbus Day, the holiday has left the harbor unusually quiet.

The wind has dwindled, so we douse the sails and continue on our way under motor.

With the watch shift, Dante is now the standing Watch Leader, so the duty of updating the Deck Log falls to him. While Mr. Chase instructs him on how to use a GPS unit, we catch Sofia taking over from Isis to collect their latest salinity reading.

1245 hours

Down in the galley, Erin and Abigail are busy quizzing each other on the topics in the Crew Rating Log, as well as seeking answers from the senior crew.

1300 hours

Despite the chill, the fore deck remains the hangout of choice as we approach the southern boundaries of the upper harbor.

As we pass by Staten Island, Sofia and Dante are still hard at work. Izzy, another off-duty member of Starboard Watch, has also stepped in to help them collect water samples.

1315 hours

We catch Abigail just as she is taking her Crew Rating test to attain the rank of Lichtmatroos/Regular Sailor. Congrats!

We should note, however, that Izzy was the first to pass the Lichtmatroos review, and that several crew members would step up to qualify later on. Check the Student Crew page each day to see the latest rankings.

1330 hours

We've already reached our next destination, the Kill Van Kull. This is the waterway which separates Staten Island from New Jersey and, more notoriously, is where the Half Moon suffered its sole casualty in 1609 -- John Coleman, who was shot with an arrow as he and four other crewmen explored its waters in the ship's sloep.

Then as now, however, the Kill Van Kull is known for its strong currents, so we need to enter on the flood tide. This leaves us a few hours ahead of schedule, so for now we continue south, toward Raritan Bay and the open ocean.

In the meantime, between Deck Log readings, Dante takes the opportunity for a quick pleasure climb aloft.

While Dante climbs, the senior crew have a project of their own: Ms. Laufer, Mr. Hourigan, and Mr. Van Grondelle are splicing junk ropes into themselves to create grommets. (As a note, the word "junk" was originally a nautical term which referred specifically to rope that was too worn out to use.)

A grommet is a taut rope ring which, in this case, we will use to line the bottom of the new canvas buckets Mr. Gans has been crafting for us.

1345 hours

As we close in on Raritan Bay, Sofia takes one of her final salinity readings. The data already indicates that we've reached a marine environment; these last few readings will serve to confirm the pattern.

1400 hours

We've reached the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which spans the straight known as the Narrows and connects Staten Island to Brooklyn, NY -- two communities whose names still mirror their origins in the Dutch colony of New Netherland.

When the Halve Maen reached this point on October 4th, 1609, their Voyage of Discovery up the Hudson River had come to an end; Robert Juet would record only two more entries in his journal before the ship reached England on November 7th. (We'll include these final journal entries with the log for Day Seven.)

However, our Voyage of Discovery has only reached its midpoint; there's still new places to see and much to do!

1415 hours

As we motor out into Raritan Bay, we find Ben on duty in the galley, helping Ms. Daley and Ms. Bruijn prepare dinner.

1500 hours

Mr. Berg has taken to teaching the students a few knots, each with a specific purpose. Many of his current demonstrations, for example, serve to ensure Erin can't wander off.

In the helm hutch, Matt becomes the latest crew member to discover that he'll have to put his full weight into wresting control of the whipstaff away from the oceanic currents of Raritan Bay.

Our current plan is to travel against the southerly wind under motor, then turn back toward the Narrows and sail into the upper harbor.

Mouse over to test
Mr. Berg's knots.
Erin struggles to escape his bonds.

1515 hours

Having worked his way free from Mr. Berg's knots, we now find Erin -- well now wait a minute. It appears that he's returned to Mr. Berg and managed to get himself into even more extensive bindings.

Fortunately, a few minutes of emulating Houdini does eventually work Erin free.

1545 hours

We've turned back north and are once again approaching the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Unfortunately, the wind has proven too weak and flukey to serve our needs, so our days of sailing are over for now. Mr. Berg hops up to the mainyard to start furling the sails; he's joined a few moments later by Ms. Laufer.

Meanwhile, at the foot of their mast, Jason looks on with interest as Mr. Gans and Mr. Hourigan continue to work on their grommets.

Today's temperatures have by no means been warm, and now as the afternoon winds on they've started noticably dropping. Ms. Daley sends up a round of hot cocoa to keep the crew in high spirits.

1600 hours

We're now making our final approach toward the Kill Van Kull, on the northern shore of Staten Island.

1615 hours

After a few minutes, we reach our destination, the Atlantic Salt facility on Staten Island. This is our second visit to Atlantic Salt; we visited here just before the Fall Voyage of Discovery for the local Quadricentennial festival. In fact, our poster is still on display!

Mouse over to pass Line Three.
Mr. Van Grondelle passes Line Three to # on shore.

The Atlantic Salt yard manager, Brian DeForest, is on hand to handle our dock lines.

1630 hours

Ending Position: Moored at Atlantic Salt, Inc., on the Kill Van Kull, Staten Island, NY.
Latitude: 40˚ 38.7' N
Longitude: 074˚ 05.8' W

With our dock lines set, the Half Moon is securely in place. We will remain here for the next 48 hours or so to grant our students time to focus on collecting data for their presentation projects. Several of the projects will also required the fixed positioning that only docking can provide.

Mouse over to step lightly!
Captain Reynolds steps lightly across a rolling fender.

Captain Reynolds gingerly steps ashore to check our lines and catch up with Mr. Pederson. You may surmise that there'll be no shore leave granted here; in order pass from ship to shore, one must step across the enormous, floating, and freely rotating fenders. One wrong step could turn into a treacherous log roll!

While we remain at Atlantic Salt, only senior crew will be cleared to go ashore, and even then only when strictly necessary.

1645 hours

Data collection begins right away. Grace gets started by using blue tape to mark out the exact distance she and Abigail will use for their current speed experiments.

1700 hours

If anything holds true on the Half Moon, it's that the galley never wants for help on a cold day. Ms. Daley's helpers crowd around the galley table as they peel, slice, and spice apples for tonight's dessert.

1830 hours

As day turns to night, Grace gathers her peers on deck. She and Abigail will need the help of Anchor Watch to monitor current patterns overnight. For that to happen, they must teach their crew mates how to accurately collect the necessary data. The research teams of Izzy and Taylor, studying comparative temperatures, and Jason and Matt, studying height of tide, are next in line to recruit help.

1900 hours

The crew crams into the orlop deck for a turkey dinner shortly after sunset, capping off our day.

2200 hours

Although the Half Moon is moored rather than anchored, the Anchor Watch still safeguards our position throughout the night. Not only will they monitor our dock lines, they'll collect data for various experiments as well. With the sound of a sling psychrometer clacking away on schedule every half-hour, the night passes calmly.

Next Time: An Icy Encounter.

Robert Juet's Journal

The VOC Halve Maen comes to the southern end of the Lange Rack, or Long Reach. Their location is most likely somewhere in the general area of our anchorage on the night of Day Two. Another group of Mahicans comes out to investigate the ship around midday (the meal Juet and his peers called "dinner" is what we call "lunch"). After exhibiting some initial caution, they return to trade. In midafternoon, the ship weighs anchor and sails across Newburgh Bay, setting anchor again at the entrance to the Hudson Highlands -- they are too dangerous to attempt to navigate at night.

On the last day of September, 1609, a strong wind blowing out through the Highlands keeps the keeps the Halve Maen at anchor throughout the day. The crew engages in more extensive trade with the local Mahicans in the afternoon, buying smaller pelts and even an emory-like mineral that proves potentially useful as both an abrasive and as the foundation for paint. Juet admires the surrounding terrain at length, calling the locales now home to Beacon and Newburgh "a very pleasant place to build a town."

On September 29th & 30th, 1609:

The nine and twentieth was drie close weather: the wind at South, and South and by West, we weighed early in the morning, and turned downe three leagues by a lowe water, and anchored at the low end of the long Reach; for it is sixe leagues long. Then there came certaine Indians in a Canoe to vs, but would not come aboord. After dinner there came the Canoe with other men, whereof three came aboord vs. They brought Indian Wheat, which wee bought for trifles. At three of the clocke in the after-noone wee weighed, as soone as the ebbe came, and turned downe to the edge of the Mountaines, or the Northermost of the Mountaines, and anchored: because the high Land hath many Points, and a narrow channell, and hath many eddie winds. So we rode quietly all night in seuen fathoms water.

The thirtieth was fair weather, and the wind at South-east a stiffe gale betwene the Mountaynes. We rode still the after-noone, The people of the Countrey came aboord vs, and brought somesmall skinnes with them, which we bought for Kniues and Trifles. This a very pleasant place to build a Towne on. The Road is very neere, and very good for all winds, saue an East North-east wind. The Mountaynes looke as if some Metall or Minerall were in them. For the Trees that grow on them were all blasted, and some of them barren with few or no Trees on them. The people brought a stone aboord like to Emery (a stone vsed by Glasiers to cut Glasse) it would cut Iron or Steele: Yet being bruised small, and water put to it, it made a colour like blacke Lead glistering; It is also good for Painters Colours. At three of the clocke they departed, and we rode still all night.

-- Robert Juet's Journal.

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