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ProLog: Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

0600 hours

Starting Position: Anchored at Newburgh Bay.
Latitude: 41˚ 29.1' N
Longitude: 073˚ 59.8' W

Day Two of our transit voyage to New London.

With another long day of travel ahead of us, our crew rises at the crack of dawn to catch the ebb current.

A crisp and dewy October morning greets us, but the day will eventually warm up to a more comfortable level.

0700 hours

As soon as the crew has risen and rummaged their gear we turn our attention to weighing anchor. This is a complex process that involves all hands. On the weather deck, the capstan team turns a huge winch, gradually hauling in the anchor rode.

The anchor rode enters the ship via the starboard hawsehole (visible here). It runs half the length of the ship, turns around the lower capstan three times, and finally returns to the fore end of the orlop deck, where bosun Waiboer tends the bits as a safety measure and crew members Korfmacher and Sawicka "fake" (neatly fold) the road.

Once the anchor breaks the surface of Newburgh Bay, our well-bundled fore deck team takes over, using a block-and-tackle system to haul the anchor up onto the fore channel. Once the anchor is secured, we're on our way. Our travels today should take us the rest of the way downriver and out into New York Harbor.

0715 hours

While most the crew works on weighing anchor, our climbers head aloft to unfurl the sails. We'll take any opportunity to sail that comes along.

0845 hours

The Half Moon is now traveling through the Hudson Highlands. We catch the crew admiring the scenery just after we've passed West Point.

We have indeed set sail, with both courses drawing wind.

0900 hours

Sail handling practice and harness training are the two primary goals for our crew today.

As we sail on through the Highlands, Ms. Korfmacher and Mr. Gans climb aloft to take their hang tests.

Once back on deck, Mr. Gans passes his harness to crew member Jackowe and shows him the proper method of donning it.

Ms. Niehaus is spending her day continuing to test our scientific equipment with the assistance of our junior crew members. Here, Stefan is looking through a refractometer to take a salinity reading.

It looks like everyone's keeping themselves busy as we head downriver toward Bear Mountain Bridge (just barely visible in the distance).

0915 hours

Harness training continues on the weather deck, with Mr. Kelley and Ms. Lattari taking turns practicing how to clip in to the shrouds.

1015 hours

We've now passed under Bear Mountain Bridge, leaving the Highlands, and now entering Haverstraw Bay. At the moment, the ship is passing King Marine in Verplanck, just south of Peekskill. This has long been the Half Moon's winter home, and it will be the final destination of our return transit voyage, about a month from now.

We brace the sails to adjust to changing wind patterns as we switch from the narrow, steep valley of the Highlands to broad and open Haverstraw Bay.

In the foc's'le, Ms. Niehaus' inventory of our scientific gear continues. She and Alexander are using a titration kit to test dissolved oxygen levels in the Hudson. It's a complex and delicate procedure, so we'll leave them to it.

1030 hours

The crew continues to rotate through their watch positions throughout the day. Here, Mr. Doraby is about halfway through his hour at the helm.

1200 hours

The crew relaxes as Port Watch transfers its duties to Starboard Watch.

1230 hours

Not all of our crew are coming with us all the way to New London. The weekend is rapidly coming to a close, and half a dozen hands need to return to shore to get back to work or school on Monday. As Ms. Waiboer leads another group through harness training, we veer the ship toward Tarrytown.

We wave goodbye as our first batch of departing crew Mr. Daniels and the Korfmachers climb down into the Zodiac, our inflatable tender boat. This was their first voyage, and all three have earned their place as official crew members; check the Crew roster to see them receive "the orange."

Mr. Hansen zips our departing crew off the the Tarrytown train station, then hurries back to the ship so we can continue on our way. We still have a long way to go!

1315 hours

Lunch is served as we sail between Yonkers and the Palisades.

1430 hours

Now off duty, Mr. Doraby proceeds through his harness training as we pass under the George Washington Bridge, marking our approach to New York City.

1445 hours

Once crew members have completed their harness training (or an annual refresher course in some cases), they're free to climb aloft to help tend sails or simply to take in the view.

That's just what Mr. Grab and Ms. Sawicka have been doing; we catch them on their way back down from the main top.

1500 hours

As we approach the marine waters of New York Harbor, we start to feel the effects of tidal wave motion. (Some crew members feel the waves a bit more keenly than others.) Ms. Niehaus and Alexander head down to the orlop deck to cover the hawseholes, preventing stray waves or wakes from splashing into the ship.

The winds are picking up as we continue south, heeling the ship to starboard. In fact, a storm front is gradually pushing its way into the region, bringing a prediction of days of rain. We'll see how long our fair weather lasts!

As we sail along northern Manhattan, it's time for the second group of departing crew to pack their bags.

Mr. Hansen runs Mr. Doraby, Ms. Lattari, and Ms. Sawicka in to the Manhatten shoreline while the ship keeps underway. These three have also earned their official crew shirts, which you can see here.

1530 hours

With Mr. Hansen back on board, we continue on uninterrupted past the length of Manhattan.

1545 hours

Captain Reynolds gets to know new crew member Jackowe during the latter's time at helm.

Bosun Waiboer has finished tightening the top shrouds (necessary after raising the masts yesterday), and she and her rig team are returning to the deck. We can now set the top sails as well, and do so.

1615 hours

In fact, the winds are growing a touch too strong for the captain's comfort, with the topsails particularly responsible for our pronounced heel.

1630 hours

The mast teams gather to douse the top sails.

Setting and dousing the top sails is a touch trickier than working with the courses, since it's often hard to directly see what effect you're having on the sails.

However, with just a little practice, our sailors soon have the main top back in its gear. The main topman, Mr. Hensel, furls the top sail before returning to deck.

1715 hours

Photo op! The crew break out their cameras as we enter New York Harbor and pass the Statue of Liberty.

1730 hours

The weather is worsening, and we're rapidly approaching our intended anchorage at Bay Ridge Flats, off the Brooklyn shoreline, so we send our rig teams aloft to furl the courses.

1745 hours

As we approach our anchorage, the anchor teams report to duty. Mr. Hensel and Mr. Stevens climb out onto the forechannel to prep the anchor itself.

A moment later, however, Captain Reynolds issues a command to belay that order. Our preferred "parking spot" is already occupied by a barge, and the captain thinks we may be able to catch the end of the flood tide if we continue on to the East River right now. This would allow us to pass through Hell Gate (and from there enter Long Island Sound) by midnight tonight, rather than waiting for tomorrow.

1815 hours

We decide to make a try for the East River. We continue around Governor's Island and approach the tip of Manhattan.

As the sun sets, Ms. Bruijn takes a break from the galley to take in the scenery.

When we reach the mouth of the swift-flowing East River, however, we discover that we've missed the flood. Were we to continue up the river against both the wind and the tide, we'd likely have to motor till dawn just to reach Hell Gate.

1845 hours

New plan! Which is to say, we're switching back from Plan B to Plan A. As the sun sets behind New Jersey, we return to Bay Ridge Flats. Our current plan is now to set anchor, then rise at 0400 hours to catch the next flood tide up the East River.


The sun has nearly set, and the rain is coming. As we approach our anchorage (now selecting a position not far from our original location), we lower our flags and erect tarps over the weather deck.

Once the rain hits us, it isn't predicted to let up until after we've reached New London.

1915 hours

Ending Position: Anchored at Bay Ridge Flats.
Latitude: 42˚ 08.7' N
Longitude: 073˚ 53.9' W

We set anchor shortly after nightfall. Captain Reynolds soon decides that rising at 0400 hours won't be necessary to keep to our schedule. Instead, we'll remain here throughout tomorrow morning, then weigh anchor around 1300 hours to catch the next flood tide up the East River.

2000 hours

With the ship secured for the night, the crew retreats belowdecks for dinner. Tonight, Ms. Bruijn treats us to an Indonesische rijst tafel, or "Indonesian rice table," an elaborate Indonesian meal based around a core rice dish called nasi. This meal, which includes a range of side dishes and peanut sauce, migrated to the Netherlands during the era of the Dutch East India Company, and has since gone on to become a traditional Dutch repast.

After dinner, we end the evening with an Anchor Watch briefing and settle into a rainy night.

Next Time: Onward to the Sound!

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