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Daily Log: Friday, October 9th

0600 hours

Starting Position: Anchored at Niantic Bay, CT.
Latitude: 41˚ 18.7' N
Longitude: 072˚ 11.4' W

The sixth and final day of our transit voyage to New London.

We wake at dawn in Niantic Bay. Our final destination, New London, Connecticut, lies just one inlet to our west. As a note, what you see in the photo above isn't smoke billowing from that factory; it's a band of low pressure, a potential squall lurking just off the coast. On previous Fresh River Voyages of Discovery, we've been in the habit of hitting storms just as we come in to port at New London. Will we continue the trend this year?

0645 hours

Even before sunrise, the crew is already hard at work at the capstan, weighing anchor.

0700 hours

We're soon on our way. The travel time to our destination is only about two hours, but we're getting such an early start today so we can arrive on the slack tide.

We're already leaving Niantic Bay by the time we see dawn break over the sound.

We might not have far to go, but that doesn't mean we can't go in style. Mr. Wilber joins the rest of the rig teams as they climb aloft to unfurl the sails.

While the rig teams work above, the mast team gathers on the weather deck.

0715 hours

Mr. Noonan and Mr. Stevens stand at the ready with the clews, bunts, and martnets as the rig team finishes their work aloft.

Mouse over to set the fore course!
The crew sets the fore course.

As it happens, however, we decide to set the fore course first. Overhaul!

Mr. Kelley hauls the starboard sheet home.

The fore course is drawing wind, and the crew are satisfied with their work. Time to move on to the next sail!

0730 hours

As the mast team returns to the main mast, Mr. Hensel and his assistants fly the ship's colors. We fly the Lion Rampant flag from the fore mast, representing the historical province of Holland (which is now separated into North and South Holland in the modern Netherlands).

Mouse over to set the main!
The crew sets the main course.

As the flag rises into position, the main course falls into place. Overhaul!

Mr. Myers and Ms. Waiboer sheet the main course home. The sheets are lines which pull the lower corners of the sail aft, toward the rear of the ship; they're countered by the tacks, which pull the corners forward. These lines help us manipulate the sails to best catch the wind.

With the sails drawing, we cut the engine and spend a few final miles traveling by wind power alone.

0830 hours

As we enter busy New London Harbor, located at the mouth of the Thames River, we douse the sails and strike up the engine again.

Meanwhile, there's still time to serve breakfast down on the orlop deck.

0845 hours

Captain Reynolds briefs the crew on our approach. We usually dock at the City Pier during our New London layovers, but this time we'll be a few doors down at the Customs House Pier. Captain Reynolds warns everyone that we may be up against difficult winds and currents, so we'll need to see rapid responses from our line handlers and communicators to see the Half Moon safely docked.

We ready the ship's fenders as we approach the docks.

As we enter the inner harbor, we pass the Coast Guard Academy and the Eagle, the Coast Guard's own tall ship, used for training purposes.

0900 hours

We are now making our final approach to the dock. A stiff westerly breeze will be consistently blowing us away from the dock, so this will require some tricky maneuvering.

Here we go! Everyone is at the ready.

On our first approach, Mr. Hensel hops down onto the pier to act as our dockside line handler.

0915 hours

On our second approach, we carefully heave our docking lines, starting with Line One.

0930 hours

After a complicated and cautious docking procedure, we get all four lines in place and work the ship up to the dock. Mr. Myers and Mr. Gans lift a fender into position.

0945 hours

And we're docked! For the moment. Captain Reynolds steps on shore to inspect our moorings.

While the dockside team makes their inspections, the shipboard crew patiently awaits further commands.

Ending Position: Docked at Customs House Pier, New London, CT.
Latitude: 41˚ 21.1' N
Longitude: 072˚ 05.7' W

The ship is secure! We're happy to once again return to New London, Connecticut.

Mouse over to pass
the monkey's fist!
Mr. Hansen passes a monkey's fist to Mr. Noonan two decks below.

1000 hours

The Half Moon is now docked, but we want to put out a few extra lines just to guarantee that the ship remains secure. Mr. Hansen climbs up to the poop deck and passes a monkey's fist (a line weighted by a large knot) to Mr. Noonan at the starboard sternchaser, located on the orlop deck.

If you mouse over the image to the left, you might spot the fan in the great cabin blowing. That fan isn't even plugged in pure windpower is spinning its blades!

As soon as Mr. Noonan fastens a second Line Four to his end of the monkey's fist, Mr. Hansen heaves his end of the line to Ms. Waiboer on shore. She then uses the monkey's fist to pull Line Four across the water to her position.

1115 hours

Mr. Hensel has made some new friends while we work on the lines. After he feeds the swans some bread, they decide to join the crew or at least hang around the Half Moon for the rest of the day.

1545 hours

After a few hours of securing lines and standard ship's maintentance, we bring this voyage to an official conclusion with a toast.

1830 hours

But there's one last event worth noting! At the last minute, we've discovered that we have a birthday boy hiding among the crew.

It's Ralf Hensel, who turns 37 today! Happy birthday, Ralf!

And so we reach the end of the ProLog. The Half Moon will remain here at the Customs House Pier for the next few days as we resupply, refresh the crew, and perhaps even enjoy a little shore leave. This log will resume in three days, when students and teachers from the Connecticut River Academy arrive and the 2010 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery begins!

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