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Day Four: Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

0630 hours

Starting Position: Docked at Old Lyme Dock Co., Old Lyme, CT.
Latitude: 41˚ 18.9' N
Longitude: 072˚ 20.7' W

Day Four of the 2010 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery.

We've spent the night at the Old Lyme Dock Co. at the mouth of the Connecticut River. This fueling dock has been exceptionally generous to let us dock here, but while we're here, we're partially blocking access to actual customers. For this reason, we need to leave the dock bright and early this morning, and for that reason, we need to rise even earlier!

As dawn creeps over the horizon, we find that several hardy crew members have braved the chilly night to sleep under the stars. Within a few minutes, the ship is buzzing with activity.

0730 hours

Now that the weather is starting to feel suitably autumnal, we present the students with commemorative Half Moon/Goodwin College sweatshirts.

0745 hours

Our mooring at Old Lyme gives us an unusual opportunity for some organized shore leave. Just a short distance from the ship, a boardwalk leads out into a protected salt water marsh.

Our morning expedition brings us to the marsh at high tide, when much of the marsh is underwater.

0830 hours

When we reach semi-solid ground, however, we do have the opportunity to step down into the wetlands, examine its flora, and even collect a few small soil samples.

0930 hours

We're just come back to the ship and it's back to work. While the senior crew prepares for our imminent departure, the students focus on the Deck Log and their projects.

At the moment, Amanda and Karl from the Celestial Tracking team are showing Erica how to use a quadrant.

Time to go! With dockside assistance from the Old Lyme crew, we cast off our lines and quickly depart.

Due to the narrow confines of the Connecticut River, the Half Moon cannot anchor out on the water without blocking river traffic. Thus, we plan on docking each night for the rest of the trip. That won't quite be the case, but that tale must wait for tomorrow...

0945 hours

We haven't forgotten about the low headroom of the I-95 Bridge. No fools we, we've sent Bosun Waiboer to the very top of the main mast with a broom handle. If the bridge dares to come too close, she will fend it off with her stick.

1000 hours

In truth, we now know that we can clear the bridge, but we'd like to get an idea of our actual clearance. Ms. Waiboer's broom handle is a makeshift measuring stick, but it quickly occurs to us that it's probably too short. Mr. Woodworth grabs a longer, lightweight plank and brings it to our bosun. When we pass under the bridge, they report that we have at least 8 feet of clearance between the end of our stick and the bottom of the bridge.

1045 hours

As we continue upriver, Mr. Garfinkel gathers his teams to conclude the salinity experiment.

Yesterday was devoted to collecting water samples; now it's time to analyze them. Bibi is one of the first students to learn how to use a refractometer to measure salinity.

On the Hudson River, we can still detect salinity levels nearly halfway up its navigable length, but as we mentioned in yesterday's log, here on the Fresh River the salinity has already dropped to 0 ppt completely fresh water.

1130 hours

The ship is still underway when Captain Reynolds calls for a crew meeting around the capstan.

The reason: mail call! Everyone enjoys here from home, and we catch a few teenagers being suitably embarrassed by their familes' affection.

But wait, there's more! A letter to Solange suddenly breaks out into a chorus of "Happy Birthday." She turns sixteen today! We celebrate Solange's birthday with the three traditional nautical gifts:

1. A handmade card signed by the crew...

...2. a birthday cake, and...

...3. extensive tattoos.

Don't worry, parents! We're certain we can find a way to get them back off by the time Solange returns to a life on land.

Solange does her part by slicing her cake for the crew...

...who do their part by eating it. Happy 16th birthday, Solange!

1200 hours

The Celestial Tracking team is hard at work as we approach midday. Due to our position in the time zone and daylight savings time, we estimate that local noon will probably fall sometime between now and 1330 hours. Until they record the time of the sun's zenith, Amanda, Bibi, Karl, and Monet will quicken their pace, taking readings once every five minutes.

We're also passing a local landmark, Gilette Castle. It isn't far to our destination now!

1215 hours

Yet another research team is deep into their work on the weather deck. With the help of their senior crew advisors Mr. Roy and Mr. Woodworth, and assists from others, the Mechanical Advantage team of Erica, Kelsey, Roberto, and Solange has erected a block-and-tackle rig by the main mast.

Meanwhile, in the shade of the orlop deck, Wilberto and Teara are quizzing each other on the Crew Rating Log.

1230 hours

We run out our dock lines as we round the bend, coming into view of East Haddam.

As we close in on our destination, Mr. Roy and Erica are still racing to rise in the ranks.

The weather deck bustles with student projects right up until our arrival at the dock.

1300 hours

Our destination is just shy of the East Haddam Bridge ahead. Mr. Hansen zips Claudio and Mr. Hensel in to shore to handle our dock lines.

On our previous voyages up the Connecticut River, including the two previous Fresh River voyages and the Three Rivers Voyage of Discovery in 2006, the Half Moon has docked at the grassy landing in Haddam, but this time we're trying somewhere new: the dock at the Goodspeed Opera House (external link), directly across the river!

The Goodspeed Opera House staff have always been extremely generous to us during our visits, and this voyage proves no exception. Sadly, due to our packed schedule, we were unable to accept their invitation to take the entire crew to tonight's show!

Claudio and Mr. Hensel are standing at the ready as the Half Moon carefully sidles up to the dock. They quickly secure our lines.

1330 hours

Ending Position: Docked at Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam, CT.
Latitude: 41˚ 27.1' N
Longitude: 072˚ 27.7' W

With ship operations completed for the day, the students turn their attention back to other interests. We reveal the Task Matrix, giving the students their first chance to visually record their accomplishments on board.

That's immediately followed by a typical lunch of bean salad, green soup, and salmon salad.

1345 hours

Without fail, the Half Moon always draws a continuous, avid crowd whenever we dock at the East Haddam Bridge, and adding two performances' worth of Goodspeed audience members to the mix certainly won't drop those numbers.

Many of our senior crew also act as docents when the ship is offers tours. Although we aren't open to the public here, several crew members take turns stepping down to the dock, answering visitors' questions, and reminding everyone that we're always looking for new crew members.

In addition, don't forget that the Half Moon will be open for public tours at the Goodwin Riverside Campus on the weekend of October 23rd-24th. Come visit us there!

1400 hours

It turns out that Science Officer Garfinkel is also a talented juggler, and he's brought his equipment with him!

Mouse over for the show!
Mr. Garfinkel juggles on shore.

He steps down onto shore and spends some time practicing, entertaining both passing visitors and the crew members watching from the starboard rail.

1415 hours

With the Half Moon securely docked, the students devote the rest of the afternoon entirely to collecting data for their projects. The Mechanical Advantage team spends the day reconfiguring their rig to test the effects of various leads on force and distance in their simple machine.

1430 hours

They also gather their own eager audience from the Celestial team, who have now recorded the sun's zenith and stepped down the rate of their data collection.

1515 hours

The Statistical Analysis team is also hard at work gathering the crew for their next experiment. In this test, each crew member is asked to use a "hockey puck" compass to sight a specific light on the neighboring bridge and to do so without receiving specific training on how to use the equipment.

1530 hours

After their latest round of data collection, the Statistics team meets with Mr. Hensel up on the fore deck to discuss how their results are shaping up so far.

1615 hours

The Celestial team has completed their research project with plenty of daylight left to burn. They're hungry for a side project, and Ms. Reilly has just the idea! What is it? Just wait and see...

The Mechanical Advantage team is still hard at it, working through their rig's final configurations.

1630 hours

The Statistics team is ready to conclude their research. For their final test, they ask everyone to come back and once again sight the same fixed object using the same compass. This time, however, they first give each user specific training on how to use the device. Will training factor into their results?

1700 hours

Mr. Garfinkel is also back on board and engaged in research. He's looking under the microscope at soil and water samples the students collected in the salt marsh this morning.

1715 hours

After two days of extensive data collection, we've decided that the crew deserves a bit of shore leave.

The students and their teachers walk over to a nearby field, where they play baseball, soccer, and just generally blow off steam.

1730 hours

The students spend about an hour on shore before heading back to the Half Moon.

1830 hours

By sundown, the students are back on board and, in some cases, back on duty. Roberto and Erica help Ms. Bruijn chop vegetables for dinner.

For her part, Solange has chosen to conclude her birthday by climbing aloft for the first time. Ms. Reilly accompanies her up to the main top to admire the view.

The Celestial team is back, applying the skills they've developed on a decidedly terrestrial object. They've been challenged to determine the clearance of the East Haddam Bridge: how high the bottom of the bridge rises above the water line. How tall could a vessel be and still safely pass under the closed bridge?

1915 hours

The team is incredibly eager to find the answer. In a fortunate coincidence, CT River Academy math teacher Jen Ingealls has stopped by the ship to say hello.

The students have compiled their data, using the quadrant to determine the bridge's angle of elevation, and the captain's range finder to determine the bridge's distance. Treating the waterline as a right angle, they now know one side and two angles of a right isosceles triangle. With Ms. Ingealls helping on the equations, they've found their answer: the bridge has a clearance of 8 feet, which matches our independent means of measurement.

So what prompted this fierce determination? What's at stake?

The answer revealed: The little-seen ship's chronicler, Mr. Mangrum, has promised to shave his goatee if they derive the correct answer. Which will prove the greater sacrifice: losing the beard or being pulled in front of the camera?

1930 hours

Temperatures may be dropping outside, but the galley is always warm whenever we have nearly a dozen people hanging out in it. The students feel a certain relief in having completed their data. "Only" the presentations remain!

1945 hours

As the crew gathers for dinner on the orlop deck, Captain Reynolds quizzes Erica on the names of the six individual sails on the ship. Is she nearly ready to go for Able-Bodied Sailor?

Speaking of dinner, here it comes! Tonight we're having chicken chili.

Unlike the Old Lyme Dock Co., the Goodspeed dock remains untested for us. For that reason, we do maintain a dock watch through the night. This functions like an anchor watch, but rather than watching for a dragging anchor, the watch keeps an eye on the dock as the Half Moon rises and falls on the tide.

Next Time: The Main Event!

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