2010 Fresh River Voyage of Discovery banner
EpiLog: Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Starting Position: Docked at Connecticut River Academy, Goodwin Riverside Campus, East Hartford, CT.
Latitude: 41˚ 44.7' N
Longitude: 072˚ 38.6' W

Day One of our transit voyage from East Hartford, CT to Verplanck, NY.

After another successful visit to Goodwin College (and now, the CT River Academy), it's time for the Half Moon to return home to the Hudson River.

As we begin this log, the crew has already spent the night aboard, with most of our new crew members joining us over the course of Monday. Captain Reynolds ended the day yesterday with a safety briefing, and recommended that everyone get a good night's sleep we'll be setting out bright and early in the morning!

0530 hours

And now back to the present! Our goal is to reach the mouth of the Connecticut River by the end of the day, so we rise long before the sun in order to catch the tide.

0615 hours

Carolyn Niehaus and Woody Woodworth take their leave, tending our dock lines from shore. We'll see them back in Albany!

And who is that shadowy, mysterious figure on the dock? It's Dan Larson, the Goodwin College Senior Project Manager! It takes a diehard Half Moon fan to wave us off an hour before dawn on a chilly November morning!

0730 hours

By the time dawn breaks, we've already served breakfast and traveled past the Route 3 bridge.

0815 hours

While we'll take any opportunities to set sail that come our way, our goal on this voyage is simple: Deliver the Half Moon to its winter berth in Verplanck, NY, and wrap up the 2010 operating season. To that end, we're already operating under a 24-hour watch rotation, so any crew not on duty are encouraged to rest.

What a difference two weeks makes! On our way up the river, these trees were just starting to burst into their autumn colors. Now, most are already shedding their leaves.

As we travel back downriver, we're also retracing the steps of our Voyage of Discovery. Here's Seaboard Marina in Glastonbury, where the students delivered their presentations.

0900 hours

As we carefully thread our way around Gildersleeve Island, we're finally reaching the end of the tight straits which mark travel on the upper Connecticut River. We've spent the morning closely monitoring real-world conditions and markers as well as our navigational charts. The Half Moon draws 9-1/2 feet of water, so out of the total expanse of the river, only that narrow white channel is safe for us to enter!

Mouse over to pass through the bridge!
The Half Moon passes through the swivel bridge.

0945 hours

The Arrigoni Bridge connecting Portland and Middletown swivels open to let us pass. From here on out, the navigable channel broadens, allowing for a more relaxed atmosphere on the Quarter deck.

1000 hours

Belowdecks, John Montague and Nancy Jean Fox are hard at work prepping lunch with the ship's cook, Steve McLaughlin.

1200 hours

Current Position: Approaching East Haddam Bridge.
Latitude: 41˚ 27.8' N
Longitude: 072˚ 28.0' W

Normally, we only mark our position at the anchorages or ports where we begin and end our day, but we don't plan on stopping any time soon. Instead, we'll record our position every six hours. And don't forget that you can follow us in real time as well!

The senior crew begin training our new recruits in basic shipcraft while we're underway. On the fore deck, Ralf Hansel shows Ann Marie Moloney how to properly belay and coil a line.

1215 hours

As the East Haddam Bridge opens for us, we reach another milepost from our Voyage of Discovery: the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, where most of the students' data collection took place.

Crew training continues uninterrupted. David Pudlin is climbing into the rig to take his hang test and thus complete his harness training.

1245 hours

Mr. McLaughlin and his team serve lunch on the weather deck. Today it's make-your-own burritos.

1400 hours

Midafternoon finds the Half Moon heading away from Old Lyme on a northerly course. Why are we traveling back upriver? Because we're just too darn fast! We've made excellent time on a swift ebb current, but the mouth of the river is marked by a heavily-trafficked railway drawbridge. If we approach the bridge without being able to pass straight through (in the likely event of a passing train, for example), we'd face great difficulty maintaining control and position against the rushing current. That being the case, we're backtracking to buy time. The tide is due to turn around 1600 hours; on that slower tide we can approach the bridge and wait our turn in safety.

1615 hours

Just as predicted, the tide has now turned, and we've brought the ship about to return to the river's mouth. Crew training and ship activities have continued all the while. While taking her hang test, Ann Marie Moloney just wants to climb higher, and higher, and higher!

1645 hours

We're also using this free time to make a few adjustments to the rig.

We don't plan on using the mizzen mast's lateen sail for the rest of the season, so there's no harm in moving it up and a bit more out of the crew's way.

Pauli Dangerousli and Alexander Sharpe handle the task of relocating the blocks we use to brace the lateen.

1700 hours

For the second time today, we're approaching the I-95 bridge. And for real this time!

1715 hours

It was a tight fit on the way in; will we clear it on the way out? The river height has fluctuated by up to nine feet in the weeks since we arrived...

The measurements we took on the way in have paid off! It's a tight fit, but we pass smoothly under the bridge's walkways without even having to lower the flagstaffs.

Just beyond the bridge, we return to the Old Lyme Dock Co., who hosted us on the night of Day Three of the Voyage of Discovery.

Just beyond the Old Lyme Dock Co. in turn waits Bascule Bridge. We've come at a good time, and they open right up to let us pass through.

1730 hours

The Lynde Point Light by Old Saybrook marks the mouth of the Connecticut River. Our time on the "Fresh River" is over.

1800 hours

Current Position: Underway at mouth of the Connecticut River.
Latitude: 41˚ 15.1' N
Longitude: 072˚ 22.1' W

As the sun sets, we enter Long Island Sound and turn west. It's time for Starboard Watch to hand the reins over to Port Watch for the rest of the evening.

1815 hours

During the shift change, we all enjoy a meal of beef stew and fresh rolls on the weather deck.

1830 hours

Before Starboard Watch retires to their bedrolls, Captain Reynolds gathers everyone up for a briefing to recap the day. We've made excellent time so far, and we have no set schedule ahead of us. Ideally, the next time we stop will be our final destination in Verplanck, but that will depend on the state of the East River when we reach it sometime tomorrow.

0000 hours

Current Position: Underway in Long Island Sound, south of West Haven, CT.
Latitude: 41˚ 07.8' N
Longitude: 072˚ 56.5' W

As midnight comes, we find the Half Moon continuing to make excellent time. Unlike our transit voyage to New London (or Day One of the Voyage of Discovery), there's little wind or surf to do battle with. The result is smooth sailing and a rapid pace along the Sound.

The night is decidedly chilly, but down on the orlop deck Starboard Watch dutifully stirs from their bunks, ready to take over from Port Watch for the next six hours.

Next Time: Sailing Home!

Voyage Homepage Daily Log Our Crew Learning Half Moon homepage