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Daily Log: Friday, June 5th

Today's Events at a Glance:
River Day Launch Celebration
6 PM: River Day Flotilla gathers in front of Liberty Island for photo op.
6:30 PM: Blessing of the Fleet at Battery Park with Governor Patterson and special guests.
Overnight: The Half Moon docked at Homeport pier at Staten Island.
Shoreside Activities:
6 PM: Manhattan: Harbor Night festivities at Battery Park.
Land Viewing Locations:
Battery Park, Manhattan.

0700 hours

Starting Position: Anchored at Gravesend Bay.
Latitude: 40˚ 35.4'
Longitude: 074˚ 00.7'

Having made good time, the Replica Ship Half Moon arrived at Gravesend Bay in lower New York Harbor yesterday afternoon. The ship is now in position to begin the River Day Voyage proper. As the crew rises, weather predictions guarantee that rain will soon arrive and remain steady into the night. Undaunted, the crew spends the morning practicing sail handling and gun salutes.

1330 hours

Time to depart. As the rain starts to fall, Captain Reynolds gathers the crew on deck for a briefing on the day's itinerary. Cloaked in concealing raingear, it's a bit hard to tell that we're all wearing our official crew shirts!

1400 hours

Crew members are assigned to their positions as we weigh anchor. On the weather deck, the capstan team hauls up the 400 lb. anchor one step at a time. It's a smooth job and we're soon on our way.

Once the ship is underway, Mr. Wolfe serves macaroni and cheese for lunch in the galley.

The crew will spend the rest of the afternoon practicing sail handling while Captain Reynolds uses the time to scout out tonight's mooring, but allow us to cut straight to the festivities...

1800 hours

By the time we arrive at the starting point for tonight's parade, the skies are grim indeed. The haze you'll see in most of the following photos isn't fog -- it's heavy rain, accompanied by a strong northerly wind.

The harbor is choppy as the rest of the flotilla gathers behind the Half Moon. An early arrival is the Mystic Whaler, whom we've already encountered on our way downriver.

This is weather fit only for sailors!

Tonight's main event is the Blessing of the Fleet. At 1830 hours sharp, the Half Moon will lead the flotilla in a parade around the mouth of the Hudson and past Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, where dignitaries -- both religious and secular -- wait to grants the ships of our fleet their blessing.

Meanwhile, the gathering ships take the opportunity to check each other out. The crews are surely as excited to witness this collection of vessels as any spectator on shore. Here, the Onrust and the Launch 5 flank the Clipper City.

1805 hours

The Launch 5 zips up to take a close look at us as we idle off of Ellis Island. Anticipation is brewing!

As the minutes tick down, more and more vessels join the fleet, including boats and ships just joining us for the day. Here, the Pioneer out of South Street Seaport slides past in the background.

1810 hours

As our fellow 17th century VOC vessel, the Onrust, sails nearby to starboard, we get a good look at its crew.

They look wet, but delighted to be on the water...

...something else we seem to share in common!

1815 hours

Fifteen minutes to go. As the final minutes tick away, let's take a moment to let the pictures tell the story.

1825 hours

As we get ready to move, we dispatch rig teams aloft. On the fore mast, Mr. Karn and Ms. Laufer unfurl the fore course.

1830 hours

No more waiting -- let the River Day Voyage officially begin!

Captain Reynolds throttles forward...

...and the Half Moon begins its journey up the Hudson River.

With the Half Moon serving as lead heritage vessel, the remaining vessels of the flotilla quickly fall into line and set course.

As we motor north through the choppy water and fierce winds, the rig teams focus on maintaining the ship's decorative appearance. In the main top, Mr. Cardoza rescues a wemple that's wrapped itself around a top lift.

1845 hours

The crew down below braves the weather admirably as well. On the fore deck, Mr. McGuigan, Ms. Carey, and Mr. Kasunic stand lookout and wait to tend the fore sails.

1900 hours

The winds claw at our flags and banners as we make a wide turn back south toward Battery Park.

With the wind now to our back, we set the fore course.

As we double back, we get a good look at the flotilla parading behind us. Batten down the hatches -- this is weather to remember.

1915 hours

In our final approach, we hug the Manhattan shore. At the northern end of Battery Park, we encounter a group of boaters from Floating the Apple, a New York organization that teaches its students how to build small vessels, such as the gigs you see here.

1920 hours

The dignitary tent comes into view. All free hands report to the port side rail to stand at attention.

Considering the downpour, we've drawn a healthy crowd. Starting with the Half Moon, each flotilla vessel in turn travels past the religious dignitaries to receive their blessing.

We were trying to snap a photo of Governor Patterson and the other dignitaties, but it turns out the two spectators who really stand out are our own crewmembers, Mr. Dangerousli and Mr. Swartout!

1925 hours

Once the Half Moon has been blessed, we cut away from shore, setting course for Staten Island, our destination. The following vessels likewise disperse for the night as they complete their part in the festivities.

Peeking behind us, we see the Onrust slide past as the John J Harvey presents the dignitaries with a water cannon display.

1945 hours

With the Blessing of the Fleet complete, we continue on our way across New York Harbor, furling the fore course and drawing down our wemples as we go.

While we travel across the harbor under the Half Moon's power, Mr. Dangerousli and Mr. Swartout are racing along a parallel route in a Staten Island ferry; both of our vessels will arrive at the same time, allowing them to watch our appoach.

2040 hours

Ending Position: Docked at Staten Island Home Port.
Latitude: 40˚ 37.8'
Longitude: 074˚ 04.3'

As the unseen sun sets, we arrive at the Staten Island Home Port amidst churning waters. Under Captain Reynolds' diligent supervision, the Half Moon is soon safely moored for the night. Crew members Dangerousli and Swartout meet us on the dock and step aboard.

2115 hours

With the ship finally secure for the night, the crew can finaly escape the weather and peel themselves out of their sodden rain gear. While Ms. Laufer's soaked jeans are truly lamentable, she chose to wear those sandals!

2130 hours

Ship's business concluded, Mr. Wolfe serves a late dinner of chicken, rice, and vegetables in the galley. The crew hungrily devour their meals and quickly turn in. We expect the churning waves to rock us to sleep, and we'll need the rest -- Day One starts bright and early tomorrow morning.

Next Time: From New York Harbor to Piermont!

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