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Daily Log: Sunday, June 7th

Part One: Haverstraw Dignitaries | Part Two: West Point Salute

Today's Events at a Glance:
Day Two
8 AM-11 AM: River Day Flotilla underway from Tarrytown, Nyack & Piermont area to Haverstraw, Croton, & Ossining area.
11 AM (ETA): Croton Point Park: Half Moon salutes the dedication of Croton Landing.
11 AM-2 PM: Midday celebrations in Haverstraw, Croton, & Ossining. The Half Moon lays off Croton Point.
2 PM: Flotilla continues north.
4 PM : The Half Moon exchanges a formal salute with Fort Montgomery.
5 PM: The Half Moon exchanges a formal 15-gun salute with West Point.
7 PM: Arrival and cannon welcome at Newburgh/Beacon.
Overnight: The Half Moon docks at the Town Pier in Newburgh.
Shoreside Activities:
11 AM -2 PM: Haverstraw Marina: Celebration.
12-7 PM: Newburgh: Flotilla Day provides music, Dutch singers, festivities, and more. Click here for info.
2-7 PM: Beacon: Welcome the Fleet Riverfront Festival with music and cuisine. Click here for info.
Land Viewing Locations:

11 AM -2 PM: Haverstraw Marina, Haverstraw Bay Park, & Bowline Park.

Ambassador Niehe ascends the shrouds.
Mouse over to hail
Ambassador Niehe.

This will almost assuredly be the most action-packed day of the voyage for the crew of the Half Moon. In fact, we've divided today's log into two sections to fit it all! Part Two centers on an event of enormous complexity and importance to we on the Half Moon: the exchange of a 15-gun salute with West Point.

Part One follows the day's voyage as we pick up special dignitaries during our time in Haverstraw Bay. We were particularly honored to have the Dutch Ambassador to the Quadricentennial Eric Neihe on board; he has been and continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of the Half Moon's programs.

0600 hours

Starting Position: Docked at Piermont Pier, Piermont.
Latitude: 41˚ 02.6'
Longitude: 073˚ 53.7'

Day Two of the inaugural 2009 River Day Voyage.

The Half Moon crew rises early to rendeviou with the rest of the River Day Flotilla vessels, most of which have spent the night at Tarrytown.

We swapped some crew in Piermont, so here's the Half Moon crew roster for this leg of the voyage: Captain Reynolds, Kipp Van Aken, Diane Carey, Keith Cardoza, Pauli Dangerousli, Ewout van Grondelle, Bob Hansen, Rick Vanden Heuvel, Brody Karn, Rachel Laufer, Doug Lyke, John W. Mangrum, Ben Mazer, Robert F. McGuigan, Stephen van der Merwe, Jeff Morton, Patrick E. Noonan, Rita Ormsby, Alex Padalka, Matthew Ricchezza, Frank Rodriques, John Swartout, and Patrick Wolfe.

0730 hours

With a light crowd of Piermont earlybirds present to see us off, we cast off our dock lines and head back toward Tarrytown to rejoin the flotilla.

No sooner have we left the dock than the crew turns their attention toward more training. We unfurl and set the courses right away.

Meanwhile, our dock line handlers are still busily removing chafing gear from the lines. That done, they'll neatly coil the lines and stow them within easy reach on the orlop deck.

Here, Mr. Morton tends to Line Three.

0745 hours

Down in the galley, Mr. Wolfe has Watch Leader Carey and his galley assistant for the hour, Mr. Lyke, help him bring a waffle breakfast up on deck for the crew.


0800 hours

We continue our sail handling as we approach Tarrytown, now practicing with both the courses and top sails.

After we once again pass under the Tappan Zee Bridge, Captain Reynolds uses what passes for a calm moment to provide the media with an interview. Raj Sirohi and Dawn Hopper are also special guests of the ship who have spent the night on board.

0915 hours

The River Day Flotilla has gathered and started the day's journey upriver. At the moment, we are passing the waterfront of Philipse Manor.

1015 hours

A new day brings new crew members in need of harness training. Mr. van Grondelle will have them working the rig in no time.

The flotilla follows as we travel north into Haverstraw Bay.

Mr. Rodriques chops his arm down to demonstrate the command to give fire.
Mouse over to give the command to fire!

But who has time for scenery? On the orlop deck, Mr. Rodriques demonstrates the visual command he will issue to give fire for the benefit of the falconet teams.

This meeting also provides us with an opportunity to address the final gun crew position: Assistant Gunner. An Assistant Gunner, such as Ms. Carey here, is in charge of handling the linstock, the rod holding a slow-burning length of fuse pictured here. During a firing exercise, the Assistant Gunner must keep the glowing ember alive and at a safe distance from the blackpowder weapons. When the time comes to fire, it is the Assistant Gunner who actually touches the lit linstock to the quill or squib to fire the gun.

Other assistant gunners include Mr. Ricchezza (fore deck swivel), Mr. Noonan (weather deck swivels), Mr. Padalka (port falconets), and Mr. Karn (port sternchaser).

No more unarmed practice drills -- it's time to plan an actual salute. Taking the role of Safety Officer, only Mr. Rodriques is authorized to actually clean and load the falconets.

1100 hours

The River Day Flotilla has dispersed to take a planned two-hour break. During this time, the various heritage vessels in the fleet will visit a number of local communities around Haverstraw Bay.

As for the Half Moon, we've come to Croton Point to fire falconet salutes in dedication of their new marina, Croton Landing. Once we arrive, Mr. Dangerousli is dispatched to the fore channel to wield the lead line. His soundings indicate a depth of just two fathoms -- which is problematic for the Half Moon, but workable with caution.

A massive crowd turns out at Croton Landing.
Mouse over for a closer look.

When we peer over at Croton Landing, we're delighted to see the size of the crowd cheering us on.

Mr. Rodriques overseas as Mr. Vander Heuvel and Mr. Padalka fire the port falcons.
Mouse over to give fire and give fire again!

1115 hours

Give fire! We fire off the port falconets for our arrival salute. When we leave, we'll conclude the salute with the sternchasers.

1145 hours

After cleaning the cannons, Master Gunners Rodriques and Prime discuss the finer details of their use with an intrigued Gunner Swartout.

1215 hours

In the dark confines of the aft orlop deck, the sternchaser gun crews await their commands.

Meanwhile, a group of special dignitaries have come on board to join us for the West Point Salute. These include Ambassador Eric Niehe and his wife Louise, former Deputy Chief of the Elders of the Lenape Mike Pace and his wife Ella, scholars David & Paul Oestreicher, and filmmaker Joel Goss.

Mr. Karn fires the port sternchaser.

1230 hours

Time to wrap up our visit to Croton Landing. To conclude the proceedings, we fire off another two-gun salute.

Ms. Carey and Mr. Morton fire the starboard sternchaser.
Mouse over to complete our
salute to Croton Landing.

Give fire! You can see Jeff Morton's video of this cannon firing at the bottom of this log entry. (Forgive the sound issues; our sternchasers are located directly above the engine room.)

The foremast team sets the fore course.
Mouse over to set the fore course.

1300 hours

While we lay off Croton Point, we have time for some more sail handling practice.

Mr. Rodriques and the Primes enjoy a dainty lunch in the foc's'le.

We have another pair of special guests we didn't mention above: Grant and Mimi Prime; both are experienced crew members. Grant Prime has joined us for the day to serve as a Master Gunner with Mr. Rodriques.

1315 hours

While that trio enjoys their meal in the shade of the foc's'le, the rest of the crew clusters on the weather deck to claim their share of lunch. We're keeping it tasty and simple today: hot dogs and corn chowder.

1400 hours

As we prepare to leave, Ambassador Niehe receives safety harness training and scales the main mast rig.

Meanwhile, the rest of the flotilla is reconvening out in the middle of Haverstraw Bay. Time to move on.

We set sail and join the flotilla to continue our journey north. Our appointment with West Point is just a scant few hours away.

A long pan of the River Day flotilla in Haverstraw Bay.
Mouse over to scan the horizon.

1415 hours

On this beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon, countless local recreational vessels have turned out to join the River Day Flotilla. The boats go on for as far as the eye can see.

The Launch 5 passes nearby as we near the northern end of Haverstraw Bay.

As the southerly wind pushes us along, let's not forget our rig teams! Ms. Laufer is tending the fore top sail, while Mr. McGuigan tends the main top.

Our dignitaries seem to be enjoying themselves as well.

As we come to the end of Haverstraw Bay, the flotilla is right behind us.

1430 hours

At the northern end of Haverstraw Bay we come to the town of Verplanck, just south of Peekskill. Verplanck is of particular significance to the Half Moon, and we'll show you why in just a moment.

The gun team fires the aft starboard swivel.
Mouse over to salute Verplanck.

We fire a swivel gun salute to Verplanck as we pass by.

Give fire!

As we round the point, we come to King Marine, the Half Moon's winter home. The Half Moon spends the frozen months moored inside King Marine's enclosed pier, protecting the shfrom otherwise destructive ice flows.

The gun crew fires another salute with the starboard aft swivel gun.
Mouse over to salute King Marine.

As we pass by, we fire a special salute just to King Marine.

We also notice that our host, Randy King (far right) has come out to see us on our way, along with one of the Half Moon crew's favorite neighbors on the King Marine dock: Bimini the parrot!

As the flotilla parades past, we'd just like to thank Randy King and King Marine for all they've done for the Half Moon over the many years.

Mr. Mazer stands atop the main topyard.
Mouse over for the big picture.

As we pass Peekskill, we change shifts aloft. Mr. Mazer is our new main topman, and he seems right at home in the position.

...perhaps a touch too right at home!

Leaving Haverstraw Bay behind us, we brace the sails to continue sailing.

1500 hours

Mimi Prime is at the helm as we begin our approach to the Hudson Highlands.

Behind us, we can see the other heritage vessels adjusting course to round the bend into the Hudson Highlands.

1515 hours

It's time for Ambassador Eric & Louise Niehe to take their leave. The Launch 5 pulls up alongside us to accept them on board. When the Half Moon exchanges its salute with West Point, the Niehes will be able to watch the cannon fire from the water rather than on our deck. We hope to produce an impressive display.

As Bear Mountain Bridge comes into view, Captain Reynolds quickly preps the mast teams on how best to set the sails to catch the tricky wind patterns produced by the Highlands' towering shorelines.

As we come to the end of Part One of today's log, we can see the Mystic Whaler, the Onrust, the Riverkeeper, the Launch 5, and many more vessels all moving into tight formation behind us.

1545 hours

The Bear Mountain Bridge looms ahead, and beyond it lies the towering Hudson Highlands. Immediately north of the bridge sits historic Fort Montgomery, our final official gun salute before we reach West Point.

Mr. Rodriques gives the visual command to fire on the weather deck.
Mouse over to give the command to fire!

Mr. Rodriques utilizes the few remaining minutes to lead his gun crews through one last firing exercise...

...and then it begins.

Part Two: The West Point Salute.

Video by Jeff Morton


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