2009 River Day Voyage banner

0500 hours

Starting Position: Docked at Peckham Materials in Athens Channel.
Latitude: 42˚ 16.3'
Longitude: 073˚ 48.1'

River Day doesn't officially begin until 1800 hours on June 5, but regular readers of these logs know that the action begins long before then. As dawn breaks on Athens Channel, the crew that came on board last night rises to begin the voyage before the voyage.

We will be rotating many crew members in and out over the course of this long voyage, so here's the Half Moon crew roster for the Day Zero voyage: Captain Reynolds, Kipp Van Aken, Diane Carey, Keith Cardoza, Ewout van Grondelle, Bob Hansen, David Howell, Brody Karn, Cullen Kasunic, Rachel Laufer, John W. Mangrum, Ben Mazer, Robert F. McGuigan, Stephen van der Merwe, Patrick E. Noonan, Anna & Tony Ravinsky, Matthew Ricchezza, Frank Rodriques, and Patrick Wolfe.

0515 hours

Once everyone is roused, Captain Reynolds gathers all hands at the capstan for a standard safety briefing. On this long voyage, we'll have a wide mix of Half Moon old salts and new volunteers.

Speaking of all hands, hygiene is an important component of these briefings. The crew practices washing their hands thoroughly -- no one needs a cold to come on board and race through the crew roster!

0545 hours

With all prep work accounted for, we toss off our lines and pull away from Athens Wharf, with Mr. Cardoza acting as dock support.

Mind the gap getting back on board!

With that, we start motoring south, soon passing Athens. We often return one or more horn salutes as we pass by, but at 0600 hours that might not be so warmly appreciated.

We have more than two days to reach New York Harbor, so the reason for our early departure is our planned destination tonight: Constitution Island, directly across from West Point. We need to time our arrival with the tides in order to dock successfully.

0700 hours

As the Half Moon continues on its way, ship's bosun Ewout van Grondelle leads our new and returning crew members through harness training.

0715 hours

Even experienced crew members -- such as Ms. Laufer, a Voyage of Discovery alumna -- are required to take a refresher each year.

Once everyone's comfortable in their harnesses, the crew take turns going aloft to take their hang tests.

0815 hours

Other crew members keep themselves busy with various ship projects. In the foc's'le, Mr. Rodriques is sewing a new canvas boot for the main mast. (These boots act like umbrellas, helping to channel rain water onto the upper decks rather than letting it pour down the masts into the lower decks where crew members may be resting.)

0900 hours

The Half Moon is going to be on full display for the length of the River Day voyage, so Mr. Van Grondelle convenes the first of many sail handling briefings.

Using his handy whiteboard, the bosun prepares sail diagrams to show the new crew exactly how their lines affect the sails.

The main mast team sets the main course as Mr. Van Aken looks on.
Mouse over to set the main.

0915 hours

Soon enough, the crew is ready to overhaul the clews, bunts, and martinets!

After some practice on the courses, we move to handling the top sails. With a welcome northerly wind at our backs, we fill the sails and zip along the Hudson.

Of course, sail handling begins with line handling -- when we aren't adjusting the sails, we need to keep the deck tidy and organized. Here, Mr. Kasunic coils the main starboard clew.

0945 hours

Working the top sails also requires that crew members climb aloft to work the tops. Here, Mr. Mazer is on his way back down after a shift aloft. As we'll see later in the voyage, he's more than comfortable in the rig.

1145 hours

Mr. Wolfe produces a tasty lunch of soup and sandwiches for the crew. We've already built up and appetite, and we're just getting started!

1400 hours

As we approach the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge on our way south , we happen upon another pair of heritage vessels making their way north: the Replica Nina and Pinta, which were of course the two caravels Christopher Columbus sailed to the New World (along with the larger Santa Maria) in 1492. 207 years later, the Hudson's voyage on the Half Moon would build on the explorations started by these vessels.

Mr. Rodriques fires a salute to the Nina and Pinta.
Mouse over to give fire!

We hustle to fire off a gun salute -- the first of a great many we'll issue by journey's end -- to our fellow artifacts of living history. We're told that the Nina and Pinta will be in Kingston when the River Day Flotilla arrives, so hopefully we'll get a closer look at them later.

1415 hours

Just a few minutes later, we encounter another heritage vessel coming our way. This one is the Mystic Whaler out of New London, CT, and like us they're preparing to join the River Day Flotilla.

Mr. Ricchezza assists ship's gunner Rodriques as we fire another salute. We can use all the practice we can get -- on June 7, we'll return a 15-gun salute at West Point.

1445 hours

Our crew snaps a few photos as we pass Bannerman's Castle on Pollepel Island, marking the northern entrance into the Hudson Highlands.

1500 hours

As we enter the Highlands, the towering cliffs block our wind, so we send rig teams aloft to douse and furl the sails.

1545 hours

We're coming into the final approach to our destination for the day: Constitution Island, just across from West Point (visible behind Mr. Hansen here).

Mr. Rodriques and Mr. Karn fire a swivel gun salute.
Mouse over to give fire!

1630 hours

As we approach, Mr. Karn assists with the firing of another salute. Mr. Rodriques will lead his gun teams through numerous gun drills between now and the big event at West Point.

1700 hours

The tide is flowing in our favor, so docking will be no problem. While we're here, however, Captain Reynolds takes the opportunity to chart our approach when we return here for the West Point salute.

Ending Position: Docked at Constitution Island, NY.
Latitude: 41˚ 24.1'
Longitude: 073˚ 58.25'

1715 hours

While we secure our mooring lines, the Mystic Whaler passes by again, on its way back south to New York Harbor. As they pass, they return our earlier salute.

Constitution Island (external link) is officially part of the West Point Military Academy and played a major role in the American Revolutionary War. Here at World's End, the narrowest and deepest section of the Hudson River, West Point and Constition Island were the anchor points of one of three 80-ton chains which could be stretched across the river to block invading British warships.

With the ship secure, the crew is free to spend the rest of the day touring the historical sites on the island and taking in the commanding views.

Special thanks to Roddy MacLeod, Resident Manager of Constitution Island, who made our visit possible.


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