26 August 2009

2009 Mystic Whaler Training Cruise

Boatswain Log

Tuesday July 28, 2009

We boarded the Mystic Whaler at 1700 hours. We were all given dog tags that had our crew and cabin assignments. After we stowed our gear in our cabins, we were called on deck for our opening ceremony and flag raising. We got a brief safety talk from Captain John, and then shoved off the dock. The Mystic Whaler crew then went over all the safety equipment on board. We all helped raise the sails and went to find a place to anchor for the night. The first night aboard we had mid-rats and just hung out with the crew to get to know each other. Tonight my crew “Charlie Crew” has a watch from 2400 to 0400 hours. We have a lot to take care of and much to do during the night watch to keep this tall boat ship shape. Tomorrow we will get into the lessons and start our training to become qualified seamen. “The scouts are excited that they are staying on a tall ship like this and able to get their hands dirty”, Will Kommritz said as we are just relaxing in the great room. Should be a fun night. I need to get my sleep before Midwatch. This is Connor Rieve signing off at 2221 hours.

Wednesday July 29, 2009

Got off duty at 0400 this morning, tried to get some quick shut eye, and then got up for breakfast at 0730. Got finished with breakfast and hauled the anchor up and off we went. The kids learned hard that staying up late isn’t a good idea. Many of the scouts today were down below taking cat naps to get refreshed. We broke into crews and started going over basic navigation and charting. We had some great rolling seas, so some kids got sea sick. The weather was ok today, overcast for most of the morning but by afternoon, the fog really rolled in. We all had to stay really quiet so we could hear other boats horn signals. Tonight we anchored in a small cove and some kids climbed up the foresail mast and some jumped over board to take a quick swim before dinner. Tonight the cook is making hot dogs and hamburgers. The food on this trip isn’t skimpy, I feel like I’m dining on a luxury cruise. After dinner was cleaned up, we met as a whole group to go over Rules of the Road. Well, luckily tonight I’m not going on a watch so I should be able to get a good night sleep. Tomorrow, the Captain has told us that we are heading to Greenport, NY. Our planned trip to Block Island won’t work due to a severe storm heading this way with 6 foot seas all the way there and back. Should be a fun day of sailing ahead. Connor Rieve signing off at 2220 hours.

Thursday 30, 2009

Today I got up at 0630 to the sound of the big loud diesel engine onboard this tall ship. The captain wanted to get an early start to the day due to the passing storms that were in the area. It turned out to be a beautiful day to sail; the sun was out and there were almost no clouds in the sky. On our way down to Greenport the wind picked up and the boat was flying through the water. Captain said that we were going 10.5 knots with a 1 knot current against us. Today the captain told the helmsman not a course number but the command “F and B” aka Full and By. That means to keep the sails full with wind and as close by the wind as we could get her to sail. It was truly an amazing time on the helm. We were just sailing like sailors before us, by feeling the wind and not using the compass at all. My crew today had breakfast clean up; not the best thing in the world to do, but someone has to. So after we were done we had tacking drills. Sandra in my crew came up to me and said that her hands hurt so badly from the lines running through her hands but that she was loving every second of it. We definitely feel like pirates aboard this vessel and everyone onboard is getting used to the commands given by the Captain and his crew. After the tacking drills, the crew gave us a surprise MOB drill. We all reacted so quickly and kept repeating orders and saying that there was a “MOB on the port side”. A rescue boat was launched to pick up the bumper (MOB) which was transported back to the ship. We then had a debriefing session. Captain was pleased with everyone on their response time and that we kept doing what we were told to do. Once we docked at Greenport we had an hour and a half shore leave. We were given the event t-shirt which we all wore into town. Everyone made it back before the time allowed ran out. Once the sails were flaked and dinner was cleaned up, Captain and Mr. Glassman talked about anchors and how to use them. After that we had a surprise birthday party for Kyle’s 20th birthday. The galley goddess cooked up a wonderful cake for our mid-rats snack. Tonight a bunch of us are sleeping on deck; it’s a wonderful night for it. The stars are out and there is a slight breeze coming over the bow. Well it’s about that time again to hit the rack. This is Connor Rieve signing off at 0025 on July 31, 2009. See you in the morning.

Friday July 31, 2009

Since we were still docked in Greenport, night watch was suspended so everyone got a good night sleep. It was a normal day, even if it rained a little bit while we were sailing back up to New London harbor. The forecast for the day stated that severe thunder storms were close, but luckily it held off until everyone disembarked. While sailing back, we went over currents and tides, relative bearings, and practiced our marlinspike. Steve, the second mate aboard the Mystic Whaler Crew, was sad to see us leave. He said that “once everyone is good at everything we have to let them go.” When the captain gave an order we followed it without any problems. When we arrived back in New London Harbor we lowered the sails and the kids jumped right in and started flaking the sails. Even I was impressed that after just a few days everyone knew what had to be done. I could tell that they weren’t ready to leave. Then I was given the order to muster the crew on the Quarterdeck; without hesitation everyone was repeating the order over and over again like they were trained to. It was very impressive. At the closing ceremony everyone was lined up in their crews from Alpha to Echo. Jonathan Glassman, our District Executive, had a few words to say. Then we gave three cheers (and one loud whistle) to the crew of the Mystic Whaler for helping us have such a wonderful time. The scouts were then awarded the Qualified Seaman Bar by their crew leaders. You can see it in their eyes that they have become true seamen. From there, I continued with the retrieving of the colors and then with proper formality, requested the captain permission to lay ashore. Everyone on board will never forget the experiences and fun times working together aboard the first ever Mystic Whaler Sea Scout Training Cruise.