Geronimo is a voyage of self-discovery. Student crew members discover the joys and challenges of life aboard a 69-foot cutter as they sail along one leg of a tour that in 2017-18 will take the boat along the eastern coast of the U.S., from Rhode Island to the Bahamas and back. As they live, learn and explore together, classmates discover what it truly means to be a crew.
This morning I met Geronimo and her crew at Cuttyhunk. The students were ashore exploring the island when I arrived so I was able to greet them all when they returned to the boat. Shortly after everyone was back aboard we made ready to get underway. Joseph climbed up the mast to attach the main halyard while others cast off the lines needed to set the sail. Meanwhile, Camryn and Ms. Spring were at the bow hauling back the anchor. With the sails set, and the anchor aboard, we began our sail for Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard. Catherine was on the helm for the first part of the trip and calmly brought us past Knox Point and up to Quicks Hole passage. Around 2:30 we let go the anchor in Menemsha bight.
After a brief swim call, we loaded up our small boat and went ashore. The students walked around the small town and most went for another swim at the beach. We are now back aboard Geronimo and will have dinner in a few minutes. Colby has arranged for a game of hide and seek aboard the boat. Despite only being 70’ there are plenty of places to hide. Tomorrow morning we will head back to Narragansett Bay.
We had a full day, but a really great day of sailing. We departed in our anchorage in the morning and began tacking down the west side of Prudence Island. As the day moved, the wind began to build a little. Even though they had been on board for just about 24 hours, the student crew truly did an excellent job sailing down the bay. With the watchful eye of the mates and our student leader and Geronimo veteran, Colby - the new crew executed too many tacks to count as we passed under the Pell Bridge and tacked down through East Passage. Lily had the distinction of sailing us under the bridge, while Bella and Sarge did a great job steeing. Once clear of Brenton Reef, we fell off and enjoyed fast sail down to Cuttyhunk - anchoring up in the late afternoon just in time for a much-welcomed swim call. After dinner, a contingent of students made brownies and we played a game.
After a good breakfast of bagels, bacon and fruit salad led by Ajay, our cook for the day. We went ashore on Cuttyhunk, climbed to the highest point for a great view. By mid-morning it was already quite warm and muggy ashore, but the crew found a few places to buy cold drinks. I said goodbye and handed off to Captain Hughes after a great few days.
Our second student pre-orientation program is underway. Eight students boarded at noon along with student leader Colby, and we were underway in the early afternoon. We had a chance to do an on-board orientation and started sailing toward Prudence Island. Each student had a chance to steer and line handle as we tacked our way toward the anchorage. After we arrived at the anchorage and furled sails, we had time for a swim call followed by a trip ashore to the sandy spit at Potter Cove. We just wrapped up a relaxing dinner on deck and are getting ready to play a game.
Plan is to sail our way south tomorrow and anchor up somewhere down the bay.
Yesterday morning, after eating crepes prepared by Brady, the crew of Geronimo went ashore to Woods Hole. By lunch time, we were back aboard the boat and making ready to get underway for Cuttyhunk. We had a good breeze that allowed us to sail at 8kts, zigzagging across Buzzards Bay for our next stop. With the anchor down around 4:30 there was extra time before dinner to go for a swim and walk around the island. When we returned to Geronimo we learned that Tabor Boy, Tabor Academy’s sail training vessel, had also arrived to the Cuttyhunk anchorage. This afforded a special opportunity for the students to connect with other boarding school students participating in a similar experience. To mark the occasion we joined their crew ashore for a bonfire.
After morning chores and breakfast, we will begin making way back toward Rhode Island waters.
Last night, Linus steered Geronimo underneath the Jamestown Bridge on our way to Dutch Harbor. Once we arrived, most of the students worked on deck to take in sail and get ready the anchor. Carly, however, was below in the galley making a dinner of mac & cheese with green beans.
After breakfast this morning, we set the sails and got underway for Buzzards Bay. The students are divided into two groups and split the responsibilities of sailing and navigating Geronimo. Scarlett was on the helm as Geronimo came into Woods Hole this afternoon. This is often a challenging place to steer as there are many strong currents in the area. Scarlett handled it like a pro. Once at anchor, we went for a swim before sitting down to dinner.
Tomorrow we will go ashore to visit the Woods Hole Oceanography Institute Discovery Center and afterwards spend time in town.
This summer’s first incoming student orientation program has begun aboard Geronimo. This morning we welcomed aboard 7 new St. George’s students and welcomed back aboard Hallie as the student leader for the trip! Over the next 5 days we will work our way through Narragansett Bay and into Buzzards Bay before returning to Bristol, RI. This week will afford students the chance to make friendships before the start of the school year as well as get a glimpse of the Geronimo program. The weather looks promising for a fun week together exploring Southern New England.
Geronimo is back in her home waters!
After dinner last night, Maia got the vessel underway for Bristol, RI. A watch had the first shift and handed it over to B watch just before the Cape Cod Canal. C watch had the mid watch from 12-4 and brought Geronimo across Buzzards Bay and to the entrance of the Narragansett Bay. We had a great breeze and hit 12kts surfing down the waves just outside of the Bay. This was a perfect culmination of the sailing portion of the program. The students were confident steering and handling the sails in challenging conditions.
To celebrate our final night together we went out for Thai food and had cake back aboard the boat. Emotions are mixed now that it’s the last night of the voyage. At dinner we fondly reminisced about our four weeks together. We have had a great voyage together, traveling more than 1845 nm. The students are leaving the vessel with inside jokes, shared stories, new friendship and hopefully a great sense of accomplishment.
Geronimo is back in Massachusetts’ waters. Early Thursday morning we got underway for Cape Cod from Vinalhaven. On our way out of Penobscot Bay we passed close by Matinicus Rock to have a look at the seabirds that make the island home. The puffins were a particular favorite among the crew. Because of the southwesterly winds we chose to take two long tacks in order to reach the Cape. First traveling south for a day and then turning to the west for the next 16 hours. Out in the open water we were treated to breaching minke whales and numerous basking sharks cruising at the surface of the water. There are many shark enthusiasts on board who got a particular kick out of the experience.
This afternoon John was the JWO for our arrival to Provincetown, navigating us around Race Point and instructing the other crew in taking in sail. Once on the anchor, Evan cooked pork, rice and snap peas for dinner. To round out the night we gathered in the main saloon for the group game of werewolf. Tomorrow we will go ashore for a bit before catching the favorable tide through the Cape Cod Canal.
Greetings from secluded Seal Harbor on Vinalhaven. With our arrival to Maine, the crew of Geronimo can now boast having passed every state on the eastern seaboard. Traveling down the St. Mary’s river on our way to Cumberland Island we sailed along the north coast of Florida. Then our recent passage to Maine from Nantucket took us past the final states of New Hampshire and Maine. At this point, we have traveled over 1500nm. The students should be very proud of their accomplishment.
B watch brought Geronimo into Rockland harbor last night. The setting was eerie, with thick patches of fog and only the light of the harbor’s lighthouses intermittently penetrating through the clouds. There was also the added challenge of dodging hundreds of lobster pots on the approach. This morning the fog had lifted revealing the town of Rockland. After a morning ashore, we hauled back the anchor and traveled through the Fox Island Thoroughfare to get to our current anchorage. Everyone had lunch on deck to enjoy the scenery as we passed through. Now at anchor, some of the students are swimming off the boat while others are out exploring in Thunder Chief. Tonight we will bring out the grill for the first time this trip. Maia and Liam are planning to make BBQ chicken and hot dogs.
Yesterday, while sailing along the eastern coast of Cape Cod, we spotted a pod of humpback whales. I saw the first one while steering and shortly after, Liam found a group of them feeding behind us. We changed our course to get a little closer before stopping the vessel to watch them. We drifted for about 30 mins with whales on all sides. One came up 20’ from our stern and lumbered there for a few minutes. The whale was so close that we could see the white of its pectoral fins through the water. This was a very special experience that had the students and adults giddy on deck as we watched the animals feed and dive around us.
After a night of intermittent fog, the skies have now cleared. All we see now is the ocean around us. We are about 50nm from the Maine coast and traveling at 8kts. At this rate, we should arrive late tonight.
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