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 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.
The wind shifted to the NE overnight. Ethan put together a breakfast of French toast and fruit to start off our day. Ryan was at the helm as we departed the dock, came head to wind and set sail. C Watch with Hank, Miles, Will and Mr. Brown sailed us out of the St. Mary’s River. With the wind on our port quarter we made fast progress south. Soon after lunch, we passed Smith Point Light and entered into Virginia waters. Lunch soon followed. Even though we are 5+ miles off land a large mass of flies, several different species, have recently landed on board - including a solitary butterfly. Not common, but it does happen occasionally. The crew made a declaration of war and spent a solid hour attempting to eradicate the unwelcome visitors. Maisie might have the distinction of dispatching the most. Everyone has their predicted arrival in Charleston up on a whiteboard, and they have to be locked in within an hour. Brady and Ben made cheese ravioli and homemade sauce for dinner. Looks like we will be sailing out of The Bay entrance in a few hours. Enjoying a nice sail and all are in good spirits as we begin our longest overnight passage.
Yesterday we went alongside the St. Mary's College dock at their one-of-a-kind waterfront. It really is a great space that the sailing team and waterfront crew has been kind enough to share with us. After spending some time cleaning Geronimo on deck and below, we went ashore to have some quiet study time. The afternoon we went for a walk and a swim, then moved into pizza followed by showers, internet and phone time.
Today we took a trip up to Washington, DC to visit the Ocean Hall at the Museum of Natural History and take in the National Mall on a beautiful, but warm fall day. Back on board for another swim call (it was in the high 80's today). Dinner and now study hall. Plan is to depart toward Charleston tomorrow morning.
We made good time up the Delaware Bay and transited the C & D Canal in the afternoon. Just before dinner we found a nice anchorage in the Sassafras River.
Monday started with a much-welcomed late wake-up. Miles made breakfast sandwiches that were a big hit and we were underway soon after. In Marine Science class today, we heard marine organism presentations from Ben, Brady, Hank and Ryan, everyone else goes tomorrow. Starboard watch tacked us down to the Bay Bridge, with Ethan, Maisie, Ryan and Miles sharing steering duties. We sailed under the Bay Bridge, past Annapolis and south past Thomas Point Light. Starboard watch brought Geronimo into our anchorage in the West River, with Hank and Ben sharing helm duties, while Brady and Will took care of navigation and lookout. A swim call capped the afternoon. As I write this Miles and Mr. Brown are making ribs, broccoli and corn cakes for dinner.
Our plan is to sail our way down to St. Mary's City, Maryland tomorrow where we will spend the next few days and set foot on land for the first time in nearly a week.
A fine evening was spent at anchor overlooking New York City. Yesterday morning we moved through our cleaning routine and then sat down for and on deck breakfast of scrambled eggs, English muffins and bacon courtesy of Hank. We set sail and negotiated our way down New York Harbor. A Watch (Ryan, Maisie and me) had the first watch sailing under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and on past Sandy Hook. B Watch (Ben, Brady, Ethan and Ms. Flanagan) had the next watch from noon to 1600. C Watch (Miles, Will, Hank and Mr. Brown) had the 1600-1800 watch and cooked macaroni and cheese, sausage and salad. We had a nice evening of mostly sailing and entered the Delaware Bay just before dawn. We are enjoying a nice sail up the bay with a the last of a NE’ly breeze that is threatening to diminish and veer around to the SE. Looks like we should be up near the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal this afternoon.
Just after sunset we sailed up to the anchor just outside of New Haven and enjoyed a nice evening at anchor. Early this morning (0600), it was pouring down rain. Dressed in foul weather gear, everyone made their way on deck to set sail and haul back the anchor. We sailed out of the harbor and had a faster-than-expected broad reach down the sound - pushing 9 and 10 knots for a while. After lunch the rain backed off and began to clear on our approach to NYC through the East River. Maisie was at the helm as we transited Hell Gate with 5 knots of a fair current, then Ben took her down past Midtown Manhattan before handing over to Miles who steered us under the Brooklyn Bridge and past the Battery - and finally Will was at the helm passing the Statue of Liberty and over to our anchorage off of Ellis Island. There is a little roll from all of the boat traffic, but the view is hard to beat. The skies are clearing and there is a spectacular sunset over the city. As I write this, Ben and Hank are putting together dinner of spaghetti, meatballs and salad.
Our plan is to depart for points south tomorrow morning, likely exploring the Chesapeake Bay for a few days.
Early this morning it was still raining, but we had a few moments of reprieve to spend some time moving through on-board safety orientation. This happened after Ben and Mr. Brown put together breakfast sandwiches, bacon and fruit for us. By mid-morning, most of the rain had pushed through and we got underway. Will was at the helm taking us off the dock and the first stretch out of Newport harbor. We set sail and started making our way north under the Pell Bridge with Ethan at the helm. North of the bridge we spent some time going through tacking drills under a deep-reefed main and jib. The crew did really well and we then proceeded north to Bristol to rendezvous with our inflatable boat that was returning from a repair job. We were reunited with Thunderchief (our inflatable boat), had study hall, loaded up some more provisions and then departed the dock for an anchorage off of Prudence Island. Maisie was at the helm taking us off the dock and we short-tacked all the way to Potter Cove, sailing up to the anchor with Brady at the helm. Dinner of pasta, chicken, broccoli and salad rounded out a full day.
Tomorrow we are planning to depart pre-dawn once the wind veers around to the north, bound for Long Island Sound.
Rain was coming down more than I can remember on the first day of a trip, but that didn't dampen the spirits of the fall crew. Boarding at Goat Island marina in Newport, the crew and their families crowded down below as everyone tried to stay dry, myself included. After goodbyes we put on rain gear to load our life rafts and the remainder of our provisions. A break in the rain brought a good opportunity to take care of some details on deck - taking on fuel and rigging jib sheets and jacklines. Ben kept an eye on the fuel pump, Brady watched the on-board gauge, Hank watch the tank levels, Ethan, Ryan and Will rigged the jacklines, Maisie tied a few bowlines and helped to secure the life rafts, and Miles rigged the jib sheets. We had a busy day taking gear of final details and starting our on-board orientation. Everyone chipped in to make dinner and help clean up. Burritos with rice, beans, ground beef, cheese, peppers, avocados and I'm sure other things that I just can't recall. Post dinner we continued our orientation for a little while longer, taking some time to hear from everyone, before heading off to our bunks for the night.
Tomorrow we hope to get underway after breakfast for northern Narragansett Bay. Hoping things will dry out a little tomorrow. We are looking at departing Rhode Island on Thursday or Friday, once the wind veers around to the north.
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.
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