Our Compass Points to Cape Cod

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The Sagamore Bridge from the deck of the Charles W. Morgan. Watch video below.

Clouds cleared at dawn and on July 8, the Charles W. Morgan set sail from New Bedford harbor. She has made this departure many times before. However, instead of pointing southward out of Buzzard’s Bay (like previous voyages), we turned east towards Cape Cod.

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We arrived at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy by midday and docked at the mouth of the Cape Cod Canal. The canal waters can be wild at times. They can go from dead flat to a raging torrent of white caps with standing waves. When the tides shift, there is a time when the waves run against the current. Here is a video of the current running against the tide.


(On second thought, let’s not go swimming)

At Mass. Maritime, I had a chance to check out their tugboat simulator! It definitely was the highlight of my day. Any weather condition can be simulated, and any harbor can be programmed in the tugger!

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The simulator was built two years ago in the state-of-the-art building donated by the American Bureau of Shipping Information.

Unfortunately my time was limited, and the simulator wasn’t running. But when the Morgan sails back through the canal for the centennial celebration in a few weeks, I’m going to crash me some tugboats!

Ok not literally…

I spent the rest of the afternoon aboard the academy’s training ship Kennedy. 

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Although the ship serves as a floating classroom for 700 cadets during semesters at sea, the 540 foot former cargo ship has seen some action recently. When Hurricane Sandy struck the northeast in 2012, nearly 900 relief workers boarded the Kennedy and were deployed in New York Harbor.

Although I didn’t get to see the engine room, I did get to photograph the bridge, the bow, the stern and the survival boats.

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The Morgan pointed east towards the canal

The Morgan left early the next morning bound for Provincetown.

Another early morning muster. Life is hard, and what a horrible view.

For the crossing of the canal, I climbed to the to’gallant crosstrees and set up some cameras to capture our transit. It was gorgeous aloft, and I could have spent all day up there!

Clearly my day keeps getting worse

Clearly my day keeps getting worse

During my journey it has been fascinating to learn the stories of people with direct ties to this ship and its history.

With New Bedford at our stern, I think it’s time to change tack slightly. For the next few days, I’m shifting my attention away from harpoons, whaleboats and oil.  Instead, I’ll be learning and writing about marine mammal conservation efforts happening today.

The Morgan will sail north from Provincetown to Stellwagen Bank, and it’s my hope we’ll finally see some whales out there.

See you in Provincetown,