Part 6. Epilogue and Online Blog

 Entry begun on Saturday, July 26, at 7:15 am

During the three weeks since I finally got home on July 4, I’ve been busy writing and posting the rest of this blog, following the subsequent transits of the Charles W. Morgan, and planning for the Moby-Dick and Dickinson exhibitions during the 2015 Spring Semester and the exhibitions to accompany the Cincinnati production of the Moby-Dick opera in June 2016. Frank Reed, who sailed on one for the voyages from Provincetown out to see the whales in Stellwagen Bank, created a website on which Voyagers from different transits can share their experiences on the ship. One of his projects was to use AIS satellite data to plot the exact course of the 38th Voyage during its sequence of transits. Here is the interim map he sent last week, in which the continuous red lines represent the actual course he has been able to track with AIS data, the broken red lines his “best guess” as to the course in between.

Frank Reed’s map of the 38th Voyage, from AIS data, July 25, 2014

Frank Reed’s map of the 38th Voyage, from AIS data, July 25, 2014

Fred’s map records our exact course out of Vineyard Haven, while tacking in Buzzard’s Bay, and into the pier at New Bedford, with the course we took through Vineyard Sound into Quick’s Hole remaining an estimate.

After various frustrations resulting from the cancellation of my flights from Providence to Cincinnati via Charlotte on July 3, it was a relief to see a familiar bend of the Ohio River as my plane from Philadelphia was approaching the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport on the evening of the Fourth of July. Seeing a little town the Ohio side right after a bend in the river, I thought it might be Ripley. But then I saw the new bridge that is downstream from Maysville and realized that must have been Aberdeen, across from Maysville on the Ohio side. And there was Ripley, up at the next bend in the river. Here on the Kentucky side, the rich green mounds of the rolling Kentucky farmlands glowed above long shadows cast by the the setting sun. It was good to be finally getting home.

Bend of Ohio River from Maysville to Ripley and on toward Cincinnati, Kentucky Atlas and Gazetteer

Bend of Ohio River from Maysville to Ripley and on toward Cincinnati. Kentucky Atlas and Gazetteer

My last morning in New Bedford had been a delight. I had worried that Hurricane Arthur, churning off the coast of North Carolina, would disrupt my flights to and from Charlotte in the evening. But they were both listed as “on time” when I printed out my online boarding passes, and prepaid for one checked bag, after breakfast. The rest of the morning was a whirlwind of rich perceptions, from the talks by Bradley Barr and Mike Dyer at the Symposium, to Vanessa’s new paintings at Crowell’s, to my delightful chance encounters at the Whaling Museum with Molly Herron under the right whale skeletons and the little boy in front of Klauba’s The Pod.

Front-page headline on the July 3 Standard-Union

Front-page headline on the July 3 Standard-Union

 I was glad I had left New Bedford for the airport as early as possible when I-95 came to a dead stop for about twenty minutes in the city of Fall River. It turned out that one lane of the narrow bridge going across the river to Rhode Island had been closed for construction, funneling five lanes into two. Even so, I had left plenty of time to make adjustments at the airport if there turned out to be any problem with the flights. Before leaving New Bedford, I had grabbed a copy of the Standard-Times and was surprised to see a front-page headline about Hurricane Arthur as a “Party Crasher.” Some of the weekend activities had already been postponed for a day. I had not previously realized the hurricane might affect New Bedford. I would learn more about that as I would be waiting for the plane that would be taking me to Cincinnati from Philadelphia, not Charlotte, not today, but tomorrow.


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