2011 Vacation Second Day: Mystic Sea Port

The second day of our trip we drove about 90 minutes to Mystic, Connecticut.  Mystic Seaport is an outdoor museum featuring a whaling ship, Captain Morgan, which is under restoration.  In addition, there are a number of shops set up like a typical New England sea port village, such as a cooper, rope maker, printer, smithy (for making the metal parts of a ship), and a shop where wood is steamed and then bent to make boats.  All of the shops had interpreters and/or docents who did an excellent job discussing their “trade” with visitors.

View across the river from Mystic Seaport
View across the river from Mystic Seaport

One of the interesting exhibits was a history of light houses on three large monitors.  This display was inside the light house shown below.  It was an interesting presentation.  One of the interesting facts we learned is that many lighthouses have different paint schemes, called day marks, so that they can be distinguished in daylight as well as by different light patters at night.

Small light house at the end of the point
Small light house at the end of the point
Tommy and me with some of Mystic Seaport in the background
Tommy and me with some of Mystic Seaport in the background

At the shop where sextants, telescopes, and clocks were made and repaired, Sammy signed up for “Nav Quest.”  This was an activity that involved finding a series of points around the village using a spyglass and compass.  Sammy did a nice job of following the directions and finding all four points.

Tommy assisting Sammy with "Nav Quest"
Tommy assisting Sammy with "Nav Quest"

One of the interesting exhibits was rope making.  It turns out that the only missing requirement for Tommy to earn the Pioneering merit badge was making rope.  We learned about how at each phase of the process (fibers to yarn to strands to rope to cable) the material is twisted in the opposite direction.  It is these opposite twists working against each other that cause the rope not to unravel.

Tommy and Sammy making rope
Tommy and Sammy making rope

After witnessing the man overboard drill in the bay, Tommy and I helped hoist up the 2000-lb lifeboat.  This involved winding rope around the capstan and pushing it around in circles while one of the crew led us in sea shanties.  It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be; however, I can imagine it would get old if you were a sailor and had to do it all day, every day.

Tommy and me helping hoist up the life boat by pushing on the capstan
Tommy and me helping hoist up the life boat by pushing on the capstan