Tuesday, May 9th, 2006
On board the Barque Picton Castle, we have no Pollywogs. The crew of this ship is made up of excellent Shellbacks only. King Neptune and court visited the Picton Castle and ministered his gentle indulgences as per longstanding tradition.
BUT it is still raining! Eight days and almost 1,000 miles out of Fernando, and not only does it rain, it pours—frequently.
Squalls with big, dark clouds darken our horizon, making us wait in anticipation as to exactly how much rain is coming. Sunday teased us out onto the deck with our books and sun cream to lie back and enjoy the sunny skies. Lulled into a sense of false security that the rain was gone, we were shocked on Monday, a morning so full of promise, to see the rain clouds again! It actually hurt our feelings. But there they were—menacing flats of black on the horizon, and they are still there today.
Ship work continues regardless. The fore royal yard has been sent down to be replaced with a new one that we will have to make, no problem. The carpenters, J.D., Logan, and Bart, have been taking the gear off the old royal yard to be used again on the new one they will make probably on the way home from Grenada.
Amanda and Rebecca, the Acting Bosuns, have been busy this morning sending down the fore t’gallant and fore upper tops’l to be patched. Susannah and her gang of sailmakers get ready to stitch away in the steamy salon.
The riggers—Papa Jack, Ollie, and Tracy—have been making new ratlines (these are the cross-sections that you climb up to get aloft, kind of like a rope ladder.
The watches have been rust busting on the quarterdeck.
Engineers Danie van Schalkwyk and David Matthews sweat it out in the Engine Room, pinging and banging at what ever it is they do down there. Now that the engine is on, they have gone back to engine watches and have commandeered Andrea D. to help with the third watch.
Bruce, Laura, and Drew are on galley and were last seen scrubbing dish towels in the plethora of fresh water we have right now from all these squalls! Only the problem this week is, Where to hang them so they dry? Answer: The engine room—it’s about 115°F. down there!
John Kemper is still Acting Third Mate, and Kjetil, Andrea M., and Pania are all Lead Seamen.
Grenada is about 1000 nm away, and we can smell the fried chicken from here.