Friday, May 19th, 2006
An hour after dawn. A sea bird has found a perch on the jack-stay of the main royal yard. The 4–8 watch has just reset the stuns’ls on starboard. The topmast stuns’l yard broke a day ago, now it’s fixed and back aloft spreading canvas. Lead Seaman Pania is snapping off instructions and orders with clear professional dispatch to get the morning duties under way. Hands are set to nipping the buntlines that have come slack over night. After bracing in a little, the watch coils all the manila lines down before getting the deck brushes and hose out for the early morning wash-down. The cook pokes his head out from his caboose and brings a fresh cup of strong coffee up to the quarter-deck. Carpenter, rigger, and sailmaker daymen bestir themselves with tooth brushings and coffees before breakfasts and the beginning of the work day. Becky at the wheel keeps a competent, practiced, steady course. The generator churns to life to power the wash-down pump and charge the batteries. The skies have been largely overcast for the last 1,200 miles but it appears that a little blue sky is trying to squeeze through this morning. Occasionally a squadron of flying fish breaks the surface of the sea and takes to wing for a couple of hundred yards. The Picton Castle is making close to six knots in modest quartering seas.
Today at 07-58 North and 053-03 West the Picton Castle has sailed into the huge mass of water that flows out of the Amazon River. Our ocean waters have become much darker, a sort of blackish green. We have also picked up speed due to a freshening breeze and a little fair current. At night we can now see both the Southern Cross and the North Star. A small red bird has joined us for a spell. Turns are being taken to keep Chibley away.
This excellent gang in the Picton Castle have come a long way. This has been an amazing voyage and still is. There is a fair amount of discussion these days as to the Big Question: What Next? Years ago the crew in sailing ships, loaded down with cargo, months and years behind them as crew in a ship would spend many an off watch discussing this very thing.