Thursday, December 7th, 2006
At long last, after gales and an early blizzard, the Picton Castle set sail on Tuesday afternoon at 1300. All the signs were there that it was time to go, from the snow on the decks to the excitement on the faces of a whole new group of trainees. We headed out of Lunenburg harbour with Andrea Deyling at the helm once again, bound for warmer weather, trade winds, great sailing conditions and eventually Grenada.
Two days out from Lunenburg, things on board are still a bit chilly although there was a noticeable rise in temperature yesterday and today. A poll of the crew has shown that the average number of layers on top yesterday was six and on bottom was three. We looked like young children in snowsuits, bundled so tightly we couldn’t put our arms down at our sides. The galley stove has been running all day and night, giving one warm and accessible spot on board for people to pop in and warm up. Crew are having experiences that they can tell stories about for the rest of their lives, as we banged the ice off the lines while leaving Lunenburg so we could set the tops’ls. This is the stuff legends are made of, like the story Irving Johnston tells about his trip around Cape Horn on the PEKING in the film “Around Cape Horn.”
The galley is the warmest place on board, and people are looking forward to their turn on galley duty. Bonnie Gold, our medical officer, has taken on the extra responsibility of coordinating the cooking and is being assisted by two different trainees every day. The trainees are starting to learn the tricks of living aboard a rolling ship, including how high you can stack the plates before they fall over and how much coffee can go in a cup without spilling. We have been eating well, with the deckhands leading the crew in cooking duties in Lunenburg. Who knew that line-hauling, rope-splicing, aloft-climbing, order-giving deckhands could also cook? They can, and very well, as we have been eating everything from lasagna to quiche, soups to roasts to jambalaya.
Chibley has chosen to make another voyage in the Picton Castle. Usually we lock her into a compartment on the day we are scheduled to go, but this time we let her free to decide for herself whether she wanted to go with the ship or stay home with her beloved Captain Moreland. Chibley came to the final muster before we left the dock, said her goodbye to the Captain and happily climbed back into the hatch to the Bat Cave. I thought all along that she would come with us, so we had already stowed a six-month supply of cat food and litter.
The weather is just starting to get warmer as we have entered the Gulf Stream. Slowly people are taking off layers of clothing, but it’s not quite shorts and tee-shirt weather yet. Just now the 8–12 watch has the deck, under the direction of lead seaman Laura Gainey. Kelly has lookout while Fred is on helm. The rest of the watch is coiling down lines after we braced the yards sharp on a starboard tack at the change of the watch. We’re moving along at about 7 knots under lower tops’ls, inner jib, and fore topmast stays’l, heading south to warmer weather.