Captain's Log

Archive for September, 2007

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Bosun School and Big Adventures, Part II

The next morning everyone was up unusually early (before their third wakeup), seabags packed and ready to go.

We trooped down the street, hopped the fence at the Fisheries Museum, scampered down the ladder on the dock, and threw our gear aboard Pride of Baltimore II. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I was overcome by a very strange feeling after a few seconds of standing on deck. I had no idea what to do next. As the crew, we are used to being the ones who know where everything is, how it works, why, and so on. The unsettling feeling of being the useless new guy wore off quickly though, as I realized that I had absolutely no responsibility! I didn’t have to know the answers to any questions, and nobody would come to me when the head clogged, the cat threw up, or so-and-so was being a pain in the butt. How refreshing!

The second mate, Mike, gave us all an orientation to general ship’s life, as well as a safety gear and procedures overview, and got us settled in our bunks. We helped out as best we could with ship’s work while Captain Miles reviewed the weather and finished up the ship’s paperwork.

We got underway just before lunch, and sailed out of Lunenburg harbour. I love seeing Pride sail in and out of Lunenburg, but I think we all agree the view from on deck is better. As soon as we got around Cross Island we picked up a fresh breeze in fairly calm seas, and we smoked down the coast. I mean smoked! We were making 11 knots like it was nothing. The deck was covered in ear-to-ear grins. We tried to act casual, but I don’t think it worked.

We broke into watches in the early evening, and the ship settled into her routine. I keep saying ‘ship’ – actually the crew refer to Pride as a ‘boat’, but after 7 years of having ‘boat’ beaten out of me, I can’t bring myself to say it.

We made Bar Harbour on Saturday, and were greeted by one of our former crew, Chelsie, who had organized transportation for all 8 of us to come and spend the weekend at her camp.

One of the wonderful things about sailing in Picton Castle is that just about anywhere in the world you can conceivably end up, you will more than likely know someone. And they will always go out of their way to show you a good time. Chelsie and her family were great hosts, and our big adventure continued in style until we met the ferry for Yarmouth on Monday. All in all, our outing proved to be one of the most seamless, spontaneous adventures I’ve ever had.

It seemed as though the rest of the month would pale in comparison to this, but we still had a few adventures ahead of us…

Big grins
Setting the main

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Bosun School and Big Adventures, Part I

I have been sailing in the Picton Castle for almost 7 years now, and last month we did something I have never done before, something I never would have dreamed was even possible. We spent the month of August in Lunenburg! Until recently, I had been very sceptical about the reported existence of summer in Lunenburg. I thought maybe the fog just warmed up a little.

It’s been gorgeous, and we have been doing our best to take full advantage of a month of summer ashore. Aside from the usual ways the crew find to entertain ourselves (anyone who knows the crew knows what that means…), we have had some proper adventures.

Our first big adventure was a trip on the topsail schooner Pride of Baltimore II. At every tall ship festival, and whenever we have the good fortune to sail in company with Pride, all of our crew ogle her. She’s stunning; sleek, sexy, shiny, and with that distinctive why-are-your-masts-falling-down rake. Sometimes we talk about how fast she goes, how pretty she is, and who’s sailing in her now, but more often than not we just stare with our mouths open.

Pride sailed into Lunenburg on August 6, and the following day she took us out for a sail. We had a wonderful time; the schooner Bluenose II sailed with us on the way out of Lunenburg Bay before disappearing into the ever-present Cross Island fog bank (soon to be added to the approaches chart), and we tacked and headed home in the warm early evening sun. This time our crew stared at the GPS with their mouths open, “How can we be going 6 knots? There’s barely any wind!” She really does move.

A little short-handed, the Pride‘s crew enjoyed having extra muscle to hoist sail, brace, and trim, and our crew really enjoyed going faster than the speed of sound. Discussions began between the crews, and were carried on well into the night. They really wanted us to come with them to Maine, and we really really really wanted to go with them.

So we did what any experienced team of professionals would do in this situation. We batted our eyelashes and sucked up to the Captains.

After days of delicate negotiation with Captain Miles (actually I think they just enjoyed watching us squirm), the word was passed that we could sail with Pride to Maine the following day. Suddenly the foc’s’le was transformed into something that can only be compared to a room full of 5-year olds on Christmas Eve. Everyone was hyper and full of questions, nobody could even think of going to bed, and all we could do was talk about Christmas Day…

Bluenose and Pride
Bluenose in the fog
Capt Miles and Capt Moreland
Pride and Bluenose part company

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