Monday, May 26th, 2008
Last Thursday, Picton Castle left the dock for the first time with the crew of the Voyage of the Atlantic. They didn’t go far, just out into Lunenburg Bay to have the compass adjusted, but it was enough to make the crew really excited about getting underway for the long passage across the Atlantic. When the ship came back into the harbour an hour later, she anchored a couple hundred metres off the end of the wharf and stayed at anchor until Saturday. While at anchor, the crew were able to get used to being self-reliant and had lots of opportunities for sail handling drills and small boat handling.
The break in the weather we had been waiting for finally came on Saturday morning. The sky was mostly clear, the wind was light and the swell was small. All of the pre-departure checks were done, all hands were aboard and a small crowd was gathered on the wharf to wave goodbye. Lunenburg Mayor Lawrence Mawhinney came out to the ship by boat to wish the crew well, to let them know that the local community is supporting them and to give a blessing to the ship and the crew. Mikayla (a young friend of the ship), Susan and I (who will continue working for the ship from shore) got into the boat with the mayor and Lynsey drove us ashore. Once she got back to the ship the boat was hoisted and stowed, the main engine was fired up and the crew began the work of heaving up the anchor. The spanker was set and taken in while the anchor was being heaved up, then once the ship was underway heads’ls were set, then lower tops’ls, upper tops’ls, the fores’l and t’gallants. The crowd of well-wishers on the dock cheered and fired off a flare, the museum blew its horn and everyone waved the ship goodbye until they were past Battery Point and out of the harbour.
Bluenose II got underway for her first sail of the season and left Lunenburg Harbour about an hour before Picton Castle did, and was waiting near the mouth of the bay to accompany Picton Castle. As both ships were passing The Ovens, they exchanged horns and cannon fire to wish each other well.
This truly is the beginning of a great adventure, and the culmination of months of preparation by the ship’s staff crew as well as each individual on the voyage. I hope you will continue to read the logs to follow along with the journey as they are written and posted from sea.