Captain's Log

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On the Way to Anguilla

Maggie OstlerThis may be the first Captain’s Log written on board an airplane. While we’re breaking with tradition, I should explain that I’m not the Captain, either. I do, however, plan to write some Captain’s Logs over the next two weeks as I sail aboard Picton Castle in the Caribbean.

My usual work location these days is in Picton Castle‘s office in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. There are two of us who work for the ship from shore, coordinating all the necessary details behind the scenes in order for the voyages to take place. Susan Corkum-Greek will be holding things down shoreside while I am away sailing.

I have sailed with the ship before – circumnavigated on World Voyage 4 as a trainee, then continued on through our Summer Voyage in 2006 that saw the ship sail the Great Lakes as part of the ASTA Tall Ships Challenge, then spent a winter aboard the ship as we did short sail training voyages and filmed a TV show in the Caribbean. About two years ago I came ashore to continue my work with the ship, focusing more on logistics and trainee recruitment. I am thrilled to be heading south to meet the ship for some proper tropical sailing.

As I fly along at 517mph, Picton Castle is sailing towards Anguilla at a much slower speed. They left the Tobago Cays on Monday (Mayreau specifically, with a brief stop in Union to clear out), planning to arrive in Anguilla on Thursday. I flew out from Halifax at o’dark-thirty this morning and, after an overnight stay in Saint Maarten, will arrive in Anguilla tomorrow, having covered a considerably greater distance.

The crew has had a good introduction to the Eastern Caribbean already. After an epic passage from Fernando de Noronha, Brazil, which started with sailing off the hook and continued for two weeks under sail alone until they reached Carriacou where they let go the anchor, still only under sail, the crew arrived just in time for Carnival. In fact, the island of Grenada was the original destination for this passage but because the ship made such great time (with help from some currents off the coast of Brazil), they arrived early and had a few days to spare during which they danced in the streets with the Carnival revelers and prepared the ship, which after a long ocean passage needed some attention to look her best coming into Grenada.

The crew had an extended stay in Grenada where they explored local markets, rum distilleries, sugar cane plantations and waterfalls. From Grenada they sailed for Petite Martinique, one of the outlying islands of Grenada that is very quiet and relaxing. After a second trip to Carriacou, the ship departed from the country of Grenada and headed on to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The first stop in this country of many islands was Bequia, one of the sweetest islands around. As winter is the time that cruising sailors are, well, out cruising in the Caribbean, the anchorage at Port Elizabeth was full of boats. Bequia has an interesting history of whaling and boatbuilding, but it’s also a great place to lime (liming being a Caribbean term for relaxing or chilling out). The ship continued on to another one of the Grenadines, Mayreau, for a few days before heading to Anguilla.

Because researching the ship’s upcoming ports is part of my job, I can tell you that Anguilla is British overseas territory, best known for its stunning white sand beaches. Picton Castle will be in port during the Moonsplash Reggae Festival, an annual event that is put together by reggae musician and local Anguilla restaurant and bar owner, Bankie Banx. Sounds like the crew will be in for some interesting adventures ashore.

Even more than enjoying the tropical warmth and beautiful islands, I’m looking forward to being aboard again. It’s kind of like coming home.

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