Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
As I write this log, we are about 50nm west of Guadeloupe, motoring towards Dominica. Most of the day was spent under sail, with the helmsman steering full and by, meaning to sail as close to the wind as possible while still keeping the sails full. To do this, the helmsman keeps an eye on the highest square sails set and watches for the leech (the side edge of the sail) to just start luffing, then falls off a tiny bit. Helm orders are usually given by compass course, so sailing full and by is interesting because the helmsman has to use some judgement and observation skills. All square sails were taken in at about 1600 at the change of the watch, and now we’re motoring. Not because the wind is not strong enough, but because it’s coming from the direction we want to go.
Today’s big excitement came just before dinner, as there were calls of “fish on” from the aloha deck. Second mate Paul had set the fishing lines this morning and a big mahi mahi decided to bite late this afternoon. Apparently the secret is to use real squid as bait, covered in a sparkly, jelly squid lure. We’ll see what Donald can create from this catch. Chibley showed a great deal of interest in the whole event, of course.
The watches were involved in a fair amount of sail handling throughout the day, taking in and resetting the flying jib and royals as wind conditions permitted. Carpenter Matt is continuing to put planks on the frame of a boat picked up in Grenada. David is working on rope coverings for a new sail, John is also involved in a sailmaking project, finishing the cringles on a new mizzen topmast staysail. Kjetil was teaching Sam to replace ratlines aloft, Erin was working on replacing ratlines as well. Deb and Nicki were assisting Paul with the monthly check of safety equipment. A number of crew, including bosun Kolin, Bruce and Spenser, were working at removing paint spots dripped on the well deck. Headsails are still set, so the 4-8 watch, including Kevin, Geoff, David, Gunner and Susie, tightened up the halyards using the handy billy, with the help of AB Ben.
The Captain posted a list of things to do in Dominica on the main scuttle door this afternoon, so the crew are getting excited to explore a new island. The ship spent an extended period of time there in the winter of 2007 while we filmed the reality-TV show “Pirate Master.” The Captain, Lynsey, Donald, Ben and myself were all there for almost three months and are very excited to go back. We’re looking forward to seeing old friends, visiting some of our favourite places again and introducing the crew to this incredible island, one of the most naturally beautiful and least touched by tourism in the Caribbean.