Monday, June 29th, 2009
A new Picton Castle voyage is about to begin. New trainees arrived in Lunenburg over the last few days to throw their bags over the rail and join us on this summer seafaring adventure. Immediately they began their orientations to the ship, her routines, rigging and safety orientations and drills, lots to learn. As I write this, the fog is so thick that from where we’re anchored in Lunenburg harbour, we can just make out the Dory Shop buildings on one side and the Kaulbach Head on the other side is completely obscured. We moved the ship from alongside the dock to out in the harbour at anchor on Sunday morning. It was a short motor boat ride, but gave people the experience of handling dock lines and setting the anchor. It also gives us some small boat practice – we have made a few runs back and forth to shore. As we wait for the fog to lift so we can get underway, the mates are putting the crew through the routines of loosing, setting and taking in the foresail, fore lower tops’l and fore upper tops’l. Any and all spare time is dedicated to learning the rigging and 205 lines.
This summer voyage will keep Picton Castle sailing mostly in the North Atlantic waters off Atlantic Canada. From Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, we’ll be heading to Massachusetts, first to Gloucester and then to Boston. In Boston we’ll meet up with the fleet of the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge and sail in company with them to Halifax, Nova Scotia. While many of the ships will sail across the Atlantic to continue the Challenge, we’ll visit a number of Nova Scotia ports including Port Hawkesbury, Sydney, Pictou and Pugwash. We’ll cross the Northumberland Strait to Summerside, PEI, then sail across the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with a stop at the Iles de la Madeleine, on to the south coast of Newfoundland. A stop at the French territory of St. Pierre and Miquelon is on the schedule before sailing back to Lunenburg to wrap up the voyage at the end of August. The voyage will be nine weeks in total, broken into three three-week legs. We have a good new gang of hearty souls joining us for the full nine weeks! A few spaces are still available on Leg 2 and Leg 3 – call our office if you’re interested in joining us. Some have joined the ship this summer to check it all out as they think about applying for the World Voyage starting next May.
In the past five weeks, Picton Castle has been alongside the wharf of Adams & Knickle, a long standing deep sea fishing company in Lunenburg and good friends to this ship. During that time the crew have had some time off to catch up with families and friends. We have also been enjoying life in our favourite Nova Scotia town. Wednesday night (Hump Cup!) small wooden boat races from the Dory Shop started in early June and the ship’s brightly coloured dory Sea Never Dry with its sails of Senegalese fabric has been a good addition to the fleet, she even won the dory class this past Wednesday. The crew spent a Saturday night in Petite Riviere, a small town on the other side of the La Have River, at a reggae dance party with the Newfoundland Reggae band, the Idlers. We’ve also been supporting local businesses, particularly the Grand Banker and the Knot, our usual hangout spots ashore.
Many of the professional crew from the Voyage of the Atlantic have continued on with us for the summer, we have quite a few trainees from that voyage staying on as well, including Geoff, Jackie, John, Susie, Nicki and Erin. New trainees have joined us over the past two days, including a few folks (Julie, David and John) who have sailed with us on short voyages before. Everyone seems to be settling in well. When people first arrived on board they all had full orientation tours, then have been going through instruction and practice in emergency procedures and sail handling. New trainees were aloft for the first time on Saturday afternoon, they laid out on the yards to loose and furl for the first time just now.
Hopefully the fog will soon clear enough for us to get underway. Gloucester, Lunenburg’s salty, seafaring sister port, here we come!