Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
World Voyage 5 is finally beginning!
New trainee crew members have been arriving in Lunenburg over the past four days, full of excitement and loaded down with luggage. We are absolutely thrilled to welcome them aboard Picton Castle and are looking forward to having all of our new crew become part of our ship family. Already they are getting to know one another, becoming familiar with the ship and Lunenburg.
To add to the excitement, Picton Castle was finally able to go into dry dock today. We had been scheduled to haul the ship out of the water about a month ago, but due to a delay in the schedule at the Lunenburg Foundry with another ship getting lots of work done, our date was pushed back, and back. While the ship is out of the water, everyone will be getting into the swing of shipboard life while living aboard two fishing vessels on the waterfront, the Cape Chidley and the Zebroid. Donald Church, our fantastic sea cook, continues to turn out wonderful meals from the galley of the Zebroid.
The first muster of the voyage happened at 0700 this morning, an hour earlier than we usually muster. This allowed us a bit of extra time for the Captain to officially welcome everyone aboard, to explain the process of getting the ship underway and into dry dock, and to prepare to get underway. The experienced crew cut the chafe gear off the dock lines which have been holding the ship firmly to the dock at Adams & Knickle since last September, Chief Engineer Christian fired up the main engine and the experienced crew started heaving up the port anchor and motored over to the slipway. The new trainee crew stood by to observe the process from the dock. Heaving up the anchor is hard work – this will be the one time they get to observe instead of participate! Our new trainees walked over to the shipyard and watched as the ship was maneuvered into the cradle, which was at the bottom of the incline, below the water. Local all-around-boat-guy Walter Flower was standing by with his small boat to give a push as needed to help get the ship into position. Before long, the ship was in the right place above the blocks, tied firmly to the cradle, and the giant chain began to haul the entire cradle, ship and all, out of the water.
It’s always surprising to see Picton Castle out of the water, to see the lines and depth of her hull. While we’re used to seeing spaces below from the interior, it’s a whole different perspective to see it from the exterior. She sure seems so big out of the water. While we had certainly hoped and planned to have this work done before the start of the voyage, it’s a neat opportunity that not many people get, to see their ship and know it from all angles. The hull has some barnacles, seaweed and other assorted guck stuck to the bottom which will be pressure washed off, then the hull will get a new coat of paint from the waterline down. We’ll also use the time that the ship is out of the water to inspect all the through-hull fittings, replace the zinc annodes and make a general inspection of the parts of the hull we don’t usually get to see.
While the ship is out of the water for the week, we are starting on orientation, training and preparation for the new crew joining the voyage. It’s thrilling to finally have everyone here together in Lunenburg. The new crew members’ work clothes are far too clean, but that will change quickly as we get into the routine of daily life aboard.