Captain's Log

Archive for January, 2011

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Effectively Dampening Downpours

On January 23rd, after Bounty Day celebrations wrapped up, the 8-12 watch took the deck. Before we’d had a chance to muster Mates Paul and Mike ordered the crew to take in all sail. We were about to pass into a nasty little trough and rather than wallow within the mass of foul weather under sail they opted to fire up the engine and motor through it instead. The 4-8 watch remained on deck, providing the manpower we needed to take in sail and stow the topgallants efficiently and quickly. The wind was blowing from the northeast at about 6 knots as we entered the trough – yet as we motored it shifted almost 180 degrees. We braced the yards on a starboard tack accordingly. Even standing and running rigging affect our steerage and when the yards are braced improperly the helmsman can have a tiresome time at the wheel. Then the rains came – soaking decks and crew alike. We quickly slacked the running rigging to avoid any undue strain on the lines. By the time we had finished coiling and hanging for the 4th time that evening the stars were beginning to peek through the once dense cloud cover and the worst of it was far behind our wake. A southwesterly wind now blew and at midnight we thankfully climbed into our bunks – a little wet and tired, but satisfied.

The 12-4 and the 4-8 watch must have been similarly busy sail handling during the night – for when we awoke again for our watch at 7:30 am all sail was set. The engine was dormant and the only noises we heard were the steady hum of the morning generator spell and the swish of sails as they encountered the wind. We do so enjoy the sailing after all!

Two nights later the 8-12 watch gathered on the quarterdeck to begin our nightly lesson. We had adopted the idea, which was hatched by the 12-4 watch, to have nightly information sessions. While night watch is usually fairly quiet and uneventful (barring any changes in wind direction or squalls) and a good time to catch up with crew mates and ‘spin some yarns’. It is nice to use the opportunity to ask and discover answers to pressing questions that pop up during the day. The night was absolutely pitch dark. The waning moon, when it did rise, resembled a yellow cat eye. The swirling clouds its impermanent pupil – before it was gone – slipping into the dark sky as our ship slipped through the dark seas – speckled with phosphorescence. In the dark Siri taught a class in Compass Variation and Deviation and how to calculate your True course. In case you are curious at home a common mnemonic used is: Can (Compass) +/- Dead (Deviation) = Men (Magnetic) +/- Vote (Variation) = Twice (True). An excellent question to be sure.

For the next couple of days the rains came in brief, but effectively dampening downpours and most ships work adjusted. Logan and Megan set up in the hold making servings. Meredith, Clark, Tiina and Joani spread the sails over the tables of the salon – and continued their stitching and patching. Jan worked on the baseboards in the companionway and the chart-house. WT and Fred preped, primed and painted the heads. Abbey painted a dragon in the forward shower….Chris continued to instruct Mitch in the engine room. While they were not quite as affected by the change in weather – they were not altogether unaffected by the mounting swells!

Nadja makes the PICTON CASTLE banner
Night helm
Shooting the moon
Sweating sheets

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Bounty Day on the Picton Castle

By Pania Warren

Being from Pitcairn Island is a pretty big thing on the ship. A day hasn’t gone by without a story or a shipmate’s recollection of their time there. DB (David Brown) features in most of these tales. Deebs, your shipmates love and miss you!!

So when I was told by the Captain that it was Bounty Day (Captain’s note: I didn’t tell her, Pania told me!) on January 23rd he asks me, “What do you do on Pitcairn for Bounty Day?” I tell him, “It’s a day of fun, fishing, swimming and a burning of a mock Bounty at the end of the day down in the harbour.”

“Sounds like fun, we should do that. It’s on a Sunday, we can have a marlinspike! Pania, talk to people, make it happen.”

Wow! This only left us 2 days to make a model. And what an amazing model it was. We got a picture of the Bounty to follow (a little bit), Paul and Jan did such a wonderful job building the ship – all the while talking and reminding themselves how well it would burn. Shipmates would walk by and add their flammable recipes to the mix.

Johanna did an excellent job on the sailmaking side of things. Bounty sails made from true sails from our ship, old ones. All the correct measurements were made and each sail looked perfect.

The night before was filled with frantic rolling of breadsticks. The thing with breadsticks is that there has to be a lot of them! The crew absolutely love them, with one bite it takes you back to Pitcairn. Swimming at St. Paul’s pool, hiking to Christian’s Cave or having a whale’s tooth with Pirate Pawl!

The day arrives with more Pitcairn food throughout the day, with our marlinspike theme being Polynesian and old English sailors. Let’s just say there were some handsome sailors on deck (yes, you in the bucket hat! Hehehe) and some – cough -beautiful ladies out there. A little cross dressing, hmmm, too much time at sea…

Night began to fall, the Captain gave a small talk about the Bounty and before we set her alight and adrift, I christened her the HMS Bounty of the Picton Castle and let her go off the stern where -a little surprisingly (sorry guys!) she drifted burning for quite some time. I had a wonderful day. Sanks all yorley fer celebrating Bounty Day wes me!

Pania makes Pitcairn breadsticks
Pania, Brad and Joh bend on Bounty sails
Paul, Robert and Nadja dressed for Bounty Day
The Bounty sails away

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Bounty Day

Almost every year since 1790 on little Pitcairn Island at 25 south latitude and 130 west longitude deep in the South Pacific Ocean, the islanders have held a celebration on January 23. All the islanders gather down at the landing in Bounty Bay, a short cement jetty poured over the rocks that the Bounty crowd probably landed on so long ago, and set afire to a model of that famous ship right over the bones of the old girl that all this is named for. This day is also celebrated at Norfolk Island north of New Zealand too but that’s another story. Probably in various homes all around the world as well. This celebration is much like Canada Day or the 4th of July, a family day with fireworks (in the form of the burning Bounty) and BBQ and picnic and cool drinks, swimming, playing around, fishing if the seas are ok, so we celebrate it as well aboard the Picton Castle. We celebrate the national day of each our crew and a couple more besides. Bounty Day is Pitcairn’s founding day. As we have two Pitcairn Islanders in our crew (one absent for now) we must carry out this tradition. But where does Bounty Day come from? What is Bounty Day?

1787 – A Ship Sails

In 1787 the very small wooden sailing ship, HMAV (for “his majesty’s armed vessel”) Bounty set out from England by herself bound for the South Seas. She was not a regular naval vessel. She was a small sailing freighter bought, rerigged and refitted by the Royal Navy to sail to Tahiti for an unusual task, unprecedented perhaps. She sailed not for exploration, not for diplomatic purposes, not for conquest, not for scientific reasons – she was sent out to collect one single plant that might prove to have value to private commercial interests, to collect and bring back something called “breadfruit”. Of commercial value perhaps but as we shall see, far from any public benefit.

Cheap Food for Enslaved Workers in the Caribbean

Wealthy sugar cane planters of Jamaica, many living in England, far from the heat and diseases then rampant in the islands, had heard about this “breadfruit” from James Cook’s voyages; it sounded simply like bread that grew on trees and fell off into waiting arms when done or ripe. Bread growing on trees! Sounded to good to be true. These absentee planters figured that if they could get this breadfruit growing in Jamaica they would not have to allow their slaves so much time away from working the cane fields in order to grow their own food to feed themselves; they could then get even more stolen labour out of their stolen workers. These planters, some of whom were in Parliament, were also very influential in England, and this influence was brought to bear in pressuring the Royal Navy into creating the Bounty expedition to get cheap (free) food to increase these planters’ profits. Although many of them could have easily funded such an expedition privately to collect some breadfruit, in the classic ways of elite sector/government boondoggle through political pressure the cost of the expedition was born by the Navy. Hey, why pay for something you can get the government to do for free? So the story of government bailouts for big corporations is nothing new, now back to the story. This being a minor task as viewed by a Royal Navy more accustomed to fighting France, they seemed to take limited interest in it. After many delays this little ship, no more than 90 feet long, with by all accounts a happy crew aboard, set sail for Tahiti, already a legend, on the far side of the world.

William Bligh and Fletcher Christian

In command of the Bounty was LT William Bligh, 35 years old, a career naval officer who had been on ‘half pay’, a form of layoff from the Navy when not at war. He had been sailing commercially in recent years, he was recalled to active naval service for the Bounty expedition. This was his first significant naval command. Having served with distinction under Cook in the South Pacific he was a logical choice. He was also extremely keen to sail in his mentor Cook’s wake in every way. Perhaps overly so. This intense keenness and ambition probably contributed to accepting operational conditions less than ideal for such an expedition. Among other things, he had asked to be made a Post Captain which would give him more authority, that got nixed. He was also the sole naval officer aboard. There were no lieutenants, no squad of marines to back him up that would have been typical and prudent for a naval vessel on a long voyage to have. One young man who had sailed with Bligh several times before in merchant ships back and forth to the West Indies was Fletcher Christian, 24 years old, joined as well, for the first time in a naval vessel. It seems that Bligh and Christian knew each other well, even socially and were on fairly intimate terms. My surmise is that this relative closeness would make things even worse later on, for both men.

A Long Voyage…

Following orders Bligh headed south in late December from England to sail west around Cape Horn, the shortest route to Tahiti. The season was well advanced and due to the treacherous storms with their violent westerly winds right on the nose of a sailing ship off that infamous cape (actually an island). Bligh, after fighting hard beating to the west to get his little ship around the Horn, wisely turned the Bounty to the east and made the much longer (by five or six thousand miles) but down wind voyage to Tahiti around the Cape of Good Hope, the southern Indian Ocean, south of Australia, south of New Zealand, south of all the South Pacific Islands until he reached Matavai Bay, Tahiti. This alone was a remarkable achievement by a very capable mariner. Matavai Bay with it’s black volcanic sand beach looking today much as it must have these years ago, is a short bus ride from downtown Papeete. It is a magical bay.

Bligh was apparently under orders to be deceptive to the Tahitians about the nature of his visit. At any rate he so ordered his crew to remain mum on their mission in Tahiti. He was to lie about wanting breadfruit. Again, so wealthy English planters could become more wealthy and get even more free work from their enslaved workers in the islands – one could say that these were just the times but bear in mind that slavery had been declared flat illegal in England in 1772 as being odious and contrary to the natural and common law of England. But somehow not declared illegal in English territorial possessions like the Caribbean islands or in British North America. A little bit like a US Congressman owning a cocaine processing plant in Columbia or poppy fields in Afghanistan, not exactly but you get the idea and since it involves ‘owning’ people and their working and dying off at astronomical rates as if in a charnel house, perhaps quite a bit worse.

Tahitian Idyll

The Bounty remained anchored in and around Matavai Bay for about six months while the Bounty gardeners collected and sprouted breadfruit shoots eventually collecting over 1,000 young plants. Life was good for an 18th century Naval Mariner in Tahiti. Friends were made, strong associations formed by some. Heaps of food, hunting, fishing, little work, ideal weather, attentive ladies, dances, swimming daily, good fun was Tahiti. Eventually it came time to sail. Bligh had waited to sail, in part, for the passing of the southern hemisphere cyclone season for his homeward passage westward bound through the South Pacific, through the Torres Straights for Cape Town and back to England. This was sound passage planning. But it meant spending a very long time in Tahiti. Joseph Conrad once said, “ports rot both ships and men.” It might have not been sound personnel management.

Temper, Temper

For now we can leave the exploration of the causes of the mutiny on the Bounty by Fletcher Christian against William Bligh to others. There must have been many contributing factors, but for now it seems to have been at least as much about Bligh’s personal and capricious treatment of Christian as much as anything else. Called a “tyrant” in some publications, the record reveals that Bligh was not a harsh disciplinarian, if anything he was enlightened and even lenient by the standards of the day. He was not an unreasonable Master by any recorded measure. He was certainly a gifted and enormously capable seaman. It is well recorded how he cared for the welfare of his crew in so many particulars. But he had a temper, a vicious volcanic temper. A histrionic, flame throwing, paint stripping temper. And Fletcher Christian became the object of this sulphurous temper. He chewed Christian out, his chief officer, in front of the ship’s complement repeatedly in Tahiti and after. This is a completely unacceptable leadership flaw today. But much more to the point it was also just as completely unacceptable 220 years ago too. And Fletcher really wasn’t a naval officer, he was elevated to his position of second in command entirely due to warm feelings on Bligh’s part and due to Bligh’s lack of faith in other senior staff aboard. While a capable mariner, Fletcher had not grown up in the Navy with all it’s harsh discipline. And anyway, you cannot chew out a senior subordinate in front of a crew without expecting serious repercussions of some sort. You can not now, you could not then either. Bligh was also under enormous personal pressure with scant few of the basic resources that a Royal Naval officer in command could reasonably expect to have in 1789. No doubt making his already volatile temper all the worse.

“I am in hell” F.C.

So early one morning, breadfruit sprouts in pots happily below, only three weeks after sailing from Tahiti, a few miles off the island of Tofua in the Tonga group, and after having a strip torn off by Bligh the day before (and later invited to dinner with Bligh as if nothing had happened) one too many times (and with no doubt other reasons as well) and stewing about it for some time and apparently at the suggestion of one of the others, Christian hastily took the ship, with what appears to be, little planning. During the course of the mutiny, in the few hours it took to get the boat launched and loaded, it also appears as if Christian regretted this rash move. But he knew enough about the navy to know there could be no turning back, regrets or not. One cannot apologize ones way out of a mutiny even as Bligh said he would forget all about it if restored to command. A surprising number and the majority of the Bounty crew preferred to get into the ships launch and take their chances with Bligh than stay on the Bounty with Christian and the mutineers. The Bounty launch rowed away with 19 people aboard, grossly overloaded. To think that they would never make it to land, never mind England or survive at all would have been a reasonable assessment. But they did; under Bligh’s remarkable navigation and pained but effective leadership and management they sailed their small open boat, no larger than our 23′ Monomoy, almost 4,000 miles through Fijian waters, Torres Strait to West Timor at Kupang and onto Batavia (Jakarta, Java, Indonesia) where they then started dropping like flies due to local diseases. Some including Bligh getting back to England by ship from Batavia.

A New Island Home

The Bounty with Christian in command returned to Tahiti to a cool reception for a spell then off again wandering the South Pacific looking for a place to settle. After some bad starts on inhabited islands Christian, still very much in charge and perhaps more so, concluded that they needed an uninhabited island with no obvious harbour. So he put into Tahiti for another very brief visit and even cooler reception. They stayed under a day at Tahiti this time. Some islanders piled onboard for an adventure (or were kidnapped). Christian left in Tahiti those Bounty sailors who wanted to stay, 16 of them, some mutineers, some who were not – that is another story. Christian and eight remaining mutineers, 13 island women, six island men set out to find an island of their own.

Bound For Pitcairn’s Island

After sailing to Tonga and some remote islands near Fiji Christian made for Pitcairn’s Island far away to east, first heading south from the Fijis until he caught favourable westerlies and sailed about 3,500 miles direct for the region where he could look for Pitcairn and then curve up around to get well east of the island and run down its latitude. Fletcher would have known of Pitcairn due to Bligh’s library of voyages he had with him. Pitcairn had been discovered about twenty years before and fit the description of an island that he sought for a refuge from the Royal Navy which he knew would send a ship out at some point to either look for the Bounty and Bligh if Bligh did not show up somewhere. Or look for Christian and the Bounty if Bligh did get home somehow, as unlikely as that was. But Fletcher would have known something else too. He would have known that Pitcairn’s Island would have likely been well plotted for latitude but badly plotted for longitude. He knew it would be positioned incorrectly on the chart and he knew that he could find it. It had only been in quite recent years, with the development of the chronometer that longitude could be precisely determined. Bounty had aboard one of the very first generation of these remarkable seagoing chronometers. Fletcher knew that Pitcairn existed, knew it was far off the beaten track – and that ship coming from England would go to Tahiti first and then find it very difficult to get to Pitcairn 2,000 miles to windward – he knew it was uninhabited but well forested with springs of fresh water and no discernable harbour – I submit that at some point Christian made up his mind to find Pitcairn specifically and this he did. It was also a well thought out choice given all the factors on his mind.

Landfall Pitcairn – Heaven on Earth

About eight months after the mutiny the much reduced band of Bounty crew, island men and women found Pitcairn as much as Christian expected. A small but high island with crashing surf all around and , no reef or lagoon, no harbour at all. Lush and green with rich forest, good for making houses, even better good for hiding within. In short order the ship was run aground under Ship Landing Point in Bounty Bay close to the base of the jetty where the road starts up the “Hill of Difficulty”. She was stripped as much as was practical. So any passing ship would not see any remains of a shipwreck and hopefully leave them in peace, on January 23, 1790 the Bounty was burned to the waterline. There is a reliable account from a Tahitian woman who returned to Tahiti that Christian wanted to keep the Bounty and not destroy her. It is difficult to imagine how that would be even possible for very long anchored at Pitcairn. Who knows after all this time? As it turns out, the record indicates that the Bounty gang or at least their children were left in peace for 24 years before two English Navy ships happened upon Pitcairn although an American sealer, the Topaz stopped by after 18 years. By then all the mutineers but one, John Adams, were dead. The Tahitian men were dead too. Nine of the women survived well past re-contact time. Christian’s wife Mauatua living to 1841 and even returning to Pitcairn after an ill hatched scheme to remove all Pitcairners to Tahiti and Teraura, Midshipman Edward Young’s wife lived to 1850. These women, eye witness to much that occurred after the mutiny and intimate with the principle mutineers, were never interviewed by the Royal Navy or anyone else regarding events surrounding the Bounty, only John Adams was interviewed and his various accounts differ from each other. That too, is another story.

Bligh Gets Another Shot at Fetching Breadfruit

The Royal Navy, in a tacit admission of screwing up a little in so indifferently supporting the mission; but also to show this was not Bligh’s fault or the Navy’s, increasingly common notions circulating around England at the time, they sent out a second expedition, with Bligh in command again, this time as a Post Captain, with two ships (just in case), plenty of officers and lots of marines. They got their plants and got back to sea as quickly as they could, no hanging around in seductive Tahiti! They got their breadfruit and sailed for the West Indies putting in at St Vincent and Jamaica. A nephew of Bligh was on this expedition and his journal is replete with references to his uncle’s temper, of which it was said, was “like a passing tropical squall, black and ferocious one moment but gone in another with the sun shining again and breeze blowing fairly, all forgotten.” All the many breadfruit trees around the Caribbean today are descended from these plants. While fairly popular today in the Caribbean, available in any open air market, we are told the slaves back in those days did not eat breadfruit much. They did not like it.

HAPPY BOUNTY DAY!!! Long Live PITKERN ISLAND!!!

Back to Bounty Day aboard Picton Castle – January 23, 2011 – off the coast of South Africa at 30-21 south / 037-05 east. With the women dressed as island girls and the guys dressed as old tyme sailors (as per Pania’s directions) but not really looking much different than they do every day as they kind of dress that way anyway, if the truth be told; we had bread sticks and other Pitcairn dishes. We listened to Meralda Warren’s CD (“Here Comes Mama with her Niau Broom” – available online) and some very traditional Tahitian drum music, but we forgot to sing English sea chanties and no one had the words to “The Sweet By and By”. As it became dusk Pania christened our Bounty replica, we launched her off the stern and set it afire and adrift. Last seen she was sailing east, bound for the Torres Strait and maybe back to Pitcairn Island…

Dave, Paula and Susie work on the Bounty model
Pania christens the Bounty with rum
preparing to set the Bounty adrift
The Bounty burns
The crew watch as the Bounty is set ablaze

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Picton Castle Crew Member Ollie Campbell, aka Billy Campbell, Star of Stage and Silver Screen!

By Bronwen Livingston and Captain Daniel Moreland (not much by me – DM) and others

One of our steady crew in this world wandering square-rigger, the Barque Picton Castle is Ollie – a great shipmate, natural seaman, capable rigger, qualified helmsman, brace hauling fool and all around good sailor and seaman. Good man aloft at sea, good man in Bounty Bay, Pitcairn Island, in the jungles of Vanuatu, good man ashore exploring a remote village or big new city. Just too bad the ladies don’t like being around him much… Always turns to for any job, no matter how dirty or unpleasant, with a will, a strong back and a smile. Ollie is something of a Zen knucklehead too, nothing seems to bother him or get him cranky, kinda weird really, if you think about it. Ollie has sailed over 50,000 deep-sea miles in this ship alone and has also served in the stunning Norwegian full-rigger Sorlandet out of Kristiansand, Norway on voyages all around the North Sea and Europe.

And he is a TV and film star. I did not know this when he first came to the Picton Castle but it turns out that Ollie, aka Billy Campbell, is a very well known and successful film and TV actor with a resume as long as a gangster’s rap sheet. My friend who was Captain of the Sorlandet told me to take him on the world voyage coming up because “he was not that bad…” Good to know. Just now, as it turns out, Ollie is off in Vancouver, Canada, taking a break from this voyage and his main way of life, seafaring, to shoot a really awesome cool TV show in which he is starring. And we want you to know about it. Hey, acting is his day job and we want him to stay on top so he can keep sailing, no? And he has bills to pay, know what I mean? In fact, he is building a big schooner – see www.twinschooners.blogspot.com – and needs to pay for it. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. And sometimes we wonder how smart he is so we want him to keep his ‘day job’, acting that is, you know, just in case?

So, here is the crew chiming in on their shipmate and with some photos too. Ok, yeah, sure, maybe he likes acting too. But we think it is pretty funny to see our buddy up on the screen making out with Sela Ward or Jennifer Lopez. Or pulling a Clint Eastwood kinda ‘make my day, punk’ moment. They have to kick us out of the theatre because we are cracking up so much… But truth to tell we miss his sorry self and want him to finish his show and come back to rejoin this incredible voyage we are all on, and of which he is so much an indelible part.

The rest of this piece on Ollie, aka Billy Campbell, is more than a bit gushy, appalling really and frankly kind of gross and sentimental about the guy – I was very tempted to edit it into something not so full of cooties, but figured, what the heck, they can say what they want. However, the message is this: check out the stunning new murder mystery, cop/buddy, political thriller, intense family drama called The Killing, coming soon on AMC – it is going to be simply outstanding television, maybe the best you have ever seen – those guys at AMC make TV they want to watch themselves, and so will we… we cannot wait to see the first episode, to be sure.

D. Moreland

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Regarding Billy Campbell: square-rigger mariner, thespian, bon vivant and Picton Castle shipmate

Now, normally we would not highlight a shipmate so boldly – privacy and all that, but this crewmember is a public figure anyway and loves this kind of nonsense so we have no such qualms…

From Wikipedia:

“Billy Campbell is probably most famous for his portrayal of Rick Sammler on the ABC series Once and Again for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series. Among his other well-known roles are a gay gynaecologist, Dr. Jon Philip Fielding, in all three of the television miniseries adaptations of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City novels, and as Carter Buckley in seven episodes of the second season of television series The O.C. He had a recurring role as Jordan Collier on the USA Network original series The 4400. His film credits include The Rocketeer, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Enough and Ghost Town. He was also known for his recurring role as Detective Joey Infelli on the 1986-88 NBC series Crime Story….” Dynasty, Star Trek, Shark, Ted Bundy and on and on…

Billy Campbell is also our shipmate and pal in the Barque Picton Castle. But everybody in the ship knows him as Ollie. Just before the Picton Castle set sail from Lunenburg on her fourth world voyage in 2005, the mates, deckhands and engineer were sitting in the focsle getting to know one another. Billy Campbell told us that he would like to be called Ollie. He explained that his namesake, his grandfather William Oliver Campbell, had gone by Ollie and that he would very much like to honour the name. Danie, our young South African engineer at the time, started to laugh, “Do you know that ‘ollie’ means marbles in Afrikaans?” he grinned mischievously. “No,” Ollie glared at him, maybe good naturedly and somewhat pleadingly, “You will not call me marbles.” And Billy (Marbles) Campbell got his way. Whether that was because he was charming or because he was so imposing a figure we will never know. Indeed he towers over the rest of us. He has to stoop to get in and out of the cabins, charthouse and scullery and makes our gigantic rig look tiny when he climbs aloft – like a giant on a jungle gym. The cat, Chibley, likes Ollie too (ed. note: due to shameless pandering and sucking up with kitty treats for her favour on his part no doubt).

He certainly never pulled the movie star card onboard however (ed. note: whatever that is? What is the ‘movie star card’? And, as if that would work onboard anyway? I don’t think so). He was just one of the crew from day one. He rust-busted, osphoed, primed, painted, scrubbed the heads, steered, washed the dishes, stood lookout, sail-handled, tarred rigging and cleaned just like the rest of us (ed. note: movie stars are people too and put on their knickers one leg at a time, not that big a deal, don’t know why she is making such a fuss over this). Although he was not against a little good-natured teasing about his celebrity – taking it all in stride and teasing the crew just as mercilessly back (ed. note: in fact he would get mopey if NO ONE ever recognised him in a port… claims he does not care but really…). On the fifth world voyage Ollie rejoined the ship for his second long deep-sea voyage to the South Seas and around this oceanic world, he also made his debut as documentary film maker aboard. He wore his camera as faithfully as he wore his knife and marlinespike rig – capturing the voyage through the medium of film. In a way Ollie is torn between two completely different worlds and yet he is equally at home and equally in love with both of them. While on land he is Billy Campbell the movie and television star and while at sea he will always be Ollie – the sailor, stud muffin, shipmate and tortured artist (ed. note: oh, please!).

As we were getting ready to sail Ollie was chosen for a pilot of a not yet ‘green-lighted’ (ed. note: dig the hip Hollywood lingo) drama at AMC, the folks who brought us the super cool Mad Men. Turns out this was to be an electrifying North American version of a Danish TV drama called Forbrydelsen or The Killing. It had not been picked up yet but he said the show was awesome.

When he first suggested to the crew that we watch a subtitled Danish television series Forbrydelsen he was met by a bit of scepticism. Seafarers don’t tend to watch a lot of television – preferring instead to spend those hours spinning yarns with their crewmates or working on ship’s projects or pitching in on deck or writing letters to friends and families on land (ed. note: believe that and I got some swampland in Florida for sale, the fools always staring at their dumb computers, watching stupid DVDs… how many times can you watch Ghostbusters? Jackass 3?).

We were a bit more intrigued when he told us that the show had been picked by AMC in the US and would be produced by the same talented crew that had brought the world Mad Men. We were sold when he said that he would, in fact, have a starring role in the new show. We knew that in a few short months Ollie would be leaving us to film and promote this show – and silently we all thought, ‘This had better be good’ (ed. note: not so silently too, accusing Ollie of dodging the hot like hell Torres Strait, avoiding ex-girlfriends in Bali, chasing a thrilling new one…).

After watching one episode of Forbrydelsen we were all undeniably and shamelessly hooked – even watching in Danish. At least a dozen of us gathered in the focsle every night before dinner to watch an hour of this compelling drama on someone’s computer. I mean, the show really is brilliant. A young girl is murdered, a family is torn apart, an obsessive detective goes over the line, a mayoral election is tainted, anyone could have done it and every one of the characters is suspiciously innocent or innocently guilty. And it looked perfect and real in every scene, just amazing. You might shed a few tears as I did – as you will be drawn into the plot on an emotional level – or you might feel the need to shout at the screen during a suspenseful or climactic moment. Nightly we crowded around a laptop perched precariously on a sea chest in the focsle, the ship rolling under sail at sea, our faces aglow. The haunting and adrenaline infused music filled the room as we raucously vocalized our mixed emotions – “No, there is no way that he could have…”, “Did you see the way that he looked at her…?!”, “She seems so nonchalant… is she responsible?!” Then the inevitable and collective, “Nooooooo!!!!” as the hour ended and left us hanging in anticipation for the next episode. Yes, we were unabashedly addicted to Forbrydelsen. Who done it? Why? Will they be caught? You really have to tune in to find out. Night after night after night… and WOW!!! And we will be again!

A few months ago Ollie did leave us (although we all hope not for long!) flying out of Vanuatu to return to the world of Hollywood glitz and glamour, red carpets and cameras (ed. note: what knows this writer of Hollywood ‘glitz and glamour’? He probably dumpster dives…). We honestly did our best to make him feel at home onboard, although it is tough to compete with Hollywood (ed. note: we have no idea about Hollywood but what Hollywood would have us know, and Ollie? We have no idea what he does there so, and more to the point, we made no more attempt at making this wastrel feel at home then we do for any other crew). On his birthday the crew rigged up a red carpet of sorts, acting like fans, screaming his name in the breezeway from behind a barrier of manila line. He obligingly signed his autograph for his admirers. I don’t think that Davey washed his chest for months (ed. note: this was pretty good – anyone need any ‘extras’ out there in Tinsel Town?).

When I told the crew that the Captain and I were writing this log they wanted to include their favourite memories of Ollie, but I am afraid most of them are not appropriate for publishing on our website. Although I will say that one thing we all agree on is that Billy Campbell should never have to use a bum double in any of his film or TV work (ed. note: TMI… hey, Bronwen, kids look at this website).

When I was first introduced to Ollie my brother Logan said, “Billy, this is my sister Bronwen. She has had a crush on you since she was 10.” I was mortified, but it was true. All of us, my brother and sister and I, must have watched The Rocketeer hundreds of times. However his real life personality is even more crush-worthy than his dashing on-screen alter ego in The Rocketeer (ed. note: apparently others are worse, enough to make you gag).

I moved into his bunk in the foc’sle when he left and and he left me two ‘bunk warming’ presents. One was the gaudiest, ugliest Christmas sweater you have ever seen, which I wore with pride on Christmas Day, and the other was a poem written on the ceiling of the bunk – a poem which he claims is a work in progress – and might be – but I read it every night and sleep inspired (ed. note: oh, boy…).

Let your doubts
To leeward go
Fill your sails
With what you know

What you know
Is who you are
Your only fear
The leeward shore

Inward sail
All sail set
You’ll never fail
To windward get.

He will always have a home in the barque Picton Castle because he is a sailor. Not a man apart, not acting a part, but truly, a fellow sailor. When The Killing does air on AMC you had better believe that all of us – no matter where we are – will be gathered around a glowing TV screen, watching.

(ed. note: the show will be awesome, it will knock Lost out of the park and Ollie needs the steady work. So watch the show, tell your friends! Get another season or two for our lad!)

Ollie
Ollie and Melbourne in Rarotonga
Ollie carves a pearl shell
Ollie Dayman rigger on the way to Cape Town
Ollie on the foc sle head
Ollie playing with the kids Vanuatu
Ollie presents achievement awards to students at Avatea School in Rarotonga
Ollie the filmmaker approaching Pitcairn
Ollie with students at Christel House

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Bound for South Africa

The Picton Castle has been racing along at an average speed of 6 knots, making great time, ever since we left Reunion a week ago. We all had a fantastic time during our visit, but we are happy to be back at sea. Land tuckers you out. I have been a landlubber my entire life and this has been a recent revelation for me. Everybody is always exhausted for the first few days after a port stop. The deck, usually busy with life during the day, is empty but for the on-watch crew. The living quarters quiet but for the muffled snores and occasional sleepy stirrings. When I first started sailing in the Picton Castle I thought this part of the adjustment back to sea – and it is, in part. It is also because land can be exhausting. There is simply too much to do and see and everyone feels compelled to do and see it all. So, despite the fact that we work everyday on the ship while at sea and we work hard, it still feels like a bit of a break to be back at sea – and we are grateful for it.

Once again Chief Mate Mike divided the crew into new watches. While every watch on the ship is created equal, but there are some major differences between them and it is important for everybody to experience all three. This is just another way the crew begin to see the ship, and the work necessary to keep her running efficiently, in her totality. While every day is different on the ship there are some routines that we abide by daily. The 12-4 watch (under the guidance of third mate -Rebecca Libby) cleans the galley shelves every night and during the day launch themselves into ship’s work. They have started nightly workshops at 2 am, discussions ranging from the basics of the engine room to celestial navigation to sail handling. The 4-8 watch (under the tutelage of second mate Paul Bracken) generally does more sail handling. If you’re a light sleeper you can hear them taking in or setting the jibs in the wee hours of the morning. They also do the daily morning deck wash and wipe down of the ship. At night they clean the galley – washing the floors, scrubbing down the mats and pulling out the containers for a proper wipe down. The 8-12 watch (under the leadership of chief mate Mike Moreland) does the morning domestic cleaning, basic housekeeping. They clean the heads and organize, tidy and wipe down the living quarters before starting in on ships work. At night they clean the scullery and wipe down the walls of the galley.

The mates also switched out some of the daymen. Being a dayman does offer one the chance to delve a little deeper into particular areas of ship’s work and maintenance, although the mate is always quick to point out that you don’t need to be a dayman to gain a skill set. Rebecca Libby became a sailmaker by pitching in during her free time. There is always work for those willing to pick up a palm and a needle or a marlinspike or a hammer.

Sailmakers Joani and Meredith are now patching and seaming with new daymen sailmakers Tiina and Clark. Tiina is already boasting quite a few bandages on her fingers, a sign of dedication and pride. They have been busy seaming up the main topmast staysail. Since it is a storm sail they are making an extra seam on every side of the sail. They have also been patching the topmast stuns’l and making a new hatch cover. This project has actually attracted a lot of would-be sailmakers and Susie, Brad, Shawn, Siri, Astrid and Dan have spent quite a lot of their free time on the quarterdeck working away.

Megan is now a dayman rigger and Logan has spent the last week taking her up in the rigging to learn from his vantage point. As an introduction they have been conducting routine rig checks, seizing sheer poles, sewing in covers for turnbuckles and tarring. She seems to be enjoying the work and is wearing her new streaks of tar – the tell-tale uniform of the rigger – with pride.

Mitch is now in the Engine room with Chris. For the past week Chris has been guiding him through the basics and teaching him how to operate the generator, charge the batteries and make water. Be careful Mitch – Chris will quiz you!

Jan and Tammy remain as daymen carpenters and have spent the week making new baseboards for the interior companionway, sanding and varnishing the helm grates, making brackets and installing new light fixtures with the help of Chris and Paul.

Fred still boasts the title of bosun’s mate and he and WT have put the crew to work on various ship-wide projects including overhauling the trash pump, painting the new ‘sponge hotel’, sanding, penetrolling and stencilling Picton Castle on the longboat oars, wire brushing, corrosealing, priming and painting the bulwarks, sheet cleats, panama chocks and t’gallant rails and stripping, sanding and varnishing the stanchions on the bridge rail.

The Captain held a workshop on serving. He wormed, parcelled and served over an eye splice with a serving board. This process helps to protect, cover and strengthen the splice and is a very important skill to have on a ship rigged like ours. And fun too. Over the next couple of afternoons the crew were divided into smaller groups and under the guidance of the pro crew we all practiced worming, parcelling and serving. It will take a while to thoroughly finesse the art of serving, but everyone is keen to practice.

We are sailing along this evening at 4 knots. The wind has died down a little over the past 12 hours. She was blowing a force 6 last night, forcing us to take in the royals and the mainsail. With a strong following wind, being on helm has felt like wrestling an alligator for the past couple of days. Though we are all boasting new muscles and learned a lesson or two in patience and sheer determination! She was a might easier tonight, much to the relief of the helmsmen. A full moon is out, casting shadow puppets on the sails. Our own personal movie theatre. Tonight’s screening? Bound for South Africa

Logan demonstrating a serving
Mitch practices a serving
Sailmakers and friends
The Captain serves up a workshop

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Departing Reunion

On the morning of January 13th, 2011 the Picton Castle cleared out with Reunion customs and immigration and headed back out to sea bound for Cape Town, South Africa about 2200 miles away. One of our beloved crew, Lorraine, originally having planned to sign off in Cape Town, left us here in Reunion to move onto other adventures (maybe Paris?). We will all miss her humour and laughter – although we will hold her to her promise to meet us in Antigua for the classic regatta and, of course, in Lunenburg! Siri’s sister Hege joined us as a trainee here. She is already throwing herself into ships work and will make a great shipmate.

With the pilot aboard, the Captain took us out of Port Ouest and into the lee of the island. We also brought a local compass adjuster aboard the ship with us and for two hours we motored around in circles as the compass adjuster worked his magnetic magic. We swung the compass and had a deviation card made up before we left Nova Scotia, but a ship such as ours, on a long voyage such as this one, needs a proper compass adjustment at some point which invloves moving magnets around and seems more than a little like spells and incantations.

Chief Mate Mike led a fire drill and an abandon ship drill and when the skiff left to bring the compass adjuster back ashore we conducted a man overboard drill. The exercise this time was to retrieve the victim without a rescue boat but only using the ship. Second mate Paul was handed the task of manoeuvring the ship to the bobbing coconut that simulated the victim. When the skiff was hoisted the crew was broken into their regular watches. As 12-4 watch took the deck as we motored out of the lee of island and into the South Indian Ocean once more. In a few hours we were under full sail once agian making 6 plus knots.

Merci beaucoup Reunion!

Abandon ship drill
The Captain and the pilot
The compass adjuster
The pilot leaves us

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Alongside at Reunion

The Picton Castle usually gets a little extra loving while in port and Reunion was no exception.

The crew were not idle as they waited for our agents and then Customs and Immigration to go over our paperwork and stamp our passports. They hopped in to the skiff almost immediately after docking and began scrubbing and osphoing the topsides in preparation for painting. After 30 days at sea she was really not so bad, we were pretty impressed how the topsides had held up so well for so long. Simultaneously the deck and deck structures were given a good fresh water rinse and everything on deck that could be safely removed from the deck was un-lashed and placed on the dock so we could really get the ship cleaned with a good thorough scrubbing. Thankfully the afternoon heat was briefly alleviated by an afternoon rain shower. As the crew soon learned we had arrived during what passes for rainy season. Like clockwork we could expect rain between 1400 and 1500 every afternoon and the mates adjusted and timed their ships work accordingly.

The focs’le head, main deck and quarterdeck were oiled with raw linseed oil and then oiled again. As the Captain explained this helps to seal the deck – not only protecting it from the wear of the elements of sun and sea and rot – but also reducing the amount of water the decks can wick. He explained that even pine decks that get oiled or coated regularly can last 100 years and that bare wood decks in pine or fir last about 20 before they start to go. Plus it looks good! We painted the topsides their famous white and primed and painted the port anchor. The crew also sanded and varnished the charthouse floor and chart table and we replaced one of our VHF radios and got our electronic equipment checked.

The crew also sent down sails and, under the direction of lead sailmaker Rebecca, did the second layout for a lower topsail and the first and second layout for a new upper topsail. Many of the crew were eager to lay in and lend a hand. That combined with the sheer convenience of being alongside led to productive sailmaking days.

The crew cleaned out and organized the hold and the forward sole in anticipation of provisioning. We had done a large amount of dry goods provisioning in Bali and we will be stocking up in Cape Town as well, but we did get some essentials to get us through the passage. Reunion must be famous for it’s colourful markets and fresh fruit and vegetables. There was a large markets every day of the week – in a different town around the island. It was a real treat to go to the market here with Donald and Nadja and we stocked up on green bananas, mangoes, oranges, apples, litchis, grapefruit, onions, potatoes, eggs, lettuce, tomatoes and cabbage…

There is also a necessary balance while alongside. The Picton Castle has accumulated quite a following in Reunion. Every day the dock was filled with people, taking photographs, asking questions and requesting tours. Inevitably ships work sometimes prevented us from being able to offer tours, but we did offer them as often as we could. We had sailed almost ¾ of the way around the world and yet Reunion was one of the few place that we were forced out of our linguistic comfort zone completely. Very few people spoke English on the island – and so those of us who did know a little French were in high demand. Personally I loved it and I think that everyone else (Rebecca, Tiina, Alison, Meredith, Sophie, Nadja, Logan, Liam and Paula) at least appreciated it. Even those who knew no French at the beginning of our stay can now boast a few words and a growing vocabulary. When we were unable to do a tour people were incredibly happy just to talk with one of the crew on the dock – gathering as we told them about what we do as a sail training ship and where we had been during our sail. We gave a tour to the port managers and the harbourmaster and their families and our agent’s nephew among others. We also greeted and hosted friends of Jean-Claude Le Gouallec. Jean-Claude and his accordion had sailed with the Picton Castle from Reunion to Cape Town on the fourth world voyage. Although he was away in France, he was represented well by his friends.

Our popularity was due in large part to the quick response of the press here in Reunion. Many of the crew were interviewed by local radio and TV stations and we were featured daily in the local newspapers of the island. It was neat to have such a huge press following.

A busy market
laying out sail
Nadja and Donald at the market
Rebecca and Bronwen give a tour
Sophie varnishes the Charthouse floor

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Explorations of Reunion Island

On January 4th, 2011 the Captain manoeuvred the Picton Castle into an astonishingly tight docking spot in Port Ouest, La Reunion Island. It was indeed a delicate procedure. The Captain gave helm orders to Nadja who responded with strong and controlled turns of the big teak wheel. Chris manned the engine controls, putting the engine in and out of gear and adjusting throttle. The bow of the ship was nudged and pushed by Logan and Katelinn in our skiff and 25 hp outboad; the helm spun; the engine growled; orders were repeated as the crew on deck passed heaving lines and hawsers to Shawn, Pania and Dave waiting to receive them on the dock – and she came in through the very narrow entrance, down a narrow channel, turned 180 degrees in what looked like not enough room, barely more than the ships own length and slid neatly into her berth alongside – a smooth ‘parallel parking’ job reminding us of what we observed in Rarotonga where the Captain backed the ship in and went sideways to get to her berth at Avatiu. A large crowd had gathered on the dock for the arrival of this Tall Ship and they excitedly snapped photographs, marvelling, whispering and chattering in French.

Once safely berthed the crew waited patiently as we dealt with the formalities of clearing in. The high lush mountains of the island provided quite a dramatic and picturesque backdrop. Speckled with villages they sloped steeply then gently down to Le Port – inviting us to explore. The sticky, humid heat that we had all but forgotten about during our passage from Bali had returned in spades and the off-watch crew took turns in the cold water shower before donning sundresses and shorts and venturing off the ship.

Chibley clearly had intentions of doing some of her own exploring, but the law and the multitude of dogs which inhabited the dock made that wish impossible. We were forced to tether her. Attached to a long leash of marlin and doted on by the on-watch crew – she still meowed mournfully and attempted escape several times by climbing the hawsers. Needless to say she was not too pleased with us and voiced her contempt regularly. In the end, I do believe she understood that we only had her best interests at heart! But she gave us all dirty looks.

There is a great possibility that the crew rented every car on the island – piling into their shiny new automobiles for road-tripping adventures. It takes about three or four hours to circumnavigate the island along coastal highways and roads. Highlights along the coast for the crew included the capital of St. Denis with it’s narrow streets, hotels and oceanfront boulevards;the busy port town of St. Pierre with it’s plethora of shops and restaurants and bars; the beach-side town of St. Gilles with its sweet surf, laundromats and relaxed atmosphere. The arrival of the Picton Castle happened to coincide with La Reunion vacation week. While ordinarily shops and some bars and restaurants might close for two hours at lunch and a few hours in the evening – a combination of French national attitude and island life – this week some did not open at all. Still, roadside fruit stands and family-run cafes were abundant and the crew made frequent stops along the way to satisfy a craving. Care for a frog leg samosa? How about a branch of litchis? Or a local Creole dish? Oui? Oui, merci!

La Reunion is an overseas department of France, the same as province or state, and conducts most of its trade directly with France. As such, you can have your espresso and eat your pain de chocolate too! Most of our European crew felt quite at home in the grocery stores and markets, discovering brands from home. You can buy fresh and perfect baguettes – even the gas stations carry a variety – and some fine cheese and head into the mountains for a picnic. On the east of the island is the active volcano of Piton de la Fournaise, it erupted just weeks before we arrived – covering the earth all the way to the coast with back lava and ash. The landscape is stark and beautiful and yet along the road green shoots are already peaking out of the black earth – representation of an ancient cycle of life on this island. Some of the crew hiked to the crater of the volcano. The earth is still hot to the touch and plumes of smoke mingle with the clouds.

Driving into the mountains is quite a treat. The winding switchbacks overlook lush valleys, cozy villages, deep lakes and rushing rivers. Waterfalls cascade down the mountainside -sometimes splashing onto meandering vehicles or hikers. Hidden amongst the mountain tops the mountain towns or cirques share common historical threads. Many of them were founded by slaves from Mozambique and Madagascar escaping servitude on the islands’ sugar plantations. Cirque de Salazie and the spa mountain town of Cirque de Cilaos in particular were crew favourites. While the coast is quite warm, the mountains can get downright cool. Exploring the highest peaks (Piton des Neiges is over 3000 m high) is impossible by car and as much of the inland in inaccessible by road. While the majority of us found our way into the mountains the conventional way, by auto or foot, Adrienne and Clark hired a helicopter and flew over the mountains – getting a bird’s eye views of this spectacular island.

The crew also spent a large amount of time at the restaurant / cafe just adjacent to the Picton Castle on the dock. Corsairre Bar became our local rendezvous. With a local and friendly staff, delicious Creole food and free wifi we spent hours there trying to connect with friends and family and get business done. The staff even organized a karaoke party night for our crew two days before we left. Many locals showed up so there was a balanced mixture of French and English singing and good times had by all.

La Reunion is beautiful and the crew thoroughly enjoyed their explorations.

*Thank you to Liam, Pania, Frankie and Adrienne for the use of their photographs!

Chibley on a leash
Katelinn ready for a road trip!
Oddrun, Astrid, Megan and Frankie at the Volcano
Rebecca, Liam, Pania and Robert dining in Cilaos
Siri beneath a waterfall
The crew enjoy St Gilles
The town of Cilaos

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Landfall on Reunion

By Chief Mate Michael Moreland

After a near perfect Indian Ocean crossing, with steady, fresh trades on our port quarter nearly the whole time, we made landfall on Ile de Reunion as the sun was setting on another beautiful day of sailing. We sailed through the night around the northern side of the island with the wind pushing us along to the pilot station, heaving-to there, precisely at our scheduled time of 10 AM. With all hands up and alert, ready to go alongside after a month at sea, we backed the main yards to hold station and boarded the pilot on our port side. Now just about one mile off the narrow entrance to the basin of Le Port, the pilot informed us of our berthing assignment. It’s going to be tight, the Captain told me casually. With the engine online and ready to go after almost a month dormant, we took in all sail and braced up sharp for our approach on Le Port.

A man-made basin was built out of necessity along the rocky, volcanic sloping northwest shore of Reunion to accommodate bulk shipping like molasses, a principle export of Reunion. Shaped almost like a street in the suburbs with several cul-de-sacs ending in terminals, we found ourselves with our berthing assignment off the main road and down a narrow winding private driveway where all the yachts go. After successfully passing through the buoyed entrance into an open area where all the side basins feed into, we initiated a 180 degree hard-right turn into a 50 foot wide opening.

Due to the Picton Castle‘s variable pitch propeller and right hand turning shaft, she does not like to turn to starboard. Since her propeller is always turning clockwise (when viewed from astern) whether she is in forward or reverse, there is always a sort of “paddle-wheel effect” that pushes her stern to starboard and therefore her bow to port, making turns and maneuvers to port much quicker and easier. This effect is much more pronounced when she is moving very slowly or dead in the water. Therefore the shiphandler will favor a left hand turn when possible. However, in this case there was no other real option then to make a tight hard right turn.

Luckily, we have a rescue boat which also doubles as a push boat in calm to light conditions. The wind was light and with Logan driving the rescue boat, the Captain placed him on our port bow to push the bow around 180 degrees. A bit of a slow maneuver with just a 30 hp outboard pushing 600 tons of ship, but eventually we got lined up nicely, with our bow pointed straight into the 50 foot wide entrance. Slow ahead with Nadja at the helm, the Captain conned us through the cut and into the long open but narrow basin. Further in we steamed until almost the end where we saw our open berth ahead on our starboard side. From here it seemed like a pretty easy approach, not much room sideways but plenty of room fore and aft, put her alongside starboard side to, just like she likes to do. But that would have put us in an awkward situation when it came time to leave in a week or so, as we would have to get turned around and pointed the right direction in a turning basin just a bit wider then our ship length. In anything above a light breeze this would be next to impossible. Easier to do it now with no wind the Captain said, the push boat warmed up and ready and everyone alert and snappy.

The Captain yelled up to me forward of his intention to pull a 180 turn to port and go port side to. I got the push boat in position on the starboard bow and this time with more help from our engine and it’s paddle wheel sideways force we spun her around with our jibboom sweeping over a few docked pleasure craft and mere feet of clearance in the stern and then put her alongside no problem. I realized halfway through the maneuver that everyone along the docks, including the rowdy dock pole-fisherman, was stopped and staring, not just at the sight of a Class A tall ship but of the spectacle of an oversize ship doing a pirouette in their basin.

Another creative and precise docking and shiphandling done by the Captain with many crew onboard taking notes and also glad they didn’t have to do it!

Getting Hawsers ready for docking in Reunion
Logan pushing the bow with the skiff
The skiff at the ready

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Westward Bound in the Indian Ocean

January 2, 2011

The Picton Castle sails ever westward here along about 21 south latitude, 067 east longitude, deep in the southern Indian Ocean. Her yards are almost square to the winds flowing over the port quarter. All her sails are set to the royals. Sailing and sea conditions can only be described as perfect and have been so for some many days now. Winds are ESE at Force 4 to 5, or about 15-18 knots giving us a steady five to six knots. Skies are a delightful blue with small trade-wind clouds sailing along with us. The seas are none too big at about 3-5 feet, sometimes building to 4-8 feet. We had a squall pass by us this morning that slowed the breezes and put them into ENE for an hour or so but now it’s all back in the SE and blowing nicely again.

We are now about 3,000 miles and 23 days out of Bali. We still have some fresh potatoes and onions and even a few coconuts (lots of coconuts if you include the crew) but any other fresh veggies and fruits are all done. But we are eating just fine, pasta makes for an increasing portion of meals and Donald’s Caribbean chicken with peas and rice an ongoing favourite.

The serious navigators (Ali, Nadja, Katelinn, Frankie, Lauren, Dan, Brad and Joh) are shooting the sun and stars every morning, noon and night. Workshops are concentrating on marlin seizings; round, square, fast and dirty and nice and permanent, raking and kryds-torn baendsler. Sailmakers (Joani, Frankie, Lorraine, Meredith and 3rd Mate Rebecca) are finishing up a new fore course and have started in on a new main topmast staysail. Riggers (Logan, Katelinn, Dave) are making new wire t’gallant sheet pendants and halyards. The carpenter gang of Paul, Jan and Tammy are making new wooden hooks to hold course sheets into the lower shrouds so they do not chafe on the shrouds and have started on overhauling the framing for the many doors inside, some that date from 1955 or in there somewhere.

We have not caught a fish in a while, but we still have fish in the freezer from when we were catching beaucoup. Chibley is her svelte self and has found great delight in chasing both a feather on a string at the end of a stick made for her and the little red spot that a laser pointer makes on the floor and anywhere else it is pointed. She also has been pouncing on and eating flying fish that have flown aboard. The beautiful old teak door to the chart house is getting overhauled and revarnished by Sophie. And one at a time the nice turned mahogany stanchions of the forward quarter-deck rail are getting stripped and revarnished. These were made in Fiji by 7th generation Nantucket-Fijian shipwright Peter Whippy.

We have no idea what the engineers are doing…

At some point soon our minds and thoughts will turn to the next port and the attractions of land but that has not come about as yet, all content to be at sea under sail in this square-rigged ship of ours. Some have suggested that we pass by the next island and just keep going.

Joani sailmaking
Pania, Oddrun and Joani work on their seizings
Rigger Katelinn
Shooting the sun
The Captain teaches a seizing workshop
The riggers coming down from aloft

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