Friday, August 19th, 2011
Picton Castle arrived home in Lunenburg from her fifth world circumnavigation voyage two months ago yesterday, and we’ll admit we haven’t written much since then. Why? Well, partly because reflecting on an accomplishment so huge can be kind of overwhelming, partly because we’ve been trying to enjoy summer in Lunenburg and all it has to offer, and partly because we’ve been focusing on developing all the myriad plans for our next big voyage.
So, to back up to the middle of June, our return to Lunenburg was a pretty special event. Crew members had friends and family arrive from all corners of the world to greet them and hug them tightly when they stepped off the ship, completing their voyage. From on board the sight of several wharves on the Lunenburg waterfront filled with people waving was a very moving one indeed. From the wharves, the ship looked gorgeous, shortening sail in the channel as she approached the dock. Horns were blaring from other ships in port, people were cheering, it was an all-around festive atmosphere. We certainly appreciate everyone who came out to see the ship and welcome the crew. Memories from that day are always moving, and it won’t be soon forgotten by any of the crew.
In the days following arrival, we had a few homecoming celebrations, final chances for the crew to be together while they made a start at including their loved ones in the experience they just had. The highlight was our awards night where every crew member was recognized for some sort of achievement, most of them quite silly. And then, in the days and weeks following, the crew began to head their separate ways, on to new adventures, old homes, and catching up with what’s been going on the lives of those they left behind when they went to sea.
A small handful of crew members have stayed in Lunenburg to work away at downrigging the ship, getting things cleaned and tidied, taking advantage of the small number of people on board to do an overhaul of now-empty living spaces, and starting to get extra coats of paint, tar, grease and oil on all parts of the ship to preserve her over the winter to come.
We’ve had a few interesting side projects as well, focused on small boat sailing in Lunenburg harbour, one of which was getting the Karl sailing again. This wooden boat was collected in Palmerston Atoll, where crew member Taia is from, on Picton Castle‘s third world voyage. The crew fixed her up then, made a sailing rig and a bright cotton sail, and sailed her in Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta in the British Virgin Islands on the way home. After sitting for a few years unused, we got her fixed up and in the water again. Her first sail this time was in the small boat race at the Lunenburg Wooden Boat Reunion. She didn’t place, but she floated and the crew had a great time sailing her. Weekly small boat sailing races have continued in Lunenburg’s front harbour on Wednesday nights, so we’ve been exercising all the small boats regularly.
This summer Lunenburg hosted the first annual Lunenburg Wooden Boat Reunion. On that same weekend, we held a cargo sale on our wharf. We had a fine array of treasures remaining in the warehouse from previous voyages. We dug them out, polished them up and found that we had all sorts of wonderful stuff to put out for sale. While people browsed through our open-air shop, they also took in workshops our crew offered at our wharf on knot tying, splicing, lead lines and heaving lines. It was also the perfect place to watch all of the wooden boat races, including the Nova Scotia Schooner Association’s Heritage Cup and the parade of sail beforehand, the small boat sailing race, the putt-putt race for wooden boats with single cylinder make and break engines, and the dory rowing races. And our very own Katelinn, second engineer and deckhand, demonstrated her musical skills, playing violin as part of the weekend’s lineup of musical entertainment under the tent at the Fisheries Museum.
While much of the summer has been rainy, foggy and grey, we’ve been making the most of the good weather days when they happen. Finally this week we had a few sunny days back-to-back and the crew have been grinning like fools, tar buckets attached to their hips while they work aloft tarring the rig, as well as painting and varnishing, cleaning and overhauling the ship. While not at work, we’ve all been enjoying BBQs (known as braais when our South African friends are around), sightseeing, taking in local music and events, and relaxing a bit.
Next up for us is the Bosun School, starting on August 30th. Young mariners with some experience at sea on different vessels will be joining us for an intense three months of workshops, lectures and lots of hands-on practice with the skills required to keep a ship, well, ship-shape. We look forward to welcoming these new folks to our happy gang.