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Leaving Lunenburg

By Kate “Bob” Addison

Saturday November 3, 2012

This morning at 10am there was a gathering on the Picton Castle dock in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The reason: Picton Castle was sailing from Lunenburg, bound for South Pacific explorations. Thanks to our friends and well-wishers who came out to send us off in style, and especially to Mayor Laurence Mawhinney who spoke eloquently of Lunenburg tied to the sea and it ships and their crew that do the job, and wished us fair winds and following seas.

Crew aboard, everyone else ashore, and Voyage Coordinator Maggie Ostler passed our last line aboard. We slipped off the dock out into Lunenburg harbour without drama and under sail. George the cat was pretty cranky about not having a gangway anymore.

Now it’s half-past one, and we’re motor sailing at just over eight knots; pushing to get South. Should make the warm waters of the gulf-stream by Monday morning. Right now it’s chilly, so the crew are muffled in hats and layers. Seas are small and a fresh breeze blows over the starboard quarter. Not too many people hanging out on deck just now; the off watches are snug below, snoozing or reading. There was talk of a game of chess. Still some Halloween candy in the scullery, but don’t expect that will survive the night-watches.

The 12-4 watch have the deck under 2nd Mate Sam Sikkema, and they are taking turns at the big teak wheel learning to steer, and standing up on the forecastle head, learning to be an effective look out. The start of a voyage is about basic skills and getting into the routine of the ship. As Captain Moreland told us in our first muster at sea this morning, we may think we want to learn celestial navigation, but first we have to learn how to walk again. On a moving ship. Step by step. It all seems new and maybe a little difficult now, but in no time it will feel like we’ve been at sea forever, and life on land will seem faintly strange (it is, you know…).

Now we’ve just had dinner (ham night, hurrah!), and 3rd Mate Siri Botnen’s 4-8 watch has the deck. The sun has gone down, a bright orange streak between the different shades-of-grey clouds and horizon. The ship is rolling gently, and I’m opening and closing lockers and drawers in the ship’s office looking for whatever small round thing is rolling around making noises to let me know it wasn’t properly wedged in its stow. Sounds like a pesky whiteboard marker….

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