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Night Watch At Sea

By Cheri Davidson

25-56 S, 174-03 E

At Sea

19 September 2013

It’s just after 12 midnight on the Picton Castle and the Starboard Watch has gone to sleep. Port Watch now has the decks and are waking up with cups of tea and coffee. Night watch can get pretty chilly. When we are woken up for our watch at 2330h, we are given a brief weather update and tonight’s was ‘It’s pretty cold out. Layer up!’. Most pulled on their thermal layers and everyone is wearing a nice cozy hat. It may not feel too cold on deck at first, but after an hour on helm or lookout, the damp air gets in.

Coming on deck with the bright full moon and all sails set is quite a sight to see. It’s nights like these when I look up from the hatch at the sails and sky and think ‘Remember this moment, it’s amazing!’. We have light winds so it’s fairly quiet. Just the sound of the occasional wave against the hull and the creak of the masts and yards.

Once we have hot cups of tea and coffee in hand we gather on the quarterdeck and find a spot on a deck box to sit. If the winds shift then we are ready to brace the yards and trim the sails. If there is a squall in the distance the Captain or Mate on watch may tell us to take in some of our lighter sails. But for now we just stand by. We chat about what we did earlier in the day, about how good of a sleep we had in our cozy bunks and ask questions about lines or sail handling. Without fail, conversation will always swing around to where we are going. Next stop Norfolk Island! We have about 350 nautical miles ahead of us and none of our crew have ever been there before. What will it be like? How long will we get to explore on shore? We don’t know. So we must be patient. It will be a few more days until we get there. So for now we enjoy the stars, the sails and the waves on night watch. And a cup of noodles…

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