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The Evening Watch

17 October 2013

All day the winds have blown a steady Force 4 to 5 just aft of the port beam of the Barque Picton Castle as we sail east. Our ship has been making a steady six to seven knots under topgallants and all plain sail on a cobalt blue-sky day. The gang has been soaking up the sun and the cool breezes. Lead seamen Pania and Finn have been releading lines aloft for best lead. The gang on deck has been madly making new baggywrinkle to replace the old stuff hanging off the forestay and many years old. Hangs down like old Spanish moss it does. This is a good sailorizing job in the pale sunshine on the quarterdeck. Now the 4 to 8 watch has the deck for the evening. The sun is well down although the sky glows bright yet. It is time to knock off and clear up the decks. They sweep up all the small ends of shredded lines as the sun heads down for the night astern, take a tug on the lee braces after drying and stretching all day and jig up the halyards to renew the nips for the night. A large moon has climbed up the sky astern, even as the sun sets. We have plenty of light to go about our duties.

Seas remain small and even and we are enjoying that. A pleasant change in the Tasman Sea that we have become acquainted with. Many of the gang are studying their knots and pin rails for the upcoming test of their knowledge of the running rigging, the compass, steering, the point bearing system and names of parts of the ship. This will come in two days. It is good to have a deadline. Up on the fore-bitts on the well deck one of the lads is playing a guitar on his off-watch. This is a good gang.

The lookout heads forward to relieve out the old one. The big teak wheel gets a new helmsman at six bells. It is a beautiful evening here in the Tasman Sea as we reel off the sea miles towards Opua.

Our esteemed Chef Donald, after surpassing himself once again, has gone to his cabin, tomorrow is another day…

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