Captain's Log

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Leaving Pitcairn Island

By Chelsea McBroom

February 9th, 2014

The day we left Pitcairn nobody from the Picton Castle wanted to leave. It’s easy to imagine that occurring at just about any port we visit, but it was different in this case because we felt as though we were leaving a home of sorts; in such a short time we were a part of another family. We understood that poor weather would reach us and since we were anchored in a unique spot on the reef by the shore, it didn’t make sense to stay and take any chances. A difficult decision was made and we got ready to sail for Mangareva.

The off watch that stayed the last night on Pitcairn made their way back to the ship early afternoon. Once again the long boat was filled with coconuts, bananas, melons, papaya and little pineapples which were loaded onto the hatch immediately, kept from rolling by a wall of bags from the returning watch. Cookies and punch were made for our short visit as some of the islanders came aboard to say goodbye. When we couldn’t say thank you enough, and the swell of the ocean began to knock the boat alongside when the wind picked up, we had to part ways. The islanders jumped back aboard their longboat, wishing us a safe voyage and motored around the ship, waving their arms in the air.

The crew was already standing by the windlass to heave up the anchor when they motored past the bow and towards the Landing. The crew heaved up and, motoring with fore and aft sails, the ship made its way towards Mangareva, Pitcairn slowly shrinking into the distance. It didn’t take very long for us to remember that we would have crew leaving us in Mangareva. The Captain decided that we should have a social celebration at 1630, our last one together before Steve, Beamy and Amy left, and drew up a little sign with different coloured felt markers and posted it on the scuttle doors: “WEAR YOUR PAREAU and LAVA LAVA’s”. The crew changed out of their work clothes and into French Polynesian style wear; sarongs and clean tops, decorated with Pitcairn necklaces and beads. The 4-8 watch took short fifteen minute turns on the helm so they could all participate.

Before it all began we were given a run down on our route for the rest of the voyage, the Captain concluding, “I’m living a dream; it may not have been my dream, but it’s someone’s dream and it’s a pretty awesome one.” There was a bowl of savoury and a bowl of sweet popcorn made to go with the fresh fruit punch. The Captain was the DJ, playing themed music – Bob Marley and the Beach Boys included. Soon Donald sent out dinner; baked fish in curry, rice, sliced avocado and cucumber and the cheese rolls Lily baked. It was the perfect evening with all sails set and a warm trade wind. The few clouds in the sky were dipped in orange shades of pink as the sun set and the Captain said, “Just look at those clouds,” and they were beautiful lumpy hats of cotton candy near the horizon, “they’re unique works of art. No one else will see what we’re seeing right now. It doesn’t get much better than this.”

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