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Leaving Mangareva

By Chelsea McBroom

February 17th, 2014

The Picton Castle had spent days in Mangareva looking for certain foods – potatoes, sausages, eggs – but just couldn’t find them. There was little potato in the shops and we didn’t want to buy them out, the closest we could find to sausages were cocktail weenies, but on the very day we were to set sail for Nuku Hiva, our friend on the island came through with an order of ten dozen local eggs. As silly as it may sound, after spending all that time searching for some, getting the eggs made my day. Not only that but it meant Donald had more ingredients to use when cooking, which meant he was happy, which meant we were all happy.

After returning from the dock and hoisting the skiff the crew stood by the windlass as usual. This was the first time our new crew used the windlass and I laughed to myself recalling the day in Auckland when I was showing around Anne-Laure, our new French apprentice, and the look on her face when she realized we heaved up anchor manually. Luckily everyone was keen to help out, turns were taken if needed, and pitchers of water were brought up. Yachts anchored forward of us moved aside and just as the anchor began to reach the water line I looked up from the windlass bar and noticed the squall – a large dark looming cloud in the distance – coming towards us.

The mate called “that’s well!” just as the wind hit us and we ran to get our jackets and stand by. It poured in buckets for hours, we were all soaked to the bone. As we motored away from the island, lightning could be seen in the distance and we were told to cover our bare feet with rubber soled boots. We went around slacking gear over and over as the manila rope swelled and tightened.

After lunch in the salon (which included hot lentil soup) all hands braced around the yards, then the crew was put into watches and the 12-4 took the deck. Still recovering from sleep deprivation during the overnight monomoy trips, many of the off crew took the opportunity to nap and when they awoke the rain had subsided and fore and aft sails were set. It wasn’t until the following day that we were able to set all sails and even since, we have had to take in and set sails repeatedly from the passing squalls along the way. At least the crew are getting familiar with speedy sail handling.

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