Friday, March 7th, 2014
By Chelsea McBroom
March 1st, 2014
The Picton Castle‘s last couple days in Nuku Hiva I made sure to have lunch at the wharf’s café again – ceviche with coconut milk, fresh tomato, rice, a side of banana and bread fruit and a fresh grapefruit juice. When I’m travelling I tend to find importance in the food I’m experiencing (for example the pizza and gelato in Italy, or the borscht in Russia) and the dishes most common in French Polynesia (besides raw fish or chow mein) seem to be steak, chicken or fish and frites. I made sure to have a steak frites at the hotel that evening with the rest of the crew.
The hotel was always open for dinner so it was usually where we ended up – it had a covered patio out front with a stone fire pizza oven. The waitress there seemed to recognize me by my order, my favorite dish being a chevre chaud salad with bacon, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and toast with goat cheese. When I ordered my steak with someone else, she tried to give me someone’s chevre chaud and we laughed and smiled when I commented about how predictable I was, but this time hadn’t ordered it. Others ordered from the long list of personal size fire baked pizzas, dipping it in their incredibly hot pepper oil or tabasco. Dessert was a creamy frozen peach concoction or crème caramel.
Most importantly our last night there was to be shared with Nils, a trainee crew member who was leaving us in Nuku Hiva. Nils, who is a wise soul, had been with the ship during the last 6 months or so and even the new crew were sad to see him go; he was always reminding us of “the bigger picture” and the importance of this experience.
The crew was all on board the ship by 10pm that night to make sure we were well prepared to leave first thing the next morning, the dory having already been returned to its place above the galley. It had been a very hot couple of nights so I slept well on the hatch that night (without rain!) and it was humid and sunny first thing the next day. After breakfast we went right into removing the awnings, domestics, deck wash and fresh water rinsing, hoisting the skiff and then up aloft and loose, loosing all sails. I ended up at the topsails with Samantha, Peter and Denise, folding my tall frame under the upper topsail yard to get to the clew gasket. Starboard watch then hauled the braces into a port tack and joined the port watch as they hauled the anchor up at the windlass – switching out and taking turns, drinking gulps of water out of the pitchers someone had filled.
Once we had the anchor up, Teis crawling out of the chain locker covered in black smears, we motored out of the bay, setting all sails. Just like we joked about our speed that morning – we were racing to get it all done and set all sails (phew!), only to slowly coast away from the island. But that’s the beauty of it!