Captain's Log

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Leaving Palmerston

By Chelsea McBroom

April 19, 2014

Starboard watch was taken back to the Picton Castle and switched once more with port watch so they could be ashore on Palmerston another night. Because the ship had hove to, two people had to be watching the deck at all times, so we were put into pairs and given a two hour shift every eight hours. Finn and I took the first watch in the afternoon and another at midnight. As part of the night orders, when the ship had drifted five miles, we were to wake the Captain who would then ask us to wake the Engineer and we would fire up and motor back to the island again. By about 01:00 we did just that and I took the helm, still locked on hard right, waited for the ship to come around and took off the eight or so turns just before the given course. It was another clear moonlit night and surreal to be steering the ship with two for company. We were hove to again by the time our watch was over and Erin and Gustav took over. It was peaceful once more when the motor was turned off and we went back to bed. The next morning with all hands at 0800, it was cloudy and rainy. The ship motored back to the island and waited for an appropriate time in weather to receive port watch back (although we told Palmerston over the radio that they could keep them, they refused) and when the clouds parted they were returned. The ship’s company said goodbye to the few islanders aboard the skiffs that pulled alongside and we were off, motoring south west until we could reach the right winds to take us to Tonga.

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