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Shipyard in Fiji, Day One

May 22nd, 2014

The day came in calm with light rain, we got the anchor up and, motored the mile to the shipyard through anchored vessels and some cruising yachts and nosed the Picton Castle into a bunch of Oriental Fishing boats, from their rust stains and sea-slime well above their waterline they’re clearly waiting their turn for the dry dock. The vessels that were in our spot were still up, one a beautiful old and now short rigged 90 foot wooden schooner and a smaller fishing vessel now looking pretty snappy in her new white topsides and bottom paint. They started down while we watched, but didn’t seem like were going to get up today to me. They still had to haul the flat up again and re-block for this ship. All of a sudden the noise began and all were aflutter that up we would go. When? Right now! To make a long story short, after much pulling and tugging, lines this way and that, boats zipping about taking lines here and there, divers bobbing in the water or sending bubbles as they attended their craft unseen below, we missed the tide an had to head back to our berth with the other old fish boats. Tomorrow would be another day to try.

The next day. Day 2. At 1430, with an increased amount of frenzied activity, jostling and pulling, the gang got the Picton Castle centered over the lift dock – from there, and three hours later the ship was making her way out of the water to be, as they say, “on the hard” – and so we are.

*Photos by apprentice watch officer Anne-Laure Barberis

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