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Another Day Under Stuns’ls

December 27, 2018 – Indian Ocean – noon position approximately 16-14 South / 083-58 – on passage from Bali towards Rodrigues and Reunion Islands

The Picton Castle gang is having a pretty classic studding sail sea passage across this broad southern Indian Ocean. ESE winds blow easy enough drawing us along at 4-5 knots, sometimes 6 or a bit more. Seas are modest and a brilliant blue. Skies are clear. Flying fish lift from the sea and soar off in small squadrons to sortie port and starboard from time to time. A fish on a line gets hauled over the rail aft every couple of days. A big mahi mahi this morning and an 80 pound yellow fin a couple days ago. We will get three meals out of that one alone, plus some sashimi. Pretty well out of fresh foods now. Such is the way of a windship on a long ocean passage. Good thing we have big freezers. But they too will be looking low when we make landfall. Makes our first night ashore on that distant island all the more delectable. Steering is easy with the stuns’ls set. If the helmsman gets it sorted out just right the ship steers herself just fine for long blocks at a time. Night lookout turns on the foc’sle are quiet periods of soft reflection, hopefully while still keeping a good lookout too. Perfect weather for almost any kind of nice ship’s work. Painting, varnishing, sailmaking, boat repair too.

Our fine Lunenburg seine dory, built at the Dory Shop on the water there and named for mariner/playwright Carlyle Brown’s one-man play of a Bahamian fisherman and his boat named Sea Never Dry, something of a more ethereal “Old Man And The Sea”, is getting a bottom overhaul to make her water tight again. Some halyards end-for-ended and new lines rove off. Ratlines are getting renewed aloft in stretched tarred 12mm hemp. Time to tar the whole rig it is. Perfect weather for it. Yesterday we spent some time discussing what goes into passage planning; expected weather conditions along the intended route, meeting certain milestones to make for more favourable weather conditions when in certain areas, political/group safety considerations, piracy considerations, destinations of desire and other considerations that go into overall greater voyage planning as well as the immediate passage. A lot about how this voyage is planned out. And some discussion on how to apply these considerations to other possible and likely passages elsewhere. Nova Scotia or New England to the Caribbean for example. Or New England/Nova Scotia towards Europe and so on. Might be useful later on, but interesting behind the curtain stuff anyway.

Christmas at sea was pretty sweet. I think having a 6 year old boy on board for Christmas seems to add a lot to our Krissmiss spirit. Dawson has enough spirit to share and it is contagious. He made a great job of handing out presents, his duty as the youngest aboard. He performed his task with gusto. Having a caroling group was fun too. In years to come when some will be wistful about a cold snowy white Christmas I suspect that more than one Picton Castle world voyager will get a bit a bit nostalgic for a blue-water, trade-wind Christmas under stuns’ls. Just guessing. In the meantime, a good time had by all this Christmas time at sea very, very far from any major bodies of land, with a flying fish breeze over the port quarter and all sail set to the royals as well as three stuns’ls out to port.

On we sail, a mere 1200 miles to our planned port of call of Rodrigues or another 400 to Reunion. Nothing to this gang. They have come 17,000 miles so far. This gang is made up of bluewater seafarers.

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