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Sailing our Blue-Water Barque Along the Coast of Brazil

Easter Sunday at 03-40′ N / 49-22′ W about 105 nautical miles off the NE coast of Brazil at noon.

We have a surpassingly beautiful day with us right now. The Picton Castle has all sail set apart from royals and flying jib. Winds are fresh and about abeam from the northeast. We are sailing at about 8 knots steering northwest bound for the Grenadines, now less than 1,000 nautical miles away, having sailed around 3,000 nautical miles from St Helena. A long passage is this one. We have had all kinds of weather so far. Calms, robust squalls, fair winds, contrary winds, no winds, too much wind and very sweet trade winds as we have right now. The kinds of breeze a ship like ours was built for.

Now we have fresh NE trade winds particular to this part of the world. These should carry us all the way to the Windward Islands of the Eastern Caribbean. A strong hot sun reflects like so many shattered mirrors off the white capped seas rolling along with us. The canvas sails are taut like a drum against the sheets and braces, pulling us along to the Caribbees. The steering is balanced. From time to time a wave hits the side of the ship just right sending a cascade of sparkling spray over whomever is walking by. Salt is getting encrusted where it dries on pin rails and fife rails, and in our hair too.

Yesterday we sailed by the mouth of the Amazon River. Here the seas became dark green and lumpy, tossing the ship about some. We are past that now and are in smooth sailing yet the seas are still a green unlike we see offshore.

It is Sunday at sea.  Hands can be seen about the ship reading, patching old shorts that maybe should be tossed instead. Some are sewing up seabags of sail cloth. Some off watch are in their bunks binge watching Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad or Shameless or some such. Some are knitting.  It is ship’s cook Donald’s day off so three hands are in the galley sorting out getting us fed. We cater to  vegetarians, gluten free, vegan, fish eaters, chicken eaters and meat eaters in the crew. Sometimes we also remember to look after a small boy too, who eats pizza and bread and pasta. That’s about it. Pizza bread too.That’s any piece of bread with a smear of pasta saw across it. Peanut butter on crackers are OK too. No special diet for him but something.

Also yesterday we had a visit from those Denizens of the Deep, King Neptune and His Royal Court, led by Cap’n Davey Jones, Aphrodite, Scribe, Baliff and many distinguished courtiers, resplendently dressed and coiffed. Evidently, they found it needful to attend to our seven crew who were crossing the Line for the first time. So with due pomp and ceremony, with utter dignity, charm and with most sensitive mindfulness to the sensitivities of these sweet cherubs and with all the sacred solemness one could imagine, all the cares and woes of these poor pollywogs were lifted, their burdens shared and shed. Grateful they were and King Neptune and Royal assembly returned to seas, and the seas laid down overnight and all was right with the Realm with only salty sunburned Shellbacks sailing the Picton Castle once again.

This ship sails along ploughing these seas as swiftly as we can ever hope to see her sustain. Along the coast of Brazil having just passed the Amazon. The Orinoco is next.

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