New trainees aboard the Picton Castle are discovering what it means to sail aboard this beautiful barque as we motor along the coast of Nova Scotia. Along with learning to stand forward lookout, do efficient ship checks, steer a steady course and set and take in sails they have also been figuring out how high to fill their coffee cups without any spilling out, the spot on the windward rail where the waves are most likely to splash over, how brace themselves in their bunks for a comfortable sleep and which combination of layers of clothing will work best to keep them warm. All are extremely keen to be here and make the most of their short summer stay on the Picton Castle.
Canada Day came in cool and foggy this morning with the fog just starting to lift as we enter the Strait of Canso which separates Cape Breton Island from the mainland of Nova Scotia. With the temperature a chilly 14 degrees Celsius shorts and t-shirts aren’t really an option and people have rooted around in sea chests to find red or white sweaters and toques (for you non-Canadians, a toque is a warm winter hat also known as a watch cap or a beanie). I can’t say I have ever worn long johns on Canada Day before but I suppose there’s a first time for everything. Despite the cool weather the sun is shining and we plan to celebrate by displaying all our Canadian flags, singing out a loud ‘O-Canada’ and enjoying a special Canada Day supper. Last year the Picton Castle celebrated Canada Day in the Pacific Ocean on the way to the Galapagos Islands but it feels much more like home to spend July 1st on the cool coast of Nova Scotia.
Excitement continues to build over the ship’s summer plans. We are bound for the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence seaway to participate in a number of tall ship festivals. Bruce Dickie-Clark, one of the new trainees, will be almost able to see home from the locks in Montreal, as will Stephanie McMahon from further up the river. Legs of the trip are quite short this summer, only one or two weeks, meaning that lots of trainees will get a chance to sail with us. We look forward to welcoming guests aboard for daily deck tours in the various ports, transiting locks in the seaway and the Welland Canal, checking out other Tall Ships, and exploring the great inland seas. We are also looking forward to real, actual, genuine, proper summer weather…You know, with sun shine and stuff like that.