In these Great Lakes it’s been quite a learning curve for both the old and new crew of the Barque Picton Castle. The old crew are experiencing new maritime challenges and aspects of sailing the ship up the seaway, big huge lakes, and the favorite—HUGE HAIRY thunderstorms. The old crew are now the teachers and the new crew are trying to make sense of all the fathoms of information that is hurtling towards them. But it’s all fun, the weather is mostly great and the enthusiasm of the new crew catching!
After one final glorious sunset over Lake Erie and a final game of Rugby with the other crews, we cast off our lines in Cleveland and set out for Bay City. It is approximately 320 miles from Cleveland, and we have nearly three days to do it—plenty of time! We anchored on Monday night at North Bass Island and dashed straight into the water for a much-needed fresh water swim call and then had a small Kia Orana ceremony to say hello and introduce all our new folks to the old. Then it was up at o’dark thirty, bright eyed and bushy tailed, to heave up our anchor and off we went again. A strong front had blown through at midnight, keeping the Mate and Captain up for a couple of hours, but the anchor held fine. During the day the watches have been busy making the ship shine by touching up paint and making everything sparkle. She looks beautiful.
For a small touch of magic, crew member Andrea Deyling is a blimp pilot, and Andrea’s old blimp and her crew did a fly-by to wave to her as we headed into the Saint Clair River. It’s not every Barque that gets buzzed by a Blimp!
Last night we were welcomed into the small town of Algonac, Michigan. With a 2,200-foot boardwalk, there was plenty of space for us and a very hospitable welcome, indeed! The Cotter, the venerable fire water boat from Rochester, New York, followed in after us—I presume the rest of the Tall Ships had carried on throughout the night. As for us, we put our feet up, played more rugby, went for ice cream, and had a grand time in Algonac. This morning we cast off the lines and will steam full ahead until we reach the rendezvous point outside Bay City (unless we get a sailing breeze, so far not much of that). The Parade of Sail starts at 1500 hrs and we are due to be at the meeting point about lunchtime on Thursday, July 20.
We are already into Lake Huron, which is not the color I imagine a lake to be. It isn’t muddy greeny brown, but a beautiful clear azure blue. It actually looks nearly tropical and at over 70 degrees it almost could be! Dave, the cook, just made BLTs for lunch with the help of his galley staff—Judy, Kai, and Jeremy—and this morning the smell of bacon nearly drove us insane. Logan Livingston is helping Danie our Engineer in the Engine room. Currently the 12–4 watch continues to make pretty, and Jackie is on radio watch. She is plying all those who come into the chart house with M&Ms! Lurvley! Ollie is on the wheel, Kelsey is on look out, David Foxworthy and Nadja are spot painting, and the rest of the crew either rests after watch or they are busy learning their lines.
All is well on the Picton Castle!