By Trudi Inglis
Over the years, I’ve spoken with many parents and
grandparents who have children or grandchildren who want to come and sail on
one of Picton Castle’s voyages. One thing we all know about
parents (grand or otherwise) is that they tend to worry. And if they’re talking
to me, then they’re worrying about their young relative coming to sail.
That’s okay – I’m a mother. I get the worrying. I know it’s really quite
impossible to control that worry.
I’m the perfect person to talk to these parents. Why?
Because I know it first-hand: my own daughter sailed in Picton Castle
one summer. The Rendezvous 2017 voyage, to be exact. She was 17 years old and
is, of course, one of the three most perfect children in all the land. (I
know – you think yours are better. Let’s just agree to disagree on that).
When Shani arrived at the ship in Quebec City, things were
crazy busy: there was a tall ship festival going on, and new people arriving at
the ship like her, some people leaving as it was the end of their leg, and so
much happening everywhere. And it was Quebec City, we’re from Lunenburg. It’s
not really a bustling part of the world. Shani is shy, and it helps to
not be that way in life, whether on the ship or on land.
She called me in tears and asked if there was any way she
could come home right now, please. She didn’t know what she was doing, and
everyone else seemed to be so much better at it all, and she didn’t know
anyone, and she was homesick and plain old missed me. And I told her what every
parent should tell their child in a similar situation “Yes of course you can
come home sweetheart. In 10 days when the ship arrives in Cape Breton”. I’ll be
there to get you.
Because we’ve got to let our kids do things. And even though
I hadn’t done this particular thing before that she was doing, and I was worrying
about her, I knew (like everything else in life) it takes a few days to get
used to it. And I knew she was going to be just fine. She was in good hands,
with people who know what they’re doing.
The ship arrived in Newfoundland about 5 days later and I
sent her a concerned note, wondering how she was doing; how she was coping. She
wrote back about 12 hours later and asked whether she could stay on the ship a
bit longer than Cape Breton, please. The ship was sailing into Lunenburg and it
just made sense that she should sail home rather than have me come get her. And
maybe could she come back again one day, on a longer voyage.
Five days. A total transition.
Will your child (grandchild) be nervous? Yes, of course they
will be. At the beginning, when it’s all fresh and new and they don’t know what
they’re doing (and the reality of having to be without a device in their hand
24/7 is setting in). It’s just like when they learned how to swim, or
ride a bike, or go to school, or drive a car, or go on an airplane alone, or
start a job. All of it was scary at first (for them and for us), and all of
those things made us (parents and grandies) feel like we were powerless and had
no control over their situation.
Will they be okay? Yes, they will. Captain Moreland and his
hand-picked crew are really very good at what they do, and the ship herself is
rigorously inspected regularly. Will they benefit from it? Far more than
you can imagine. Will they enjoy it? Along with the stuff they might not enjoy
(cleaning, for instance, or getting up for an early morning watch), it will be
so many wonderful things they will not only enjoy themselves, but those petty
unenjoyables will seem utterly worth it.
Every kid on this planet should go on a ship. Picton
Castle or another one (though I’m rather partial to these exotic Picton
Castle voyages). That’s how valuable it is. So don’t fret. Everyone on that
ship is in very good hands.