Summer Voyage 2012

Homeward Bound

By Kate “Bob” Addison

1 August 2012

It’s mid-morning on the first of August and Picton Castle is homeward bound, our position 45º44.3’N 061º32.2’W, as we motor sail into a light headwind towards Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Lunenburg is our Canadian home, and a very special place for the ship and her crew. It is also set to be the site of much exciting nautical activity over the next few months. With Picton Castle alongside, her crew will have plenty of interesting projects to keep them engaged and growing as mariners before we set sail for the South Pacific on our next blue water voyage in a couple of months. The South Pacific is also our home in a very real sense, and even as we head to Lunenburg there’s a sense of anticipation on board for the tropical waters and fabulous islands which we are lucky enough to expect in our near future.

Bosun School will kick off almost as soon as we’re back in Lunenburg on August 6th, and the pace of the summer will be set right away with the lovely Lunenburg Schooner Martha Seabury due to be launched the very next day. Then the summer continues with a whole number of exciting rigging and sail making projects as well as the usual Lunenburg summer fun of small boat sailing rowing and driving, barbeques, hump cup races and the music, dancing and fun times that Picton Castle seems to bring with her everywhere she goes. There’s going to be a big cargo sale too, much exotic treasure from our adventures around the world. Watch this space for more details.

For now we are very much enjoying the charms of Nova Scotia. It is terribly beautiful in the Scottish style, all mists and deep muted colours, the shoreline of rolling hills is dark with forests that reach right down to the water’s edge, making beautiful reflections on calm days. We’re heading closer to the land now as we prepare to transit the Canso Strait. We could have gone the long way around Cape Breton, but with southwesterlies forecast for the next few days it would have been a long and lumpy ride into headwinds, so we’re going for the gentler option and heading back through the lock. Seems like just a day or two ago we were transiting in the other direction heading for Pugwash.

We had a nice time at Pugwash, it’s a pretty village with an excellent coffee shop and lots of art and antiques. There was live music by the water during the festival, and little stands all along the high street selling foods and all manner of assorted things. There were a whole raft of organised events too, from canoe jousting to a volleyball tournament, soap-box car racing and helicopter rides. It felt like the ships were a side show rather than the main event, off to the side physically over at the salt dock too. It was refreshing for us to be a smaller part of the whole festival, we’ve gotten very used to feeling like the circus come to town this summer so it’s nice to be spectator as well as attraction. Plenty of visitors aboard too, but a steady stream rather than a rush.

We left Pugwash yesterday morning, following the big salt-ship Amelia out. Yesterday was sunny as we made our way west along the coast, and we took advantage of the calm weather to practice all our safety drills as well as some sail handling. A good, productive day. We anchored off last night at Livingstone Cove on the west side of Cape George. It was stunningly beautiful. A flat calm, the water all around us glistening smooth. The sun set over our port quarter, a perfect circle an inch across, glowing deep red. The moon was up early, a translucent white orb high in the sky off the starboard beam long before the sun had gone down. The light was clear and everything peaceful, almost silent The huddle of people sleeping on the cargo hatch all snuggled up in their sleeping bags were the real proof that the night was much too lovely to go below decks.