By Chelsea McBroom
April 30th, 2014
My bunk leapt and rolled beneath me and I tried to adjust my sleeping position to keep myself wedged and still. The wind howled through my porthole. I felt the slam of a wave against the side of the Picton Castle and water splashed up, through the porthole and into my bunk. I sat up, laughing at myself not having predicted this and rushed to close it, slamming my hand against it until it freed from where it sticks to the ceiling and screwing it shut.
I was having a nap, or trying to, but I looked outside at the seas, recalling when we crossed the Tasman Sea and got excited. The past few days we have been sailing to Fiji, our last port of this voyage before the ship goes into a shipyard period. We’ve had good winds for sailing, sometimes sailing with only the topsails and foresail, maybe t’gallants. Often the Captain will see the squalls coming towards us so we’ll take in the t’gallants and set them again when it passes. We’ve been eating our meals in the salon often, afraid of getting our food wet and soggy.
I can sense a change in vibe aboard, knowing that the crew will scatter and fly home soon after we reach our destination. As I sit in my bunk I kick myself for feeling tired at such an inappropriate time. I want to get to know the crew better. I’d like to set and take in sails over and over, going aloft to stow and loose. I’d like to watch Dirk, the Mate, tie a variety of knots again. I want to wrestle pieces of canvas through a giant sewing machine to make sails. I want to do another pin chase, an eye splice, bend on another sail. Let’s take out the monomoy for another overnight trip! How did we get down to such few days left!?
Now that we’re planning a day at anchor to give crew their sea certificates and celebrate our time together on board, I’ve found that many people are leaving soon after we arrive. I suppose people have to go home eventually. They can’t stay forever. The Captain was confused as to why there was a need for people to leave so soon and explained it never mattered where he sailed to, “I remember getting off my first ship and looking back confused, wondering why I was no longer on it.” But I insist, many will feel the same as he did when they go, and they’ll return to sail again.