South Pacific Voyage 2012-2013

Sunday and Monday at Sea, Jogging Along Nicely

By Kate “Bob” Addison

Yesterday was a Sunday so Picton Castle Cook Donald had the day off, and the galley team look after the meals with help from the watch. The galley team changes daily, one person from each watch have the day off from their usual tasks on watch and instead spend the day assisting in the galley, setting up for meals and cleaning up after. On Sunday the galley team cook, with the watches to help out and wash dishes as there’s traditionally no ship’s work on a Sunday. Yesterday’s team did a good job for us: eggs, porridge and fruit for breakfast, chicken with onion, pepper, tomato and rice in wraps for lunch, and pasta with sauce and salad for supper.

It always surprises people how tricky it is to cook at sea the first time they try. But is all part of what makes a strong mariner. We have 36 people on board at the moment, so that’s a lot of hot meals to get out at the same time, and there’s the added complication that nothing stays where you put it unless it’s bolted down or firmly wedged. This includes the cook. So, before commencing chopping, stirring or seasoning, the first job is always to find a nice corner to brace yourself into, or something to hang onto, so as not to fly across the galley when we take a roll… It is fun though, and also helps make the gang appreciate how wonderful Donald is for turning out three hot delicious meal on time, day after day.

Weather has been good – we have maybe a Force 5 on the starboard quarter, motor-sailing with topsails and the main topmast staysail set, braced up sharp on a starboard tack. There are big fluffy clouds, some grey, some white; lots of silver linings, their edges glowing where they meet the big blocks of bright blue sky. The ship has settled into a slow, comfortable motion, down now by starboard quarter, now by port bow.

A few of our newer crew are feeling the effects of the roll; there are always a few people suffering the first week out, and there’s really nothing more miserable but it generally doesn’t last long before they find their sea legs and forget that they ever felt bad.

Picton Castle is still heading South, or thereabouts. I can see the GPS course-over-ground from my seat in the office here and it’s swinging between 155 and 185… but then it is only the second time some of this gang have steered a ship – they should get much better in the next few days under the guidance of the mates, ABs and the other experienced sailors.

Just now the weather’s gone grey and cooler; a spattering of rain and the wind on the quarter picked up a little. I was aloft just now helping the 8-12 watch stow the foresail – first day it’s been warm enough to climb aloft with bare feet; but just as we were getting the last gaskets on the sky went dark and the rain started falling, so now I’m hiding from the miserable weather in the ship’s office. I think I might stay here until there are palm trees and sunshine outside… or at least until lunch.