South Seas Voyage 2013-2014

Welcome to Papeete

By Maria Andersen, apprentice from Denmark

March 13th, 2014

I was woken up by a loud voice calling down to the batcave telling us that they needed all hands to harbour stow sails and getting the ship ready for port, so on deck we went with harness, shoes and a proper shirt so the people of Papeete wouldn’t be too shocked by sailors in dirty work clothes.

As we were stowing the sails making sure that everything looked nice and ready for coming alongside, we saw the city growing bigger and bigger in the distance and we quickly agreed that we probably would need a lesson or two on how to behave in a big city without getting lost or run over by a car, for the last two months we have been on the ship or visiting smaller islands so the thought of a big city is in fact rather scary.

We came into the harbour with the help of a pilot then Captain John parked the Picton Castle like she was a car. We got her moored up and placed the gangway over the side of the ship after a bit of a struggle, and now it is hanging over the starboard side with a little help from the course yard.

Later that evening port watch was stood down and starboard watch had the deck. That night my night watch was much different than being at anchor outside a small island. Just across the road, small vans were parked, selling local food and much more and during the night. You could hear the music playing from the city centre and happy voices laughing in the distance.

Next day starboard watch was off so we went into the city to find out that everything was closed because it was Sunday, except for one bar where they fortunately had wi-fi, so we sat down and got antisocial, calling home, writing friends and checking bank accounts. After that I decided to go for a run because there was not much else going on, and then met up later with the other guys. That night we had food from one of the vans parked across from the ship, and we soon agreed that next time we would share because the portions were huge but really nice.

The next day on watch it was time to do provisions so me, Chelsea, Anne and the new cook Lily went to the supermarket, prepared with running shoes and a bottle of water we went off to different areas of the store. My main things were cheese and canned food so I filled a whole wagon with tomatoes in tins, baked beans, fruit cocktail and much other good stuff. Afterwards I filled a wagon with 30kg of cheese and two wheels of cheese. Try to ask me if people looked funny at me, thinking that I was going to have a major cheese fondue later that day. After five hours we only needed to check everything out, we ended up with an enormous receipt and 20 shopping carts filled up with food for the hardworking people on the Picton Castle.