This is a continuous post so read down for the latest.
Saturday May 16,09
Woke up this morning to a bright, sunny but cool day.
The winds are out of the North so the Captain says we will need to motor for the next few days. Blah! I hope by the time we get closer we will be able to set sail.
We left the dock about 11:00am with a pilot aboard and motored out of the channel and into the open Atlantic. Once the pilot was off we had a fire drill and then broke into our sea watches.
So we are off on the final leg of this journey back to Lunenberg, the ship’s home port. I still can’t really get my head around the fact that my 6 months at sea are coming to an end.
On the plus side my youngest daughter is going to be waiting on the dock when we arrive, which will be really cool! I hope the weather is nice so she doesn’t get wet and or frozen while waiting for us.
Just finished our afternoon watch. The wind is a strong force 4 from the NE with a heavy 6-8′ swell coming in from the East. Definitely a lot of rockin and rolling.
My trick at helm was tough. We are motoring with the fore and aft sails set to get some advantage from the wind and steady out the roll a bit. As the ship rolls her heading changes which changes the wind pressure on the sails and causes her to round up or fall off from the course. To make matters worse the wheel has recently been varnished and does not have th turks head lashing that marks the top most spoke. Tricky.
The temperature is dropping as the Sun sets so I suspect it will be time for the boots and fowlie pants on watch tonight. The skies are clear and the water is a very cold looking dark dark blue.
So day one of this 7 day passage is done, 6 to go
Thanks for reading
Sunday May 17,09
Had a good night watch.
When we came on watch the spanker had been taken in so when I was on helm the steering was much more consistent than yesterday. The wind has backed around to NNW and dropped to force 3. The swells are still running but they are smoother and the ship only does the big rolls every 4th or 5th wave now
We saw a pod of whales heading East off our stern and shortly thereafter Lynsey came charging back to the wheel from the chart house and grabbing the wheel ordered hard right! There was a whale sleeping directly in our path. It woke up and sounded just as we passed it within 20′ or so. You’ld think with all the racket we make under power that it would have heard us coming before then.
Last night was brutal trying to sleep. I kept rolling across my bunk and there was something banging around that sounded like it was right by my head. About every 15 minutes I would get up and try to find it only to fall asleep again when the noise stopped. Eventually I determined that it was John’s rig, ie his knife and marlin spike, that was hanging on the divider between our bunks. I carefully reached in and unhooked it without waking him up and I was good for a few hours
I think the first item of business, once I’m finished this of course, is a nap.
Just got off of our afternoon watch which was very busy. We had a information session by the Captain showing us some of the potentially ugly weather looming out there. Most of the day we motored through a dead calm with a steady swell from the NE. It looks like we will be crossed by a cold front later tomorrow which will bring strong winds from the SW that will then shift to the NE which will be rotten if we are in the Gulf Stream by then. The Gulf Stream flows NE so the wind will be against the current which sets up a very nasty wave pattern. There is also a gale moving NE up the approaching cold front that we may get a chunk of tomorrow as well.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Thanks for reading.
Monday May 18,09
I was on lookout this morning as the Sun rose into an almost clear blue sky.
There is now a big swell coming from the West that is combining with the swell from the NE to make for a very lumpy sea. The ship is much steadier but all of a sudden she will take about 3 big rolls as the waves combine just right. Being on Lookout and looking back aft as she does that is pretty awe inspiring… So is going aloft to loose the lower topsail which we had to do just at the break of the watch. The yards are braced sharp on a port tack but even so the motion is quite something up above the deck. The worst part is coming back down as leaning out to pass the futock shrouds when the ship rolls towards you means you are literally horizontal above the sea! Cool and scary at the same time
There is nothing, other than the westerly swell to indicate anything is going to change but we’ll see.
Spent the day putting th finishing touches on my sea bag, I put an ey splice on on end of the lanyard and a Mathew Walker stopper knot on the other.
I also read Fahrenheit 451 from cover to cover.
Our afternoon watch had a wire splicing workshop give by the Captain. This only confirmed for me that wire splicing is not a skill I ever want to master
During the course of our watch the water temperature dropped from 24C to 17C! Along with this temperature drop the seas changed from blue to a chilly looking gray green. According to the Captain we are in a “cold eddy” alongside the Gulf Stream. He expects the front to cross our position sometime tonight or early tomorrow.
I have galley duty tomorrow so get to sleep in tonight which will be lovely!
Thanks for reading.
Tuesday May 19,09
Was woken up to very different kind of day. The cold front moved in about 5:00 this morning and when I came on deck to start my galley day the sky was leaden and so was the sea. the swell is now covered with wind blown waves and white caps. the steady force 4 is blowing from the NW so we are still motoring along.
It looks cold and miserable but the air is still warm and the water isn’t that cold yet so it is actually quite pleasant on deck.
They took the galley stove apart to clean it this morning, which will hopefully help it actually heat stuff again. This meant that breakfast was cold cereal, cheese, nuts and the last of our oranges. The stove is back on currently so Donald is hoping to have a soup made for lunch. On the plus side there were no pots or pans to wash from breakfast
David tells me that we are 280 miles from Lunenberg.
Just finished the last of the dinner dishes and am now off till my night watch at 4:00am.
The skies are still cloudy and the seas still lumpy and steely grey. The air is rapidly cooling so I think it will be long underwear and full fowlies on watch tonight.
We just dumped our food slops overboard, which needs to be recorded in the “slops log”
so I got a position. We are at 40 degrees 34 minutes North and 64 degrees 18 minutes west at 7:00pm in case you were interested
I might even have to put my blanket on top of my sleeping bag tonight. What a difference a day makes when you are motoring straight North.
Thanks for reading.
Wednesday May 20,09
Just finished breakfast after coming off our very cold night watch.
When we came on deck the sky was clear and sprinkled with brilliant stars. It looked very chilly which didn’t help. I had first helm and 4th lookout. My trick at the helm was easy as the ship held her course NxE beautifully. However since I just had to stand there in the wind I got quite chilled even dressed in almost everything I have. That doesn’t bode well if it gets colder. Yeah, I can here you all saying “Poor guy getting a taste of what we had for months”
About 6:00am we braced the yards around and then set the fore and aft sails and lower topsails. By the time that was done I was really warm! The Sun came up about then and the day dawned crisp and clear.
While I was on lookout a pod of dolphins came charging through the seas and took up station on our bow. They look like they just love to play in the bow wave. It was fabulous to watch.
So I only have 5 more watches till the end of the trip. Rumour has it that we will anchor somewhere in Nova Scotia on Friday and then sail into Lunenberg on Saturday.
As we were finishing breakfast the engine was shutdown and the on watch set more sail so we are sailing for the first time in a few days.
Had a very busy afternoon watch.
We had another wire splicing workshop, this time with a “parcel and served” eye and thimble.
Parceling is wrapping cloth strips around the line then tarring it. Serving is to wrap marline tightly around the parceling to protect it from chafe and this is also tarred to keep water out. All the standing rigging on the ship is wire that has been parceled and served over it’s entire length. The Captain says that when they were doing it the emptied every thrift store of sheets for miles around
After dinner we started taking in sail and were motoring again by the time we got off watch.
Rumour has it we may anchor tomorrow morning somewhere on the coast of Nova Scotia.
Thanks for reading.
Thursday May 21,09
Our night watch was cold but busy.
We arrived off the coast of Nova Scotia about 5:00am and then proceeded to weave our way through the barricade of lobster pots into a bay South of Lunenberg, Port Mouton. We anchored snug up against the Western shore. According to the Captain there is a high wind warning, near gale force from the West, for tonight so we motored in and holed up to let it pass.
Our watch has been stood down till noon when all hands will turn to to do ships work. This will consist of getting her all “beautified” for her triumphal return to Lunenberg on Saturday. Not sure what we will end up doing tomorrow I think it depends on the winds.
The Sun was warm this afternoon. Warm enough in fact to work in T shirt and sandals! I thought that was done for good
I spent the afternoon painting the seizings on the main shrouds white, the shrouds are black.
After the deck was cleaned up we had a great roast beef dinner. Then once the dishes were done we gathered on the welldeck for an impromptu “just us” party. After tomorrow we will be under the control of the shore and we’ll have families and our shore lives tugging at us. Last night however it was just us, dancing to Reggae, Celtic Rock, Classic Rock and lots of good vibes.
The gale blew as expected but it was a clear air gale, no clouds at all. Snug in this bay we hardly felt it.
Tomorrow we may set sail for a bay closer to Lunenberg. It will depend on the winds and weather as always
Thanks for reading.
Thursday May 22,09
This morning dawned bright and clear and cold!
After breakfast we hoisted the anchor and siled off the hook i9n a stiff westerly wind.
We had a fabulous sail NE up the coast of Nova Scotia, bright Sun and clear cold air.
About 4:00 we sailed into a deep bay just South of Lunenberg and anchored. We never even started the engine “just in case”
The weather is bright and very warm, surprisingly warm actually. For a while this afternoon David, Robert and I were working in the galley, digging into the nooks and crannies to clean and we were happy to be there as it was warm. Now it is warmer outside than in!
We are planning to pass battery Point just outside Lunenberg at 2:00pm tomorrow. Lunenberg is 14 sea miles (4 land miles) away.
I got a text message from my daughter saying she is almost in Lunenberg so I know she will be at the dock.
So tomorrow this grand adventure will be over. We will be tied up to the land for the last time and suddenly the “real world” will get it’s hooks into me again. And even though it will be great to be back with my family again it is going to take some time to decompress from this amazing experience.
Had a great dinner of BBQ chicken, BBQ ribs and roast beef, stuffed potatoes and roasted pumpkin, very yummy indeed.
The mood on board is very different from last night. We are a subdued lot tonight. I think the looming end to the voyage is weighing on everyone this evening. Even though there are many people who will be joining the ship for her summer voyage doing the East Coast Tall Ships festivals this crew will be split up. The watches will be dissolved and only the memories and photos (and my blog too) will remain.
Tomorrow we will up anchor for the last time, set sail and head out into the Atlantic to head towards Lunenberg Nova Scotia.
Thanks for reading.