Thursday afternoon welcomed us to Marsden Cove with ideal conditions. High tide, calm water and enough wind to ruffle your hair but nothing that interfered with our passage through the narrow channel to our home away from home. This morning’s depature was a mirror image at low tide. Both wind and water behaved themselves in front of our guests, that is, the friends and family of our new trainees and the curious mariners that we berthed with on Thursday. We departed from our temporary berth like rockstars after a show, Rob manning the tender as our entourage and the flashing lights belonging to those being left behind rather than the hounding paparazzi looking to get ahead. Thanks again to the generous support from Marsden Cove Marina for hosting us during our stay. With our farewells, g’days and how-dee-doos said, the ship was in open waters and the trainees sailing out through the open door.
We set sail immediately for Whangamumu Harbour, and just as promptly as we had set our course the weather had decided it would set the scene. The sou’east winds and the inbound tide rocked the ship and her new passengers a little more than gently. Rob, Tyrone, Tyrone and Trident scaled the shrouds to unfurl our tops’ils whilst the remaining members of our new Port and Starboard teams raised the headsails and fores’il respectively. The sails caught the wind like those on board caught its chill and soon we were all rugged up in warm layers and wet weather gear. The distance of today’s sail saw the Captain pulling out all his tricks – and sails – and soon we truly were in full sail with our gaff tops’il and course sail coming out from hiding and joining their fellow sails aloft.
The onset of seasickness saw us lose several trainees to the shelter of their bunks and the designated ‘sick spot’ of the helm. Kylie’s chick-pea and corn soup steamed its way on deck followed closely by a fresh batch of scones. Hot bowls warmed our hands while the hot soup warmed and oiled the working parts on the inside. Our dishes were rinsed and sent below decks where young Jesse was waiting with a tea-towel in his hands. There was no break in the sailing during or after lunch and the hard slog coupled up with the less than ideal seas took its toll on some of our youngsters. The wall by the bosun’s bunk was repainted with a chunky shade of lunch whilst the fish were fed well by those who managed to make it to the deck. Soon after the main bouts of seasickness it seemed that we had mostly gathered our sea-legs beneath us and our trainees trudged on, heaving lines, unfurling and furling sails and bearing the sea spray, cold winds and continuously rolling waves.
The sun was lost to us as the afternoon drifted slowly into the evening. The ships lighting lending us some relief as we drew closer to our destination. The clouds and darkness set in without hesitation leaving us to navigate via compass bearing and radar read-out. Rob, Kylie and Captain Steve began to relay navigation instructions for the Whangamumu entrance and those who overheard were immediately relieved and spread the news of our arrival throughout the ship. The anchor was dropped soon after and it held strong. The entire ship seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and we retreated below decks into the warmth of the saloon. Corned beef joined by steamed vegetables and a white sauce filled our plates, mouths and stomachs, generally in that order.
Log books were filled out and lessons were completed before our ‘new lot’ were introduced to Highs and Lows. We shared, laughed and yawned and before we knew it we were snoring away in our bunks with sparkling teeth and minty-fresh breath.
Our voyage has started perhaps not in the most glamorous of ways, but it seems to have had no effect on the spirits of our young sailors. Tomorrow we will round Cape Brett and break into the Bay of Islands with the easterly winds behind us. Until then we continue our battles with the weather and you’ll hear from us again soon!
– The weather and our current location is interfering with our internet reception, but we should be able to do a mass update tomorrow, so check back soon!!