Sunshine and a fresh, crisp breeze brought fresh trainees aboard the ship for this weeks voyage destined for Marsden Cove. Our ever-trustworthy Board of Trustees joined parents, friends and family in a smooth, airy farewell. Anticipant, excited and curious trainees were corralled at the helm by Captain Steve, who joins us again after a brief break in his duties. The name game introduced strangers to sailors and back again whilst the scent of soup wafting from the galley to the deck created a decadent ambience that had us all sniffing curiously as we wandered past the open hatches. Our traditional Port and Starboard teams had their rosters refreshed and the new members were taken on their own detailed tour of the ship.
As Tapeka and the Black Rocks sailed past, Port and Starboard were reunited in the saloon for their first lesson on VHF delivered by this weeks cook/radio whiz Sophie. Disappointed by their failure to escape completely from classes and bookwork, frowns were turned upside-down as they emerged into the sunlight of Whale Bay. A seal was spotted astern by Bryn’s keen eyes, but only a lucky few got a glimpse of it before it disappeared intently. Eyes turned from the coastline to the mood less waters and beckoning sunshine which brought swimmers to the seagate and the rope swing from the yards. Some swam in the bay whilst others took to the ‘sprit or bathed in the sunshine. Sophie’s pot of soup joined the party on deck and quickly turned it silent. Volunteers made short work of the dishes and Kylie taught our trainees about the recycling and waste procedures on board. A break in the days lessons that coincided somewhat conveniently with the days low tide saw the wetsuit locker ravaged and the tender was hoisted down and boarded by keen divers. Toni-lee, Bryn, Winter, Odette and Katarina hauled kina and mussells like pro’s whilst those left to Steve’s mercy learned knots and the subtle art of crafting baggywrinkles.
Our divers returned triumphant to a trophy of hot cocoa and the grand prize of a brief hot shower. The anchor, tender and Little Tuc were heaved to deck and we felt around to find that perfect patch of water for our routine man-overboard drill. Our drill veteran, Fred, was sent overboard and our trainees scrambled to their posts. The danbouy and life-ring joined Fred in the waters just off the Black Rocks while our would-be rescuers relayed chinese-whisper-like directions that eventually saw knots being used as a measurement of length. As hypothermia clawed at Fred, our rescuers mounted a second attempt that saw our ever-ready drill veteran back on board and safely in his locker. The danbouy and life-ring were retrieved and sheathed, marking a successful drill and our return back to Whale Bay for the night.
We returned to our anchorage and the trainees to the classroom for lessons on chart-reading and how to choose an anchorage and a good, close look at our good ship. Proudly able to both say and spell ‘Gaff-rigged Topsail Schooner’, free time was given and taken happily. Decks of cards came out and a guitar smuggled aboard was tuned-up and songs were played and requested all around. Daylight finally evaded us and plates of spaghetti preceded by karakia brought silence aboard once again. The spaghetti inevitably joined daylight in evading us and our first nights dishes were washed and dried.
The day’s final lesson had our trainees exhausted and wanting for their bunks, so highs and lows were shared, toothbrushes hopefully were not and as I write, the bunktime chatter fades slowly. With a fresh batch of trainees to mentor and a freshly refreshed crew ready to take on new mentees, we’re set to begin the first stretch of our journey to Whangarei. Keep posted and keep posting as our journey evolves, be sure to check back often!