Sydney, Cape Breton Island – Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

About 36 hours out of Sydney and we are again reminded that a sailing trip of this type isn’t a Disney Jungle Cruise. Our best laid plans might be scrambled by competing weather fronts, but we are making do because we are having fun, solving problems and making new friends.

Back in Sydney we spent Day 1 and much of Day 2, in the harbour for open ship, which allowed people from all over the area to walk through the upper decks and ask questions, with a motor cycle rally, and a national holiday coinciding with the Tall ships festival, we were able to show off Lord Nelson to quite a lot of people. But that didn’t slow down the amount of work we had to do. Not only did we have on board a lot of new voyage crew who needed training, we also went aloft during open ship! The visitors (and the voyage crew) were especially delighted to see the four wheelchair users raised and lowered up onto the main platform. But not as delighted as the people in those chairs judging by their smiles.

Finally it was time to make ready to leave the harbour, which was a little difficult due to the wind pushing us back onto the pontoon. After trying we got a tow from the patrol boat to help get us of. A few members of forward port watch got their first turns on the helm under the watchful eye of not only the captain, but also the pilot! Talk about pressure!

Despite the fact that it was rapidly getting dark it was then time to really set sail. With a little bit more training, our rather green crew worked together to set the mains and topsails as well as the outer jib and mizzen staysail. With new callouses and eagerness for the following day, those of us not on watch went to bed.

Those on watch overnight faced wind rain and waves. Those of us in forward port watch got up for early breakfast which was at 07.40 and then relieved the soggy sailors for a beautiful sunny watch. But it was no vacation! Due to the variable winds, the captain decided not only to take in the topsails but also to stow them. So we along with others hauled and eased and sweated on various ropes. Then a few of us climbed up the rigging and out onto the yards to tie up the sails tight on the yards for a stow. Not much feels as adventurous as standing at the end of the yards on a rope in the bucking waves whilst trying to learn a new knot!

Most of the rest of the day was uneventful but rocky and lots of the voyage crew were laid up with seasickness. That evening we braced the yards after a good hearty dinner. (Thanks Ian, Ali and mess crew). The forward port watch took up our positions again. We were treated to a glorious Atlantic sunset and a beautiful moonrise. We braced the yards once more before the next watch took over, which made us good and tired before collapsing into bed.

This morning we were greeted by overcast skies and a little drizzle, but also much calmer waves and whales! We saw several sprays and breeches as well as a fluke. We think that they were Finn whales because we are near a Finn whale breeding area. We are keeping the coast on our starboard side, whilst heading down the coast to a place to anchor. Whilst most of the crew is back to being vertical and speaking completed sentences, a few are still not fully recovered, and could do with a break.

So in brief we’re having a wonderful time and we are eager to see what the next few days will bring!

Signing off

Forward Port Watch

Kate (watch leader), Jen (blog writer), Rebekah, Mary, Ray, Peter, JR and Ron

8th August

We have been at sea less than 2 days and making good time. We are hoping to anchor today to give the crew some time to recover from the rampant seasickness. About half the crew succumbed; recovery has been a slow process for some. Calmer seas ahead we hope! Thankfully we will be in Lunenburg in less than 2 days.

Morale is good, the food is plentiful and as we motor our way south along the coast of Nova Scotia we keep our watches. Numerous whale sightings and lessons on sails, knots and being at the helm keep us on our toes. The thrill of going aloft and entering a new world makes for an ultimate adventure.

Cheers from the Aft Port Watch – Christine, Jeanne, Bridget, Chris B,  Chris T, Miep, Jim & Watch Leader Luciila.

 9th August

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday lots of green faces and grey skies. The wind gods were unkind so Captain Richard took us into delightful Sheet harbour to anchor for the night. A lovely peaceful bay of wooded islets. A few houses and a tall church spire just visible amongst the trees.

We woke after a full night’s sleep (the permanent crew did the anchor watches); to clear blue skies and sun dappled waters. After breakfast we weighed anchors and we went back out to sea. The wind gods are still against us but everything else is in our favour. The sun shines from cloudless skies. We see numerous whales spouting and one dives 100 meters off the starboard quarter. Seasickness has disappeared and a mood of good cheer invades our vessel. In the afternoon some sunbathe on deck and the more adventurous go climbing. The third mate Mikael gives a talk on buoyage and we can smell dinner cooking. All is well on the Lord Nelson.

Aft Starboard Watch

12th August

Last night we all enjoyed the local hospitality with the crew meal for the Tall ships crews (Conveniently right next to the ship). We had a beautiful buffet meal, drinks and music followed by a fireworks display in the harbour.

Our day started with some training on rope handling, getting familiar with bracing, sweating and tailing. Despite the wet weather everyone that wished to go aloft got the opportunity to do so. The hot drink and fudge cake mid-morning were welcome after we had dried off.

The public turned out again with great enthusiasm for the final day of the Tall ship Rendezvous in Lunenburg. In the afternoon for our final day prior to setting off some of the crew enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Museum of Atlantic Fisheries, which along with its ice cream store come highly recommended!

At 17.30 we hauled the gangway on-board. After dinner we left the quayside and headed out of the harbour. We dropped anchor a short distance around the corner, sheltering overnight, with the plan to weigh anchor and set sail tomorrow morning.

Aft Port Watch