[Sarah gave us permission to share this post and photos from her blog. You can see the original post and read more of her adventures at https://saraheheyde.wordpress.com/. ]
Well, I did it! I braved the open seas. Well, not exactly… we just sailed around the Gulf Islands, but it was nevertheless one of the coolest experiences of my life to date! S.A.L.T.S. is a great organization with wonderful people; I loved every minute of it.
We arrived and boarded the Pacific Grace at about 10:30 AM on Tuesday, 11 October, 2016. We heard a few words from the Skipper, Tony, and got put into our watches, each with a watch officer leading us (there are three: Fore, Port, and Starboard; I was in Port Watch). Before we set off we got a tour of the ship and got acquainted with the layout and how everything works, like the head (bathroom). There are a few more steps involved in flushing the toilet than just pressing down on a handle, but you get used to it. We also got to pick out our bunks. Half of us slept in the focsle (or forcastle, the forward part of the ship) and the other half in the hold. It is quite close quarters with 15+ people sleeping in the same area, but it’s opportunity for great community building!
In the early afternoon, after we had been in the open water for a bit, it was time to hoist the sails! This was definitely my favourite part about working on a tall ship. Hauling the ropes is just so much FUN! I could keep on talking about hauling and tailing and belaying the line and the throat and the peek and coming up easy… but you probably don’t want to hear all that. I’ll just show you some pictures instead.
Our watch went on duty at 1600. During that time we all had a lesson in knots. I can now proudly say I know how to tie six new knots! What we usually do when we’re on watch, though, is take turns on bow watch, stern watch, and radio and wheel. When it’s time to hoist the sails, though, it’s all hands on deck.
That evening we had a beautiful, clear sunset. It was a truly perfect first sailing day!
That night we had night watch!! We were split into pairs and one after the other we spent one hour out on deck watching the anchor (to see if it was dragging) from 2200 to 0700. My partner and I were stationed from 0300-0400. It was a little tiring, but the sky was clear and the stars were shining.
That afternoon we learned how to launch the dories as we were going to row over to Portland Island. Man, those things are scary. I definitely thought one of them was going to tip over. But, we all made it safe and dry to the island. There was a little apple orchard planted there, it was quite cute!
We hung around on the island for an hour or two, poking about at looking at the neat sea creatures discovered by a couple of the crew members.
We got back (dry!) in time for dinner. Now, I’ll have to tell you a little about the food on the Pacific Grace.. it is AMAZING. We get home-cooked meals three times a day plus hot drinks and dessert for our evenings mug-ups (a time of singing and sharing). For example, on our last night we had a whole thanksgiving dinner (including stuffing made from fresh baked bread) with pumpkin pie and whipped cream for dessert!! You can’t get much better than that.
On Thursday it started to get a little stormier. That was the day I decided to climb up the shrouds, although in the wind (which is intensified up there) I didn’t make it all the way to the top, but it was still exhilarating!
I don’t have any pictures of Friday because it started to get really windy and there were a lot of waves splashing over on the deck! It was actually really fun, going up and down over the waves. You felt like a real adventurer!
That about concludes the trip. If you’re contemplating going on a trip with S.A.L.T.S, DO IT. You won’t regret it.
(Find out what other adventures QUEST students get up to here.)