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June 25th 2017 - 00:06

Main Menu -> SALTS -> 2012 SALTS Summer Programme -> 2012 Trip 5 - Pacific Swift

2012 Trip 5 - Pacific Swift

Total Distance: 170.99nm over 7.42 days
Average distance each day: 23.05nm
Distance from last position : 20.15nm
Last Position:
48°33'19.80 N 125°27'43.20 W
  on August 29th 2012 @ 23:00

Ship's Log:
Trip 5 - Day 8.  We awoke at anchor just off Effingham island to the pitter patter of rain on the deck.  Thankfully some of the crew had set up the tarp amidships which prevented a large portion of the rain from soaking into certain deck prisms.  One of which has the delightful tendency to drip a slow but steady steam of drops onto the portion of my bunk that is near my right leg.  The rain came in waves, steadily rising to a downpour, which, thankfully didnīt last long.  More profound than the momentary irritation of the rain and the minor cold that a few trainees and I have been sharing was the stunning elegance of the Broken Group Islands shrouded in the morning mist.  I will not soon forget this landscape.  It is a mystery to me how life can thrive on some of the barren rocks that surround these islands, yet the trees, however windblown still manage to exist.  We weighed anchor at 0830 and cruised back out to the open sea with me at the helm, probably my favourite position on the schooner aside from being aloft in the foretop.  Upon reaching the open sea around 1025 we were shrouded in a fog bank off of Cape Beale that gradually subsided and then increased during the course of our long motor back towards the Straight of Juan De Fuca.  During the voyage intermediates had review for the test for most of the morning and early afternoon, while the juniors played various games and went climbing in the tops and whisker shrouds.  I feel that our community has grown now to the point where itīs going to be very difficult to leave our friends.  I find myself looking into the fog and across the open sea in the forlorn hope that our Captain might suddenly tell the helmsman to alter course to port and hold her steady straight out to sea.  I think trainees and crew alike would have no qualms with spending a few more weeks in each others company, provided there was a hot shower or hot springs on the way to wherever we would go.  I probably shouldnīt say this, being such a quandary to nautical navigation, but I have such an admiration for the beauty of fog and other such inclement sea conditions.  Upon entering the straights the fog lifted enough to offer up a view of the glassy sea.  Protected now from the Pacific swell by the new found land to starboard.  We were rewarded with the welcoming sight of what I believe was a humpback whale, with a fine set of flukes in plain view.  Shortly after the whale sighting the fog once again enveloped our lovely Swift.  Near our destination of Port San Juan, still shrouded in fog, Skipper told us to make ready to set the main, fore, and all three staysails.  I promptly tucked my intermediate test under one of the inflatable life raft containers and went aft to man the main peak halyard.  After some expert direction from intermediates Jill and Brendan the foresail and all three staysails were aloft and filling with the gentle breeze we were so lucky to have.  I think trainee and crew alike were in awe of the elegance with which She (The Swift) ghosted through the mist.  This place could have very well been devoid of time entirely, a portal to the past.  I wonder what fishing boats passing by would have thought, hearing our fog horn, expecting to see a tugboat or some other motor craft, when out of the fog glides the Swift under fine press of canvas, something straight out of a dream, straight out of my dreams.  We managed to tack her with our gentle breeze, and headed towards anchorage.  We anchored under sail as we entered Port San Juan.   Which I unfortunately couldnīt be present for due to the copious quantities of aromatic Jambalaya that Mel was serving out to my watch.  In the evening we had a lively display of impromptu skits, the guys first, ladies last.  The ladies prevailed with a very well put together skit, featuring the vulnerable princess Tristan, as well as the rest of the crew, in various roles, and with various laughter inducing quirks.  The evening came to a close with one of our best mug ups.  I find that as these trips progress the mug ups also get more and more in tune.  Our rendition of Stan Rogers Bluenose would have been enough to send tingles down the spine of any mariner with an affinity for sailing tradition.  I know it do so for me.  I hope that as the weeks wear on after our voyage, the relationships built on trust and encouragement that we have fostered over the course of ten days will live on.  I cannot thank this crew enough for the experience they have given me and every soul on board.  Their knowledge and experience in seamanship, and human relationships is a major inspiration to me.


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