Safety training and hull painting
I wish I could share a photo of the wharf with you all today. We are in the center of big budget TV land here in Lunenburg. I have mentioned in past writings that the wharf would be transformed, but I had no idea the extent they would change the waterfront. There are barrels and bales and crates in heaps all along the waterfront behind the museum. Old style wooden lobster traps are piled along the building and there is a small cargo derrick with wooden crates suspended in a net near the ship. Picton Castle, Lunenburg’s world travelling barque has moved from her berth near the old railway wharf and now lies nose to nose with us. With her square sails hanging in the bunts, Picton Castle is stunning and certainly adds authenticity to the work. There are also horses and carts on the wharf and well over one hundred extras all in period costume. It would be quite something to be able to keep the wharf like this and offer a Ross Farm Museum-type experience to visitors. However, modern budgets and the available workforce severely limit the abilities of any not-for-profit institution.
Our crew have been busy off the ship these past few weeks. As most of our crew are new to the commercial world of going to sea and have likely never been away from the land, we have an outside provider come in and teach a Marine Emergency Duties Course. NSCC Shelburne does this type of work often and have a mobile school. The crew are taught the basics of fighting a fire at sea, abandoning ship, getting in a life raft etc. The best part is they have to practice and demonstrate all the skills. So, they actually put out a fire, go swimming in neoprene immersion suits and have to inflate and climb into a life raft. This week-long course provides the base for our ongoing onboard training. We have frequent drills aboard the vessel simulating fire, person overboard, abandon ship or medical evacuation. All these are drilled with the same importance as steering and safe line handling. We also bring in St. John Ambulance to teach a basic Marine First Aid course. No longer just a band aid teaching day, the crew learn how to look after a wide range of ailments and injures. We hope these skills will stay with our crew for years to come both practically and in developing a safety-conscious way of approaching life.
Between courses, the crew have been busy on the raft scraping, sanding, priming and painting the hull. We still have some small sections to go but the majority has been done. The big job that has been completed is the removal of the cover. Incredibly, from day one every year we are asked, “when are you taking the cover off?” It’s always in early May when we have as much of the deck work done as possible. I think it’s because the locals here look forward to the cover coming off as a sign of spring. It’s slowly warming up but there is still frost in the morning and it’s still cool on the ship.