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The last log: down-rigging and winterizing Bluenose II

Ship's Position: 
Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, East Finger Piers

Good morning dear readers,

My last log of the year. How fast the time has passed here aboard Bluenose II. We always say, “long days, short weeks”. Some days seem to last forever, and we are only too happy to find a pillow at the end of the day. You then turn around and the week has passed. It’s worse for the crew who live aboard for the entire six-and-a-half-month season. I at least return to my family during our time in Lunenburg so can maintain a loose touch with the shore-based passage of time. This duality of time is part of working away for extended periods of time. I would suspect that it is part of life aboard a schooner just as much as a scallop boat, lobster boat or a mining camp. Nova Scotias have a long history of working away from home. Maybe that’s why the family bonds are so strong here. Looking after those around you is part of life, that doesn’t matter if you are on the deck of a pitching and rolling vessel at sea or during a hurricane ashore. As times change, that sense of community seems to drift away a bit and modern times require more work to be inclusive and caring. It is however a strong foundation of what makes us Nova Scotian.

There have been some big changes onboard our little schooner this week. On Friday, the 30th we were sailing in Lunenburg Bay on another sold out harbour cruise, by Saturday evening there were no sails left on the vessel, by Thursday, Oct. 6th, only the main mast and boom were aboard. All sails, blocks, lines, both topmasts and the fore mast have been sent ashore for the winter. The foremast is now 24 years old and needs a good inspection so we can determine a reasonable life expectancy. The original schooners had a life expectancy of 10-15 years, Bluenose survived for 26 years and was an old timer when she was lost in Haiti. It’s eye-opening to realize that we are dealing with keeping ships running long beyond what is traditional.  We see wear and tear in places that were never a concern to Capt. Angus and his generation. We do our best to maintain our little ship and spend the money on small problems before they become big problems.

Thank you all for your support this past season. The officers, crew and I are proud of what we do and take the responsibility of looking after your schooner very seriously. With almost 60,000 visitors, and over 6000 people who sailed with us, we know Bluenose II and the legacy left to us by Capt. Walters and his crew remain a vibrant and important piece of our history, heritage, and culture.