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Goodbyes, photoshoots, and boat chess.

Ship's Position: 
Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Drone image of the Bluenose II laid out like a model kit: 1 captain 5 officers 14 deckhands 2 shore crew 8 sails 120 blocks 9 spars 2 dories 90 life jackets 8 life rings & other assorted ship fixtures

What a week it has been here in Lunenburg. The week began with the long-awaited departure of Picton Castle. First hobbled by Covid-19 and then by an unfortunate issue with a broken marine railway, Capt. Moreland and Picton Castle have been stuck in port for several years. We sent the crew along with horns to join the throng of well-wishers. It is such an emotional event to watch a vessel slip her lines. Ships are not built to stay at the wharf they must travel and exercise their crews, however, to watch so many friends and colleagues depart all at the same time tugs at the heart strings. It becomes easy to think of fleets of schooners departing for the banks. How quiet Lunenburg must have been with so many men and boys leaving at once. I’m sure a new rhythm developed in town quite quickly and those left behind established a pace of life. We will do the same but the empty wharf at the end of the harbour will be a constant reminder of friends far away. 

On Wednesday, after much cajoling from our friend and photographer Len Wagg, we finally set the crew to stage a photograph of some of the items needed to put the ship together every spring. Given Len’s general idea, the chief mate Erin and 2nd mate Gabe tapped their inner artists and a laid out the wharf with various shapes and colours using equipment, sails, and dories. The result is this incredible photo and video, taken by drone that makes the ship and crew look like a giant model kit. It’s well worth the few moments to have a look. They even hid some “easter eggs” for you to find.

Beside the never-ending painting that employs our crew, we have been playing boat chess this week with Bluenose II, Cape Sable, and Theresa E. Connor. With limited wharf space at the museum, we have been moving ships this week. First, we moved to make space for the Cape Sable at the west end of the museum wharfs. Under the guidance of Capt. Bill Flower, the ship was swung 180 degrees and moved along the face of the wharf. Bluenose II crew went along as line handlers. This serves double duty as helping our sister organization and training crew to handle heavy weights on big lines. Then the chief mate Erin moved the FMA schooner Theresa E. Connor to her summer berth. Using a small push boat, the TEC now faces Bluenose Golf Course. After space was made along the face of the museum wharf, we snuck into position so we can re-step our foremast. 

We were asked to move a bit early as there is a cruise ship bound for Lunenburg arriving on Monday. Although smaller in size, the boutique ships that call here are still too large to enter the harbour safely. They use their small tenders to ferry passengers ashore while they anchor in the approaches. Bluenose II employees this technique when we visit small ports that do not have a safe depth of water or width of channel for us to enter safely.