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August Adventures on Bluenose II

Capt. Phil Watson

I’ve just come below to the chart room with its bright spotlights and dark corners. On deck the moon is setting, an orange crescent on the western horizon. Overhead, a million stars are taking this as their moment to shine. I have the dimmer emergency lights lit this evening instead of the harsher lights aloft. This will allow the night watch to star gaze while they stand watch. Standing watch at anchor means taking compass bearings every half hour and doing rounds of the ship, checking spaces below, checking if the anchor is jumping across the bottom, watching for other ships, and listening for radio calls. There is lots to be responsible for in the dark of the night.


This summer has tested our crew family in ways we have not considered before. Flood and fire across the country has brought into focus what a wide community exists aboard most ships and Bluenose II is no exception. From the local fires this spring, to flooding and washouts to the current fires out west, our crew have had reason to pause and be concerned. Our crew here on the ship are principally Nova Scotian but do extend across the country, with latest fires in Kelowna affecting crew here. On board we have our own fire department, our own medics and clinic, laundry, a cook who feeds us, an engineer who keeps the lights on and propulsion engines running. We gather, from all walks of life, to bring our energy to Bluenose II and her legacy. A national icon deserves a national crew but that also means national issues are reflected around the galley table. Best wishes to you and your family from ours here aboard.


Enough waxing poetic. This morning we moved the ship from our usual dock to the Ocean gear dock to take fuel. This was only the second time this summer and this should see us through to the end of the season if we are careful. While we were fueling, we launched our rescue boat to patrol the waterfront. There was a bit of trouble on the wharves last night and items from many wharfs were thrown in the harbour. Our crew rescued some Adirondack chairs and the heavy wooden cover from our dock box.


After taking on diesel and doing our community rescue work, we headed to Indian Point, just outside of Mahone Bay. What a welcome we had with boats from all the local communities waiting to escort us in. There were at least 30 boats of all sizes and shapes following along as we wound our way through the islands of the bay, and lots of cars on the road watching. The communities of Western Shore, Martin’s River, Oakland and Indian Point all represented themselves very well. It’s such a treat to come here and anchor for the night.


Tomorrow we will sail back to Lunenburg and start our harbour tours again. They sell out quickly so if you are interested have a look at our schedule online or call the Bluenose II Company Store. Apparently we are returning to Christmas in Lunenburg as a Hallmark movie is being filmed on the waterfront.  Although not involved in the movie its always interesting to see how they make their magic.