The History of Long and Brier Islands

Second Person to Sail Around World from Brier Island

by | Jan 24, 2022 | Brier Island, people, Westport | 9 comments

Second Person in History From Westport, Brier Island to Sail Around the World

How many of you that are reading this blog have the endurance to travel around the world, on an old sailing vessel, but not doing it for pay, but doing for free and paying to be able to do. If you would say yes, you would have to like being at sea.

Bluenose ll

Before Amanda V. Graham made this around the world trip on the Picton Castle she worked on the Bluenose ll for a total of over 2 1/2 years as a Senior Deck Hand, and so she had plenty of experience in good weather and bad.

Now before we get started with Amanda’s story of being the “second the person in history from Westport, Brier Island to sail around the world, the first being Joshua Slocum.” I would like to share my first encounter with Amanda.

It was on a cold November evening (year withheld) I received a call from Dr. Stokes (our Island’s Doctor) for me to take my ambulance and go to the ferry slip in Freeport and pick up Penny Graham from the ferry slip and take her to the hospital in Digby as she was about to give birth. When I arrived at the ferry slip she was walking up the ferry approach. Penny got in the ambulance and said she had just had her first contraction coming up the ferry slip. I started timing, and the next one was two minutes so I decided to go Dr. Stokes office to be better prepared for the birth. (I had delivered our own baby, Amanda Gayle only a little over a year previously, I was prepared to deliver Penny’s baby in the ambulance but it is better to have professional help.) Dr. Stokes office was not far from the ferry slip. I ran in and told him what was happening, he followed me to the ambulance. By this time Penny was starting to deliver and within a minute or two the baby was out. But didn’t want to take that first breath. Penny was sensing something was wrong. After what seemed an eternity Dr. Stokes opened the side door on the ambulance, stood outside in the night air and right on que, Amanda took her first breath. I think that is what she wanted, some of our Island’s fresh salty air, the best!

Amanda has always loved being around the water. She began working with the family company, Mariner Cruisers Whale Seabird Tours in June 1995, there she worked for six years as Naturalist/Deckhand, she then worked on the Bluenose ll 2 1/2 years as Deckhand/Senior Deckhand before going on the Picton Castle which took another 13 months as Deckhand/Watch Leader/Third Mate. If anyone loves being on the sea, Amanda does.

The Picton Castle is registered in the Cook Islands, in the South Pacific, and is owned and operated by the Windward Isles Sailing Ship Company, Ltd. The ship’s mission is deep-ocean sail training and long-distance education. Also, she carries supplies and educational materials to far-flung islands in the South Pacific. Her North American homeport is Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Captain of Barque Picton Castle

The ship is a completely refitted barque that observes the rigorous standards of Germanischer Lloyds for steel-hulled Cape Horners. She is 179 feet overall, with riveted steel hull, clear oiled-pine decks, steel masts, and wooden and steel yards. She carries 12,450 square feet of canvas sail. The ship also has a powerful 690 hp Burmeister & Wain alpha diesel engine for occasions when sailing is not feasible. The galley is on deck, and its 1893 cook stove is similar to those used on commercial sailing ships 100 years ago. 

There are berths for 40 sail trainees and 12 professional crew members. (Usually about half trainees are men and half women. Their ages range from 18 to 60+, with the majority under 35.) Sleeping accommodations are bunkroom style, in two tiers of pilot bunks. Bunks have curtains for privacy and individual reading lights.

The Picton Castle is a true working tall ship. Sail trainees participate fully in the ship’s operation: handling sails, scrubbing the deck, taking a turn at the wheel, raising anchor, hauling on lines, helping in the galley, going aloft (optional), and keeping lookout. There are training classes in seamanship and navigation, plenty of opportunities to learn square-rig sailing and, on the world voyages, to explore exotic tropical ports and islands.

Amanda went to Lunenburg in January 2005 to help in preparing the Picton Castle for the twelve month voyage.

Some of the articles they took with them on this trip was 3,000 lbs. of Frenchy’s second-hand cotton clothes, that was donated to them for this trip and 20 tons of used school books. For those of you not in the know,  Frenchy’s is a big used clothing store full of excellent-quality second-hand clothes that come in bales from the United States that is to our south. Anyway they are very cheap and are popular with all the crew and pretty much everyone else hereabouts.

They sailed on the 29th of May, 2005, on the Picton Castle’s fourth voyage around the world.

This is Amanda’s Story in her own words.

LEG 1

 Lunenburg to Raratonga

SAILING AROUND THE WORLD ON BOARD THE BARQUE “PICTON CASTLE”

by Amanda Graham

         Hello everyone back home! Thought it would be an interesting read for you all if I wrote from at sea on board the Barque Picton Castle. Currently in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, making about 7.5 knots under sail heading towards Avatiu, Rarotonga, which it is our ship’s port of registry.

 Up to date I have had the most amazing three months, doing and seeing things that many people have never seen or even heard of! Our ship has been sailing beautifully-almost perfect weather. It’s hard to believe that as we near being just one week away from Rarotonga that one of our four legs of this voyage will be completed.

 After departing from Lunenburg on May 29th we headed our ship for Jost an Dyke, an amazingly “stress-free” island, part of the British Virgin Islands, home of the famous Tiki Beach bar “Foxy’s”. Here I became one of our ships “skiff drivers”. Many ports we are at anchor and must shuttle ourselves and guests to shore and back. Driving a small boat is as much fun as sailing our large barque.

 Onward to Panama. Here I got to do something that not many people can say the same… I passed through the Panama Canal on a traditionally rigged sailing ship. Lush green rainforests on either side. The sounds of the rain forest are sounds your ears have never thought about hearing. Really there are most unreal. Sort of chilling to the bone. All of the insects and birds playing some sort of natural tune together in a perfect harmonized rhythm. Quite a memory to have to hold on to. The large Spanish-speaking city of Panama was a busy one. On my days off a hotel with a rooftop pool is where I called home. Ahhh, all those up to date, even more up to beat city lights at night. Everyone enjoyed the cheap shopping for goods that would later be used to trade for treasures! Even stuck in traffic, horns beeping… the thoughts in our heads were of the “islands”.

         To everyone’s growing anticipation the island hopping in the South Pacific would not begin just yet. Not until after we crossed the line, the line that everyone knows as the equator. What a treat! Great fun! I don’t think any one person on our crew had laughed as hard as we all did that hot sunny afternoon, hove to, turning one at a time from Pollywogs to shellback’s. As extradition has it, I cut off my long hair and had the captain pierce my ear with a sail needle, and only one of us to get a piercing, I might add.

Now we are all sailors.

         Next stop San Cristobal, Galapagos. WOW! Have any of you seen the movie  Master and Commander? Remember the blue footed boobies, huge sea lions and giant tortoises… unbelievable! Such a beautiful natural place. It looked so dry and barren sailing into but really it was lush and full of unique plant and animal life. A great place for diving and snorkeling. Tasteful seafood’s only second to ours of course! I hope to return here again someday. So much more exploring to be done.

 Turn to for our longest passage at sea to date. We left the Galapagos and didn’t site land again for three weeks and two days. Believe it or not no real signs of cabin fever. A sign of having a great crew on board maybe.

         All hands, land fine off our port bow. That land turned out to be Pitcairn Island. The moment you spotted it a flash of thoughts running through your head. Imagine being on the H.M.A.V. Bounty, going through a mutiny and then finding the Island to call home. Such a breathtaking piece of land. Words cannot describe it. We had all been told that Pitcairn is one of the stops that we would enjoy the most. This time our visit was a little more heartfelt and touching. We were bringing one of theirs home. We have a young girl on our crew from Pitcairn, Pania Warren, who is 18. Pania had left the island about 10 months prior to our visit to spend time with family in New Zealand before heading on to Lunenburg where she joined us all to sail back home and then onward around the world. I cannot say enough good things about the island and its residents. It is almost heaven. My home away from home. During my stay I called Pania’s house home.

Pania’s Dad Pawl does amazing carvings out of bone and antler. The sets of of my father’s New Zealand Red Deer antlers was much appreciated. I became friends with the descendants of the famous Mutiny on the Bounty. Pretty cool if you ask me. To try to explain this place to you all really wouldn’t do it justice. But just try to think for a moment… think about what dreams are made of… then you will have painted a pretty close picture. If I  never visit any place again EXCEPT Pitcairn after my voyage, I will be very happy still.

 Nearly catching up to the present, our last port of call was Mangareva,

French Polynesia. Here our crew scrambled to make fair trades for black pearls, climbed a mountain, sailed/rowed our Monomoy longboat and dory to a deserted island and camped out for the night. That was definitely a highlight of our stop. As was our last night in port. Our captain had invited many locals who were part of a local band and dance troupe to come to our ship for dinner. It ended up being an amazing show of music, native dress, and dancing. One of the highlights for sure. Turns out I can shake my hips pretty well in a grass skirt.

 Once again we are one week and two days at sea. Searching for trade winds to push us along to another rare experience. I am at the first moment sitting on top of our galley house in the warm sunshine waiting for my 4 P.M. watch to start. Daymen climbing about in the rig, sailmakers busy on the quarterdeck. The buzz is growing as we near our next port Rarotonga. We are all excited to get mail from loved ones at home, talking of going under the needle to receive a traditional Polynesian tattoo, lying on the beaches, getting our Cook Islands driver’s license so we can rent scooters and drive on the “wrong” side of the street. Ha Ha. Oh, and laundry service will be VERY busy. These are just a few of the activities/adventures we will get ourselves into on days off.

 It’s sad to think that we will be losing some of our crew, more importantly, people that have become our family and friends. Once we sail into Avati, Rarotonga they’ll leave us and we will be gaining new crew. But it’s going to be difficult to say our first “see you laters”. Definitely not goodbyes!

How a trip like this changes a person in every way possible many will never know. I feel very fortunate to be experiencing this, our world first hand. And what a wonderful world it is. Dreams really do come true.

… Thank you all for reading. I will write again and am looking forward to Leg 2 of my trip. Follow our voyage at WWW.Picton-Castle.com sincerely, Amanda. P.S. I hope everything at home is well. A hello to everyone. Miss you!

Leg 2:

 Rarotonga to Bali

Picton Castle Voyage lV

By Amanda Graham

Thank you so much for printing my Leg 1 entry. I received a copy in Bali. Was nice to see. Looking forward to receiving my next copies.

Thanks Amanda

 November 17, 2005

 Hello again to everyone at home! As promised I am writing to share you with leg 2 of my incredible journey.

 As I said before, Rarotonga turned out to be a great port. If you are weren’t at T’s getting your traditional Polynesian tattoo you could most likely be found at Trader Jack’s paddling a traditional Polynesian Vaka-outrigger canoe, or enjoying pizza at his restaurant. Here myself and two other crew members rented a small sailboat and spent a day sailing about in a tropical blue lagoon.

 However I believe I didn’t mention before that we lost five members of our crew that had only signed on for Leg One. We did take on three in return. Not to worry, a crew of 48 is still plenty of hands to sail the Picton Castle. She is a super ship that way-a tiny, strong forgiving barque that loves to sail. To no one’s surprise really, again on this leg the trade winds at times pushed us along at nearly 10 knots! Needless to say on 150 nautical miles run days Captain Moreland has had all the right in the world to walk about her decks with a smile on his face. He has made this vessel an amazing tall ship to sail on, work on and live aboard. Crew moral is still high as the learning continues with workshops and perfect sailing day after day.

Palmerston Atoll- Seems like so long ago that we placed the bow sprit over the edge of the reef and let go anchor at Palmerston. If I had to describe this place I would compare it to the type of Island that would see in cartoons. Just sand, barely above sea level and peppered with palm trees. If any of you remember the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks, it looked a little something like that as well. There are about 50 people who call this island paradise home, all of whom were willing to do anything for you. Really! I had to fight to help with cleaning up after meals. I think that we all gained 5 pounds or so during our stay. If you were not actively eating then someone was trying to feed you a delicious doughnut, breadfruit, flapjacks or parrot fish-my new favorite type of fish, second only to Brier Island Brand haddock.

 I was surprised to hear a familiar Canadian singer/songwriter being played day after day on the yachts club’s stereo-everyone loved Celine Dion! Brought a smile to my face, being so far from home and all. Everyday, once the sun started to set and the day began to cool off, there was only one place that you could find a majority of the island’s population-over at the volleyball court. Young and old, these guys and girls could play volleyball. Our crew never won a game against them. It was so much fun for the locals to have new faces to play with.

 Here our boys (from Picton Castle) learned and perform native dances, one of which was a hilarious action song that still get sung to day. The females, myself included, learned a very beautiful slow hand action hip shaker type of dance. Teaching us these dances was a big deal to the people of Palmerston. We had many practices before our performances at the feast/BBQ held on the beach.

 I can’t imagine what such a tiny, remote place like this would be like after our fifty crewmembers invade and then sail away into the horizon. They must go into a bit of shock once we are gone. But it is such a nice feeling to stay with these great families in their homes and then present them with gifts for all of their kindness and hospitality. I can’t describe the feeling of playing about the beaches with the kids and listening to tales from the elders. We brought smiles to their faces and bittersweet tears to their eyes when it was time to heave up anchor and push forward. So many more experiences lie ahead.

         Tonga-Ahh….Tonga. Tonga was a beautiful place, full of beautiful people. Really amazing craftsmen here. I was delighted to find out that there was a large population of humpback whales off of the shores of Tonga. Many of the ship’s crew were able to go on a diving trip which enabled them to swim with these magnificent creatures. Reminded me a lot of home during our summer months.

 Along with the masks, war clubs and fine baskets that are made here, many of the carvers focus on the marine life. Mainly the humpback whales and sea turtles are used as expiration for their work. I hadn’t really thought of it prior, but the black pearls that I had traded for it in Mangareva were highly valued here in Tonga. To my delight I was able to use some of my last perfect kasha pearls as a currency, if you will.

 The majority of us signed up for a traditional Tongan feast where we were entertained by young people performing custom dances. This was followed by very tasty slow cooked (in a earth oven) all you could eat, sit on the ground, stuff your face delicious FEAST! WOW! Tongan people eat some tasty meals. Good times.

 Next port Fiji…. Fiji was a different kind of stop for us. Motoring in towards the fancy yacht club to drop the hook was a little scary for us. We were, for the first time since Panama, in a city again. Talk of shopping and going to movies filled the breezeways onboard as we stared uneasily at the buildings rising high over the busy harbor.

 All of us fellow Canadians were happy to see a familiar sight as we made our approach inbound towards our anchorage. There tied up alongside was the HMCS Winnipeg, complete with red Maple leaves painted on her sides. It was really nice to be able to spend some time with fellow Canadians in Fiji. Funny since we were so far from home; the other side of the world really. Hats off to the Canadian Navy.

 As it turned out everyone was able to jump back into the busy hustle and bustle of city life with great ease. The food in Fiji was great with curry being the specialty dish. The Chinese was tasty as well. Those who knew me well, wil laugh to hear that I am no longer a very picky eater! He he. You will all be amazed when I get back…. what was I ever thinking? I love ketchup! Ha.

 In the ten days that we spent here in the city of Suva all of us visited the park and museum. A buzz was in the air, put there by Captain Moreland, who explained we must visit the museum… “It is a must see.” Sure am glad that I did! A giant voyaging outrigger canoe, tales of cannibalism-complete with used forks and dishes. The artifacts were amazing and so beautiful. Very similar to the woodwork in Tonga. Dark, dense carved wood. Nice! Really though what made the visit special for us was being able to view the rudder from that age H.M.C.S. Bounty. This is what we stood in front of a complete awe. I think everyone took a moment to reflect on our time spent on Pitcairn Island and how special a place it now holds in our hearts.

 It was time to leave the city. We all wanted back to sea where life was simple, but simple is it’s not! That’s where the majority of us like to be really. Back into a familiar routine. Just us, our ship and the sea. Time to think.

Vanuatu…. Looking at previous ports of call, Vanuatu has to be that the least developed visited yet on the voyage. And I believe it will keep that image for the remainder of the trip. A place still governed by chiefs, where people live honestly off the land and in small huts. Nevertheless people in the Islands of Vanuatu were so nice and so curious. The children loved us to take photos and video of them on our digital cameras so they could then look at it right away. To show them a photo of home last winter, everything covered in snow, had them amazed! A fellow crew member’s magic card tricks were a hit. These children loved to sing adorable little songs melodies

and every single one sounded sweet. Natural harmony is a beautiful thing. Kustum dancing is still highly practiced in Vanuatu. Each dance consist of high-energy movements and chanting. The man dress up in not much more than a banana leaf and the women wearing only grass skirts. On any given day ashore you were guaranteed to have a child as young as five or six offer to make you a bamboo flute or to take you into the bush so you could watch them climb a coconut tree machete in hand! Heads up! The coconuts would come crashing down to your feet, followed by the machete. Almost as quickly as the coconuts fell the climber would be back on the ground swiftly hacking away at the thick husks, soon revealing it’s sweet milk. All cooking is done in the pots on open fire or in earth ovens. Rainwater is collected for drinking. Things were so simple. Everyone seemed so happy with no worries.         It was astonishing while sailing between islands that night. We were able to view an active volcano spitting red-hot lava. Making it ashore again, taking part in a traditional kava drinking ceremony was a real treat. This was followed by dancing with young and old while a local string band plucked away playing their amusingly similar yet highly alluring rhythms. Here the ship distributed schoolbooks to the very appreciative teachers and students. Several times the crew, amongst ourselves,  gathered and donated money to a couple poor villages to help pay for children to attend school. Our offerings touched the hearts of many who said we were way too generous.            We were all wishing we could have done more. Trading took place for skillfully hand woven mats, baskets, hand bags and precious wild boar’s teeth. You were fortunate if you were able to get your hands on a full circle tooth. Because of the heat it was nice to spend time in the water, whether swing roping off the ship with the Islanders or just a quick dip while at the beach. The water was great. I did a lot of snorkeling here. It was great-met and  exceeded all of my expectations. The underwater world is so enchanting and calming. I really got into it… next time I’ll wear more sunscreen! Not being able to sit or even walk comfortably for a couple of days was not my idea of fun. But what was fun was swimming in a natural freshwater pool that was being rushed down upon by a huge dreamy waterfall!

Met up with another tall ship… the Soren Larsen joined us in Banam Bay just long enough to share visits  aboard and prank each other. She is a beautiful Brigantine that sails out of New Zealand.

         Vanuatu. This place made me think about, love and appreciate everything that I have even more so than I did before. To be so fortunate and grateful for my good health, people that love me, and things that I have and the experiences that I’m gaining day by day makes me feel like I am the most fortunate girl in the world!

Nearing Bali…. We have been at sea for three weeks today. Passed through the Torres Straits where we could see the most northern tip of Australia, Cape York. This crossing we enjoyed a great night of dancing under the stars on the hatch to celebrate our time spent in the South Pacific as we have now sailed into the Indian Ocean. Covering a bit over 12,500 nautical miles. It was sad to see the South Pacific go. We all enjoyed it to the best of our abilities. Pretty well.

 But so far the Indian Ocean is proving itself to be pretty amazing. Crazy weather squalls, nearly 24 hours of shocking lightning. We have had busy days and nights. Will be nice to do some relaxing while in port.

 When looking at a world map it blows my mind to follow the path I have traveled so far, and to think about where I’m about to visit. Lately I have found that while I’m daydreaming it is clear now that we are sailing towards home. “We may be slow, but we get around!”

Here’s hoping that everyone has a great Christmas-wishing you all the best in 2006 from the Indian Ocean. Will be thinking of you all on Christmas Eve and Day. First one away from home will not be easy for me. May it be a “white one”. (Fingers crossed that I can buy a new battery operated fan in Bali.  It’s Hot!)

 Until next time… Legs 3 Bali to Cape Town, South Africa

Love you,

Amanda

Aka Adama

Leg 3

Barque Picton Castle

World Voyage 1V

April 2006

Bali to Cape Town

By Amanda Graham

 Hello to everyone at home. Sorry for the delay. Busy times on board now that I am in charge of paint and varnish on deck.

 I cannot tell you all how excited I am to have sailed three quarters of the way around the globe! All crew members on board feel exactly the same “rush” feeling when we see a world map. Often we find each other in the same salon staring at the world map, which is tacked up to the foremast. To follow our track line and remind yourself what little ocean we have left to cover brings about mixed feeling to one’s mind. But still as a crew we push on, always being reminded by Captain Moreland that really there is a whole lot of voyaging left. It’s not over until we are back in Lunenburg alongside and secure at our dock. Nevertheless we do find ourselves chatting about what it will be like and what we will be doing when we returned home.

 A lot of people that that I have talked to whom have previously sailed on the world voyage all have told me the exact same thing, when I return home and try to explain this journey to people I won’t be able to do a very good job. And no one will really understand what it is that I am sharing with them.

 I have a feeling that block now as I sit and think about Bali. Bali has been a favorite. So much that I didn’t get to see and do. I will return to this country for more exploring in the near future. My thoughts and prayers go out to the great people I have met there. Again it must be said that it is so sad to see such a great place being haunted by the fear of terrorism.

 After sailing onward from Bali, the Captain decided to make an unexpected stop at Christmas Island, Australia. A neat little island with a huge history in phosphate mining. This port was special to me because I was able to buy and send “real” Christmas cards from Christmas Island just a couple weeks before December 25th. Those of you who know me well know that this part of the voyage was the hardest for me. In 25 years this was my first Christmas away from home and my family.

 With Christmas Island being part of Australia it was also nice to find that phone cards were well worth the purchase. I was able to call many friends and family members to wish them the best over the holidays. Although it was hard to say Merry Christmas to my mom and dad a couple weeks in advance. To the surprise of many, I had arranged with my sister to have all the family at grandfather’s house-Daniel Kenny Sr.- on Christmas morning. As I did on my birthday my crewmate Bruce allowed me to use his satellite phone to make the very special calls home. After the holiday had come and gone honestly there was no place that I can imagine spending Christmas if I had to be away from home. it was very special one to remember with a tree, lights, homemade snowflakes, music, baking, new loved ones and special though out homemade gifts.

Most lately on a port tack to ship sailed on making Rodriguez Island our next port of call. Rodriguez was a small quiet island with the great markets set up in the streets nearly every morning. We did though find it difficult during our stay to find places to eat and means of transportation while ashore. However we lucked out at the market one morning and became instant friends with a man named Charles and his young son who a fellow crewmember nicknamed IceMan. Charles could speak very little English but with the expert English classes IceMan had taken, all was well.  We had an amazing tour complete with a full brunch served at Charles’s home to seven of us Picton Castle crew. (NOTE: Picton Castle crewmember: able to eat and drink one out of a house and home!) We were so grateful for what this local family had done for us during our stay. Another memory to hold onto.

 Nature’s beauty at its best. Reunion Island. An Island owned by the French in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. To be stuck forever in this French paradise would have been okay with me. Renting a car was a must-next tour the island! Explore the cirques, waterfalls, drive to what seemed like another planet on the way to see the active volcano, surf the beaches and eat the traditional Creole cuisine; one of the single best meals I’ve eaten on the voyage thus far. All crewmembers were not at all upset when we found out that we would have to stay in Reunion for another extra four or five days due to cyclone activity heading straight for our desired and pretty much necessary path to Cape Town.

         After pushing off of our dock days later and sailing circles some 60 miles offshore for about one week’s time the cyclone decided on a sure path and took it. We were now in the clear to make headway towards the current, which flows between Madagascar and South Africa. That would give us an extra couple of knots in speed. Seems so we would sail around Cape of Good Hope into the view of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. Cape Town would soon turn into a cruise favorite.

         The time is late, 8-12 watch has been relieved by 12-4. A beautiful sunny day lies ahead. Must prepare. Until next time I hope for fair winds.

Leg 4

Barque Picton Castle

World Voyage 1V

Cape Town, South Africa to Lunenburg, N. S.

By Amanda Graham

 Cape Town, South Africa. WOW! Just another amazing port. With its busy waterfront, shopping malls, haul out slips, amazing wildlife, wonderful people, again I’m in love with another port of call.

 Cape Town is a huge city. When right in the city one is safe and able to enjoy any amenity available. Not so true when you venture just outside the setting city limits… the poverty that surrounds the busy city becomes very evident.

The crew onboard our ship this time around had no idea how lucky we were about to become. Sure, we all had heard about the relationship that our fine ship has with a very special school in Cape Town called Christel House. Those of us who thought we were prepared for our visit to this school really were not!

 Only a few days after sailing in we woke up, packed school books and homemade knit teddy bears into the Christel House buses that awaited us on our dock. After a drive of about twenty minutes we had arrived! Unload the buses quickly. The students were waiting all dressed in traditional African wear to first paint our faces in warrior style, done with white paint. Introductions were given followed by a performance by students from grades primary through to grade nine. Sounds “normal” right? Well actually all of the students at Christel House are hand-picked from the worst of the worst poverty stricken towns and villages surrounding the city. The children that had just given us the performance of a lifetime were amazing, beautiful, what I would call survivors. Because each and every one of them had been chosen to attend CH they now had a chance at receiving an education, two large nutritional meals a day and clothes, including dress uniform to wear to school.

 I know that in my previous entries I have said words do not describe or do justice to what I am writing to you all. If I ever meant that, I do now. After seeing these children on stage, playing with them on the school ground later on in the day, sharing hugs, letting them brad my hair, laughing, smiling, dancing, sharing, singing, learning, and growing. These kids were remarkable. And made a lasting impression, which will forever be on my mind and in my heart.

 Another remarkable week was spent by many of us on the crew, after driving nine hours to Trumpsburg up in the Freestate. This is the home of our chief engineer Danie Van Schalkwyk and former crew member Hendrik Van Schalkwyk. Here we all were welcomed straight into the Van Schalkwyk’s home and even helped out on the families sheep farm. BBQ! Yum.  In South Africa BBQing is known as “brie”. This we did in fine style every day we were there. Lamb chops, sausage, kabobs, you name it, we tried it. I will return to visit the Tweefontien Farm in the near future.

 Sailing out of Cape Town all of the children from Christel House came to see us off with singing and dancing. Our best send off yet.

 A few hundred miles off South Africa we were supposed to make our next stop Namibia but serious gale force winds stopped us from nearing the harbor.

So onward we sailed through South Atlantic to the island of St. Helena. Some of you may know this is where Napoleon spent his final years. A very quaint, quiet stop. Most of us enjoyed island tours on the back of an antique fire engine.. Time to sail.

         Believe it or not most of us onboard really enjoyed our time at sea just as much if not more than the time we spent in port. Heave up the anchor and we are off again, this time stopping at Fernando de Noronha. This was a Brazilian National Park. Everyone on board agreed this island, by far, had the most beautiful beaches that we had encountered. The people were great and the only vehicles here to drive were dune buggies. What fun! And Dance! Its true Brazilians can and do dance. We all picked up a few tips! Hips, it’s all in the hips girls!

 Keep on trucking…. before leaving Cape Town we picked up nine pollywog’s. Nine of new crewmembers were well do for a visit from King Neptune and His Royal Court. Before we could drop anchor in Granada we had to sail back across the line known to you landlubbers as the equator. With 42 or so shellbacks on board at time to lend Neptune a hand these pollywogs didn’t have a chance. They did survive, though barely. They were all converted into fine style.

 Drop the hook! Grenada is a very busy little boating, fishing town known for its crazy rum and spices. We were surprised to see how much repair work had been done in the just over a year, where Granada was badly damaged by a hurricane the year before. It’s always nice to stop in places dealing with hard times. With 52 of us landing ashore we are a good thing for a small towns economy. Nearby Granada we made a visit to sweet little Bequia. Here the crew spent most of our time relaxing beachside, in the  internet café or playing with the two coconut sailboats that our fellow shipmate Billy Campbell had bought. Playing with these boats in the water, sailed them back and forth to one another really made us feel like kids again. To my surprise I now own of these boats- before leaving Ollie gave me one. Do they ever sail great!

 Well this was it. We all knew that our next stop was going to be back at Jost Van Pyke. That would mark our complete circle, as Jost was our first landfall after leaving Lunenburg back in May of 2005.

 Here people revisited Foxy’s Beach bar and Ivan’s stress free drive. And we tried to keep this visit just that…stress free. However, on the backs of our minds we were stressed out! The voyage each would soon be over. Emotions were starting to run high. What would we all do without each other and our ship? We only had one more stop to make and then all of this “whirlwind dream” year would end. Really though we tried not to think about it much. We just thought more about the here and now.

 Bermuda came and went. I have to say it was nice to see our shipmate Paulina again, who resides in Bermuda. But for the rest of the visit we were all in a state of shock while the three cruise ships sailed in and out of the harbor. Honestly none of us really wanted to return home to our normal lives after seeing what it was going to be like. Most people on the cruise ships are, well just let’s just say “funny”, after you have sailed nearly the whole way around the world on a square rigger. Plus they gave us the flu. Somebody on board picked up a really nasty flu bug while we were in Bermuda…ah it was terrible. It was the worst and only sickness we had had the whole trip. Like wild it went through about 85% of the crew. Yuck! Once one person is sick it’s pretty much guaranteed you’re going to get sick. There is nowhere to hide  onboard.

A sad day to finally see the shores of Nova Scotia again because the news had been broken to us that we were going to have to sail into dock and clear Canadian Customs in Shelburne, N. S. Just didn’t seem right to many of us. We were supposed to be seeing the shores off of Lunenburg when we first arrived back to our home waters. Oh well this stop in Shelburne didn’t really bother me in the end. Just after clearing our first night of two spend alongside I caught the flu. And didn’t leave my bunk for the next three days.

 Still feeling very weak, now full of extreme emotion, I mustered up the strength to get back out on deck to help with last-minute painting and tying up all the loose ends so that when we rounded Battery Point everybody everyone would know and think WOW!

         After one more night together as a crew on board we enjoyed a beautiful night at anchor about 60 miles away from Lunenburg in Port Mouton.

 The following day, with sunshine and imperfect winds to sail our Barque into Lunenburg Harbor, we did so. Arriving alongside at about 14:00 hrs. with hundreds of family members and friends waiting to once again give us hugs and kisses! Oh what a day!

Welcome Home Amanda

As the Picton Castle appears in the distance, Penny Graham, mother of Amanda, eagerly awaits its arrival into the dock.

On the Saturday June 17th the barque Pickon Castle arrived back in Lunenburg harbor after a 13 month sailing trip around the world. This was the vessel’s fourth excursion around the globe and surely the adventure of a lifetime for many of those onboard. The ship visited many ports during its 30,000 km. long voyage, including Panama, Bermuda, Fiji, Galapagos Islands, Vanuatu, South Africa, Pitcairn Island, Madagascar, etc. Brier Island Amanda Graham was one of the crew on board this ship of this trip and many family members and fellow Brier Islanders were on hand to greet her and welcome her back as the Picton Castle pulled into the dock at Lunenburg.

Editor’s Note: Our daughter Amanda Crocker and her husband went to Lunenburg along with other Islanders to welcome Amanda Graham Home. Amanda has made us Islanders very proud of her accomplishments.

Amanda’s Adventure Continues

By Rosalind Hussey

In early August she once again joined the SV Picton Castle in Chicago, USA to finish off the Great Lakes Tall Ship voyage. Some of the ports of call that she visited on the Great Lakes were: Erie, Pennsylvania, Port Huron, Toronto, Kingston. Then once they left Kingston they went up through the St. Lawrence Seaway, passing through Gaspé, Quebec, then on to Summerside, PEI. They arrived back in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on September 22nd

SV Concordia

 She then returned home, but only for a few days. On October 9th she departed for Apia, Western Samoa where she joined the SV Concordia as Bosun. The Concordia is a 188 foot A-1 class Yacht with Brigantine rigging, which was specifically designed and built for class a Float. This will be a lot different for her than the Picton Castle. The Concordia is actually a sailing vessel which offers grades 11, 12 and some university courses to students while learning how to sail and see the world. Some of the ports of call she will visit will be Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Australia, Bali, Indonesia and Singapore. She will return back home on December 22nd just in time for Christmas.

 A special thanks to Laura Titus for preparing the four legs of Amanda’s World Voyage for print in Passages.

         Amanda’s family would like to thank everyone who made the trip to Lunenburg to welcome her home after a 13 month long adventure. We were overwhelmed by all the family and friends who came to welcome her back home and make it such a special day. Congrats to Amanda and she becomes a second person in history from Brier Island to sail around the world, the first being Joshua Slocum. Amanda’s family is proud of her accomplishments and wishes her the best of luck in the future on the high seas.

 If anyone would like to look up and follow Amanda’s new adventure on board the SV Concordia they can check out the website www.classoffloat.com

Fair winds to all who have followed her adventure of a lifetime.

Ananda Graham began working for Fisheries & Oceans as Lifeboatman, stationed at Westport Coast Guard, Westport, Brier Island. She started in July 2011 and still works there at present 2022. Eleven years.

9 Comments

  1. Loretta Crocker

    Oh I loved reading this great adventure in Amanda’s words, picturing all the wonderful things she saw and experienced.

    Reply
  2. Rodney Stark

    Thank you for your kind comments, I think Amanda has a vast knowledge of sailing, she certainly has dedicated a lot of time and efford . She must love the sea.

    Reply
  3. Cath Lowe

    What a great read and even greater adventure. Thank you for sharing your story. If you ever speak in public of your adventures I would love to be able to attend. It is a very intriguing story.

    Reply
  4. Janet Maynard

    Amanda, thank you so much for sharing your amazing adventure. What a wonderful read and I would love to know more if you ever decide to write a book! Again, thanks for sharing. You are wonderful young woman! Maybe I will bump into you on the island one day.
    Jan

    Reply
  5. Dianne Outhouse

    Wow! What an adventure, thank you for sharing it Amanda – and Rodney for posting it. I have been to a few of the places she mentions, her descriptions are spot on. have very much enjoyed reading this

    Reply
  6. JOYCE BUCKLER

    Thank you for sharing your fantastic sailing adventure, Amanda. As a person who has enjoyed travelling, your descriptions of places and people have me yearning for more. Travelling to other countries is the best teacher and you learned your lessons well. Good luck on your next adventure.

    Reply
  7. Carol Crowder

    Amanda, I’m totally jealous! I feel I would have adored doing exactly those adventures you’ve experienced. Seize the day as the saying goes, opportunities come and go and you sometimes just have to take a leap of faith. You’ll always have your memories and I don’t think you’ve finished creating them yet! My many cruises on luxury ships to the South Pacific and South America have no comparison and have only given me glimpses to what you got to view from a whole enviable level. Follow your dreams!

    Reply
  8. Marlene

    I enjoyed reading about Amanda’s awesome and enviable experience aboard The Picton Castle. I would love to sail around the world and visit the ports she describes. Her description of Pitcairn and Palmerston makes me think that heaven on earth does exist. May she have many more adventures in her lifetime. Thank you for sharing Amanda’s great adventure.

    Reply
  9. Adam Billings

    This was a great read and good reminder that the our experiences at sea are magical and “beyond the common experience of man!”

    Reply

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