26/04/2010 - Liferaft Training

Average temp: 9ºC

Today was awesome (I appear to be picking up Americanisms!), after a scintillating morning collecting and sorting safety gear, making “granny wibbles” or “flabby winkles” (or some other silly nautical name) out of bits of line (rope) and cleaning out drinking water containers, we were sent to the pool in Lunenburg for some liferaft and immersion suit training!  This was great! After arriving at the pool we sat in our trunks while the instructor gave us a briefing on the situations we might find ourselves in, the difference between the different types of survival suit and where and when we might need to use the liferaft and what it contained.  Once we had all donned the survival suits, not only did we look like bizarre yellow smurfs, but we began to sweat our little smurf arses off!  Some people even had to sit down as the instructor gleefully informed us he wasn’t going to let us get into the water until we were as hot as he was,.. apparently he was quite warm!  As the droplets of sweat on my back joined to form small rivers between my shoulder blades under the insulating layers of my immersion suit he finally told us we were going to get in the water. We were advised to evacuate all the air from our suits (otherwise we might end up floating upside down as the air in the boots rises to the surface!) by crouching down and hugging our knees, this resulted in many of us farting air through the face holes in our suits, comedic value aside, we learned this was a very useful procedure!!


Once in the water we were all told to get into the liferaft which is easier said than done,.. but one by one we formed our little castaway groups and enjoyed the cooling effect of being immersed in water without actually getting wet! (these were drysuits!)


We’re not sure exactly why, but the pool’s water was a little opaque to say the least, so after the demonstrations and trying on our PFDs (personal flotation devices i.e. life jackets in nautical speak) most people had had enough and we were on our way back to the ship where a brief stint of helping out was required before another of Donald’s spectacular dinners.


The weather today was again brilliant and so a game of Ultimate Frisbee was suggested.  There were a lot of takers and we picked up a few more en route to the park.  2 pretty evenly matched teams fought it out and the game was awash with dives, daring jumps and I even managed a somersault over Michael in a vague attempt to avoid kneeing him in the head as he careened towards me at full pelt.  Personally I think it was a draw,.. others might disagree, but a pint in the Banker afterwards cured most ailments.  I had a brief talk to a couple at the table next to me about the trip as I overheard them chatting about the picton, and they bought me a pint just for being on the crew and letting them know about the blog!  Gotta love Lunenburg! J


Tomorrow the mizzen topmast goes up,..  (that’s the top bit of the mast at the back of the ship for you non-nautical types!)


I have discovered that ships are named after women for a very good reason.. rigging the picton is very much like a girlfriend getting ready to go out for the evening; there is a huge amount of preparation, certain areas have to be painted, others covered up, others exposed, various paraphernalia tied on and adjusted “just so” and it always takes longer than expected, (But she always ends up looking gorgeous!),.. we are now due for departure on the 8th May,…. The gulf stream and warm weather beckons!! Can’t wait!

Ultimate Frisbee!!

Shawn and I survival suited up!

From L to R: Shawn, Adrienne, Sophie, Robert!

Bob! (Kate!)

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