The James Craig is the only restored 19th century barque in the world that takes passengers to sea, and it promised to be an experience not to be missed.
This beautiful ship is a three masted barque built originally in Sunderland, England in 1874. She has an iron hull, and is fitted out with a variety of timbers making up all but the lower masts and main yards, which are also of rivetted iron - (50,000 rivets). Re-launched after restoration in 1997, she is fully operational, and with all 21 of her sails set she is a splendid sight. She has over 5km of standing rigging and around 1000 metres of planking. For a ship that has done 23 Cape Horn roundings, she looks truly beautiful.
This wasn't just a trip to sea for me, but also an opportunity to see and admire the woodwork and craftsmanship of others. As well, it was a chance for my wife and I to spend some quality time together.
So much of the James Craig is made of timber.
Pulley blocks made of American Ash
The ship's binnacle under construction on the main deck. This sits in front of the helmsman and carries
the ship's compass.
Walking the yards to adjust the sails is not for the faint-hearted. Some of the crew have devised ways to remember which is port and which is starboard
Winds were light but the day's weather was fantastic. Strolling the deck was wonderfully relaxing while the crew kept us all on track .
The highlight of the trip was totally unexpected, and that was an encounter with a pod of humpback whales. One spectacular breaching showed one of them near vertical and totally out of the water - took us all by surprise so no photo I'm sorry. Best I could do was a pic of a swim-past by a mother and calf.
As far as ship's carpenters tools are concerned there were few to see. I want to introduce you to the largest ship's carpenter's rebate plane I have ever seen - but that's another story.