January 14, 2007
This trip is not a Caribbean vacation. We were warned several times during the interview process. We were promised tight quarters and long days of hard work. All promises have been kept. There are forty-six on board the Picton Castle today. We share four heads, two showers, and one galley. We are experiencing life aboard a tall ship with not much deviation from the way it was when this type of transportation began.
Over the past couple of days we have noticed several luxury yachts motoring along side us. One of those yachts is anchored about a mile of our port side right this very moment. I can’t help but wonder what amenities she contains. There are probably state rooms with pillow top mattresses and a private head for each. No doubt that she holds a staff to prepare meals and attend to mechanics and piloting. She probably has a electric winch to lift the anchor. (Something that I am sure that all the sail trainees aboard this ship wish the Picton Castle would install.) Lifting the anchor on this ship entails two teams pumping the arms of the windlass for what seems like hours on end. The torture does not end until the First Mate calls “That’s well!” All participants then collapse from exhaustion.
The yacht in question is anchored off the shore of Petite St. Vincent. At night her lights are brighter than all the lights on the island tonight. The yacht’s annual budget including staff and supplies may well exceed the budget of any one of these tiny islands.
The idea of income redistribution has become a heated topic upon the Picton Castle. There is at least one of us who believes that there are far too many people on this earth and inequality is nature’s way of thinning out the population. But more of us believe that yachts that big should be taxed out of existence and the revenues used to help those less fortunate.