Atlantic Ocean, NS - Amy Russell
My name is Amy Russell, I’m a deckhand on the Bluenose II.
I’m a deckhand so I deal with everything. Anything that anyone tells me to do. So that’s from sanding and varnishing and painting and oiling to setting sail and helming, doing the steering of the ship. Swabbing the decks and brassing the brass, polishing the brass. We do everything.
I have a special connection to the Atlantic Ocean, I don’t know why because I’m from Alberta but there’s always been a draw for me to the Atlantic Ocean. I then had the opportunity to circumnavigate the Atlantic from Norway through Europe, Africa, Central America, a little bit of South America and back over to Europe. And that was incredible, it was an incredible experience. I live in Nova Scotia now and I live right on the Atlantic so that’s pretty special to me as well.
I got my start at Class Afloat, I was at university fair in high school and I saw this big ship on this big ocean but she looked very tiny on the big ocean, I looked at it and I knew that’s what I wanted to do and I have no reason for it I have no background for it, growing up on the prairies. But there was just this appeal to me and I think a lot of people had that, this appeal to the water, appeal to the ocean. I don’t personally think it’s scary, but it is a little intimidating sometimes, the big ocean, its huge, the Great Lakes their huge! You feel small on such a big waterfront. Just get out there and see how you feel. I would say for any young people trying to get into it or anybody trying to get into it, just try it and see how you feel.
Some people have the feeling of cabin fever when they’re on a ship or they’re out at a cabin or somewhere isolated but I don’t personally have that feeling. I feel, even though you’re on a very close quarters, on the Blue Nose the deck length is 143 feet and there’s a 16 foot draft below the water line and there’s 20 of us that live in that space. And yeah it can get kind of tight but you come up on deck and you have the open ocean you have nothing around, you have open lakes. It’s the most freeing feeling in the world. There’s nothing. There’s nothing around you, the skies at night are just incredible, you can see all the stars on a clear night, just every single star, the Milky Way, you can see everything. It’s amazing, it’s kind of like being on the prairies honestly.