Ship Life - Fernando de Noronha to Natal

Posted on 13 December 2016 @ 4:09pm

Ship Life: Fernando de Noronha to Natal

Just as it is on land, onboard the Gulden Leeuw some days go by quickly, while others seem as though they have lasted years. After our previous twelve-day voyage, this two-day passage from Fernando de Noronha to Natal has been a breeze. On departure day, after saying goodbye to the beloved archipelago that we thoroughly enjoyed, we sailed from anchor, with our engine turned off. While many of us were happy to have bathed in the beaming sun during our time spent on the island, the bright star betrayed many of us. Instead of the golden skin that many were hoping for, sunburns took over. As we heaved and hauled away at lines to set our sails, we no longer looked like a crew of sailing students, but instead, we resembled an impressive troupe of well-trained lobsters. “We are chasing the sun!” stated our engineer as we sailed away from the island, moving slowly towards a magnificent sunset, one complete with a gradient of orange, blue, pink and another infinite amount of ever-changing colours. Forget about that fairy tale ending where the heroes ride off into the sunset. On Class Afloat, we sail into it.

Fernando de Noronha

Posted on 13 December 2016 @ 3:41pm

Fernando de Noronha

After 13 days at sea, the longest sail ‘til now, everybody was really happy to see land again. We saw the Brazilian flag on the mast and that was exciting, because a lot of people hadn’t been to Brazil before and it is far away for a lot of people. The first of December felt weird because for almost everybody this time of the year is usually cold. Even from the distance, Fernando seemed like it is one of the most beautiful islands ever, and it turned out that it was.

Fernando de Noronha

Posted on 9 December 2016 @ 7:22pm

Fernando De Noronha

Our time in Fernando de Noronha began with an early morning and some very bleary-eyed students.  We were woken up and as we slowly shuffled our way upstairs we could hear calls from above about an island close by. As we made our way up into the mess, the students up front began to move faster and this time no one was walking towards the bar to get breakfast. Instead we all made our way as fast as we could to the starboard railings to get the first looks at our newly-found island paradise. As we spoke, the anchor was dropped and it appeared that we had found home for a little while. Fernando stood off the starboard beam, standing to full attention and showing off everything it had to offer. Beautiful white sand beaches with clear baby blue water, sprawling trees and jungles and a single, towering, jagged mountain towering above all.

Ship Life - Atlantic Crossing

Posted on 30 November 2016 @ 7:09pm

Atlantic Crossing: Ship Life

As many of you know, the Gulden Leeuw has made it safely past the first of three trans-Atlantic crossings for the 2016/17 school year!  Class Afloat students were eager to set foot on the most breathtaking island of Brazil: Fernando de Noronha. This passage was incredibly busy, as students continued to work hard in both their academic studies and sail training.  Although these last two weeks were an unforgettable adventure for us all, filled with stress and excitement, there is no doubt that time off in Brazil is exactly what students, faculty and maritime crew needed.

Ship Life: Tenerife to Dakar

Posted on 17 November 2016 @ 2:45pm

Ship Life: Tenerife to Dakar

The departure from Tenerife left many with heavy hearts and many more with tear stained t-shirts. It was quite a sight to see all of our parents, Megan (Class Afloat’s head of school) included, standing on the quayside wishing us goodbye and a fair voyage. We were, however, quickly torn from this sentimental lull and thrown back into everyone’s favorite part of sailing, pulling on “ropeys”. That being said, it was good to be back at sea. The port began to fade behind us and the winds blew strong at our backs, stealing us away from that beautiful island paradise. As sad as it was to leave the parent port behind, the adventure was still ahead of us and plenty more was to be seen, done, tasted, and explored.


Posted on 17 November 2016 @ 2:24pm

Tenerife: Full-Day Port Leave!

We woke up excited for a full day of exploring the island and everyone made sure to finish provisioning and cleaning stations as fast as possible.  As soon as we were finished some people got picked up by their parents and others went in groups of four together.  I made sure my parents got to the boat early so I could spend as much time with them as possible.


Posted on 7 November 2016 @ 7:02pm


Our arrival on the beautiful island of Tenerife was one of the most unique arrivals we’ve experienced so far on our voyage. November 3rd, after a short three days at sea, we sailed into Santa Cruz de Tenerife, our first parent port of the year. What a contrast this island is to the dry weather of Agadir and the barren but beautiful Sahara desert! On deck, as we prepared to drop the sails for our grand arrival, we were able to contemplate the colourful houses resting on the side of towering mountains and the luscious green palm trees that decorate the landscape. After hearing the day before from our pre-port presentation about what this Spanish paradise has to offer, many of the students were ready to head to the beach from the moment they set eyes on the island. Although this view was an exciting one, what really made all of us jump for joy was the sight of the parents standing on the dock, blowing kisses from afar and greeting us with exaggerated waves.

Life on Board - Halloween

Posted on 5 November 2016 @ 6:36pm

Life Back On-board: Halloween

 October 31st - the day we left behind Agadir, Morocco and started to make our way towards Tenerife and, most importantly, our parents. It started with some provisions being brought on board and organized in the depths of forward storage. Meanwhile, up on deck, last minute repairs were made and safety nets and lines were secured so that we were ready for the next few days at sea. This took most of the morning before we were ready to leave. We were set back an hour before the Moroccan officials cleared us to leave and we finally had a much awaited return to the ocean. We hadn’t been at sea since the nineteenth of September and everybody was positively beaming with joy to be back. We all missed life out on the ocean and it felt good to be back.

Sahara Desert

Posted on 31 October 2016 @ 5:07pm

Sahara Desert Adventures

 October 26th - the day had arrived, the day we would leave any sign of civilization behind and head right into the desert. Breakfast wasn’t until 10:00 so that meant that it was sleep-in day, which we all really needed. We loaded onto the bus for the millionth time and we were off to ride camels, or dromedaries if you want to be specific. Everyone was really exited. We had all heard how amazing the Sahara was but I don’t think anyone could describe how amazing it actually is. Half of us got on the dromedaries and half of us walked. Riding a dromedary was similar to riding a horse, only less stable. Some of us crossed our legs, which seemed to be a good idea until Lily fell off her dromedary because she lost her balance. Luckily she didn’t hurt herself.


Posted on 31 October 2016 @ 4:51pm


As you may be aware, after many unforeseen changes the Class Afloat crew is now back onboard the Gulden Leeuw and eager to set sail for the Canary Islands! “Without the rocks the river would not sing.” Although these last couple weeks were a surprise and a shock to us all, met with both excitement and frustration, as we near the end of our unplanned adventure it is clear that we will continue to be thrilled by whatever incredible experience we meet along our journey. These changes have only given us the chance to become closer together not only as a crew but a Class Afloat family.