Details of the Trek
The crew sailed from Porto on October 1st with Porto Cervo in our headway. We’ve passed through the Straight of Gibraltar and right next to the coast of Spain, Ibiza, Mallorca, and Minorca.
Anchored beside Cabo Trafalgar, in Spain, we had the opportunity to watch locals horseback riding along the beach. Off the aft of the ship, an incredible sunset cast beautiful shades of red and orange over onlookers taking pictures. Over the head of the ship, hanging just above the bowsprit, was a majestic full moon. We had a couple of nights like this, and the sunrises over Ibiza and Mallorca have made bringing cameras to morning muster a habit.
We’ve all been looking up at the cloudless skies and bathing under the sun without a touch of rain in sight. The weather has been perfect for anyone who doesn’t like stifling heat, and the Mediterranean Sea has lived up to its calm reputation. Portugal seems so far behind us as we get used to life on board. Though our daily routines have gotten easier to deal with, we’ve had a change of schedule as our watch changed times. We’ve now moved back watch times, which means that the 6-8pm watch became the 4-6pm watch, and cleaning stations have changed as well.
Despite the uprooted sleep schedule, the whole crew is in uplifted spirits. On October 8th we had our first “Snow Day,” which definitely put smiles on all our faces. The break in classes was announced to wake us up in the morning and the announcement merited tired hoots of joy. It was described as the most perfect day ever, and we didn’t even have to deal with snowy driveways. In fact, the weather was so nice it permitted our very first Swim Call. The square sales were braced to stunt all our movement, and watch by watch we jumped off the bowsprit into the salty Mediterranean, where a couple of hours earlier we spotted a family of pilot whales playing with our ship.
The water was stunningly clear and everyone appreciated the refreshing break. Topped off with banana milkshake for snack, an optimistic attitude seemed to surround our ship. Without a doubt, our snow-less Snow Day couldn't have gotten any better.
The next day, we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with a gratitude wall, a delicious meal, and a breathtaking sunset. We gathered on the aft deck to appreciate the moments we have together. It’s fair to say that home was missed on Thanksgiving, but the people that set sails by my side in Portugal have become my family, and I’m thankful that these are the people with whom I got to watch the sun set as a majestic close to a great Thanksgiving. Even the residents birds that have latched onto our boat since the coast of Spain were chirping their delight.
On October 11th, Skye’s birthday permitted an interesting start to our day. In her fouly jacket and snorkeling goggles, the Birthday Girl prepared herself to be drenched in salt water at morning muster. Gabe, the Bos’n, who stood on the receiving side of the bucket throw, was not as prepared for the onset of cold water that soaked him. He stood sort of in shock for a little while before one student noticed and the whole crew started laughing hysterically.
Daily Life on board the gulden leeuw
Despite all of our special moments, daily life onboard has to go on. All trainees have taken on the task of painting for maintenance work. Starting with the freeing ports (the grates on the sides of the ship that stop water from coming in), day watches have rust busted, greased, dried, cleaned, primed, and painted all 18 of them. This has been an ongoing task and everyone has had the chance to pull on paint-splattered overalls and lay down on deck painting. We’ve recently moved on to paint the fo’c’sle deck, near the bowsprit, and hanging off the bow of the ship looking down onto the blue blue water is pretty amazing. Everyone is becoming more familiar with sailing lines and lingo, and we’re starting to rely less on guessing to complete sail maneuvers.
When we’ve retreated to the mess at the end of the day, the snack bags emerge from their homes inside benches and board games have become a popular excuse for procrastination. As I walk down the stairs to the dorms, I say goodnight to Taboo, Scrabble, and smiling faces. The thought that it’ll be only a few (short) hours until the mess fills with tired, breakfast-smeared faces is a comforting one.
Italy now surrounds us like a lighthouse announcing our arrival. Everyone is working hard to get their homework out of the way and the Political Science class is getting ready to give the second port presentation of our voyage (a short presentation giving us context and information about our destination). The thought of setting foot on a third country in the span of a month sparks an excitement that propels our ship along.
Now anchored in the Bay of Liscia, we’re surrounded by kite surfers approaching our ship to say hello. In a couple of short days, we’ll be in Italy refilling our snack bags, trying the local food and stopping at any gelato place we can find (not to make anyone at home jealous or anything). Who knows what the blog post for Sardinia will look like, but we’re all looking forward for the adventures to come!
Written by: Emily Andrews, Class Afloat 2017-2018