This was a small passage full of surprises!
We woke up on the morning of April 19th at anchor. During the night, the captain had cast off the mooring lines to drop the anchor just outside of the port. As we looked back towards the port, we saw four big cruise ships where we had been just the night before.
With full sails set we headed to the DR, but we could sense from our shipboard director that something was not normal; however, nobody knew what would happen. We heard the eight o’clock bell and then we knew: we were going to make a special stop on the amazing island of Île Sainte, a French island in the Caribbean. This place is amazing. As a French speaker, I was very happy to be able to speak French with some locals. There were nice beaches where the swimming was almost perfect and we saw lots of little sailboats set out from the marina. Small catamarans, windsurfers, kite-surfers and more were flying over the water, going around our ship. Some of them we even saw capsize. You know, that can happen.
We can see the ship in the bay of this beautiful island
A nice picture of the horizon
After a nice pit stop during which we ate very delicious food, swam in the blue water, ate some delicious ice cream – without forgetting a small nap under the sun – the sea was calling us back. Provisions of croissants and baguettes in our backpack, we jumped into our reliable Black Betty to head back to the ship. We sailed of the hook during a perfect sunset. Everybody was pulling on sheets and halliards and helping each other on deck. Some people brought souvenirs from this place like stickers, pieces of clothing and pictures. Others brought sunburns, big sunburns. However, everything was still perfect.
Nice sunset session on the bowsprit with some CAF student. ©Andrew Murgatroyd Shipboard Director
This past passage was very special for each of us. I think, since the beginning of the first semester, we have never seen land as frequently as now. Just as we were to lose the land at our port stern, another island showed up at our bow. Night and day, land was close. Some of us even got the chance to talk to our parents in the middle of the crossing.
During this last sail, I realized how far we had come. Amsterdam, Spain, Morocco, Senegal, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa with a stop in Tristan da Cunha, St Helena, Ascension, Barbados and now we are in the Dominican Republic. I don’t know exactly how many nautical miles we have sailed, but I know that we have been together for more than 8 months. All of us together, 35 students, 7 teachers and all those maritime crew coming in and out. All of us form the new family of Class Afloat 2016/2017. And we can see it, we can feel it. But most important of all, we deserve it. This is an unbelievable reality, sailing around the world, together, on a tall ship.
- Written by Grade 12 student Antoine Desrosiers