Sailing from Montevideo, Uruguay to Tristan Da Cuhna, UK

Posted on 17 February 2017 @ 2:52pm

Sailing from Montevideo, Uruguay to Tristan Da Cuhna, UK

Week 1 of Second Semester 

The first week back at sea has gone by very fast. We have new bunks, new watches, two new Supreme Leaders (i), a new student council, and a brand new maritime crew. The vibe on the Gulden Leeuw is fresh.

We also have two new students: Sammy and Marek. Marek is in my watch. In the first few days he has acquired one of the most unfortunate sunburns I have ever seen and has taken it like an absolute champ. I haven’t had the chance to get to know Sammy very well yet, but she is eager to help with everything and is adapting extremely well to this new environment.  

This week’s highs and lows include:  

  • Spending what felt like a whole day washing dirty saran wrap in the galley. 
  • Seeing pilot whales AND spinner dolphins (no pictures, because if you leave to get your camera, you’ll miss them).   
  • Seeing albatrosses in all their majesty. 
  • The Great Watch Schedule Change of 2017 (ii) 
  • Furling the absolute “poopoohead” (iii) that is the course—at night—with only 3 people—twice (though to be fair I have never laughed so hard in such an uncomfortable position).

Mizzen Gulden Leeuw

Look at that course, acting all furled and innocent... when really it’s almost as pesky as the mizzen… 

  • The AMAZING chili and cornbread made by our cooks Alysha and Sue. It knocked my socks off. I think it is one of my favourite meals ever—like ever in my life. 
  • Alysha’s invention: banana cookies.  
  • This sunset: 

Sunset, Gulden Leeuw

At a time when I am missing many things, (old crew, my Mom, my friends, my family, my pillow (iv) ) looking forward to many things, (seeing my parents, the tuck shop, Cape Town, Tristan de Cunha, the “Roar” of the Roaring 40’s) and dreading many things (running out of snacks, running out of shows to watch, my clothes never drying), this sunset was what I needed to bring me back into the present and let me take a moment of gratitude for this incredible adventure we’re on.  

Week 2 of Second Semester 

It is at that point in the passage when the days blur together and time starts to lose meaning.  For example: I don’t know how long it has been raining. Though we haven’t had a full-blown storm yet we’ve had a little taste of the aforementioned “Roar” and for the first time we are getting to use our full foulies (v).

We’ve had some hard rain and a severe heel (vi) for… for I don’t know how long.  I did a poll around the ship-I got answers between two and four days, then everyone started talking about the relative wetness of their laundry to try and gauge how long it had been. 

The excitement for Tristan da Cunha is building and everyone has been working extra hard on the ship so that we can make the weather window we need to get there. People have said they are starting to feel like “real sailors.”  

The following are some highlights of this incredible seamanship: 

    • Klaus: Tried to fix the lazy jack up on the main stay sail (vii) in the pouring rain—his giant chacos almost slipping off of the rope ladder.  
    • Dan: Tended 3 lines at once, running between them, while we lowered the frick frackin’ mizzen (viii) (shorthanded) for the umpteenth time this passage. 
    • Caroline: Was a human gasket, her whole body thrown over the outer jib (ix) for 45 minutes. Our all-female squadron of four fought against the wind and reigned in that sail at one in the morning. 
    • John: Gasketed the main staysail on the monkey deck (x) and went to the course for the first time.  
    • And many, many more that I don’t have space to mention…  

Yesterday I was aloft, trying to corral the course into a shabby harbour furl and over the horizon I saw a dark, jagged, silhouette… 

My arm tensed with excitement and stretched out towards it, with a huge gulp of air I shouted— LAND HO…!

Written by Grade 12 student Layli

[i] At the beginning of this passage we re-elected our student council and class president for the second semester. The result was a partnership of two primemesidents/class presidents and 5 student council members. Andrew and I are the “co-primemesidents”—since dubbed “Supreme Leaders” (I did not choose the name but it has caught on and stuck and I can’t change it). The new student council is: Sammy, Lily, Aviva, Elizabeth, and Svea.

[ii] One of the first endeavors of the student council—that was ultimately a failure—was to have students pick their own day watch schedule. After a couple attempts we soon found that our schedules are so complicated that there is basically one combination they can be in, one set way that the puzzle fits together. After many hours, and at the expense of his sanity, Drew was able to painstakingly piece together that puzzle into a somewhat consistent state.

[iii] As my friend Caroline would say.

[iv] Which has not returned to me since we left for semester break.

[v] Our foul weather gear that consists of a bulky rain jacket and a pair of overall rain pants.

[vi] When the ship is “heeling” it is leaning more towards port or starboard.

[vii] This task involved tying line attached to the boom of a sail while suspended about 20ft above the deck.

[viii] The mizzen sail is one of two schooner sails on the ship. It is behind the main sail and it is the sail that farthest aft, it is also extremely annoying to set and lower and is just generally a hassle.

[ix]At the bow of the ship the second forward most sail on the bowsprit.

[x] The roof of the bridgehouse, the highest point on the ship while still touching the deck.