Ship Life: Cape Town – St. Helena

Posted on 13 March 2017 @ 5:47pm

Ship Life: Cape Town – St. Helena

Cape Town to Saint Helena - what a trip!

So many amazing events in a 13-day period: over 2000 miles crossed, the Super Bowl (CAF edition), mutiny (takeover day), three gybes over a three-day period, the famous gybes/jybe/jibe argument, and finally scaring the literal crap out of a sperm whale. With so many stories to choose from in our last sail I can’t decide which to pick. So, I decided to do a quick overview of all of our major events of the last 13 days.

When we left the V&A Waterfront of Cape Town, of course there was the usual customs: set sail, some tears were shed from the parents and students, final goodbye hugs for the last time until Lunenburg! An amazing start to an amazing couple of weeks. On our second day at sea however, we ran into (or should I say nudged) some trouble. A beautiful sleeping whale was floating in the water, (a quick doze in the amazing life of a sperm whale) and during its cozy Thursday afternoon sleep it didn’t see the massive floating steel hull of our ship, or the gawking students sitting on the bridge deck hoping that we didn’t hit it. So we sat on the bridge deck, hoping and praying that we wouldn’t hit the poor whale. Now, it is still a major debate whether we nudged the whale or just scared it. Either way, it left behind a trail of brown… well… you get the point.

Leaving Cape Town

Leaving Cape Town!

On the 27th of February, we had the Super Bowl (a little late, but it was all in good fun!). It was the first Super Bowl for some of us, but with chicken drumsticks, fries, and some very loud backseat referees, we could all see what usually happens during the game in your average American or Canadian household. The night unfolded with lots of yelling, chicken covered faces and chocolate chip cookies. There were some very boastful winners and there were some very defensive losers (better luck next time John). But all in all it was a memorable (if not slightly deafening) night.

Moving right into March, we had a fire drill and all the usual routines took place. In a fire drill (or, if ever, in the event of a real fire) we meet in the mess, do a headcount, sit and wait for the maritime crew to ‘put out the fire’ and we all return to our normal routines. However, in usual Class Afloat fashion, nothing is ever the same the second time. So, Klaus and Caroline suited up and fired down! With their fire-resistant clothes, some attractive oxygen masks and tanks, and some very fashionable blindfolds (to imitate black smoke) they headed down to defeat the ‘fire’ and save our beloved engineer Angelo. With only a few head smacks and bruises Angelo was rescued and the fire was put out. We all returned to an average day on the ship full of classes and sail handling. 

MUTINY! On the 4th of March the students, led by Captain Kretz, took charge of the ship for 24 hours and filled every job on board with apprentices. For example, I was a cook’s apprentice, and along with my partner in crime Shannon Gardaz-Jacobson we took the kitchen by storm and made meals for a couple hours straight. We had Ben as our new Boatswain, Jeremy as our Captain and Kerrin as our engineer. They were only a small piece of the takeover day, which was a major success, and due to our normal day schedule as well as a busy take over day, I think it is safe to say that we were all worn out the next day.

Along with our very, VERY eventful 2 weeks we also saw a solar eclipse. The solar eclipse was predicted to come at 2pm or 1400, but it wasn’t on time and we were waiting for the eclipse for 3 hours! But when it did arrive we found all the sunglasses, welding masks and sextants on the ship to look at the magnificent sight (since you can’t look directly at it).

Solar Eclipse

Masks for protection against the sun during the solar eclipse. Asta. (left top) Marina and Bella (right top). Daniel and Marina (bottom left). Angelo (bottom right)

There was also a series of birthdays, beginning with Kerrin and Angelo on the 24th of February. We got the firehose out and completely soaked Kerrin and Angelo! We had a series of birthdays starting with Adele’s 18th birthday on the 2nd of March, then Leah’s 18th followed the next day, and finally on the 4th of March Shannon also celebrated her 18th with a little splash of water. (In case this paragraph is confusing – we celebrate birthdays but pouring buckets of water on the person celebrating their special day. A nice fresh way to kick off the morning!)

Finally, as we sailed into St. Helena we had the final gybe of the trip which was completed with little-to-no groans of frustration. We had an amazingly eventful sail from Cape Town to St. Helena and our arrival was, of course, full of harbour preparations. The sails were furled, the awnings were put up, taken down, re-adjusted, put up, and with a little confusion, taken down again. The beautiful island of St. Helena lay ready for us to discover her.

- Written by Grade 12 student Bella Abel