As we left the beautiful islands of the Azores, we entered our second and last long sail of the year. We left behind us a picturesque painted dock filled with traces of Class Afloat’s early years and ours. With the help of many student and staff, Hanna, a very talented artist, designed and painted our Class Afloat mural.
Our design, which blended in with the sea of other murals on the quay, is a symbol of our stay in the Azores. Then, as we left the dock, we got a grand goodbye from the surrounding training sailing vessels and tall ships of Horta. They honked and yelled goodbye as we sailed away into the sunset. One of them was a sail training vessel from Germany called Thor Heyerdahl. Many of the students got to meet them either by visiting their ship or when they visited ours.
Plastic consumption is an important part of our day to day life on Class Afloat as we are living on the ocean. Every other day, we find plastic floating in the ocean and it’s simply a reminder of the harsh reality that our plastic consumption is outrageous. It is no surprise that the students of the Ocean 11 class started a campaign to reduce those tendencies. On the boat, we only have a compost bin and a garbage bin. They wanted to create 4 different bins for our next sail: paper, plastic, garbage and a recycling bin. The students also created a small bin next to the coffee machine and the boiling water machine to recycle coffee filters and tea bags because normally students would throw them into the compost bin. I personally think we should keep these ideas for the next years of Class Afloat and reduce all our plastic consumptions, because most of it ends up in the ocean anyway, and for us, the ocean is our home.
This sail we also had our last snow day ever! The students had a later Colours and had the time to relax in the morning. Some watched movies, while others finished their homework. For lunch, our cooks and staff made us tacos, which is one of the favourite meals prepared on board. After lunch, we had an All Hands calls but students didn’t know if it was an April’s fool joke or if there really was an All Hands. In the end, there was an all hands call, to put all the sails up because we had just hit big winds. The students were excited not to be motoring anymore and to be sailing again. While setting the sails, we invented a new way to haul the sails up, running. We would take the rope and together, we run the opposite way. Interestingly enough, this technique seemed more effective than conventional hauling. It was quite funny seeing everyone running and screaming while raising a sail up; a good memory to remember.
As we get into our last two months of the experience, more and more of the students are starting to realize that the end is near. Some of us will never see the boat or the people on it ever again, and this creates a form of nostalgia. For me, it is completely different: I have given so much to this program and all the opportunities that Class Afloat has given me have made me a better person. This may sound cheesy from the outside, but Class Afloat has taught me to be honest and to give everyone a chance for friendship; even by writing this I am tearing up. For some of us, it is our graduating year and every moment is important to us. We have to take in everything we can before the end, not only of Class Afloat, but of our high school years.