Excitement for Season 2 of Class Afloat was shown with cheek-to-cheek smiles and many hugs, as if it had been months since we had seen each other. Everybody seemed refreshed from their time spent at home and ready to live countless more amazing experiences together.
(I write this as we sail swiftly towards Dominica, shamefully finger-scooping peanut butter into my mouth as we do here on the Gulden Leeuw.)
The Gulden Leeuw didn’t change while we were gone (although it did seem considerably cleaner). One change however was the lack of many students from semester 1 and the addition of new students and crew to our community. This considerably shifted the dynamic. We all miss those who have left us and it’s definitely not the same without them. Surely we will see them again soon. While it was strange at first to have new crew members and students living with us, soon enough the newcomers became more comfortable and we’re quickly learning that each and every one of them is bringing something great to our seafaring community. I’m impressed about how much they’ve learned already in so little time. They bravely climbed aloft, enjoying their first birds-eyed view of their new welcoming home and participated actively in our departure sail setting.
New watches are even stranger than I had imagined. I couldn’t be happier with both my day and night watches, yet Watch 6 was my family within a family for 4 months. Lulu commented that although everyone in watch 2 (my new watch) are all friends, it feels awkward because we have never been in a watch situation together before. Nonetheless, I’m sure we’ll get used to it in no time.
I can’t wait for my new classes. Teachers came prepared and enthused about the curriculum they will be teaching us. Actually, maybe “teaching us” isn’t the right term. I prefer saying that they’re guiding our learning. Siobhàn once said, “We are all teachers and we are all students.” On Class Afloat, the teacher-student dynamic is nothing like I’ve ever seen before. Teachers will spend time with us joking around and talking. After all, they have to be pretty cool people to come on Class Afloat. Sorry, I digress. All in all, my classes are interesting and I’m excited!
I was surprised in the most amazing way on departure day. Our old Second Officer, Adriaan, was on a tall ship anchored beside us called The Tres Hombres. On watch, we noticed a beautiful, elegant, bearded man tendering towards our ship. It was none other than Adriaan himself. We were all incredibly happy to see him again and are looking forward to when he will be joining us again in Bermuda. As if that wasn’t enough, Hanna’s parent’s catamaran motored by with Sophie and Colin, our departing greenhand and cook’s mate standing proudly on the deck! We’re so lucky for our amazing crew this year. We’ll miss Sophie’s contagious laugh and Colin’s lack of t-shirts. It was great to see them again. Soon enough, the Gulden Leeuw raised anchor, caught steady winds in our sails and set off towards Dominica.