Engraved Forever

Posted on April 19, 2019 by Class Afloat Student, Vincent V.

After a wonderful homestay in Dominican Republic, I had to come back to my good old ship, the Gulden Leeuw. While some of us were urging to come back to the ship, I was focusing on the gigantic pile of clean clothes that was waiting to get sorted out. After a couple minutes of procrastination, I pulled my sleeves up and with the help of other floaties, we began our mission. Following several hours of dedicated work, the big pile of clothing was now resting as a small puzzle of socks and underwear. At the end of this unfortunate event, we could finally set sails in direction to Cuba.

What first started rough, soon enough became a smooth and relaxing sail. First of all, the ocean was extremely generous with us. Joseph and captain Robert had the opportunity to catch more mahi-mahi and tuna than in the past three sails combined. Even for a guy from the Cayman Islands, Joe confirmed that his most recent catch was the biggest one he had ever seen in his life! More than 18kg of fresh mahi-mahi taken right from the open market of the Atlantic Ocean. This gave us a taste of what amazing sea creatures we would be admiring for the next week.

Shortly after our blessed fishing, the captain and I had the chance to spot more than a dozen whales who were playing with the small waves created by the Gulden Leuww. Luckily for us, the wind was in our favour, blowing smoothly at our backs, making it another memorable week in the Caribbean.

Img 5055 10Only after a couple of days, some of us were already missing land. Not actually missing the land, but more like missing old habits, routines or favourite meals. Can we just all agree that there’s nothing like eating a meal you have been craving for weeks? A simple Fanta would put a smile on anybody’s face at this point.

Having seven days makes this the longest sail for our new floaties. Although we are staying positive about the Atlantic crossing, the maritime crew aren’t hiding the fact that it is going to be a great challenge for us. As a matter of fact, I feel remarkably positive about this crossing because of the great start we just had. Our next stop will be Bermuda where most of us, even teachers and crew, will have the opportunity to see our relatives one last time before another we go away for another three months.

Even if it’s a harsh thing to say, I have to admit that I am enjoying myself way too much to be missing home right now. If you think about it, we are sixty students and eighteen crew who are all traveling around the world. How can that be hard? Am I not right? Well it’s by looking at the bright side of things that we quickly forget about our daily chores, since in the end, it’s not all that bad. Doing cleaning stations, rust busting, painting, and sanding are all things that make us more competent at the end of the day. We should be grateful that we now have the skills to work efficiently. In our short sails like this one between Dominican Republic and Cuba, we tend to forget why we do everything we do. It’s only when we do longer sails that we realize how important our duties are to keep our ship sanitary and organized.

Following the good work of Watch One, the Gulden Leeuw can finally rest at anchor along the shore of Havana. Even though we had problems that came along the way, we can finally say that our third sail was successful. Some of us had our ups and down, but we all eventually get over it since that’s what we do on Class Afloat. Pushing our limits becomes rapidly part of our daily routine and that’s how we get through longer sails. I am feeling very positive for Cuba since I know that all of our hard work during the past week wasn’t for nothing and it will ultimately pay off.