Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day from the crew of 2019!
After a few late arrivals due to flights delay on 21st Dec, the voyage crew on board Tenacious were able to get preparation underway for the ship routine for the next 8 days!
For many, it was their first voyage and to celebrate in style over the festive season. My buddy (Jen) travelled from California to join this voyage so I can honestly say that the ethos of the JST is internationally spreading it words!
Our captain for the voyage was Darren. He gave us an overview of plans for the next 7 days. We would sail to La Palma and dock in Port for an overnight then heading south-easterly to La Gomera to spend Christmas Day there before returning to Gran Canaria on the 27th December.
We eventually left Las Palmas, Gran Canaria around 1600 hours on 22nd December for an overnight sail to La Palma after bracing the yards. There was a swell in the ocean sea which meant everyone was in for a ‘rollin’ night.
With more than 24 hours into the voyage, the vibe, camaraderie and friendship were being forged. This voyage crew were certainly in festive mood. It was followed by having marked two birthdays within a day of each other!
After an early morning wake-up call at 3.30am, the sky and sea didn’t disappoint us as we experienced glourious sunshine. In the morning, we set some sails as we headed towards La Palma. It was anticipated that we had 70 miles with an estimated arrival time of 1400 hours. Everyone was called on deck to help with mooring the ropes to berth the Ship in La Palma for the night on Christmas Eve (Day).
La Palma town centre was very festive looking with colourful lights dotted around the area!
It was an early start for the Aft Port and Aft Starboard as the Captain had planned to leave La Palma by 0700 hours on Christmas Eve. (Being in the Aft Starboard watch, I was given the opportunity to steer ship out of La Palma Port), It was pitch darkness however it wasn’t long until we saw the magnificent sunrise in the horizon! It certainly was a moment where everyone wanted to capture the pink and golden sunrise!
The day of Christmas Eve was a sail to La Gomera and we arrive by 1500 hours. The voyage crew had the opportunity to go aloft after the harness fitting session delivered by Rory, (2nd Mate). Those who require the assisted climbing of the Mast would have the opportunity to do so in Port of La Gomera.
It was glorious breezy day when we eventually arrived in La Gomera. The ancient volcanic rocks are well over 600 million years old. They looked spectacular with the sunset background!
Shortly after we berthed in La Gomera, the assisted climb for those with impairments got underway. I was one of those doing the assisted climb. It was truly a breath taking experience given the strong winds we had encountered in Port. The climb was challenging however the sense of jubilation was certainly worth it when I reached the mast platform.
Over the course of our voyage and in between watches, we have been kept busy by decorating the Ship with festive décor. Thus, a Christmas tree was placed up on the mast platform so everyone had the opportunity to place Christmas bubbles on it!
As a tradition on Christmas Day aboard the JST Ship, the Captain and his fellow permanent crew serve breakfast and Christmas Dinner. Everyone dolled up in their festive tops/shirts and Christmas hats for breakfast…
With a few hours to spare before deliciously stuffed filled Christmas food, many of us went ashore to explore the town of La Gomora. It was a very quaint little town surrounded by volcanic boulders and narrow streets.
We all returned to the Ship by 1400 hours to be treated to a tasteful three course Christmas dinner of mushrooms or prawn tartlet, followed by the Christmas turkey with trimmings and vegetables and the fruity Christmas pudding! The Chef has done a splendid job feeding everyone on this voyage so a big thank you to him!
We were given relaxation time in the evening with some of crew choosing to go ashore or stay onboard to get involved in games on deck. It was such great fun with great company!
On Boxing Day (Day 6) after having been tied up in La Gomora for two nights, preparations were underway to sail back to Gran Canaria. After we had our annual voyage crew photo taken, the Ship departed at 1000 hours. The weather was very hazy and with some prospect of winds to give us an opportunity to set some sails. After setting sails, we were only going at 2 knots and had only very few miles in 4 hours. This was because the wind was deemed to be travelling in the wrong direction!
Eventually, the decision was made to motor the Ship overnight with the prospect of doing some sailing in the morning before we reach Gran Canaria. It was a scotching afternoon with sun bursting through the melting clouds!
We have a 100 miles to go before reach Gran Canaria. I can definitely that I have thoroughly enjoyed this Christmas! We are all incredibly fortunate to have jelled well with everyone. It is certainly a special voyage to remember.
For those of you reading this blog and thinking of Christmas aboard the Tenacious in 2020, then it is a must do opportunity! Swapping colder climates for the idyllic Canaries weather is the perfect opportunity to celebrate Christmas.
Dr. Julie McElroy