San Sebastian, Gomera

The day greeted us with sun on deck and a buffet breakfast. This was in welcomed contrast to other days when we would have preferred the shelter of the mess below. Assisted climbing was organised for several crew members who either relied upon wheelchairs for mobility or facing other challenges, including sight impairment or limb weakness. The former were hoisted up in a very controlled way through a system of pulleys and heaving on well-rigged lines. The latter were accompanied by a bosun’s mate or officer up the ratlings, over the challenging futtock shrouds and onto the platform. I have seen this done on five voyages now and continue to be amazed and impressed by the strength and determination of all.

Following this various crew members went ashore for some family-pleasing presents or as a couple of us did, find a peaceful and beautiful nature trail winding its way around a near-by hill.

One lunch later ashore and we were bidden to be back to set sail again at 3pm. Due to the course we needed to set and prevailing winds we used motor for half of the journey back to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria where we were due to arrive in the afternoon of the following day.

We were going on watch 8pm to midnight, so after supper on board we relaxed until our bidden time.

I think that the weather has been noticeably colder and more wet than in previous years. However the night sail, though cold, was great. We became mesmerised by fluorescent organisms appearing in our wake, reminiscent of the film ‘The Life of Pi’.

Glad to hit our bunks, we woke for breakfast the following morning, now under sail and motor and enjoyed stowing some of the sails away. For me it was a first time to stow the spanker, the fore-and-aft-sail towards the aft of the ship. I made a promise to myself to do more press-ups when I get home. As a female I became aware very quickly how much we need upper body strength when swaying in the swell.

We finally arrived at our destination, glad to get the salt out of our hair and looking forward to a recommended Chinese restaurant ashore.

Bon appetite and bon voyage for your future sailors.

FS Watch