An early start for the ship as we were due to depart Santa Cruz La Palma. Linesman were called early to lift the gangway on board and let the ship slip, although the linesmen were so efficient that we had to hang fire whilst a liner came into port. Eventually though, we set off and motored out of the harbour.
Today is a short transit between La Palma and La Gomera. The weather was mild and the sky looked clear in the direction that we were meant to be heading, which is always a good sign. The swell was minimal which again boded well for a good day’s sailing.
A spot of breakfast was swiftly followed by bracing stations, hard port to hard starboard made harder by the fact that the watch was supposed to be on the port side was on watch on the bridge, making me put the ‘sweat’ into sweating the lines.
Now that we were braced to the right side, it was time to hoist the sails, starting with the top sail. This went up without a hitch. One down and three to go. Due to the light winds, we put up all of the sails on both the forward and main masts, swiftly followed by the course. This didn’t exactly go to plan, with the port side fully down and the starboard side caught on something. The captain and other crew members stood around, hands on chins, pointing and discussing like they knew what they were on about. The sail eventually came down and was set correctly, so now it was time for the t-gallant and royal sails which came down without a hitch (not that you use a hitch when doing this sort of rope work!). Sorry, they are actually called ‘lines’ and not ropes.
All that hard work didn’t go unrewarded, as we finished just in time for smoko. The sun was out and there was tea and biscuits for some, and fruit for the more healthy amongst us. As La Palma disappeared behind us, so did the time that we had off, as before we knew it, it was time for ‘happy hour’, but not of the ‘buy one, get one free’ kind! This is an hour that not only cleanses the soul but cleanses the ship; after all a clean ship is a happy ship. Unfortunately our watch was between decks, and although I spent most of the time propping up the bar in a tee-total fashion, others hovered, changed towels and did what they could to finish up as early as possible. After all, we were missing out on some lovely weather.
Where had the morning gone? Before we knew it, it was lunch. Our watch lunched early as it was time for the afternoon watch; what more could we want? We continued to cruise through the calm Atlantic and enjoyed the sun. La Gomera, a round shaped island, appeared on the horizon and we lowered the sails and came into port San Sebastian.