6th January

We arrived to the ship in the afternoon on Saturday 6th . We were introduced to our watch leaders and shown our bunks. The bunks are really cozy and it’s great to be able to look out to the sea from your bunk (window porthole) before falling asleep. We got safety belts, wellington boots and waterproof jackets and trousers. We were also given harnesses for climbing aloft. While in port we were shown how to handle the different ropes and we also climbed aloft, which was really exciting. We left the port Sunday afternoon. As soon as we got out of the port the waves got quite big and it was challenging and a lot of fun to set the sails while trying not to fall. As it was very bumpy quite many people got seasick and stayed on the upper deck as you feel less sick there than on the lower deck inside. I found that when going to the lower deck as long as you get to your bunk quickly and lie down you’ll be fine. Despite feeling sick, we really enjoyed the beautiful weather. We saw porpoises, they were swimming really close to our ship. We were on a night watch Saturday night from 8pm to midnight. It was amazing, the stars were so bright and they stretched all the way down almost to the sea level. We also saw plankton creating bio-luminescence, they looked like little sparkly stars in the dark water. During the watch we looked out for other ships and we also got to be at the helm. It was amazing to steer the ship under full sail, in the darkness under the stars. By Monday most people had gotten over their seasickness. The sea was a lot calmer and it was beautiful and sunny. We were supposed to go to port in Fuerteventura but there was no berth for us so we continued to Lanzarote.

– Forward Starboard Watch

7th January

Watching the captain squeeze the ship into Marina Rubicon on the edge of Playa Blanca resort was nerve-wrecking and exciting. The helmsman had to stay calm and react very, very quickly and precisely to the captains bellowed instructions as there really were only a couple of meters of clearance either side of the ship. Everything was accomplished without incident. We secured the ship and lowered the gangplank. There was tangible excitement among the crew when we heard that we had permission to explore the restaurants and shops on the quayside. Depending on which watch we were on a few of us had to stay behind to ensure the locals’ curiosity didn’t get the better of them and lead them to come up the gangplank to have a look around for themselves. The rest of us really enjoyed going off in our teams and sampling the amazing local restaurants. Despite our promises to make a night of it and paint the marina red, most of us happily were back on board straight after dinner and delighted to spend a night on a moored ship. As we got back, we were greeted by the captain and his 3 mates all trying to solve the problem of a sheared mooring rope. Evidently the swell even within the marina’s walls had been great enough to cause enough tension in the ropes for one to shear. The permanent crew’s experience and brilliant nautical skills meant most of us got a very good, peaceful night’s sleep. Those of us who drew the short straw enjoyed sitting on watch for a couple of hours at a time to ensure there were no further unexpected consequences of the sea swell. In total 4 moringlines snapped and not event wires that the crew had added helped enough. The paint on the ships side had spots of paint sanded off by the quay. The captain decided at daybreak that the swell was still too strong and so, thinking on his feet, he decided that we had to forego (sniff, sniff) our day on the beach. After the normal daily ‘happy hour’, at around midday we did a very cautious about turn, in front of lots of curious tourists on the quayside and set sail for Puerto Calero, which is just a few kilometers south of the renowned Puerto del Carmen. We expect to arrive in about an hour. There are no favorable winds so we are not under sail as we go up the east side of Lanzarote.

Aft Port Watch

We arrived into Puerto Calero at around 16.00 on Tuesday and took a berth alongside a floating platoon. The marina was much better protected from the swell from the North – we were hopeful that we’d be in for a calmer night. Once the ship was moored and the gangway lowered we were granted leave from the ship to go shore side. There were lots of pretty harbour-front bars and restaurants in what was otherwise a sleepy little town. One of the voyage crew used to live in the area when working as a tour operator and has expert local knowledge, so a group of voyage crew enthusiastically followed him into the neighboring Puerto Carmen in the evening. Lord Nelson looked beautiful at night, lit up and towering above all the yachts in the marina. She continues to draw lots of admirers. We were granted an unexpected lie-in on Wednesday and took breakfast at the leisurely hour of 8.30. Our Captain Richard and the permanent crew brought us together for another meeting in the lower mess to discuss the ever-changing plan. They have been kept so busy by challenging port conditions, swell and weather and have been constantly re-evaluating to try to keep us all safe and occupied. Puerto Calero marina is quite tight for space, and it was decided that the safest way to exit would be by motor in reverse. Doing this in high winds would be a little hair- raising, and the wind was forecast to pick up over the course of the next day, so it was decided we would reverse out of the harbour and go back to sea for some more sailing, rather than stay alongside for another day. Both DOTI boats were lowered and we cautiously exited – dodging the tourist yellow submarine which (bafflingly) decided it would try to squeeze past underneath us as we exited the harbour. The sun was shining and the seas were calm as we motored back out to sea and everyone was in good spirits. Our plan is to head around the east coast of Lanzarote and set sail as soon as there is sufficient wind.

Aft Starboard Watch

8th January

The watch last night had a challenging time on the bridge from 2000 to 2400, having to hold the helm at Port 10 to maintain the heading. The inner jib was hoisted before the flying jib was lowered as the wind increased in strength. It wasn’t the most comfortable night for sleeping, with quite a bit of pitching and rolling. After breakfast all hands were on deck to wear the ship for the first time on this voyage. Emergency drill involving ‘man’ overboard then followed – the man being a dummy. Great excitement followed on deck when the call went up. The jon buoy was dropped and all hands brought the ship a virtual stop by setting the sails to a box haul position. The DOTI boat was launched from the top of the upper mess. The sea state was 4, so at times the DOTI boat and crew disappeared from sight. Some distance had been covered by the ship before the body came back on board, about 15 mins after the call. CPR was successfully executed and the dummy will live to be thrown overboard another day. The sails were then reset to resume the course of 140. The drill meant the voyage crew missed ‘happy hour’– which they were delighted about. (No doubt this hour will be reinstated later.) A pleasant afternoon of sailing followed, though it was quite cool out of the sun.

We sailed through the night towards Las Palmas. During the night we could see the glow of Fuerteventura on our right side and Gran Canaria on our left and the flickering fire of squid in the depth of the sea besides the ship. It was really bumpy during the night.  The weather was hot and sunny as we arrived to Las Palmas in the morning. When in port people who hadn’t climbed aloft had a chance to

Alex: I was one of them. I’ve actually climbed a lot but it was before my accident. Now I had to find out what my body is capable of now. I didn’t dare to climb last time since the open sea was rather choppy but in the calm waters of a harbour it was not an issue. People around me were really attentive and ready to help (very reassuring) but I managed nearly everything myself. My body hasn’t let me down and now I can start a new sailor’s life.