Thanks to my friend Jeroen (AKA the captain), I found out about JST. He asked me if I wanted to join a trip on a sailing boat called Tenacious. Sounded like a plan! I looked it up and was blown away by the beauty of it. My journey started on the 17th of August. Me and Jeroen flew from Amsterdam to London, Gatwick, just more than an hour flight, got on the train to Portsmouth Harbour. Soon got welcomed by the crew and the beauty of Tenacious. Good vibes. We clicked right away, very kind and open people that made me feel right at home. First night I had my first English Fish and Chips and a real pint. A night of meeting up and full with laughter already.
That would describe what the trip would be next like: having a good laugh, meet nice people and learn a thing or two. The first night we went, just out of the bay of Portsmouth, to lay anchor. Only to get ready for our real trip…
The next morning, we set sail to St. Malo. There was not much sailing going on because there was not that much wind but it felt adventurous anyways. A proper English breakfast to start the day (the food was really good). We got taught about the sails and how to work the ropes. That first night I had a late watch, we had seen a beautiful sky. Full with stars where we even were able to see the milky-way. Amazing!……….even more so because some of the ‘fellow pirates’ never had seen it before. Sure gave us all the feel that you get watching stars: amazed, tiny and full with wonder and questions.
The next day we arrived in St. Malo. A real beauty of a small town that has got rebuilt after the second world war. The harbour was surrounded by old bunkers and defensive structures all over the place in the water. The town was surrounded by an old city wall (most of it got it through the bombardments of WWII) and instant gave you the feeling you were in a special place. And it was. Lots of good restaurants, a pretty big Cathedral and nice beaches. The first morning in the docks we went climbing up the mast. The boat already became a tourist attraction, now even more. We got into our safety harnesses, clear instructions, another security check and we were ready to go! The crew made everybody feel safe enough to go up. Little bit scary but the excitement from going up high was getting the best of me and I was brave enough to climb over the ropes across sailing mast. Got the pirate inside of me real good!
It was amazing! It was kind of sad we only could be in St. Malo for only 2 days but it was time to go back to England.
On the way back, a little more wind so with the wind in the sails we did well. Unfortunately, it was pretty foggy outside… So, when on watch you could not see much. But it made you to try your best even harder to spot lobster pods and other ships. Good practise for the eyes.
The last days the weather started to clear up and we had beautiful views sailing back to Portsmouth. The famous ‘needles’ rose up from the water, a sign we were getting closer back to home.
All and all it was a great experience. Made life-long friends, learned a lot about sailing and myself. Something I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life. Thanks JST + JST crew.
[Photo credit to one of our voyage crew, whose photo shows Tenacious alongside in St. Malo]