Our Trip to Cape Town begins
28.02.2007 - 01.03.2007 10 °C
We checked out of our hostel and walked down to the quay side to check that the boat was there.... which is was! We walked through the customs offices and went to the quay side.
The Europa was on the right side of the dock with her starboard side up against the concrete. The main and fore masts towered some 120 feet above us and even thought she had some dents and bruises from the previous four months of sailing to Antarctica, she still looked splendid.
Steph and I met some fellow passengers (sorry, fellow trainee sailors!) in the dock and were shown to our bunks where we dropped our bags off. We met our cabin mates and then headed upstairs to the deck house for a drink and to meet the other trainees and the remainder of the crew. Klaas the captain gave us and introductory speak about safety etc. whilst on board and then we were told that the ship would be leaving the following morning (as the weather was better). We were informed that we could spend the last night on shore if we wanted.... so a few of us headed off to the Irish Pub in Ushuaia for a drink or three. We got back to the ship about 12ish and passed through customs somewhat easily as the guards were having a River Plate Vs Boca football clash... on the play station which was very amusing!
Day 1 - The Beagle Channel March 1st -
Happy St Davids day.... I spent most of the day explaining to the assorted nationalities who, what, how and why we Welsh chose to celebrate this day.... which worked better with some Nationalities than others!
With our rather impressive Horn blaring out we left harbour at 10...ish (Laid back Dutch as usual!) and sailed all of 10 minutes... to the fuel dock to get some fuel! Bit of an anti climax, but soon enough we were off again into the Blue cold Abyss!
Sailed were hauled and all the trainees got (for most of them) their first real go at sailing a square rigger! Ropes needed pulling and so nearly all of us grabbed the nearest rope when ordered and pulled enthusiastically! We had dinner and a glass of wine and a beer from the bar on board (Hallelujah!) and then the trainees were all split into one of three groups. Steph and I were split into Blue Watch and we were informed of the Watch system whilst on board and that we happened to be the first watch... Doh! However, since it was already 7pm we only had an hour of our shift left... Yeah!)
We went to bed early as we were due to be up at 4am for the 4 to 8am watch that morning.
The day was almost over... the weather was fine... the sea calm... the sailing good... and we'd already made some friends on board.... a good start and everyone was expectant of the forthcoming 52 days on board! If they all turned out like this then the trip would be easy.....
Unfortunately.... Neptune was to see to it that in the coming months.... the weather would test us all and whilst some of the trainees would fall by the way side... Steph and I were both determined, prepared and ready for the effort ahead!