Other than our Atlantic crossing this will be the longest sail of the semester, 11 days at sea. I have to admit the first half felt really long but once we crossed the half way point and I felt we were in the “home stretch” with the end in sight. I’m also feeling a lot more confident in my ability to handle an Atlantic crossing/three weeks at sea after handling 11 days.
Before we left the crew predicted it would be a rough passage based on the expected wind and sea state. It turned out to be not as bad as expected. I was happy each morning I woke up to less motion then expected which turned out to be most of them! We had two time changes during this sail, each time we lost an hour of sleep.
There’s definitely a rhythm you find when you’re at sea for longer then a few days at a time. I guess it’s settling into a routine but there are variations as well. The Downton Abbey club got running again and had two “meetings” (i.e. we got together to watch an episode), the first TV/movie I’ve watched since I got here!
This will sound strange but I also had the first chance to really hang out with my cabin mate, Anna Marie. She’s one of the teachers and our schedules are different so sometimes it’s not till we’re climbing into bed that we really see each other. It was nice to get to know her better and we plan to be more social in the future!
I stood a night watch from 0400-0600, that was (part of) my watch in the summer and I love it. You get up and see the stars and then the sunrise and it’s really like watching the ship come awake, hopefully I find the time and energy to do that again! In another effort to be more sailor-y I went up in the rigging one calm afternoon and spend some time hanging out watching the water and the sky. I went right up to the royal (top sail) - I’d forgotten how unstable the shrouds up near the top feel but I’m glad I continued and made it up, it’s definitely a sense of accomplishment!
Another morning my cabin mate, Anna-Marie and I got up at 4:30 to look at the stars. We are far enough south we could see the southern cross but also the big dipper! There were a few planets visible and other constellations like scorpio and orion. It’s sure handy having sailors nearby as they are pretty good at knowing at least some of the stars (as well as lots of other things. I’ve come to the conclusion that sailors are very much like farmers, hard workers with lots of practical knowledge about many things). After a quick star gaze we went back to bed to sleep for a while longer before our days had to start.
We motored the whole way with a bit of sail set for stability and extra speed but it was slow going at first, many days of doing 3 knots as we headed right into the wind. About half way through it looked like we’d be arriving late but things picked up and we ended up arriving in port on schedule. There was excitement in the air as we spotted land and got closer and closer to our destination. I think more so seeing as it came after a long sail. All the kids were excited to get off and get sugar (ice cream, chocolate, candy) and I think everyone was happy at the prospect of spending some time away from our home away from home (however nice it is a break is always appreciated).
For those who think I’m just sailing around to various amazing tropical locations let me mention that this sail I had to deal with more-then-week-old food waste with maggots. Thank goodness for farm boys who are used to nasty smells (apparently rotting grain smells worse) and aren’t afraid of work. Between one of the students and I we got the garbage debagged and overboard while some of the more squeamish students made a hasty retreat.
The DR is a mail port so on arrival day big bags of mail showed up for the crew, yay! As someone who loves getting mail, a month and a half is a long time to go without getting anything so I was very excited to have a little package waiting for me. hint, hint: another mail port is coming up in Bermuda, we arrive March 19, the address is:
SS Sorlandet/Class Afloat
c/o Bermuda Ship Agencies Ltd
27 Woodlands Rd
Hamilton HM 09