The expedition is ending and I want to add my tribute to the crew of Europa.
The expedition is ending and I want to add my tribute to the crew of Europa. Captain Harko, Mate Gijs, Bosun Finn and Engineer Greg are more than professional - they are warm and friendly and they make us feel both safe and welcome. But how exceptional are the deckhands! These mostly young people work so hard. Out in that cold space around the foremast, splicing wire, siezing, sanding blocks, relentless 6-on, 6-off maintenance. Then up high on the yards in pitching, rolling, sometimes dark conditions, pulling up heavy sails to grapple gaskets around them. Weeks on end with rarely a day off. My God, if your parents, and their friends and your friends back home could see and understand this, they'd be as awed as I am by you. And not only that, but you instruct us, you serve us, you wash our sheets. You are amazing.
Strike that balance
I have always thought the cook's job is the hardest in a ship and, Rensje, you take it in your stride - ever planning and preparing ahead to give us good food always, whatever the weather - fantastic talent. The galley staff and excellent Portuguese bar tender have also made our trip. As for Jordi, we were so lucky to be shown Antarctica by a man with intimate knowledge of landings and channels, additional to knowledge - and skill at imparting it - on all things Antarctic, assisted by his two ever-friendly and well qualified assistants. Somehow every single person in the Europa team, from captain and mate downwards, strikes that balance between treating us as "voyage crew" and "guest", never ordering us to, always asking us if we'd like to, always caring for us. It's very impressive and makes Europa a great experience.