30th March 2019
Europa made her elegant way overnight under full sail on the light breeze blowing along the South African Coast. In the early morning, a few hours before dawn, Square sails were clewed up, Royals and Top Gallants furled and the engines turned on to make the last bit approaching Cape Town. Head rig and Lower Staysails still helped the motors for a while longer, until sunrise met us furling them as we make our way over calm waters, with the lights of the city shinning in front of us and loud whale blows around.Table mountain looms over Cape Town and a thin layer of mist hoovers over the sea as we approach the city’s busy port, where we enter at 08:00h, not before new flags (including the famous nº69 from Captain Janke) are hoisted over our masts.We moored for a few hours first at the harbour where immigration papers must be done before re-positioning Europa to the commercial pier, where we get after passing through a small but dense fog bank. With the sun shining over the thin layer of mist a fog-bow grew and could be seen from decks as a sort of rainbow but on that case created from the small droplets in suspension in the atmosphere.From then on we had time to enjoy the almost forgotten land and civilisation commodities, but gathering all together again for dinner on board and meet our crew and guides one last time for a final recap of the trip.For almost two months, our life have been ruled by the life and rhythm of the ship’s world, far away from the busy cities. Many willing for return to it again, but all wandering how it will feel to be back on land and experience the busy Cape Town city life. Sure when we leave the ship tomorrow will miss things like the interesting people and special characters we met on board, the thrilling of setting sail in the open ocean, the climbing aloft, the many special moments freezing our hands on the wheel or doing lookouts under incredibly starry skies. A trip like the one is now about to end, is not just trip to Antarctica or remote Southern Ocean islands. Neither it is just an Ocean crossing, but a combination of all plus the opportunity of having a good taste of the sailor’s life in a beautiful sturdy old lady like the Europa is, on trip of a lifetime.Once ashore is certain that all, some earlier some later, will realise how special were all the experiences on board and how unique the places we visited really are!
Thanks to all of you for making possible this wonderful trip sailing and visiting remote areas from Ushuaia, then crossing the infamous Drake Passage to South Shetland Islands, Eastern Antarctic Peninsula and Elephant Island. From there sailing the cold and rough waters of the Scotia Sea to South Georgia and crossing the South Atlantic to Tristan da Cunha, to finish our voyage in Cape Town
On behalf of Bark Europa we wish you a safe journey home and hope to see you again sometime, somewhere sailing the world