What inspired you to work in the shipping office, how did you get involved in this industry?
I have been sailing with guests since I was 19. I started on the Bruine Vloot in the Netherlands, sailed almost two seasons at sea and had my own sailing vessel for many years. We sailed with guests on the IJsselmeer and Waddensea. I always dreamt to be involved again in the Tallships world. A couple of years ago I found the job offer of Bark EUROPA and I really knew that this was a unique opportunity!
Can you describe a typical day in your role at the office?
What is typical, is that no day is the same in the office as we are really working hands-on. We help each other out where needed. These weeks I am therefore also involved in getting the orders to the ship in Cape Town. On a common day I am starting in the inbox, and most of the time I am answering questions of our guests and proceeding bookings. We are currently working on the Pacific routing, which is a very exciting thing to investigate.
What is your perspective on what it's like for the crew living and working on a tall ship like Bark EUROPA?
The crew on board is living a big adventure. But… it is hard work. Never a dull moment. And always and everything with a real smile.
When you're not dealing with ship-related matters, what other responsibilities or projects do you handle in the shipping office?
We help each other a lot in outstanding projects. Merchandise is my responsibility. It sounds as an easy job, but to get every hoodie in the right size at the right voyage is quite a challenge. Now that the Europa is not coming to the Netherlands for the next years it is even more complicated. At the moment I am also working on updating the Sailors Handbook, which is provided on board to our guests.
Have you ever joined a voyage on board? Which was your favorite?
The Antarctica Expedition last January, sailing in a film scenery. Nothing is what you could have been expecting. A once in a lifetime experience. I am still telling myself how lucky I am to have been able to visit Antarctica and Patagonia.
What has been the most memorable moment involving Bark EUROPA that you've experienced while on board?
The Antarctica Silence on one of the last days of our Antarctica Expedition. It was truly magical.
Surrounded by white mountains, the ship at anchor. The exploding glaciers in the distance and the twittering of penguins are common in Antarctica, but the blowing sound of a whale swimming by is only heard in total silence.
What has been the most memorable moment involving Bark EUROPA that you've experienced while working in the shipping office?
The moment she sailed away after 15 months in the Netherlands because of Corona. We waved her goodbye with a couple of tears. It was exciting and challenging time.
Could you share an interesting behind-the-scenes story or fun fact about Bark EUROPA that most people may not know?
At the moment of opening the Antarctica season at 12:00, we start to print the bookings and a the big puzzle starts. Not many people know that our colleagues Liza and Nina are sitting on the ground with these stacks of paper to order them per voyage and preference of cabin to see if we can make it possible for everybody to join their dream voyage.
How has working in the shipping office and being involved with Bark EUROPA influenced your perspective on ocean conservation and environmental responsibility?
I haven’t realized before that we could make a difference in the spreading microplastics with avoiding wearing (or washing) fleece clothing and avoiding microplastics (SSL) in shampoo and douchegel. Such small changes in your daily life can make a difference to the ocean life.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your experiences in the office or the fascinating world of tall ships?
We are sharing an office with our colleagues of the Schooner Oosterschelde. Very nice to share the space and knowledge!