Today, and for the last couple of days, Bark Europa rested moored in the huge port of Montevideo, after her long voyage from the picturesque port of Sevilla, stopping on her way at Canary Islands and Cape Verde. All part of the trips framed inside the commemorative activities set for this year to celebrate the 500 anniversary of Magellan trip. They were the first Europeans to sail around the world, connecting Atlantic and Pacific Islands through the Straits of Magellan.
And now, after those preparation days in the port, today Europa and her crew were ready to welcome use on board.
Several fishing ships of any kind and nationality, together with huge cargo vessels and a large Cruise ship shared the harbour facilities with us, making our ship to look elegant and pretty and amongst them.
It’s from here that we will start our journey tomorrow morning. First out at sea for around 10 to 12 days to Falkland Islands, where we plan our first stops and excursions ashore for a handful of days. From there our journey is planned to bring us to the southern chilean area to Punta Arenas, sailing through the Straits of Magellan.
A journey which will take us to some extraordinary and wildlife bountiful places on Earth.
Sure some of us where already around the capital city of Uruguay for a few days, others just arrived today. But finally we could embark during the early afternoon. From then onwards we got a while to gather on the Ship’s Main Deck and introduce ourselves while enjoying a cup of coffee, tea, and homemade cake. In the meantime the check-in procedures were done in the ship’s library.
As we were arriving, Danielle (one of our guides for this trip) took pictures of all of us, to put together the “ship’s facebook” to get to know each other’s faces and names more easily.
When all of us were on board and with all the embarkation formalities done, the three bells were rang, signalling a gather together. It was for the official welcome on board talk by the Captain Klaas and all the crew that will sail the ship with us for the whole trip, finishing with a traditional toast in honour to Neptune, calling him for smooth seas and fair winds. Our first beautiful dinner on board came next, followed by the last activities for this busy day: before setting sail and start our adventure, our three guides had a talk with all of us to introduce the style things are done on board the ship, ending with a brief introduction to the trip itself and our itinerary. The crew also walked us around the ship and familiarised ourselves with the location of the different areas, preparing the terrain for next days activities and tasks.
Departure time is set for tomorrow morning, about 1100nm of changing weather and increasingly rougher seas separates the warm Montevideo from the colder and solitary shores of Falkland Islands.
Ahead of us sure are several days of seasickness in a rolling and heeling ship, innumerable hours of staring at the emptiness of the ocean doing the lookouts, while others steer the ship from the open air wheel out on deck. Hopefully also some exhilarating sailing and many things to learn will come, while sharing experiences and the life on board a Tall Ship like the Europa. Collaboration and team work are necessary to sail her along our way, and that is another of the points where the ship excel, while sharing the adventure spirit that she offers. It has been like that since she was refurbished and took off for this sort of trips in 1994, after her launching as a light ship in the Elbe River over 100 years ago in 1911.