Europa’s anchor goes down for the last time in this trip. Punta Arenas shine its lights in front of us until gradually the sun rises over the horizon.
By breakfast, many come out on deck with the first coffee of the day, surprised that we are already here. Yesterday, with just one pilot on board, the directions of getting straight to the city, strong currents with us and calm sea conditions and winds, we made our way pretty fast, reaching at points 10 to 12kn under both our engines.
Other ships are around us instead of dolphins. On land, people, cars, streets and buildings rather than penguins, seals, albatrosses. We have reached the end destination of our voyage, but still the Europa will be our floating home for today, and tomorrow when she will be moored alongside one of Punta Arenas Harbours.
Spending the day at anchor, gave us the opportunity to get ready for the forthcoming landfall tomorrow, in our minds but also with the necessary paperwork to be done for immigration and Chilean authorities.
For the crew it represented a good chance to take care and embellish our Old Lady Europa, before entering the city port.
Clean and de-rust on deck and the hull as well, kept the watches busy for a few hours. For the rest of us it was a calm morning, first filling up the paperwork our Mate Jelte came up with to ensure a swift entering to the country, then joining the tours that Greg offered. Our engineer proposed a walk around the so called “Ships Dungeons”, that is, the corners of the ship not known to us during the whole navigation, like the Storage, Water-tanks, Diesel Tank areas and the Engine Room, offering his inestimable expertise, enchanting personality and heaps of information.
In the afternoon, Colette opened the Europa’s Shop, where some nice merchandising from our ship could be purchased, all before our guides gathered us all together in the Deckhouse for showing the present trip-log as a final recap of the trip, since we started in Montevideo. The cherry on the cake today was ending the journey with a fantastic barbecue on deck followed by a night party, probably the last one we can have all together before the ship goes alongside tomorrow. There, sure many will spend the day ashore or try some of the restaurants in town and their local delicacies.
Tomorrow morning, we expect to go alongside and gradually we will all make our own ways to different corners of the world. Some will come back home, other will continue their travels, but sure we will all leave the ship loaded with new experiences and a new respect for the life at sea and the old Tall Ships that keep sailing the world.