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On the wheel

Too many ropes, and too many new sailing terms: For those new on board of Europa and with little or no sailing experience, the first few days can be overwhelming.

Too many ropes, and too many new sailing terms: For those new on board of Europa and with little or no sailing experience, the first few days can be overwhelming. With over 20 sails to set, there are ropes everywhere. Course ropes soaked in the salty waters of the Southern Ocean. Hands will soon be covered with blisters and will feel rough from
pulling the ropes.

Today the Drake shows his real temperament, with white-topped waves flushing over the decks and Europa rocking towards the cold Antarctic waters. At times the wind eases, and more sails are set, only to be taken down again within an hour. The albatrosses don’t mind, they just go with the wind, and accompany us on our way south.

Thick waterproof gloves, warm hats, and our bodies covered in Gore-Tex. That’s how we move around on the decks in the Austral Summer while crossing the Drake. But we make good progress, both in speed and in getting to know the ship. We share the early “dog-watch’ hours, and smile about the strange way we move walk the ship. Dictated by the strong currents and an unpredictable wind.

It won’t be long before we will see our first penguins on this voyage. The charismatic Antarctic birds that fly underwater. With their streamlined fat-layered body they are perfectly adapted for diving to great depths to catch food. But until we reach the South Shetland Islands we admire the gigantic albatrosses and different petrel species that concur the Southern Ocean.

Written by:
Jeffry | Guide

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