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Settling in to life at sea

Our journey sailing up the west coast of Africa began almost one week ago and it’s been an eventful few days full of new experiences; sea sickness, holding on for dear life whilst trying to shower, the amazing porridge on board, look out, helm, scrubbing the decks, navigation lectures, sail handling, to name just a few.

Our journey sailing up the west coast of Africa began almost one week ago and it’s been an eventful few days full of new experiences; sea sickness, holding on for dear life whilst trying to shower, the amazing porridge on board, look out, helm, scrubbing the decks, navigation lectures, sail handling, to name just a few.

At present we have approximately 1100 nautical miles till we arrive at St Helena. One thing I am learning on the voyage is the art of patience! The slow progression of our journey magnifies the moments that would usually seem insignificant. A passing ship during look out on Thursday evening brought a strange sense of relief acting as a reminder that we aren’t the only ones out here. The announcement of dinner time brought a surge of happiness that rushed through the deckhouse last night bringing members from the different watches together in a moment of blissful expectancy. We were not disappointed…Spaghetti Bolognese followed by a heart-warming Apple Crumble.

Throughout our journey so far we have been accompanied by many Albatrosses both White and Black, as well as a brief sighting of two dolphins spotted by Adam Puglielli during lookout. We’ve also caught a glimpse of a Napolean Fish. Our research fishing has brought up several interesting examples of Marine life including a couple of Portuguese Man of War jellyfish, several other species of jellyfish and an array of tiny creatures that I can’t remember the names of right now.

I officially starting working on my new composition for choir and orchestra today, which is to be inspired by the voyage to Ascension Island and also the landscape of Ascension where I will spend a few days after the leaving the Bark Europa. So far I have taken several recordings of the sounds produced by the ship during sailing as well as a range of sea states ranging from quite choppy to very choppy! I have also taken the deck layout of the ropes and pins and translated this into a harmonic structure that will feature somewhere within the piece. I’m not sure where yet. I’m sure that the celestial navigation lectures that we’ve been having will also feature somehow during the planning of the piece.

Anyways, I’m off to lookout in the hope of spotting both ships and sea turtles accompanied by my headphones and a recording of Vaughan William’s Sea Symphony.

Finally settling into the life at sea,

Laura (Composer on a Voyage)

Written by:
Laura | Trainee

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