First day in the Europa, alongside Ushuaia. Beginning to familiarise ourselves with the ship, crew and our duties during the trip.
Crazy modern times of pandemics, new viral strains appearing and evolving, ever-changing rules and ways to face it. Despite all that, and the time that has passed since it all started, many venturous spirits haven’t forgotten the seek for new escapades and experiences, like the one that brought all of us on board the Bark Europa and is about to begin.
Sailing South for over 50 days, where our lives sure will shift priorities, from the Media, politics, business and pandemic madness ashore, to the ways of living at sea on board a good old trusty Tall Ship, which all together we will sail to Antarctica, South Georgia and across the Southern Ocean to South Africa.
A time for sail training, participate on the ship’s duties and watches, endure rough seas, land at relatively remote areas of the planet. Experiences to share amongst ourselves and the rare wildlife inhabiting those un-forbidding lands and oceans.
Thousands of tourists are attracted to the Antarctic areas every year, but just a few experience the different approach that sailing ships can offer. The close contact with the oceanic elements sure soon will bring the cold, wetness, seasickness, and all the high latitude treats to negotiate and endure, until setting foot at the last human discovered continent first, then at the bountiful oasis of South Georgia. Further sailing Eastwards will bring the ship to the vicinity of the remotest inhabited island in the world. From there just a couple of weeks across the last stretch of water of the South Atlantic, awaits Cape Town, her next port.
Along our way we plan to visit some of the most outlying places on Earth. On board we will walk the ship’s decks, climb aloft, spend time at the wheel and work side by side with each other and the Europa’s permanent crew, having the opportunity to live, experience and learn sailing skills and mastery of the canvas, lines, ropes, sails and their adjustments to the different winds and weather conditions. It will be up to all of us to make good use of this unconventional chance while enduring a large variety of sea states along a wide range of the world’s climate zones.
Time has come to board the ship. Welcomed and briefed ashore during the morning, we made our way by bus to the harbour, where the Bark Europa is moored. An exciting day for all and hectic last hours of preparations for the crew to make all ready for the upcoming voyage.
Bark Europa has been for a short while alongside the busy port of Ushuaia since the end of her last voyage, and is also from here where we will start our journey. Luggage already on board and in the cabins since yesterday, before going downstairs and unpacking, we were welcomed on the Main Deck by our Captain, Janke, and her crew. Meeting followed by lunchtime and time to get acquainted with each other and the ship.
Briefings and first trainings and familiarisations were to start after the official check-in and paperwork for departure was ready.
Time for getting a first glimpse to the trip planning, to introduce the watch system, going also through household rules, location of the different ship’s areas, safety equipment, sails, ropes and pinrails. All preparing the terrain for the beginning of tomorrow’s activities and tasks, when we plan to set sail.