Two weeks have passed in Cape Town since the last Voyage-crew left the ship and and she went on dry dock for her customary South African maintenance period. Since then, a play of riddles and puzzles. Shipyard, dry dock, maintenance, repairs, plans and schedules for upcoming voyages, travel rules and restrictions…all put to test the problem-solving and learning skills, resourcefulness on seamanship, mechanics, organizational expertise, of the officers, crew and Europa’s people ashore.
Pieces of a puzzle represented on one side by crew members joining aboard for the next adventures to come or leaving the ship after sailing her here, and on the other hand the countless bits and sections of the Europa that have been disassembled or pulled apart during the last days. Now again they start to fit together in preparation for the return to her natural environment, the ocean.
From aft to bow, jobs are progressing under the hands of a ship’s reduced complement that keeps preparing her for the upcoming voyage north. Captain, officers and bosun working the daily jigsaw puzzle to make sure the most important things are taken care of first.Hull blasted, cleaned and painted; protective zinc anodes bolted back; Starboard shaft and shiny polished propeller are back in place; steel plates on bulkheads and shell, welded where necessary; inlet and outlet valves, overhauled and installed; diesel tanks cleaned and prepared; defying gravity anchor chains made their way up from the dock floor, back at their newly painted chain-locker; after days of rust-busting, paint applied on deck and below; rig inspected and readied, lines are lead down from the masts back to the pinrails; ship’s electrical and electronic systems checked, not without an occasional claim heard here and there on the sorts of “the guys that cracked the enigma code couldn’t crack the water tank area”.