Meet the crew Monday!
Today we would like to introduce you to: Deckhand Sarah👩!
Q: What inspired you to join the crew of Bark EUROPA, how did you join the crew?
Sometimes life knows better. I used to be a technical designer in fashion before I joined the crew two years ago. I had known the ship for a couple of years since one of my best friends used to sail on it. And then one moment it all came together.
I was reading a novel about a man taking his family for a 3-month sailing trip in the Caribbean, the story tells a sad tale of a man with a big dream dying at the end but somewhere in the middle it hit me, the feeling and realization of "this is it", I missed the train, and felt this burst of energy. This is it! This is what I should be doing.. it was such a strong feeling, within a week I got an interview and somehow everything seemed to fall into place. It hasn’t stopped since. People sometimes ask; so what will be after this!? But there only is an after in the same way as there is a beginning, yes there definitely will be one but for now, this is where I am supposed to be.
Q: What is it like to live and work on a tall ship like Bark EUROPA?
To me, it is incredible, though I find it hard to explain why. For the period you work on board the ship, the ship is your home, your everything. Therefore the people, the routine, the movement, the wind, the waves, the food, and all the little and big moments are shared with 50-something people in a relatively small space. It can be challenging sometimes to say the least but 99 percent of the time I found it to be the way of living where I am present the most. To really see people, to really see nature. Life becomes smaller, and so much bigger at the same time. I am really there, at exactly the place I want to be.
Q: What do you do when you are not on the ship?
I still go wherever the wind blows but then mostly on land, visit friends or places that inspire me to hopefully inspire others, I try to find home within people I meet along the road and try to live conscious and aware, being forever grateful for everything and everyone.
Q: Could you tell us about a unique destination you've visited on board EUROPA and what made it special?
There are so many beautiful places I’ve visited with Europa, I saw so much incredible wildlife, seen so many overwhelming pieces of land, but for now, I will pick my ultimate favorite, it's the sea itself.
I never thought of this before I joined the ship but being in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight, for multiple weeks, waking up every morning at a different sea, different waves, a different wind direction, and the best thing; a different sunset, I realized this will be normal, the oceans are so overwhelmingly beautiful to be out there at sea, seeing no land has the tendency to get very normal very quickly but it will be forever free, always moving somewhere, always in transition, to me the most amazing process.
Q: Can you share a funny or unexpected moment that happened during one of your voyages?
There are especially a lot of little moments that took me by surprise and somehow maybe even seemed bigger on the ship than they would have been on land. Things like a snowball fight on deck in Antarctica during handover at 8 o clock in the evening, a daily coffee break, and just when everyone would stand up to go back to work a Minke Whale pops up only 1 meter away from the ship, showing its beautiful belly. Celebrating St Patricks Day for an Irish colleague, where everyone would do their best to dig up something green to wear. Sharing wool and sock knitting techniques with crew and voyage crew. "Just another day at the office".
Q: What's the most memorable moment you've experienced while sailing on Bark EUROPA?
There have been a lot of memorable moments like a lightning strike or a beautiful shared sunset to watch the last evening before we see land, but for me, one of the most memorable moments was the first time I heard ice crushing against the haul. I woke up at 1 am from a weird noise and somehow knew this had to be it. I got out of my bunk, put on boots and a big sweater, and quickly went outside, we were in the middle of sea ice, it was everywhere around us, I'd never seen such an impressive thing in my life, millions of stars shining, the ship moving incredibly slowly, it was truly magical.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face as a crew member and how do you overcome them?
Balance work with private and social life is definitely the most challenging. There is no privacy which is one of the most beautiful things but sometimes you really need some so usually that's the moment I climb the mainmast just for the view from above and the quietness. It puts everything in perspective somehow and believe me, the ship looks incredible from up there.
Q: What is the most important lesson you've learned from your experiences on Bark EUROPA?
At the end of the day, life is to be lived together. This counts for work as well as private life. Life is to be shared and it's what we do best on Europa, the beautiful and the sad, the painful and the happy moments, it feels incredibly wholesome.
Q: Describe the teamwork among the crew on Bark EUROPA.
There would be no Europa without teamwork and camaraderie. But for me the best way to describe it would be the following; on the ship, whilst being at sea, you often manage to create within two weeks such a deep connection with a colleague, one that will most likely take up to two years or more to create on land. It's a rare incredible feeling and I feel endlessly grateful for all the connections I've made.
Q: Are there any unique traditions or rituals that the crew follows on board Bark EUROPA?
I believe there are so many, and I probably still only know half of them! Some might seem logical and others ridiculous but definitely create life on board as we know and love it. It's in small ways like how we celebrate birthdays, the places people gather to make music… cleaning routines, welcome rituals, sleeping habits and waking up ones, and the ways we move around the ship, but I won’t kiss and tell;) this you should come and experience for yourself!
Q: Can you share an interesting behind-the-scenes story or fun fact about the ship that most people may not know?
There are so many and a lot of them are seemingly normal once you’ve been on the ship for a while, but some of my favorites are storage places; where things on the ship “live”. Toilet paper lives in Poker Corner, someone might sleep on the hagelslag or the ice light, extra garbage bags, or clothing from a fellow crew member. While our bunks are neatly made you won’t ever know you might be sleeping or sitting on your next breakfast addition or new hoodie.
Q: How has being a part of Bark EUROPA's crew influenced your perspective on the ocean and the environment?
The ocean always has been a big part of my life I think sailing on Europa showed me once again the only way to take care of it is to do it together. Yes, you can separate your garbage, be friendly and kind, be gentle and conscious about what you give and take, and take care of the environment and the sea, you can do all those things and create a butterfly effect but therefore you still need others, others to reciprocate, to join in from all over the world, like the crew and voyage crew of Europa.
Q: Is there anything else you haven't mentioned now and would like to share?
Make deep connections, not deep attachments.