14-15th November 2018 MONTEVIDEO (URUGUAY) Arrival and preparations for the new voyage
Bark Europa recently arrived to Montevideo under clear skies and warm weather, finding a tight spot to do her moorings amongst fishing and cargo ships. With that she ended the Ocean Crossing that brought her here from the Spanish southern shores.
This last trip, together with the upcoming one plus our future plans to sail into the Pacific Ocean, lay into the frame of the 500 year celebrations of Fernando de Magallanes famed voyage, when he set sail in 1519 on an expedition that discovered the Strait that nowadays bears his name, being on that way the first Europeans to join the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans sailing through it. Their voyage, full of vicissitudes, including Magallanes death, became the first one to circumnavigate the planet when one of the ship’s fleet under Sebastian Elcano’s command, returned back to Spain in 1522.
So far, during this trip across the Atlantic, Europa already had payed a visit to two of the spots used by Magellan-Elcano expedition: Canary Islands and Cape Verde. After departing on the 10th August 1519 from Sevilla, Canaries represented their first stop-over to board last provisions and get the fleet ready for the expedition set 5 centuries ago, to try to find a new commercial route with the Western Spices Islands. About three years later, on the 9th of July of 1522, the Victoria, only surviving ship from the five vessels that started the adventure, dropped anchor at Cape Verde Islands on her return way to Spain. With a decimated crew on board a battered ship, they carried on their holds a large cargo of spices that ended up covering the costs of the whole expedition once they arrived back to Sevilla on the 8th September of the same year.
On their risky quest, they also navigated upstream the massive Rio de la Plata, passing by where today lay the large cities of Montevideo and Buenos Aires, until the difficulties of the undertaking convinced them that this was not the coveted connection between both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. And now, for three days, here is where the Europa is tied to the harbour, at Montevideo Port, on the northern shores of such a big River system. Those days have been used to prepare her to face the upcoming voyage to the meridional latitudes of the world: Falklands and Southern Patagonia.
From the temperate and tropical conditions experienced during the last trip, now she is about to venture into the frigid waters of the South Atlantic and the quickly decreasing temperatures once sailing due South.
For three days the crew has been busy getting her ready for this new adventure: repairs had to be done in the masts, rigging had to be checked and tensioned, cabins and the rest of ship’s interiors called for a good clean, food and drink supplies had to be embarked, selected and stored properly. Time and combined effort of two full permanent crew teams are necessary to get all those preliminaries done before enduring such a trip like the one we are about to start.
And then, after countless hours of crew hard work, Europa was ready to welcome the new Voyage Crew on board. Her decks will need a last scrub tomorrow before everybody embark, together with the last touches aloft, but all her canvas is ready, still with the high Skysails and Studding sails rigged. Sails to be used during the first part of our trip, in areas of lighter and steadier winds than the ones ahead of us afterwards, when we will sail on the southern Patagonian Regions.