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Spending weeks at sea

Next to talking about endangered giant tortoises, the crew has been busy. I know the engineers have been diligently working in the dungeons, but the specifics of their projects remain a bit of a mystery. I know they made shelves in the freezer – a job my non-engineering mind can comprehend. As for the rest, they have been working in the engine room on scheduled maintenance of the main engine heat exchangers (do not ask me for more specifics) and on the grey water system (we should really praise these guys more). Furthermore, one of the engineers has taken it upon himself to devise a realistic scenario for the upcoming fire drill.

Meanwhile, it has been busy on deck as well. Sailing lessons are being given, the zodiac has been assembled and in the wheelhouse, some men have been very busy with all the paperwork required for a smooth landing in Saint Helena. Some days ago, a plan was devised to prepare the stunsails for use. This would give us more speed, and subsequently more time to spend on Saint Helena. Rigging all the stunsails, which have been unused for months, takes some time but anything can be done with the help of the experienced Bosun Nat; everything has been successfully rigged and ready for action. Although we arrived in Saint Helena before having the chance to hoist them, so the excitement of getting them in the air will have to wait for after our time on Saint Helena.

Next to preparing the rigging, in every corner, you can find people scraping and sanding. We are preparing the ship’s woodwork for varnishing In anticipation of the Antarctica season. We do not mind; it can be a relaxing and meditative task, with a beautiful view of the ocean and sunlight on our cheeks. Occasionally accompanied by good conversations with a neighboring scraper.

All was peaceful today until lunch when excitement filled the air; we were nearing Saint Helena. Everybody gathered on deck, even the engineers - it was time to tack. A plan was devised, and teams were formed. Everything looked promising, everything was going according to plan, up to the moment we went backward with a speed of 2 knots. We wore ship, turned on the engine, and took all the sails away. A massive migration from the deck to the masts started: it was time to furl.

Now, we are anchored and a sense of peace has returned. Preparations are being made for the barbeque tonight – the mood is festive. It has been an eventful day. For anyone who thinks crossing the ocean and spending weeks at sea is boring; I can assure you it is not how we feel about it today.

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