With Tenerife and Cape Verde in our wake I was blessed to spend my 54th birthday with the Captain, crew and voyage crew of the Europa, sailing south along the coast of Brazil for Uruguay. At the halfway point of this leg I paused to reflect on the incredible experience this has been and how hard it will be to leave the ship as she continues on to Antarctica.
To say that the journey has been life changing would be an understatement. The knowledge, skills and passion for square rigged sailing that the crew has demonstrated daily will go a long way towards assuring that this ancient art is passed on for generations to come. Their love for the ship and each other is evident in every task they perform and it becomes contagious, spreading to the voyage crew, as prior students become teachers to the newer members, willingly passing on the knowledge they have acquired.
As someone once said “Attitude is the only difference between an ordeal and an adventure”. Attitude in my experience is also a direct reflection of leadership and through the capable hands of our Captain and First Mate, the morale of the crew members shines brightly. I can say without reservation that this has been the adventure of a lifetime. I will leave the Europa in Montevideo but I think it will be a long time before the Europa leaves me, if ever! What started as the realization of a lifelong dream to sail the ocean on a tall ship will be ending with a desire to see more distant oceans and places and to do so the way it was has been done for generations. The Europa and her crew keeps the dream of the journey, not the destination, alive! My thanks to all of you for the experience!