Thursday, December 29, 2005

I am sailing, I am sailing...

Got into Gibraltar, greeted by the sunshine, arrived on the ship, Stavros S Niarchos, and got assigned our cabins and watches (3 watches on ship, because someone has to be on duty 24 hours a day so the watches rotate). We were lucky because there were only 8 girls but 24 boys so the girls cabins were really empty and we had loads of room to make a mess of. No time to visit the monkeys but we had a bit of time to have a few drinks, before we set sail.

And then we were off, spain on the starboard side and morocco on port side but soon there was no land in sight at all and it was 5 days before we saw any again. Lots of other stuff to see though, dolphins swimming alongside, turtles, whales, flying fish, bioluminescent plankton that light up in the nighttime and the stars, soooo amazing.

On the third day there was a wicked swell and the seasickness started to kick in, but at least the fish were kept well fed, what with half the crew being sick over the side of the boat. Wishes were made on the shooting stars we saw in the hope we would all feel better again.

The next day all was right again, and the sun was shining so siestas on the bow sprit (the pole and netting that is at the front of the ship)were the order of the day, really, really cool.

The morning of Christmas eve, and land was in sight once more. Passing north of tenerife we watched the sunrise over mount teide, and headed into Santa Cruz de La Palma. Time to explore, buy presents in our capacities as secret santas and have a dip in the sea, sure all the locals thought we were crazy brits but the sea was plenty warm enough to swim in (and i'm a wimp normally) although a bit cool when we got out. Didn't stay too long on dry land though, back to the boat, the whole land sickness thing was getting to people and standing still upright required a lot of effort. Back to the Stavros for BBQ and music on deck. Counted down to Christmas day, santa had found some people aboard the boat so presents were opened, but it was fairly quiet really. We were all too knackered.

So Christmas day, started off with sunshine and shore leave, had to keep reminding ourselves it was Christmas. Went on a tour of the island christmas morning, then christmas dinner, which was excellent and the atmosphere with 50 people in our the tiny mess room was great, although not much elbow room. A little rest to let lunch settle and then off for another dip in the sea. In the evening there was a fiesta on the quayside, we danced along the quay to flamenco pop music, had a quiet festive drink and watched the fireworks at midnight.

Boxing day arrived and time to set sail again, headed for tenerife. I was at the helm as we sailed out of port, a little bit scary, there were lots of things to hit, but we successfully avoided all of them. And finally we had some really good wind, heading down between Tenerife and La Gomera. And then it was time to climb the masts and stow the sails because we'd reached Santa Cruz in Tenerife, the end of the journey. A few drinks in the town in the evening and then time to say goodbyes.