Cold air, icy winds, and never-ending rain. Wasn’t this supposed to be a sailing trip in the Caribbean?
A trip in the Caribbean – that was what we were promised, wasn’t it? Sunshine, blue skies, not a cloud in sight. Turquoise water, palm trees and white beaches. Sun kissed skin, freckles, and sun bleached hair. This was what we all looked forward to, before we went on this trip on T/S Gunilla. It is true that we have gotten much of this during this trip, but now it’s all gone.
Instead we have, for the last two days, only experienced icy winds, cold air, and never-ending rain. These two days have been the longest time in the last two months that we haven’t seen the sun, but instead only dark clouds from horizon to horizon. In the last 42 hours we have all dressed in the warmest clothes we’ve brought with us (yesterday on watch I wore four layers of shirts, two layers of trousers, as well as my rain jacket and sailing trousers), and we have even slept in at least one layer of clothes, to keep warm at night.
So it has been cold and quite a bit miserable since we left New Orleans. The situation hasn’t really improved either by the fact that almost everyone onboard has gotten at least a little bit homesick. You can’t really blame us: home is now so near but yet so far away. We’re all quite tired and worn out, now that the end of the trip is approaching. We’re longing for our near and dear ones, for our warm beds at home, for hot showers and for free time and time to sleep. All of this, together with the not so very nice weather, makes the perfect foundation for homesickness.
And then it’s the sea sickness – our faithful old friend. Just like most times we leave harbour, a part of our crew has been victims of sea sickness, something that has only gotten worse because of the bad weather. Sea sickness doesn’t however necessary mean feeling sick and throwing up, it can also mean extreme tiredness and exhaustion, headaches, loss of strength and loss of appetite. This might not sound so bad, but let me tell you that this sort of sea sickness is just as horrible as throwing up, if not even more so. Therefore the mood onboard has generally been low, and most students have stayed in their cots sleeping, only showing their faces and standing on their legs when they’ve had no other choice.
However, not everything onboard has been dreadful. For example we got hot chocolate when we had our nightly “fika”, which was a lovely way to combat the cold rain. We’re also now sailing again (with every single sail), which is a lot more fun than having to go by engine. There is also a promise of better circumstances in the air: warmer weather, an end to this horrible rain, calmer water (which means less sea sickness) and blue skies, as well as the promise that in eleven days, we will be home again, back in Sweden.
I can hardly wait.
A somewhat seasick Karin Hansson, Starboard.