The sea sickness aboard that you’ve probably read about earlier was nothing more than a memory for everyone when land finally was spotted after two long weeks at sea.
Our day in the starboard watch began as usual- around 3:30 AM. We were woken up by the one responsible in the previous watch, Mir. It was slightly easier to get up this morning as we already knew that we might be arriving earlier than planned.
On the gathering up on half deck our second mate, Leo, explained the preliminary early arrival with the following sentence: “Don´t get your hopes up just yet, because the light in the tunnel might be a train”. He then proceeded by telling a story from the time he was a student at the Gunilla. When him and his class were outside Horta a small argument sparked up and as a result a student almost got a plate in the face thrown by the other guy. The mark in “lilla mässen” is still there.
The night watch was very eventful, especially for us who were working on deck. We had to make every possible effort to sail as fast as we could as we were unsure about both the wind and if we had the permission from the harbor authorities to arrive earlier than planned. We managed to get up to around six knots even though the wind didn’t do us justice. This speed was just enough if we wanted to arrive in the evening.
My assignment on the day watch was to be a post. This means that you stand at the wheel steering for 30 minutes, followed by being a life buoy guard which means that you must have an eye on everyone on deck. The last position is being a lookout on the forecastle of the boat, where you report basically anything on the horizon or in the water that you spot.
I was a lookout when we spotted land for the first time in two weeks. We had noticed other factors that gave us hints of us coming closer to land before we saw it. The clouds became different and suddenly birds flew around us. Seeing the contours of Faial made everyone that didn’t have watch at the time get their mobile phones, trying to get connected. Connecting wasn’t a problem and I saw many happy faces on deck when they reached their folks at home, now “just” 2000 nautical miles away.
Faial got closer and closer as the wind was picking up. We made around nine knots when it was time to salvages the sails and prepare to get to the bay. As one watch wasn’t enough to do this work, all the maritime students aboard had to help. Salvaging the sails and preparing the mooring lines went smoothly and before we knew it, we were well moored to the quay in Horta.
At the moment the majority of the people aboard are trying to catch up to everything that has happened at home for the last couple of weeks through social media. After all, we finally have free roaming! Talk to you later, or as they would say in Portuguese: nós ouvimos!
William W, starboard