Captain's log - Lunenburg 06.01.2013
Captain's log - Bermuda - Lunenburg 05.29.2013
Captain's log - Bermuda - Lunenburg 05.24.2013
N 24 40 W 063 24
ESE Fresh breeze, 22 degrees
The trip to Bermuda was an eventful trip. 17th of May, lots of sailing training, babtising of dinghies etc. But unfortunately also primarily motoring because of the Bermuda high pressure, which was good and stable where it usually stays over Bermuda. Unfortunately, this means head wind or no wind, coming from the south. This however gave ample time for maintenance, and the students have been eager and able to help our sailors, among other things, to paint and repair sails.
This afternoon we sail towards Lunenburg, last stop for the Class Afloet students, for this trip exams are on the program, but also evaluation and packing.
The forecast shows also clear signs that we have come north, reports of wind in gale force. Luckily for us, the wind will come from the SSE, which will be primarily in the right direction.
Gales and exam is always a good combination, a part of life aboard a sailing school.
Captain's log - Dominica- Bermuda 05.19.2013
Although the wind did not show itself from its best side, a lot happens. Because of the changing winds the past few days, the sails were salvaged and set many times, hoping that we could avoid starting the engine. Andwe have been practicing alot of manouvers.
Alongside King's Wharf, Port of Spain
10 weeks have gone by, we've sailed 6076 miles, the main engine has run a measly fifty-something hours, we been through 7 time zones and we have changed continent. It's been a great sail with a great crew! I fly home tomorrow, knowing that I'm going to miss all of it. Thanks to students, academic and maritime crew for making it such a great time. I wish the ship and her crew fair winds and following seas in all her endeavors.
Halvor S. Hanssen
Caribbean N 12 46 W 059 55
Clody, E bris, 26 degrees
A week alongside is more than enough. Our stay in Barbados has been good, but it's nice to be underway again. The inspections by the Norwegian Maritime Authority went well, and all our certificates have been endorsed for another year. The pilot boarded us at 1700 Sunday afternoon, and we could finally get going. We cut the engine as soon as we were clear of the breakwater, and are currently sailing along quietly towards Trinidad. ETA is Tuesday around noon. Captain Bjarke is returning in Port of Spain, and I get to go home. I'm going to miss the ship and her crew, but it sure will be nice to get home!
Halvor S. Hanssen
Cloudy, E bris, 25 degrees
We picked up the anchor very early Sunday morning, got a pilot, and went alongside. As soon as everything was ship shape we opened the gangway and students and off-duty crew got shore leave. Quite a few parents were waiting for us, and there were a number of reunions. Being alongside does not mean that we drop whatever we are doing and run off to the pub. Unfortunately.
After 7 weeks at sea there's a lot of things to be taken care of.
Authorities need attention, we need provisions, chandlers come and go, and we've got the Norwegian Maritime Authority on an inspection visit. So far very good, and we still have a few days left here. Departure is planned for Saturday or Sunday, and I bet it'll feel good to get out of here!
Halvor S. Hanssen
Anchored outside of Bridgetown, Barbados.
Cloudy, E fresh breeze, 26 grader
Friday afternoon at 1445 we clewed up the last sails and dropped the anchor.
The entire passage from Ascension, all 3131 nautical miles, has been done under sail. 100% sail is a rare treat. Saturday has been the big cleaning day. All hands have been busy scrubbing her down from the keel to the truck.
We have a bit of acid wash and brassoing left, but she's looking pretty good. Pilot at 0600 Sunday morning. We'll stay in Bridgetown for 6-7 days.
There's a few maintenance projects planned, and we have the Norwegian Maritime Authority coming for an inspection but there will be time for exploring and relaxing as well!
Halvor S. Hanssen
Almost in the Caribbean, N 12 07 W 057 49
Light clounds, ENE fresh breeze, 26 degrees
Of the coast of Guyana, N06 02 W 050 46
Light clouds, ESE strong breeze, 26 degrees
Our daily run from Sunday to Monday was 209 miles, that's the fastest we've done in quite a while. It's been fairly windy the last couple of days, so maintenance on deck has been somewhat restricted. But when we're flying along at 8-10 knots that doesn't worry anyone! Monday we had a visit from the deep: King Neptun, Davy Jones and the rest of the royal court came onboard to find out if our pollywogs were worthy of joining the sacred society of Shellbacks. Everyone passed with flying colors! 670 miles left to Bridgetown, and decreasing fast...
Halvor S. Hanssen
Off the coast of Brazil, S 00 03 W 043 13
Cloudy, light breeze, 28 degrees
It's too early to be certain, but we may just have gotten through the worst
of the doldrums. We've had lots of weather the last couple of days, variable
winds and lots of rain. Thursday night was very wet, Friday has given us
beautiful sailing wind and sunshine. We took the royals at sunset, but are
still making almost 8 knots.
After four months in the southern hemisphere we are now back in the north.
We passed the line at 2127 tonight. No sign of the royal emissaries so far,
but who knows what tomorrow may bring...
Halvor S. Hanssen
Off the coast of Brazil, S 02 03 W 038 38
Rain Showers, E light breeze, 25 degrees
Tuesday was sunny and warm, with a nice gentle breeze. Wednesday the doldrums showed us a different side: We've had heavy rain and fairly strong winds all day. Not the best weather for painting, but never mind. The wind died out after a particularly heavy rain squall at dinnertime, but we've had a beautiful run all day. Tonight we'll reach the halfway-point on the sail to Barbados, 1550 miles to go.
Halvor S. Hanssen
Off the coast of Brasil, S 03 38 W 035 00
Cloudy, light breeze, 28 degrees
32 degrees in the air, 29 degrees in the water, 2 knots of breeze, 1 knot of current, 0 knots of boat speed. Most of the day. Good conditions for an afternoon swim call. After we raised Fernando de Noronha it's been slow going. We're in the doldrums. It's hot, humid, fairly calm, and it's got the occasional rain squall. Fortunately we've got the Guyana current pushing us along. If not it would have been tempting to start the engine. We have the time to work our way through the doldrums like thousands of sailing ships in centuries past. After sunset we got a bit of breeze, we'll see how long it lasts.
Halvor S. Hanssen
South Atlantic, S 5:14 W 026 47
Mostly, SE breeze, 27 degrees
We have sailed 750 nautical miles, with 2300 left. The Passat has dwindled, but we still do an average of 4-5 knots. The routines are settling in, and there’s frenetic maintenance activity on deck. It warms the heart of a captain to see that both students and crew are working hard to get the ship as fine as possible. Whatever project you start eager and willing students show up to help out and learn. We build ballast fixtures, sewing cuffs on the turnbuckles and davits, scrape, sand and varnish, rust and paint, servicing and replacing and much much more. In addition to the studying and watch keeping!
In about 3-4 days we will pass the Fernando de Noronha. It is probably the only land we are going to see before Barbados rises out of the water. Fortunately, there is a long voyage!
Halvor S. Hanssen
South Atlantic, S 6:40 W 021 00
Mostly, SE breeze, 26 degrees
Sunday at the sea again on Easter Sunday. With the exception of a good deal chocolate Easter eggs, there have not been so many Easter signs board. The school has run its course, and the watches run as usual. We have had exceptionally fine sailing conditions since leaving Ascension Good Friday, and have sailed over 400 nm. Now the wind has calmed a bit, but we do still well over 5 knots. 2650 nm left ... On the maintenance front things are going ahead:
The rig has almost gotten her second coat of tar, students are sewing cuffs on turnbuckles and varnishing and painting is done everywhere. Carpenter Emil has started to build new shelf system in the starboard ballast to better manage stores and spare parts.
Zach og Dylan cooling off in the main deck's swimming facilities. (Photo: H.S Hanssen)
As usual on Sundays, there was dinner on the lower deck for every man. Smoked pork loin with mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables and sauce was on the menu. We has still usable with fruits and vegetables, but in the weeks ahead the selection will probably start to deteriorate. It is part of the game on long voyages, and I'm not worried about scurvy on this voyage!
Halvor S. Hanssen
South Atlantic, S 07 46 W 015 37
Mostly, E fresh breeze, 26 degrees
As morning cleaning was done, it was time to move on. Up
with the anchor, set everything, Caribbean next! Once we'd got our nose towards the west
it was time to set our fishing lines. Nice fresh air, good speed. First, a great
Dorado / Mahi Mahi at 11 kg, then a Blue Marlin on 24 kg, and finally a
Skipjack Tuna. Fish for dinner tomorrow ...
At the moment we have 2976 nm to Bridgetown. Some twenty-days at
sea. Maybe we will see Fernando de Noronha as we pass, but
mostly it is just empty horizons. I have the impression that most are
quite comfortable with this. I am very happy at the least!
Halvor S. Hanssen
At anchor outside Georgetown, Ascension
Mostly, SE breeze, 28 degrees
Tuesday morning there was a new island on the horizon. We have now completed the first day of shore leave. Landing is easier said than done here. Anchorage is poorly protected, so we roll well out here. And it is far from easy to go too land! Ocean swell go right into the dock, so it's a pretty hairy maneuver get up with the dinghy. And the possibility of becoming wet is absolutely there!
Ascension is a volcanic island with about 800 inhabitants. For 200 years the island was rather barren, but after Charles Darwin began to import plants from
far and wide the island's ecosystem has changed. In good periods, it is now properly green and lush, and down towards the sea, where there for only 20-30 years ago were lava stone, shrubbery and undergrowth are showing their presence . And the process is self-reinforcing. More vegetation causes more precipitation - leading to more vegetation!
On land, wildlife is somewhat limited. They have wild sheep, donkeys, rabbits and land crabs. And rats. Lots of rats. In the ocean, its bubbling with life. Thousands of turtles lay eggs on the sandy beaches here, and last night we were able to observe amounts of baby turtles that swam past the ship, heading out to sea. In addition there are all kinds of fish in the sea, sharks, dolphins, whales, and certainly much more.
If the seas aren’t too bad in the morning there will be another round of land and new impressions to take on board. Good Friday morning we will weigh anchor and set sails towards the Caribbean.
Halvor S. Hanssen
South Atlantic, S 14 33 W 007 32
Mostly, SSE moderate breeze, 24 degrees
After a couple nice days on St. Helena it was, as usual, good to set sails. We sailed from the anchorage, and at the moment we have only gotten 140 nm away from the island. The Passat is relatively moderate in strength, so it doesn’t give us much speed. According to the plan, we will be arriving at Ascension on the 26th March, but unless the wind picks up we may be a day late.
We topped up our fuel tanks before we left St. Helena. It is far to the Caribbean, so we have to save fuel. This means that it will take the time it takes to get to Ascension!
After we had taken our anchor aboard and set the Main Upper Topsail for departure, we discovered that a seam who had surrendered to the forces of nature. It is bad style to put up torn sails, and after an inspection we found that it had to come down in order to be properly repaired. With the sewing machine and a skilled crew it is a relatively straightforward matter to get done, but it takes time. Sails are subject to mechanical wear, but it is primarily solar and UV radiation that kills them. The cloth on the main upper topsail seemed ok, but some of the seams were exhausted. This afternoon everything was repaired, and now we sail with all topgallants set. When the sun shows itself this morning we will get out our royals.
We are 1130 mil from the nearest mainland, and relatively far from busy shipping routes. The horizon has been empty since St. Helena disappeared last night. We are mostly all alone out here, and it feels fine.
Halvor S. Hanssen
South Atlantic, S 17:01 W 002 32
Cloudless, S moderate breeze, 23 degrees
It has been a few days since the last telegram, and we have sailed a couple hundred miles closer to St. Helena. At the moment we have 197 nm left, and I expect to anchor early Saturday afternoon. The last few days have been characterized by very light winds during the day, while the winds build up slightly towards the evening and overnight. What causes thisI do not know, the only logical explanation I can find is that the sea breeze of the coast of Africa counteracts the trade winds that blow in principle relatively stable directions. Anyway, in sum, we have managed to keep a good average speed.
For various reasons it has been decided to alter the sailing schedule slightly for the next few months. Basically the route was St. Helena - Ascension - Belem, Brazil - Port of Spain, Trinidad, Belem however has been replaced. From Ascension, we will sail to Bridgetown, Barbados instead, and then on to Port of Spain. Belem, which we visited last year, is 100 mil up Rio Para, a kind of side-stream of the Amazon.
The approach is fascinating, but the town was not very exciting. The students had a great excursion in the jungle there last year, but I'm not sorry that I will not have to struggle with Brazilian officials. Barbados is a new, safe and pleasant acquaintance. This change has some practical consequences. It is considerably longer sail to Bridgetown than to Belem.
This means that we need more food and more diesel for generators. We are going to buy provisions and bunker up in St. Helena so we can sail to the Caribbean without getting scurvy.
My source of knowledge about St. Helena is primarily Admiralty Sailing Directions. On top of this several of the crewmembers have visited the island earlier. It sounds like a fascinating place, and I hope to have the opportunity to look around. We are trying to set up the watch plan so the crew will get a chance to go ashore. The biggest tourist attraction is supposedly Napoleon's home in exile and his burial site. We visited Ajaccio on Corsica last fall. It is the birthplace of Napoleon, thus a visit to St. Helena's kind of completes the circle.
All is well on board.
Halvor S. Hanssen
South Atlantic, S 18 18 E 001 12
Not a cloud on the horizon, S moderate breeze, 22 degrees
The last few days have been marked by preparations for the midterm exams, which began today. These exams count a great deal to the final grades, so it really counts to make a good effort. Exams should be on for the next three days, but when we get to St. Helena school is off until after departure. And St. Helena draws ever closer. At the moment we have 425 nm left. The maintained speed is okay, even if the wind has been rather moderate the last few days. There are are still excellent conditions for maintenance on deck. The deck is being sanded, varnished, painted, oiled, "lappsalved"(explained further down in the logg) and even woodwork in the bowels of the ship.
After Billy the Blowfish unintentionally made a mess on deck the sea has been black. We are sailing in relatively deep water, with well over 5000 meters of water under the keel. You can be lucky and get something to bite, but I do not anticipate that there will be something special before we get into the shallow waters around St. Helena.
For a couple of days ago the temperature in the interior of the ship rose significantly, so the chief fired up the air conditioners. AC is a delicious luxury. We have on several occasions earlier had problems with it in the tropics, and it can quickly become unbearably hot in the cabin. During the works in Turkey last year we installed new AC, with two completely independent systems. Currently, the outside temperature is comfortable, but when we come up on the coast of Brazil is going to be scalding hot.
Although there are some exam nerves there is a good mood aboard.
Halvor S. Hanssen
South Atlantic, S 19 43 E 004 49
Mostly, S moderate breeze, 22 degrees
At sea there is little that tells the days apart. The watches go by regardless of day of week, cleaning procedures must be followed up, the food must be prepared. But we make an effort that Sundays should stand out slightly. Students have classes as usual, but on the deck, we take it a bit more easy. We do not start with new projects and avoid dirty or noisy work. For the crew, cabins have to be cleaned when not on duty. This Sunday was an excellent Sunday. There was a steady stream of bedding on deck for ventilation and vacuum cleaner and wash rag was used in the cabins. The weather was beautiful and the atmosphere good.
A bit into the afternoon there was suddenly one of the fishing lines that showed signs of activity. And it was heavy! We saw that there was something caught; it could resemble a white plastic bucket. Plastic garbage here, in the middle of the ocean! Sadly ... But it was not so bad. As we hauled the line in we saw that it was a fish.
A blowfish. What it's called in Norwegian I have no idea. This was an exceptionally odd fellow, who had swallowed large amounts of water. We got him up on deck, and gradually over to the swimming pool, which - since it was Sunday - was blown up.
There he collected himself, and gradually recovered. Marine biology class had initially thought to sacrifice Billy on altar of science, but when it looked like he had survived the hardships of being hauled aboard, and in addition had been humiliated by everyone laughing at him, we decided to set him free again. Good luck in the future!
Sundays are the "family dinner", everyone gather and eat dinner on the banjer deck.
This is a very nice tradition, most people dress up for the occasion, and Jess puts a little extra effort when cooking up some goodies. This time it was Indian. Jum!
The wind has died down in the past day, but we're still sailing at a good speed. During Monday night, I expect we pass the half way mark to St.Helena. Fortunately, there is a long voyage left.
Halvor S. Hanssen
South Atlantic, S 20 30 E 007 35
On deck there are excellent conditions for maintenance. Shawn is repairing sails. Emil our carpenter is making new shelves. Our cook Jess is making delicious food. Espen our boatswain keeps students on deck duty busy with scraping, sanding, varnishing, sail work and a thousand other tasks. It seems all are pretty happy to be here, which is a good feeiling
Safely moored, Walvis Bay, Namibia
Sunny, 20 degrees, NW moderate breeze
Yesterday started early. The pilot came aboard at 0615 and were safely moored at breakfast.
This is nothing less than a miracle, basically you can be 100% sure that the departure / arrival will collide with meals or coffee. But not this time. The pilot, a friendly Russian, pointed out a really nice little pier north of the container terminal. Agent, immigration and customs and ship chandlers appeared during the morning, all were very nice and everything went like clockwork. The students had classes until 1600 hours. Then all the girls got shore leave while the guys had to stay on board ... Their side of the lower deck has not been kept at an adequate standard with regards to order and cleanliness, and the consequence of this was that they would scrub the lower deck to a standard that satisfied me until they got shore leave. And the guys went in with bent necks. Without any assistance they organized very well, and then I was invited to inspect after a few hours of hard work. I just had to take off my hat for the effort and give my thumb up. Good work!
I have not been ashore yet, but it sounds like Namibia and Walvis Bay is a nice place. Everyone speaks English, most speak German, and it seems like things are relatively well organized. It can not be taken for granted everywhere .... Anyway, it's good to be the captain of a port where there is no need to struggle with corruption, and where the other parties to do what they say they will do.
Now I hear the paint brush calling. We enjoy Namibia, but when Wednesday comes we should be happy to go to sea again. It tends to be like that!
Halvor S. Hanssen
At anchor, Walvis Bay, Namibia
Moderate breeze, overcast, 17 degrees
The last few days we sailed more or less straight north - straight towards the equator. And day by day the temperature has gone down! One should be careful not to complain that it is cold to readers who sit in winter Norway and are freezing, but it has been surprisingly cool down here. The low temperature is due to the cold Benguela current that moves northward along the coast here. It is cold water from the deep ocean that presses up against the African continent. At the next voyage, we leave the coast and then the temperature will rise significantly. But so far, there has been a need for both the hat and jacket on night shifts. Now we just cast our anchor. We will be waiting here until tomorrow morning. When we take on board the pilot and go to the wharf. Walvis Bay is Namibia's largest port city, but the city itself is not that big. It is sandwiched between the desert and the sea, and justifies its existence by being the best natural harbor in this area. The Coast in general is mostly little welcoming, with dense fog, creepy currents and acute shortage of fresh water. North of Walvis Bay it is called the Skelton Coast, which suggests that it is not a good place to be shipwrecked.
Our voyage has been marked by no drama at all. We had a nice breeze all the way, and have sailed all the way from Cape Town. *The sail rate ended up at 94, and we are happy with that. Yesterday was the big day of fishing, we got a total of 15 fine Rainbow Runners over (the newly lacquered) row. This is apparently a very good fish, we will find out this afternoon when it's fish dinner for everyone. Otherwise days have been spent doing maintenance: Sanding and varnishing, paint “lappsalving” of the rig (coating wires and ropes in a concoction of tare, oil and sheep grease) , construction of a new deck in the ballast, small sail repairs, and otherwise all the daily routines that are needed in order for us 68 board will be able to live as well as we do. Washing, cleaning, and washing again!
Halvor S. Hanssen
Outside the Orange River, on Tuesday 26 February
Mostly sunny, 18 degrees in the air, southern light breeze to fresh breeze.
My colleague Bjarke Wahlqvist started a very readable little blog while I was home. I appreciated reading the small and large reports from the ship while I was safely moored to my couch in the comfort of my home. On the off chance that there are more people who also liked this blog, therefore, I have chosen to continue this fine new tradition.
I arrived in Cape Town late on the evening ofFebruary 21th, after a relatively long flight from Norway. The first few days aboard were - as usual - very hectic. We had a lot of work done in Cape Town, in addition to take aboardprovisions, bunkers and a lot of stores. But at 1300 hours local time on February 23rd the time for departure had arrved. Many of the students had parents visiting, so there was a fairly large group of people on the dock to wave goodbye to us. The departure was getting delayed, it proved that four of the students were not back on board yet! They had gone on surfing and failed to get back when shore leave expired. The pilot was stamping his feet impatiently and after a few minutes they finally came running along the quay. Let go stern, hard starboard, forward slowly. After a stop at the bunkering terminal we could finally head out to sea. Everyone agreed that Cape Town had been a wonderful port, but as always it was good to get out to sea again.
During the first night at sea, we set sail and shut down “Brumle” (rumble in Norwegian) and the days so far have been very pleasant. The breeze comes mostly from the south, the temperature are like a fine Norwegian summer, and the five (!) fishing lines we have dragging after us, it happens quite often that some takes a bite. So far, we pulled in a small shark, a Longfin tuna, a black snapper, a few rainbow runners and some small barracuda-like cases. The ones who are edible are promptly filleted and shipped down the freezer.
The voyage up to Walvis Bay is just pathetic 700 nautical miles. After a crossing of 3800 miles it is so short a distance that it is hardly worth mentioning. Luckily the voyages afterwards are longer. We use the good weather for maintenance. The main focus now is surface treatment. The rigging is being treated to a solution of tare; oil etc. to keep rust away and we are well underway with sanding and varnishing the wood on the deck. Seafarers are always keen to deliver the ship in better condition than they received it, and when we get over to the other side of the Atlantic again the paint and varnishing should certainly look pretty good!
Today's outfit is shorts, sandals and hoodie. Normally there would only be a tired t-shirt at this time of day, but since it's clear that there will be a little chilly today. Makeup Tips: use sunscreen even if it is cloudy! The sun is strong so near the equator ...
Halvor S. Hanssen
Anchor away! Another adventure for the Sørlandet is over.
The trip Rio de Jainero to Cape Town was lasted 26 days, 3803 nautucal miles, with an average speed of 6.4 knots, 89% by sail. The best distance sailed in a period of 5 days, 1037nm. Not bad for this old lady.
Most of the voyage , we have avoided the worst South Atlantic low pressures, and have been able to keep us on the edge of these, with a fair wind and a little swell as a result. The last day before anchoring, however, we were overtaken by a low pressure from the south, which gave us win up to 35 to 42 m / s which is between strong gale and small storm. Once again we had come to the edge of the weather system and only had this weather in one day. This time, we didn’t get away from the swell however, the sea quickly built up to 4 meters waves. The ship did very well and we were lucky with the wind. One of our life rafts did not make it however, a great wave, tore it loose, it fell overboard and blew itself up at 0:30 in the morning. A few of the students watched this happen and the first thought they had: “Are the first mate and Captain testing the fleets!” Well it worked just fine, but with 8-9 knots it was gone in seconds.
That night, I was glad that our tenders was swung in over the aft deck.
The next morning the wind had calmed down, and by begin of the morning it looked like another great day for the rest of this voyage. Land in sight for the second time. This time it's Africa, more exactly the Cape of Good Hope. Most students and teachers were excited mostly because we were finally there, for most sailors it is great to sail past the Cape of Good Hope, this is a historic day for the Sørlandet. The day went by with sailing along Lions Head, Lions Back and finally anchor right at the foot of Table Mountain. Everyone could breathe out after 26 days at sea. So did the weather also, because of the mountains in the area, it is difficult to find good anchorage when the wind blows from the southeast. We were assigned the best anchoring spot, here the wind only blew at "only" 18-20 m / s But Sørlandets anchor, did a good job and we didn’t moved out of place. 4 shackles on the chain and 15 meters deep.
Today cleaning and general preparations are on the program before arrival; fenders, ropes and heaving lines are out from hiding. The Tenderne swung out and shoes are polished.
Tomorrow there is shore leave.
Still sailing towards Cape Town!
7 days since the last update! After the brief visit to Gough peace began to settle in earnest over the ship. Most people aboard had followed the race with excitement, in the event that it was possible to go ashore on Tristan, or in the event see Gough Island. Now there’s just the long haul before Cape Town. Daily routines and miles glide by as we slowly but surely approach Africa.
We have had fantastic sailing- and maintenance weather the last few days. Dinner arrangements have been exceedingly decadent, first fresh lobster from the lobster fisherman at Gough Island, enough that all 65 on board could get a tail each. Fresh tuna caught from the lines ever cast from the aft, enough for everyone served as steaks and tartar. Nothing should go to waste, so every third day there was tuna steaks with lobster salad. Can it be true?
After 23 days at sea, there are some who hitting the wall, 4 days before Cape Town all begin to slowly prepare for the arrival. The brass is polished, the ship cleaned, unconcerned that this has to be done again, but just to make things a little easier when we finally arrive on the 17th. All will be ready when we arrive.
Students welcome the chance to show the ship, their home for the past 5 months and for the next 4 months, to their parents. There all are waiting on the quay in Cape Town.
Kl. 05:50 Local time the lookout reported: “Land ahead”. And indeed there are rocks breaking the outline of the fog.. Slowly we are getting closer and Gough's dramatic cliffs start rising from the sea. After 16 days at sea without seeing land, it is an overwhelming moment because most cameras and widely used.
The students are off school today and had the opportunity to sleep until 10.00. But most jump out of their bunks when they hear that there is land ahead.
Gough is an island belonging to Tristan archipelago, but is the only one not located in the immediate vicinity of the others. Gough is about 300 nm south of Tristan.
When we knew that our course would take us close to Gough , we contacted the fishing vessel "Edinborough" a lobster fisherman, we had heard would be at the island. We spot the ship with our binoculars, it is just south of the island and waiting for us. We were called on VHF channel 16 (this is used as an ordinary working channel here, but of course there is no one else nearby who can hear). They have been waiting for us for several hours and guide us around the island on the lee side, here we can brace aback and put a boat in the water.
It turns out that there is a manned radio and weather station on the island, and they are very excited to get a visit. They are 8 people at the station for 12 months. The only way they can get off the island is via a crane to ease off them 40 meters down in a basket to a small work boat that can sail them out to the ship.
We cannot not get ashore, as this island has been on the list of World Heritage with its very unique and isolated fauna and wildlife, they are very afraid of getting diseases, insects, bacteria and the like on the island. It turns out that Tristan's administrator, is visiting and he comes out on the Sørlandet and answers questions eagerly about the life in the South Atlantic, for our students. This makes up for not making it to Tristan.
Before departure, the Sørlandet and the school give some gifts in the form of T-shirts and caps, this turns out to be in very high demand on both ship and island. This are considered as collectibles. The skipper thanks us with a box freshly caught lobster, not bad.
The session lasted 3 hours, guests were sailed ashore and within 30 minutes all sails were set and we went over 10 knots. Leaving us with only 10 days until the next time we see land again.
Great sailing, we have been surfing on the same isobar for two 2 days now on the front of a cold front. The front is moving in a south-easterly direction, while we sail East. Which fits perfectly with us keeping ourselves in a belt with constant winds of 25-30 knots. We are on the lee side of the cold front, which means that sea, rain and changing wind so far has stayed south of us. Absolutely amazing.
The last 2 days we've logged 450nm. Tonight we fell back to "measly" 8 knots while the fog drew heavily around the ship, a student begins to play the flute and eerie sounds drift through the fog and we think that maybe it was the flute that attracted a crowd of at least 30 dolphins who jumped around the ship, engineer and first mate enjoyed the view.
Yesterday at 09.15 PM sailed Sørlandet into The roaring 40ties, a legendary area for sail ship sailors, here there are prevailing winds west and the wind strength is at moderate gale. So far it has however been quite calm. I expect, that today we have sailed the farthest south we will get on this voyage, on the whole the southernmost Sørlandet has ever been.
We have had fishing lines out all the time, but when we sail at 10 knots, it is difficult to pull the reins in and we lost 2 tuna on that account. Tonight the lines were pulled in, and on one there was the corner jaw of a tuna, we are sailing too fast.
The school is holding weekend, they pretend that we are halfway and half a day off has been given, tomorrow when they most probably have school of in Canada due to heavy snow fall, here there is summer. All watches and still have to be upheld..
The last few days the navigators have been working hard to find a way through the weather forecast, at the same time make it to Trisan de Cunha and ensuring to reach Cape Town on time. Many ideas, courses and dates have been discussed and thought over, but unfortunately reason tells us that we have to fall off and follow the wind further south in order to maintain a good chance to arrive in Cape Town on time. The problem is that the spirit struggling against logic, Tristan de Cunha, the world's most isolated island , how cool would it not be going ashore there. The plans were all laid out, our students would visit the island's school with 15 pupils, caps were to be exchanged for lobster, passports stamped and postcards were already written, with some of the world's rarest stamps. We were supposed see the land again for the first time in 14 days, and even a volcano. It would have been great, we've only seen one ship since we left the coast of Brazil.
The decision was made, the course changed and the speed increased to 10 knots.
It is almost as if the "Sørlandet", Kristiansand’s Pearl, feels at home here in the South-Atlantic sea. The temperature has dropped to 22 degrees in the air and 18 degrees in the water and the wind is at 15 m / sec not entirely unlike the weather around Lindesnes in the summer. The Sørlandet awakens to the challenge shooting the hull through the waves and shaking of the tropical seaweed which had the privilege to inhabit the grand old lady’s hull for a short period of time. The ship heels gracefully in perfect 10 degrees only challenged by the albatross sailing along the side of the Sørlandet..
The proud lady really knows how to handle herself.
The last few days the wind has been changing and we had a heavy SW swell. Sailing has been on and off with sails and machine to maximize the possibility of landing on Tristan. As a result of this, we have had a little uncomfortable sailing, especially when motoring.
Yesterday it proved insensible to motor any longer with the big swell and the wind against us. This gave us such a powerful roll, that we had deviate so much off course, that there was no sense in burning any more dinosaur plankton.
All sails were set, and now it is up to the wind, whether it will take us to Tristan in time, so we will be in Cape Town in proper time. As a result, we have a slight heel, calm movements and 5 knots on the log.
The chief officer and Bosun use this opportunity to empty the forepeak for paint buckets and wash it down. At some time salt water washed into the forepeak, and the paint buckets dislike being coated in salt and start to rust.
Friday aboard means that the sailors have “Red Neck Friday” thus country western music accompanied with cowboy hats can be experienced on the Sørlandet’s decks.
When sailing 27 days in a row dates start floating together and this little celebration is a great way to mark the end of the week. Even though practically the work on Saturday and Sunday is no different from normal week days.
The wind died down during the night, and the engine had to be started. The swell has not subsided, and the waves come rolling like small mountains of 4 meters. The swell was caused by the low pressure passing south of us, and now you can feel you are in the South Atlantic, the waves a rolling here.
The combination of no wind and swell, is not fun as the ship rolls from side to side constantly making it almost impossible to work or even sleep. The Captain’s bunk is nice enough, but in this swell I would prefer the good old hammock any time.
Work on deck is slow, the teachers on banjer tie themselves into knots write on the whiteboard and I have to wedge myself into the desk while I write this.
The doldrums will stay with us the next few days, and swell is likely to slowly diminish.
The course is set towards Tristan, all fingers crossed that the weather holds and landing will be possible. The islanders would be very pleased to see us, and we receive daily e-mails from the island's officials who are curious about how things are going. They know how lucky we have to be in order to make a successful landing.
Sundays aboard, traditionally consist of light maintenance, cleaning and miscellaneous little cozy tasks.
General watch routines are maintained, but instead of removing rust and painting, the focus is on cleaning. After the watch, the crew gets a few hours to clean up on their cabins.
The chef makes an especially nice dinner, and we hold a "family dinner" in the banjer, all students and crew are nicely dressed of course. However yesterday was a little unusual. Some of the students couldn’t wait to taste the good food and had been in the provision chamber and helped themselves plenty already on Saturday. One of the few crucial things to know aboard a ship is that it’s always important to stay on good terms with the ship's cook. He was not happy, as wasn’t the faculty leader and I school. The Sunday dinner was therefore replaced by rice with beans, SIGH. Monday morning had its moral uplifting speech and that was it, we hope.
The cook however, comforted us all by producing a small ham, and our AB Anders, a true master with the blow torch, fixed a quick ham stand after Simon's instructions. The result is clearly worthy of a even the most snobby black foot ham in Madrid.
So there was still a little Sunday to the day after all…
2 days since the last update, the course is still south-east, hoping to keep us as long as possible in a belt of wind. It is tempting to head directly for Tristan de Cunha, which all are incredibly eager to reach. When would you ever get the chance to experience this small isolated volcanic island again?
The problem is that if we head straight for our goal, we would end up with, in the course of a day, headwind and calm. So at the moment we have to accept a longer route, to get down winds and sailing long as possible.
To start the engine, is unfortunately not an option on a crossing of this length, unless it is for short periods of time. We do not have enough diesel to sail all the way and are forced to put us in the wind belt.
The last day we have had fantastic sailing, with everything from royals set, to the next moment when we have to take down everything but our topsails, brilliant sunshine with a light breeze to rain and wind. The speed has been between 6 to 10 knots. The fish has started to show an interest for our fishing lines, and both wahoo and mahi-mahi have been hauled aboard, much to the delight of the chef, who gathers together to prepare a meal with freshly caught fish.
Last night, our ever running auxiliary motor tired and had a 1 hour break (we believe it was the chief engineer’s ears who wanted some rest), at least the machine was stopped and the ship calmed and went quiet. This funnily coincided with everyone being finished with their work for the day, the last dish wash was finnished and the last bread was out of the oven. The last sun rays hits the sails with golden colors on the starboard, and the full moon took over as heaven's light source on the port side. Royals all set at 8 knots, students and crew lapse into silence, can you imagine a better Saturday night?
4 days underway , the initial training of all students is over, and everyday life has begun as the semester and the first day of school started today.
Students in addition to their regular schooling, watch a total of 4 hours on deck. 2 hours a night, and 2 hours during the day. This time will be spent sailing, and to help the crew to keep the ship clean and do easier maintenance as coating teak change of rope etc. It is the students who go aloft when sails have to be salvaged or set. It is also them who, together with the sailors, get blisters in their hands when the wind changes and all the sails need to be trimmed according to the new wind direction. All functions of the rig, is done by hand and it's a very special feeling, to help to get this old lady to sail across 3300nm only by wind and hand.
Right now, after 5 days at sea, the distance seems a bit insurmountable. There is still approx. 3000nautical miles left to sail, and on the map it does not look like we have moved at all. But patience will soon come over the ship and the time will slowly eat into the miles.
Right now the going is great 8 knots southeast bound, on the north side of a collision between a low pressure and high pressure, pushing the isobars together and giving wind in gales to strong gales strength.
We are, however, good and safe on the outskirts with tailwind and relatively calm water. South of our position where the wind has had its impact, the waves are significantly higher up between 3-4 meters.
The Ship Sorlandet
Skippergaten 55 / 4611 Kristiansand / Norway / T: +47 38 02 98 90 / email@example.com
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