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Life aboard EUROPA

Posted by Tall Ships America on July 8, 2010

7 July 2010
By Samara

Yesterday, after traveling 28 miles up the locks of the Welland Canal to Lake Erie we came up alongside for the night in Port Colborne. Though I am considered a guest aboard Europa, I do not know ship life without chores. Thus, in my first few days I have tried to lend my hands in the work of the permanent crew. Without the need to fill the watch duties I would otherwise be responsible for lookout and helm. Instead I helped take care of the ship in other ways. To those that do not know shipboard life, it may be surprising that there is much work to be done aside from sail handling. But I am wiser, and after most people had gone to sleep last night I was happy to assist with some of the daily chores in the galley – baking fresh bread and cleaning.

After breakfast this morning we resumed travel towards Cleveland. However, in the presence of little wind and football (soccer) fanatics aboard we traveled closer to shore in hopes of streaming the Netherlands World Cup soccer game. Though we were unsuccessful in catching live footage of the match – the connection was strong enough for us to learn that the Netherlands won and would be advancing to the final!

 In the meantime, our steady sailing made for a good opportunity to work aloft. Of course, I was eager to climb the rigging. I helped reattach the lower top sail to the course yard (it had to be removed when we traveled through the canal). This process included an encounter with one of my nemeses aboard sail boats – mousing. Mousing is thin wire, much like an unfolded paper clip, that is used to secure tackles.  Not only is it sharp, but as you might imagine, maneuvering thin wire with pliers while balanced on the narrow tip of a yard is a challenge. But with close guidance, I finished nearly unscathed.

After the rig was put back in order we set twenty of Europa’s thirty sails, and I went aloft once again to ensure that the square sails were completely unfurled. I climbed up the foremast and out on every yard – the view was a spectacular reward for my work. Even from over 100 feet above the water I was unable to make out any land masses through the haze, a sight I fondly refer to as “360 degrees of nothing.”

Tonight the crew enjoyed the rare treat of a swim call, a steak dinner, and a stunning blood red sunset. Now it is nearly my bedtime, and I must get some sleep for tomorrow we will arrive in the United States!

You too can join the adventure this summer!! Just go to www.barkeuropa.com for more information on voyages on the Dutch ship.

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