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An experience I will put in my backpack and carry with me for the rest of my life

Morgenster, 14 July 2016
Scheveningen-Antwerp-Lisbon

– by the Trainees

RUNE

Arriving in Scheveningen with mixed feelings, the yearning to set sail to this adventure and the knowledge and feeling of the sadness of my girlfriend. I know I’m going to miss her too. After a painful goodbye to the women I love so dearly and brought me here, I find my awkward self back at the dinner table (for the second time today) mixed up with the crew instead of the trainees. How typical! Almost as typical as the Dutch dish we get served ‘broodje kroket’

After a day or so and the hard switch to speaking English all the time we depart the harbour for Antwerp, my city of birth.

And what an epic start of an adventure; the wind pushing the sails tight, the engine of the ship roaring, the waves high and white headed! The hero in this story can be found on port side, leaning heroically over the railing, throwing up my entire stomach content.

As part of the blue watch I do shifts from 04.00 to 08.00 and from 16.00 to 20.00, this can be quite hard and the recover from this shift in my biological system took a long time and a lot of energy. Especially on top of my don’t get seasick anymore-project.

It was very nice to see Antwerp through the eyes of an outsider on the one hand and to lead a group of new gained contacts trough my city on the other.

I laugh my ass off on a regular basis with the lovely people I just met and yet hold so dearly. Yeah, I like it here, this is definitely an amazing experience I will put in my backpack and carry with me for the rest of my life. What a chance, such an opportunity!

WOUT

You know, when I’m writing this little piece of text, the ropes are shouting.

The wind is blowing and my heart is eager to climb in the mast. It’s a beautiful journey and I’m really glad I have the opportunity to sail along on this ship, the Morgenster.

We left Antwerp the 10th of July, and of course my mother was crying 🙂 then The Morgenster went to the starting point to begin the race. This was 2 days ago. At first, the wind was really good and we had a magnificent start. But then there was no wind anymore so we decided to play some games to pass the watches. But right now the wind is back and the weather is amazing, it’s something we can only dream about in Belgium.

When the race began, I was a bit afraid to talk to anyone because I didn’t know anyone, but this soon got better after the name game we played on the first day. I think, this is where the friendships started.

TATJANA

At first, my enthusiasm for the trip was on a quite low level. Because of certain issues at home, my best friend couldn’t join me on this trip anymore. But I soon realized that I was very welcome in the group of trainees and I fit in perfectly. I got to know all kinds of people and smiling faces could be found in every corner of the ship. Our team spirit grew even more during the sports competition, where we kicked some ass! The first days at sea, nearly everyone was seasick, which was pretty inconvenient because there were a lot of things to do. But as soon as the race started, everyone felt a lot better. Spotting dolphins together we now continue strengthening the bonds in our group. This journey will definitely change my life for the better.

SARAH

It has already been 11 days since we left the port of Scheveningen, The Hague with the Morgenster.

After the first rough night and day we arrived in Antwerp on Wednesday, where all the festivities for the next four days would take place.

We had a lot of fun exploring the city, competing in the sports events against other crews and of course dancing and singing during the crew parade and the party afterwards.

The city of Antwerp was so nice to invite us, the Young Belgium Crew, for a reception at the town hall, right before the crew parade.  It must have been a funny sight, the vice-mayor, the “schepen van haven” and some other important people nicely dressed up next to the crazy Belgian trainees from the Morgenster in their “hippie” clothing ready for the crew parade.

After four days in Antwerp we left the city on Sunday the 10th of July and we were headed towards the starting point of the race. Since then we have had a few rough days in the canal, a lot of people got sick again.  But on Tuesday night we were already very close to the starting point, so we dropped anchor in a beautiful bay somewhere in the south of England. The engine was shut down and the silence together with the view on the bay that night was so overwhelmingly beautiful, I cannot describe it here. In the morning we set for the first time almost all the sails and we departed to the starting point.

To set the sails we have to climb in the masts to untie them first. Climbing in the mast is an essential part of sailing with a tall ship. I’m not (yet) a fan of it, but once you get up there, together with other trainees who are extremely supportive, it is an experience you won’t ever forget.  And that’s how we arrived here, on an endless sea somewhere along the west coast of France, and how we continue our journey to Lisbon.

We have 3 watches here on board and you do everything with your watch. We are red watch. We sleep in the room where we eat with whole our watch. It is actually really amazing! You do everything together and you make friends for life.

It is special that we have such a good group in only 3 weeks. I really like it. You work also on your English and every day it will be better and better. It will never be boring in our watch, in the evening we sing songs with our watch and the crew and we play games. There are also people who stay up with our watch because we do a lot of things. It is really nice!

WOUT & JOSHUA

When we left the port of Antwerp and went to sea a lot of people got seasick (again) but by now everyone is feeling better and enjoying themselves at sea.

Yesterday we started the race and everyone was hyped about it. We were at the starting point very early so we got to prepare ourselves very well. This enabled us to have a great start.

The day before, we also started the murder game, we had to ‘kill’ other trainees by handing certain  people certain objects at certain places. This is really fun and it caused a lot of suspicion and hilarious reluctance to receive things when they got handed over.

SARAH & ANNELORE

Two days of no wind…you would think that it was extremely boring, but it was actually quite nice. We enjoyed the sun, played some fun games and during our evening watch we even fired some potatoes at another ship. The crew showed us some tricks to make the potato gun work even better.

Although it is still a race and we didn’t really move forward that much, these past two days were awesome and the group atmosphere is now even better.