Morgenster, August 2016
Cadiz - A Coruna
Day 1 – 30/7/2016
At 9, we had breakfast and coffee (especially liked by Bjorn). The taxi arrived and took our bags to the harbour. At the harbour the security controlled all of our bags and then we went on board the Morgenster. Compared to some of the other ships in the harbour the Morgenster is small, but she is the most beautiful boat!
Harry is the captain of the ship and he told us some things about the ship like the rules and other safety things. After the introduction of the ship the mentors gave each watch group a teabag. This teabag we had to trade of something better. We had about 2 hours to go around Cadiz and ask the local people for things to trade, and the thing we ended up should be something to be used as a mascot for our watch group (1/3 of the group, so about 12 people). The items the group ended up with were a blue cactus, a Mexican sombrero and a drawing.
When all of the groups arrived at the ship we had a tasty dinner consisting of spaghetti Bolognese and a salad, and yoghurt for dessert. The White watch (each watch group is called by the colours of the Dutch flag) did the dishes. In the evening we all headed out for some activities to get to know each other a little more. We played a few name games and everybody told a few things about themselves. After the games there were a couple of hours free time, but we were back at the ship at midnight to watch a fireworks show all together. After the impressive fireworks, we went to bed with high hopes for the next day of adventure, and sailing!!
Bjorn (25), Norway
Floor (18), The Netherlands
Day 2 – 31/7/2016
Today started with breakfast and Happy Hour (cleaning time). After that we went to the beach! The Spanish people gave a presentation about their country. They drew Spain in the sand and taught the whole group how to dance Macarena. Then we had some free time to go for a swim and to buy food. At 14:30 we had to be back at the ship for lunch, after which we started to prepare for departure. We lifted the anchor inside, washed it and put the small boat in the water. Then we were ready for departure!
We were really surprised about how many people on shore and on the water came to wave us goodbye. We climbed up in the mast to prepare the sails, we started sailing and then we had dinner, which was nasi goring (Dutch-Indonesian fried rice dish), with peanut sauce, hot sauce, fried onions and pickled vegetables. For a lot of people the peanut sauce was a new thing, but everybody really liked it. After dinner we practiced some sail manoeuvres, after which it was time for us (the white watch, that has to be up from 12 to 4 in the night) to go to sleep, dreaming about calm waves and a fresh breeze.
Inês (20), Portugal
Susan (17), The Netherlands
Day 3 – 01/08/2016
Today was our first full day of sailing. We woke up at 7h30 and had breakfast, prepared for us by the blue watch. We started the watch at 8h00. The weather changed a lot: first there was no wind and a big sun, but in the afternoon the wind started to increase more and more! The waves are very strong and high and a lot of people got seasick. After the lunch we saw dolphins for the first time on our trip!! In the afternoon, the Dutch people prepared hutspot & gehaktballen, the Dutch national dinner, consisting of a potato/carrot/onion mash with meatballs. For dessert there was the special Morgenster-dessert (yoghurt with applesauce and cinnamon, which is really nice!). Everybody liked the hutspot, so the Dutch trainees were very happy. After this we tried to wash the dishes but it was really difficult because the boat is heeling so much. We came back on deck at 9 pm and watched the beautiful sunset.
We woke up at 11 o’clock with some of the people of the watch being seasick, so it was difficult for them to do the watch today. We also had Happy Hour, and it was our time to clean the deck. The lunch was nice, but some of us could not eat because of being seasick. Ines (we have four of them) was enjoying herself at the helm when the wind increased quite a bit around 2 in the afternoon. We also saw dolphins!! It was beautiful!! We hope we get better at the sea sickness and that’s all for now, we keep on our way to success & adventure!
Temperature: 22 degrees Celsius
Speed: 4.5 knots
Bearing: 277 degrees
Today we woke up at 3:50 in the morning, put on our clothes and went up on deck. We joined the white watch for 5 minutes and then took control of the ship. Far away from the shore with all its lights, we could admire a fresh canvas of a starry and beautiful sky. Even some shooting stars peeked from time to time to say ‘hello’. An intermittent flash was being approached by the Morgenster, strangely enough it did not appear on the radar. Perhaps it was a mermaid or a fishing net (both are of course realistic). The change in sleep hours did creep up on us after a couple of hours, but luckily coffee, tea and toasties (grilled ham & cheese sandwiches) maintained our levels of energy and awareness. We hope the day will go as smoothly as its morning!
Gabriel (17), Spain
Emilie (29), Norway
Day 4 – 2/08/2016
Today is August 2nd, the waves are very huge like yesterday. Today we had a country presentation about Portugal (outside, to make sure most of the group could come and listen) and it was awesome. We talked about history, food and sports. Later on in the watch we learned about the knots, how to make a paalsteek (bowline). How to steer the boat and something about the course/compass. In the morning we played a funny game (Who am I?), you put a sticker with a name of a famous person on the other person’s forehead and then you have to find out who you are by only asking yes or no questions. A few examples are Jesus, Santa Claus and James Bond.
Gerson (25), Portugal
Floor, The Netherlands
We did not sleep at all because the boat is at an angle which makes it impossible. We woke up at 3:30am, to be on deck at 4 am. Even putting on clothes is difficult and going to the toilet nearly impossible. We are on the Atlantic Ocean and there are no other sailing ships around us anymore. We changed the sails and ate toasties. People are starting to feel better but some are still sick. Poor babies 🙁
Angelique (24), France and the rest of the Blue Watch
Day 5 – 3/08/2016
Today everyone (nearly) is feeling better!! As always, after breakfast we started our shift. This morning was especially nice because Captain Harry took out his guitar and played for a while. So we could sing along together. If there is something I love about the Morgenster, it is the ‘team family’ atmosphere, in great part created by our super hosts.
After this great watch we had lunch and after that we did some saily stuff. When this was done we did a drill on the main deck. We pretended someone fell from the mast and had broken his leg. Everyone had to help to move the person in to the stretcher. It was a very helpful drill because we now know how to proceed if someone gets hurt in the ship, in the middle of the sea. With a few hours until our next watch some of us used the time to take a nice shower and also to get some sleep. Unfortunately while we were asleep people got to eat cake and saw dolphins, but I’m sure that there are going to be more opportunities to see some dolphins and maybe some whales!!
After napping the dinner was ready. We enjoyed a traditional Norwegian fish soup and homemade/ship-made bread. In my opinion it was one of the best meals we have had so far. Let’s see what the Portuguese offer us next! To continue with the cultural exchange and knowledge enrichment we read all the notes we had written about different countries. We had an opportunity to discuss all these facts and presumptions before our favourite time of the day… TOASTIE TIME!
Team Carrot :
Ana Raquel (18), Portugal
Ines (20), Spain
3:30 AM. Today is Susan’s birthday, whoop whoop! She is turning 18 years old and we celebrated by singing the birthday song and eating Norwegian chocolate (Freia melksjokolade Fruktnott <3). Other than that we practiced knots, and keeping our balance on deck, by drawing something that looks like a skateboard on deck, basically a circle around our feet, which you are not allowed to step out of. It’s really hard but super fun and we are getting better at it every night. Now it’s almost time to wake up the blue watch.
Anne Margit (22), Norway
Inês (20), Portugal
6:00 AM. We are freezing so badly! I think blue watch got the short straw on this watch schedule thing. If it wasn’t for Nora and her toasties, we would be pretty much helpless by now. In hindsight I should have packed warmer clothes. I can’t wait to go back to bed to sleep, hell, I think I will skip breakfast to go to sleep earlier!
Made toasties! And we saw another boat. We are all sleepy and can’t wait to go to bed and after that showerrrrr.
Day 6 – 4/08/2016
03:25 AM. The watch has been good so far. We missed three people due to seasickness, but we organized a snowboard competition on deck. Anders ‘the beast from the North’ won the contest so he is now called Snowboard Master of the White Watch. The toasties were nice and it’s dry weather outside, just a little cold. We did the helm and did the look-out. Now we are writing the logbook and are cleaning the coffee and tea cups. So it was a nice watch.
Joost, The Netherlands
Day 7 – 5/08/2016
After yesterday’s beautiful weather, we were a bit surprised by how cold it was when we woke up. But nothing worse than what a windproof jacket and some ‘morning’ exercises cannot fix! Keeping up our balance gets easier every night, but we are not 100% sure if that is us getting better or the fact that the wind and waves have calmed down (a lot) the last few days…
This night was a little bit special because we got to celebrate Artur’s (first mate) birthday! We put up flags, made delicious toasties, brew fresh coffee and sang the birthday song in no less than 7 languages (Dutch, English, Spanish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Hindi and Danish). We think he enjoyed it.
After the ‘birthday party’, we made toasties for the rest of the watch. We are excited about getting closer to land and civilization tomorrow, and hope that the world is about the same as we left it about a week ago (or hopefully our wishes – about a peaceful world – upon the many shooting stars we have seen have come true).
So far the watch has been nice, and we are happy that all 12 trainees in our watch (participants are called trainees onboard) have been out on deck in the middle of the night, for the first time!
Anne-Margit (22), Norway
Susan (18), the Netherlands.
Day 7 – 5/08/2016
People climbed the mast in the dark, and we also changed the sails. Today we will arrive in Portugal!
We climbed up a bit higher than the first platform to climb unto the topsail yard. There we untied the sail, so we could set the sail. Although it was probably colder than ‘downstairs’, with the windproof clothing and the workout (all this climbing and the work on the sail is not easy!) we didn’t notice. It was very hard because we could barely see what we were doing. Next time I’ll take a flashlight. Afterwards about 5 people came and helped to set the topsails.
It was very nice to put to practice the lessons Mirjam gave us earlier, as we did have a better understanding of what the different ropes do. People also seemed to enjoy working with the sails as it was a welcome change from the last couple of days. Afterwards, some of the team members served some delicious toasties which were very much appreciated.
Yago (17), Spain
Day 8 – 6/8/2016
We arrived in Figueira da Foz after 4 days of sailing. Inés was so happy to reach land that she raced against Gabriel which ended in a fall due to landsickness…
After the Happy Hour Ana and Inês showed us around town, without missing the best pastry place (of course). Following that we headed for an ice-cream place in front of the beach where some brave people enjoyed a freezing swim and crashing waves (the water is only 17 degrees here, versus 25 degrees around Cadiz!).
During our free time we tried some local dishes and drinks until 20:00 when we came back to the ship for dinner and birthday cake for Arthur’s (first mate) birthday. Ana’s father (the master baker of cakes) invited some of us to his house to see one of the residential areas of the town, which was very nice.
The next morning all the watches had breakfast together for the first time since we left Cadiz. Luckily it was not our turn to do the dishes! We departed at 10:00 without exactly knowing where we were going because we did not have much fuel left. The next harbor would completely depend on where it would be possible to fuel up. (We ended up at Cies Islands, outside of Vigo.)
Right after lunch and after Bjorn had learnt how to splice ropes, the French trainees did their presentation.
We sadly lost L. Even if we did not deserve it we got some awesome quiche (the French national dish) and some tasty magdalana cake. Then was nap time except for the cool people (Bjorn & Ines) who are now struggling to stay awake while writing the logbook.
Anyways, the best part of the day is yet to arrive.
…………………waiting for toasties…………………
Ines (19), Spain
Bjorn (25), Norway
Day 8 – 6/8/2016
Yesterday we were at Figueira and it was SO nice! J Cool houses with tiles on them and birds in a cage in the park. Cute 🙂
We went to the beach, it was pretty and everyone was happy. Some people went to swim and they said the water was cold.
Then some went to discover more of the city while others went to eat and drink. I ate a Francesinha which was FANTASTICOOOO! MUY BIEN! Si si senorita. Inês and Ana Raquel were really good tour guides (they live here) and showed us around. We came back to the boat for dinner before everyone went out again for a little evening exploring until midnight.
Today the Frenchies had their presentation, they did a quiz and it was funny and interesting. We all thought it was very good. They put a lot of effort into it and also fed us. The White Watch won the quiz. Now we are on watch from 4 to 8 and we are smelling meat from the kitchen, must be good food again tonight!
Today we came on watch at 4 like usual and saw a city called “something something we don’t know”. (Porto, red.) This watch was pretty good. Temperature was pretty warm compared to our previous watches (14 degrees). Right now we are approaching the Spanish coast. During our watch we played games like continuing the Fibonacci series (1,1,2,3,5,8) or doubles (2,4,8,16) and guessed capital cities of certain countries. We were lucky to have a time shift from Portuguese time to Spanish time, as it meant we had one more hour of sunlight.
The sunrise was amazing. The suns rising over the Galician mountains, with toasties and dolphins. Just perfect. The night watch is much easier now; with the light contamination from the shore we can perfectly see what we are doing. Also, the moon has started to come out, meaning more light. Although it is colder, there is less wind, and therefore it does not feel as cold.
Eric (16), Spain
Gabriel (16), Spain
Yago (16), Spain
Nora (20), Norway.
Day 9 – 7/8/2016
As always at 7:15 we were woken up, but this time most of us ran upstairs because we were arriving to the Cies Islands and the landscape was amazing. After learning how to put down the anchor we had some time to climb to the very top of the mast to enjoy the views and take some pictures. Once all the ship was awake and happy hour was sorted, we headed to the main island using the dinghy. Luckily next to the tiny port we found a beach with no one on it so we got a chance to swim, run around the rocks and conquer the place. After sandwich and apples, and seeing where everybody comes from and has lived, we had some free time.
During the free time everyone left the small beach and small groups of people were formed, so we were kind of separated. Everyone did all sorts of different stuff. Some went hiking, others went to get some ice cream or drinks and yet others went to another beach. After an amazing day spent on the island we came back to the ship with the dinghy.
Once on the ship we ‘fought’ for the shower (there is only one shower for the girls and one for the boys), we ended up making a list so we did not have to sit in a queue. We had tons of food throughout the day and we still had a burger for dinner, which was really great. After dinner another ship that was anchored near the islands invited us to go and check out their ship. So we had a chance to go look a different type of sailing vessel, operated by a British private school. Some of their trainees came to visit the Morgenster and joined in on some climbing. It was super nice to interact with trainees from a different ship and country, even more cultural exchange! Also interesting to see how life in every ship is completely different. The end of the day was as enjoyable as the beginning of it. As we were not sailing during the night, there were no long watches to complete, so no need to go to bed super early. We all chilled together on deck with some music. This means… perfect pportunity for cool, long conversations before heading back to the hammock. New day is about to arrive!
Ana (18), Portugal
Ines (20), Spain
Day 10 – 8/8/2016
Since last night’s watch was pretty busy, awesome and went by super-fast, we completely forgot to write in the logbook! Therefore Alicia and I (Anne-Margit) decided to do it during the anchor watch. So, let’s see what we remember:
* Fireworks! A great midnight watch started with nice fireworks along the coast of Portugal. We still don’t know the reason for it, but enjoyed it nonetheless. (Later, the Portuguese participants explained to us that there was some festival going on)
* Sailing lecture with cookie breaks. Peter taught us a lot of interesting and useful things about the ships and its sails. Ines and Susan surprised us with a huge plate of cookies, which was nice. We also did some practical sail training like things with ropes, knots and so on
* We saw dolphins hunting fish and it was SO AMAZING! They were shining! Like, actually glowing in the dark. The dolphins.
* Toastie time is always an awesome time.
Anne-Margit (22), Norway
Alicia (15), Spain
Day 11 – 9/8/2016
Course 345 degrees.
Today is a really cold night so after tea we have started our morning exercises. A bit warmer than before we went to the main deck to play some games when the wind decided that we had to start a sail training lesson; so under the moonlight (and with some help of the deck lights) we initiated our practice lesson (‘first practice, then theory’, said Peter, which meant that after working on the main deck we were going to have a theory lesson).
The theory lesson was bout the staysail #1 (a triangular sail put up between the two masts) and the details about how it works illustrated with a drawing that Peter made on the deck with chalk (complete with some extra fancy stick people and stuff).
So we took down the staysail #1, and in order to do that we had to release the halyards (=the rope that you use to pull up the sail, so if you let go of it, the sail can come down), with two people controlling them. And the sheets (the ropes on the corner of the sails, used to get the sail in the right shape for whichever way the wind comes into it) also needed to be released. The reason we have to release the sheets is that we will only get the sails about 2/3 of the way down if we leave the sheets tied up. We also learned that staysail #1 is the only sail with two halyards.
We also saw one dolphin (which was weird, since they are usually in groups) hunting fish, shiny, flying plankton (now nicknamed stars of the sea). And we had yet another snowboard championship. Everyone made a great effort, but after a very exciting finale it was Fireball From Denmark (our watch leader Peter) who won against the Lightning Bolt From Spain (mentor Alex). You guys are awesome!
Later that night, loads of exciting stuff during the 4 to 8 watch!
We had to take away the jibs (the triangular sails all the way in front of the ship). Mirjam gathered a team of ‘touch people’ (quote!). We had to put on harnesses, as we had to climb on the jibboom, which is above the water in front of the ship. There were quite high waves so we were going up and down with every wave, being high in the air and (almost) in the water.
The Tough People:
Mirjam (crew, The Netherlands),
Agathe (mentor, France),
Eric (trainee, Spain),
Yago (trainee, Spain),
Lambert (trainee, France),
Tess (Crew, The Netherlands),
Gabriel (trainee, Spain).