We got through Europa with strong storms and we’ve been crossing the Atlantic, with burning sunny days. We got through a crazy time in Barbados, with exhausting anchor-maneuvers and an environment that left not so much space for a good rest. And then finally we reached St. Martinique.
The island made us a nice welcome, with the refreshing smell of wet Forest wood of the huge green landscape. The green grass around the little hills and the nice Forest were the refreshing views, which we were longing for. After our successful anchor-maneuver, we were looking forward to the art of French baking. The word croissants were in everyone’s mouth. Nice food and good drinks became the basis of our arriving-party. We were happy to be in beautiful surroundings like this island.
We all felt a big change was about to happen. Almost half of us had to leave…
We became a family when we did this big crossing together, but now this amazing journey is ending for some of us. Their time on the ship is over, they did their duty and left their footsteps in our hearts and on this ship. It will be different for us, and hard for them to leave. We keep them in our memories.
The happiness of arriving on a nice and friendly island and these moods of change. Made space to mirror the passing events on this ship for me personally. I am now over three months on this ship. I started in November in Den Helder, crossed the channel and reached the “other side” of the world and became a part of the ship. I learned to fear and respect the water. I solved being afraid of heights and became the climbing instructor. I faced my inner demons on the crossing and shook them off.
Three words became really strong for me: faith, hope, and love. The faith grew about my knowledge, my abilities, and my spirit. The belief in a bigger thing, like this project and that a small change can become a big wave. Every star night and beautiful sunrise gave hope and created greed for the next day.
The strength of the mates, the captain and our beautiful ship Tres Hombres gave me hope that after every suffering comes a breath-taking moment around the corner. And I felt strong love. Love for the ideals of this company, to her our wooden home and our amazing crew. I am really proud to be a part of this.
I arrived finally at a place where I always dreamed about to be. Since I was a child, I was reading books about sailors and pirates. I collected bottle ships and on every holiday on a coast, my parents had to fight me away from the harbors after hours of watching the sailing-boats. And now at the peak of my life, I finally got the opportunity to make this dream come true. To sail on a tall ship across the Atlantic, to climb into the rigs and stand on a yard and all this with a good ethic idea in the background.
I had plans. I wanted to cross the ocean to visit friends in Mexico and my lovely family in North Carolina. I was looking for adventures on the way through America. A country that is full of western society. But in this arriving-night on Martinique, it changed my mind totally. The Idea to stay on board grew out of a little talk with the galley cook some months ago and became my biggest wish. I saw myself more on this ship than traveling thought another western society. I miss my cousins and uncle who have been waiting for me, but I need to bring this sacrifice.
I am looking forward to new opportunities to face my fears. Out of the fear of storms became a longing for it, the stress with climbing grew the lust for it and the bunch of crazy people which I met for the first time in my life found a big part in my heart. These old planks, the rusty metal, the tared rig, and the shining white sails became my home. And I will stay until I have to leave in Amsterdam. The present on this ship became the biggest present of my life.
After making use of the Westerlies, for a few days, with nice daily and hourly speeds. A falling glass of the barometer. And swells building to five meter heights. It was bound to happen, that the faster moving depression would overtake us. With this, the tail of the depression: a cold front, with its furious squalls, occasional rain, and thunder, would present itself.
I woke up just after midnight, and felt the movements of the ship in my bunk. Not the flexible movement of the ship working herself speedily up and down the swells. No, this was a different movement, a movement of the ship on one ear not going over the swells but working violently through them, hanging on a steady angle without the flexibility of righting herself. I decided to stretch my legs, and take into account how my crew on deck was faring. Passing the chartroom a quick look in the logbook revealed that: the main topmast staysails had been doused, and the fore course, which had been only set again, a few hours before, was clewed and bunted up in her gear. On deck, the second mate was on the wheel working laboriously to keep the ship on course. Topsail, topgallant, foretopmast staysail, innerjib, mainstaysail and reefed main where still set. It was clear that we where in the middle of a coldfront. We had a chat, about the weather, how the ship was doing, and how the steering was. He had seen lightning flashes before, and squalls later and following each other. I relieved him at the wheel for a bit, and decided to hold off in the squalls. Also I invited the two deckhands, each for a while on the wheel, while I was carefully watching their steering technique, here and there giving a small comment or order.
The second mate took the wheel again, after having had a bite in the galley. I took a stroll over the decks. Shining with my flashlight, checking all the different sails. Their sheets, tight as a violin string. Their bellies filled with gusts of up to 8 Beaufort. In the meantime trying to escape from the violent bashing of the spray coming over the bows, or the knee deep of green water collecting under or over the lee pinrails. I decided it was time to reduce some sail, instead of dousing the mainsail I choose the mainstaysail, for ease of handling and to keep a bit more balance in the ship, if we wanted to head up more. Back on the poopdeck, I took the wheel, and ordered the mainstaysail down. When steering too close to the wind, we where clipping more through than over the large swells, and at times I was reading 11.5 knots on the log. In the squalls the crests of the waves where breaking, and entire valleys of water in between them, turned into streaks of white foam. There was nothing else to do here, then, bearing off and keeping the ship before the wind reducing stress, by subtracting our speed from the windspeed as we went. This dance, of wind, waves and ship continued for a few hours, until the new and fresh watch came on deck, and a slight rising of the barometer became obvious. I retreated to lay down for a bit in the chartroom. After a while, when I realized the worst was over, I wished the watch on deck a good night and went down below.
Now, a few hours later, the sun is climbing, we shook out the reef, and all sails are set again. Bound for Horta, we are making use of any wind, which is given to us…
Capt. Jorne Langelaan