A Travellerspoint blog

The Azores

Exploring Horta

semi-overcast 18 °C

Well, after spending 24 hours in the bush we definitely enjoyed the night in our beds. After breakfast we had to clean and weren’t allowed to leave the ship till it was shining. With some effort we got the ship clean by 10 and then set off to explore Horta. Together with Steffie I went in Horta and we looked around. Horta was filled with small shops and cafes. We found a small café/bakery which had cappuccino’s for 75 cents and croissants for less than a euro! Considering the coffee on the ship is really bitter and not drinkable, we were extremely happy to finally have a taste of normal coffee. There we sat, in between all the Portuguese. We left the cafe and looked around a bit more, then we went to the marina for some internet. But I was getting used to being wifi-less so instead I joined some people along to the supermarket where I bought two bars of chocolate 'for the harsh times'. Which basically means when the food doesn't turn out well or if I have a sudden craving for chocolate.
While we had been strolling through Horta, Daisy, Sanne, and some others had painted a logo for our ship in the harbor. This is a tradition, that is why the whole harbor is filled with paintings. So if you ever visit Horta make sure to look for our painting!
Anyway, we went to the painting to put our names on them and add the names of people who were busy doing other things (kitchen shift, etc).
In the evening we left Horta for our next stop somewhere in the English channel. I felt the trip was truly coming to an end. The Azores was our last planned stop. On one hand I really want to go home see friends, family, and take a proper shower, eat loads of fruit and veggies, etc. but on the other hand I know I am gonna miss the life we had, constantly being busy, and of course some of the friends I had on this ship.
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 09:54 Archived in Portugal Tagged azores horta Comments (0)

The Azores

Surviving 24 hours alone

Hey everyone!

On the morning of the 9th we started packing our bags for the 24 hours alone.
The rules for the 24 hours were the following: everyone gets 20 by 20 meters somewhere in a forest without any electronics, you are not allowed to have contact with anyone except for the teachers who check up on you twice, and you have to make sure you have a place to sleep.
From School at Sea we got a thermos-can, a sail, and a rope. We had to bring warm clothing, a mat, sleeping bag, and I brought trash bags.
The 33 of us left the ship with our big bags and layers of clothing. I was really nervous; I had no idea how to make a tent or how I would keep everything dry. From the ship we went to a supermarket where we got 7.50 euros to buy food for the 24 hours. We were actually supposed to take a bus to the location and then walk a bit, but we kind of missed the bus and the next one only came a couple hours or so later. Plan b: walking to the location! Azores is basically made-up of volcanoes meaning we had to climb up hill. In the beginning it was quite okay, but at a certain point it got really steep. After three or four hours of walking we finally arrived at the nature park. Here we got a small explanation as to what was going to happen and then we went off and were assigned certain locations.
Els brought me to a piece of forest with a little stream. It was quite beautiful. I had a forest and a bit of grass and the stream. However, it got kind of steep so it was quite hard to find a flat bit. The flat bit I had found wasn’t very big, but big enough. Here I set up my tent. It actually went kind of well, but it was too bad I had made it so low. The tent was a triangular prism. I had used two branches to hold up the middle and strung a rope in between so that it would be higher. In the front of my tent I had hung a trash bag so that the wind wouldn’t come inside. I used branches to keep the tent attached to the floor. Then I went to eat my noodle soup. During this Els came and took the photo of my tent and gave me a writing assignment. I decided to get into my tent because it was getting dark. After doing some writing I went to sleep before it was dark and I got scared. However, when I got into the tent one of the branches broke. Luckily there was a tree behind so I strung the rope to a branch, which actually worked better.
The rest of the time flew by. I even went down to the stream to wash myself. I had breakfast and went to sleep a bit more when I thought it was about 1 or maybe 2 o’clock. Then Els came and told me time was over. I couldn’t believe it! 24 hours had never past so fast without me knowing.
Then Jeltje came and it was kind of weird to see her after being alone for 24 hours. Anyway, together we walked back to the rest of group. Everybody talked enthusiastically about their tent and what they did the 24 hours. After this we walked back to the ship together where the stores were waiting for us. Stores are basically when new food is brought on to the ship and we have to store them. So after 2 or 3 hours of walking back down, we did the stores; never a bit of rest on the ship. Then we had dinner and the kitchen needed to be cleaned because it hadn’t been done properly. Haike, Sietske, and I thus cleaned the whole kitchen and at around 11 we went to bed. Completely tired.

- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 10:17 Archived in Portugal Tagged the azores Comments (0)

Crossing to the Azores

View School at Sea on meimeilin's travel map.

Hey everyone!
Finally, we get to leave Bermuda, the Dutch government okay-ed our departure. It is really too bad we were here for so long because we could have spent more time on the Azores if we didn’t need so much time in Bermuda to repair everything.
We left Bermuda with sunshine, but hard winds. I knew it as soon as we sailed out of the bay, everyone was going to be seasick and indeed only about an hour later everyone didn’t feel at their best including me. I decided it was probably best to go to bed. When I woke up I was feeling great. Optimistically I got out of bed and went to sit in our living room. I still didn’t fell 100% but I was okay.

Well, literally everyone was seasick on this day. So the atmosphere wasn’t exactly very fun. We gave up on school and instead laid on the couches and chilled. I stayed in bed for a while and then decided to get out. It was also Marleen’s birthday! But I don’t think she enjoyed it very much. I decided after some couch chilling it might be better to go outside. Quickly I gathered everything I needed and put it on and went outside. However, after going outside and putting on all my stuff I didn’t feel too well. With many others we sat on deck hoping to feel better. Once I was better, I was able to sit in the living room and we played president, a card game. I also had watch, which helped because it meant sitting outside. My new watch 4-8 is actually really chill. We only have to clean the living room and the time is okay since we get enough sleep.
Exactly one month till we are back home!
Still a lot of people are seasick and I also don’t feel quite great enough to do school so we mostly just sat in the living room and played card games. I mean if everyone around you has a green face the concentration level of school isn’t very high. Nothing really special happened on this day.
Well the next few days till the Azores all feel like a blur. The wind declined and I was able to finish almost all my school work without any problems of seasickness. Also, I had my watch from 4 to 8 which I quite enjoyed. I had watch with Till, Wouter, Siets and Joost and we had a lot of laughs.
On the 1st of April we saw whales and that is not an April fool’s joke! It was really cool! They sprayed water and everything. Also, the tale came up but when that happened I was going to get my camera. Anyway, at least we did see a whale this trip.
When we were about 3 or 4 days away from arriving in the Azores a ship-takeover started. All the positions, except machinist, were fulfilled by girls. Usually it takes about one or two days but the wind was going to turn, so the captain decided to start earlier otherwise we wouldn’t do very much sailing. It was honestly quite a chaos. Our first watch we spend about an hour raising the breefok and there was nothing wrong with it. I think this ship’s-takeover was mostly for everybody to learn, but it wasn’t very efficient.
Also sleeping became less pleasant because there were waves coming over deck meaning the window was closed. Seeing as I sleep under the window, all the condensation came off the window and onto my bed thus I constantly had to make sure that something was covering my covers. Otherwise I would get a wet bed.
Finally after a long tiring watch we arrived in Horta, Azores on the 8th of April in the rain. I stood there with Anna in the rain holding out a vender, really proud that we were holding the vender. But then it turned out we were going to be lying next to the Eye of the Wind; another tall ship which lay in front of us in Bermuda. This meant the place where we were standing didn’t need a vender. The ship-take-over captain had told us about an hour or so before we actually arrived to hold out the venders. There we stood with our vender, in the rain, for like an hour. Not exactly my biggest hobby during sailing and then it turned out it wasn’t going to be used, quite typical actually.
Well, we had dinner and then we were able to go into Horta. First, however, Joost and Els had news for us. In the Azores we were going to do a solo-bivak, meaning 24 hours alone in the forest. All they told us is that we had to build our own tent and try to survive. Everybody was extremely excited. I mean after 5 months of constantly being with someone it was probably going to be really weird to be alone.
Together with Haike, Steffie, and Jeltje we were actually going to look for wifi but then decided it was a waste of our time. I mean, we are almost home. So instead we went to drink hot chocolate and eat cake.
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 10:13 Tagged sea at Comments (0)

Last days in Bermuda

16 March
Hey everyone,
Today we had school till before the lunch. After the lunch we left by foot for B.I.O.S. which is the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences. We walked along the road for about half an hour when we arrived at the building of BIOS. Here we got a talk from a man about the different types of corals in Bermuda and their function. We also got a tour around the grounds which included their dock and lab area. Later we were also showed how ocean scientists count the coral in the ocean. It was all quite interesting. After this we walked back to the ship and had free for another two hours till dinner. During this time we all made extensive use of the internet in front of the church.
We are now in Bermuda for exactly 10 days, this was originally not the planning. However, due to the storm we have to repair very many things and have to wait till our electronics which include the AIS (sort of digital map which also shows other ships in the neighborhood), the radar, and some other things in the steering hut are repaired. It is completely unknown when we are leaving again.
- Meilin

Day Off!
17 March
Today we had a free day! Usually Sunday is free but the crew and teachers decided we would get today off since on Sunday most things are closed. In the morning we of course first had the big clean up, but since I had my kitchen shift I only needed to prepare the food for the lunch and wash the dishes. Together with Siebrand and Merwin, I made hamburgers. However, Merwin and Siebrand left early since they were going to help at the Spirit of Bermuda. So I was stuck alone, luckily some people jumped in to help me and we got the food finished on time and were then ready to leave the ship on time.
With Haike, Steffie, Jeltje, and Andrea I went to Hamilton. We sat in the bus for half an hour. In Hamilton we first just looked around in the shops for a bit and I got my birthday present from Jeltje, Steffie, and Haike! After this we went to Double Dip to eat ice cream in the sun. It was quite a warm day. Then we went to look around in some more shops and explored Hamilton a bit. The parks in Hamilton are quite beautiful. Our next stop was juice n’ beans where we enjoyed an afternoon snack and drink. Hamilton, not being so big, only held our attention for about three hours. We then stepped into the bus back to St. Georges for dinner.
Els had prepared sort of wraps for us. They were delicious! Then I had to do the dishes but Merwin and Siebrand hadn’t returned so Andrea helped me. I then was going to leave the cleaning of the kitchen to them but decided against it since I didn’t know when they were returning. With Benjamin I then cleaned the entire kitchen.
An eventful day.
- Meilin

18 March – 21 March
School and learning
Hey everyone,
The 18th – 21th were very uneventful days that consisted of school. I am now almost caught up with school! It definitely feels like a relief.
On the 20th we also had the bidding. I believe I have never told on my blog about this. But basically if you leave your stuff around the ship and don’t clean it up it will be put into a bag. Then on Sundays there is bidding, if it is yours you get it back for 50 cents and if no one recognizes it or doesn’t say of who’s it is there is a bidding on the item. Anyway, this time it took place on Tuesday because we hadn’t had time on the past Sundays.
After the bidding we got a lesson from Joost about why Dominica and Bermuda differed so much in wealth but were either independent or almost independent islands. Also, we discussed why some were rich and why some were poor and if wealth will ever be spread equally over the entire world. We actually came to the conclusion the wealth can be spread more equally, but the world will never be fair or at least, that is what I concluded.
On the 21st, Els had thought of a trust, silence, and value exercises for us. The trust exercise wasn’t very special; it is the one where the person has to catch you when you drop backwards. The silence exercise we have done more often. Basically, first we listen to some music and then without talking we have to stand somewhere and think about whatever we went in silence for the amount of time that Els chooses. Sometimes we get a topic to think about and sometimes we don’t. This time we didn’t but everyone seemed to be thinking about returning home which was funny to hear. Later we did the value exercise. During this we were split into 3 groups of 11. One person stands in the center and everyone has to write down why this person is valuable for the group. Also, we weren’t allowed to write something down that someone else had already written down. It was very interesting to see why people thought you were valuable to the ship.
- Meilin

22 March – 27 March
The last few days in Bermuda
Hello everyone,
During the last few days in Bermuda some Dutch technicians came on board to repair the navigational equipment.
On the 22nd we celebrated Anna’s birthday. Till four in the afternoon we had school and then we walked over to Tobacco Bay where we swam. Well, some people went snorkeling. But I honestly didn’t dare to go too far into the since it was extremely cold. Unbelievable cold! I swam a bit but didn’t wet my head. Then I went reading on the beach. Anne then brought us three huge buckets of ice-cream and spoons. So we all started attacking the ice-cream. It was quite funny to see everyone fanatically eating ice-cream. After this, Haike and I returned to the ship since it was getting cold.
The 23rd and 24th were major school days and in the evening we got to go internet.
On the 25th we got to sleep in. Well, 9:30 is sleeping in for us. Then till half 1 we got to go into St. Georges and use the internet. I skyped with my parents and found my sim-card! Well I didn’t find it. Benjamin did… I actually kind of made a major fail since the sim was in my phone… But my phone did say it didn’t recognize any sim. Turned out I had put in my sim the wrong way around. Probably not my brightest moment. After this everybody did have a very good laugh at me. Anyway, when the lunch was finished we had a bidding again and the big clean up. That day we were actually ready to leave, but the Dutch government needed to okay our leaving. Seeing as Sunday they didn’t work we were going to have to wait till Monday.
The 26th was yet again a school day. We would have actually left Bermuda today but the wind was very rough and coming from the wrong direction.
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 09:58 Archived in Bermuda Comments (0)

16th Birthday on Bermuda

View School at Sea on meimeilin's travel map.

Hello everybody!
I had quite an amazing birthday.
The day started well. I was woken up by Steffie, Haike, and Jeltje with a breakfast on bed. From them I got two cupcakes and a grilled cheese sandwich. Delicious! They also told me that they were going to buy one of the tank tops for me that they saw in Hamilton which I really liked. Super sweet! Anyway, I enjoyed my breakfast and opened the post which I had gotten from my parents. One was a card in which my parents, brother, and nanny had written something. In the other I got a shirt! I had never been so happy with a shirt. The last four months I have been wearing the same 5 shirts and 2 tank tops. To have something new in the collection was amazing and it was of course great to get post for my birthday.
I then went to look for my phone because I wanted to call my parents. However, I couldn’t find my sim-card anywhere! The day before I had lent out my phone to Siebrand and taken out my sim and now I couldn’t find it. This kind of partially ruined the day. I cleaned out my whole room twice but couldn’t find it anywhere.
Anyway, I continued the day. When I came upstairs everyone sang for me. After this I had to sit through school till four o’clock and then I got to Skype with my parents and brother. I skyped for a really long time and then because of pure luck my friends were also online. So I skyped with two of my friends which was also amazing fun!
Also, my nanny from a long time ago came and visited me. It was really fun to see her and along with her she brought amazing amounts of candy, cookies, and cupcakes. Haha, all the people on the ship are really thankful of her.
What I forgot to tell was that an Argentinean family was docked close to us quite some time and today they had docked next to us. The parents had two daughters aged 14 and the other one turned 11 on the same day as me. So of course it was a double party.
In the evening we celebrated our birthdays. The little girl and I got a big cake and everybody sang for us again. Then we got some free time in St. Georges during which I checked my Facebook and then went back to the boat. Together with some others I stayed up and at around 1 or 2 we went to bed.
Definitely a birthday to remember.
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 09:57 Archived in Bermuda Comments (0)

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