This snap shot was taken on our last evening in Teneriffa. Due to technical and applicable reasons, I was not capable to post as I had first desired whilst sailing on the go. Now viewing my own smile on this last evening, the trip did do me and the crew well.
4 from 8 people on board got seasick within the first hour; one of which being a doctor, another the co-skipper and yet another being a paramedic who even fell unconscious for a short while. It may be hard to believe that we were all smiles at the end of our adventurous sailing week. As I did keep a real paper journal in my cabin, the following excerpt is what may be of interest:
Today we boarded the ship and were given our first safety instructions. Although this occurred almost at the end of the day, as the cleaning and reparations took longer than expected. This was one of the first lessons to be learned, patience and loss of time. Safety first.
Earlier in the day a group of four was assigned to do the shopping for the next 7 days. Water, beer, wine, vodka and a few other essentials were stocked below. When the group returned I was responsible for the filling inside the boat’s cabins. After not such a long while of bending low to grab the items one by one out of the bags and placing them one by one inside the best possible locations I could spot; I did feel my body making certain adjustment arrangements to cope best with finding some fixed points to focus on, which were just not so fixed at all. The points of focus were in constant and irregular motion. So after another not such a long while, I remembered what Andreas the skipper had recommended. Get on deck and find a fixed point off the boat, if nothing can be found, then at least the horizon. It worked.
The name of our boat was Guanajo and with the app, find ship one could have followed us along our little tour, in and out of harbors :-)!
We set off and were confronted within the first hour of swapping bellies. The sea is sea sided and nothing is settled, least our bodies in full sway left to right and up and down. Even the doctor and one experienced sailor had to lean the rail. It hit half of the crew and we had to search the nearest harbor or return to where we had just started a few hours ago. The few moments sitting nearest to the sea at the bow with my feet dangling over the edge and keeping my eyed fixed on the horizon helped my belly keep pace.
This morning we left from Las Galletas. The island of lava residue, with white-capped waves steadily being tamed through the great stones covering the ocean floor. Only when the tide had pulled out on the beach of Las Galletas, did I see why only a few and daring surfers, make use of this sparkling beach. For swimmers it is a constant threat on naked and unprotected skin and bones.
The nearest harbor to Las Galletas is Marina San Miguel. We made it and our bellies settled down.
No one got sick today. All were better prepared with medication and a very calm course was chosen.
The amount of man-made plastics we spot approximately equals the few fish left for us to fish in the sea. While cleaning some utensils on board, I also had my share of responsibility, besides taking care of the crew bookkeeping. The question entered my mind, was man really made to cross the sea or land. Yes, I pose these questions: what if man had remained within his boundaries and learned to live one with nature? Or is man made to cross all boundaries and with this ever-extending experience we gather to bring us, after the sun-rays may diminish, to another planet free of charge. The sailors look at night up towards the endless universe and brightest stars. How easy we forget, the most precious and most beautiful planet this universe possibly has, is the one their ship is sailing on. The depth of beauty lies within ourselves and in my opinion, nowhere else. All we see that is so lovely and pretty are projections arising out of each one of us.
Punta Montana Roja – a very tiny picturesque inlay along a well carved cliff of lava residue. The skipper gave us women the advice this morning to use the coffee grounds from breakfast as a kind of natural man-made peeling. We were all smeared in with coffee grounds and plenty of smiling faces. The skipper remarked, how easy it actually can be to please women and perhaps something which will also be happily accepted by the fish below.
The skipper Andreas is a special and most sensitive man. He is astute, well-informed and in-tune to those on board. Uprising conflicts are openly discussed and cleared away, before the anger binds like clay. With my own inner conflict pending low, the plastic bags, the cans and loads of garbage rising daily on our deck; I search for better ideas to travel on sea like true fish may find its joy to share. Perhaps to store barrels of beer and wine instead of hundreds of cans within our shelves. The beer and wine disinfect naturally and leave no harm with spills. So where to store the bigger re-usable barrels and set-up the infrastructure at each port to re-load? Could this be a new market for one of the big brewers?
Masca – an adorable black bay. Black and finest sand, plenty. With what ease I was able to swim to shore and gently place my feet into this soft sand. All other beaches so far, were covered with rocks and lava stone. But on this tiny hidden beach it was the cleanest lava sand I had ever seen. I completely covered myself with it, actually rubbing it on everywhere. Of course I had to allow a bit of my one-tracked mind to create a manly power tower with this fine sturdy sand. Joachim was delighted and had to take some pictures. He said if a man would have built this in the sand, everyone would call him a pervert; not so I guess with a woman doing the same.
The atmosphere within the small vessel had calmed down and with the acknowledgement of our different characters and personalities it made more sense to cope. Mo could not be without food and drink for more than 30 min. anywhere. So on this little strip of beach he managed to buy some beer and bananas, as they didn’t sell any ice-cream. Jo and I offered to take the garbage back to the place of purchase. We were not wearing the soft-shelled water shoes Mo had used while walking over the hot rocks, so the walk was a cute challenge. We walked barefooted over the edged and hot lava stones, there where it wasn’t hot and edged it was wet and slippery. The best way of crossing was to find a steady rhythm and not to stay too long on any one stone, not matter how smooth it may have looked from above. We managed well and then decided to take the water way back to the boat. This route I certainly favored. It was at first a little tackle between some tourists waiting for their boat ride back to the next harbor, but once I plunged in bottoms first, it was a sizzling relief. I haven’t seen clear blue waters like this for a very long time. Plus, no plastics or human feces swimming along with me. How happy the fish must be at places like this, free of man’s global signature and in harmony with the greatest gift on earth – clean water.
The ship it sails whilst wind is blown. The ship it steers whilst steam is made. The skipper smiles at the sight of white-capped wakes so near aside. But hail, but hell the crew is gone.. astray! The storm we passed was quickly solved, not so the tempest on our deck. The nerves, the nerves so dearly felt, make cry and scream the strongest man.
So salty now our skin within, from the beauty bath we took before the voyage spin. But tears they came and smear out salt so smooth in the marina greeting cove.
My little poetry intermission at least got the girls giggling again. To laugh at all we’ve had to cope, is heaven for the souls. The whale who breathes his tail towards us just shortly passed before the dive.
I am on my way back to Zurich, but I do wish to recall the memory from the passage away from Masca. As the island rises high above the sea and on some ends so very high, that the wind can be stilled from one minute or one meter to the next; without any change or course. The skipper allowed me to steer the rudder while we were still going along with the motor on. The waters were very calm and their was absolutely no wind. But, well ahead I could spot some white caps and it was the course which I was to hold, straight ahead. Once our vessel reached this spot of heavier winds, it was obvious that we had to return to the calmer zone to set-up our sails and make proper preparations. So I steered the boat around and went back to where no wind could be found and just circled until the crew got the sails rigged. Straight ahead no backing now, the cowards left behind. The waves tossed and turned the tiny boat as we were just a tinker toy wobbling in a stream. Jo took the rudder, but did allow me to join in at times with his skilled guidance (we had two simultaneous rudders on both sides). So at these moments where I had complete control of the ship, I could really feel the ups and downs with and without pressure of its rudder in the rough sea. Patience again is the key, just waiting steadily to reach the bottom and then check the course, is it okay or do I need to make a shift to one or the other side and then this movement must come fairly quickly; before the next wave takes us up again and the rudder looses grip. The assurance that the next chance for a grasping rudder will come, is all it needs. Feeling within the motion of the water and finding some rhythm where there may be none, was my greatest experience of this voyage. Yes, nature is in charge, no matter how big man may think he is.
With all that I saw, which was so little in perspective seen beyond the shields of wind. Our greatest respect holds the water we will never challenge and the ground so forgotten to appreciate that our nurture sustains the grace of a very special human race.