What a glorious day to be flying a glider, just started learning and this was only my 5th flight. There is so much to concentrate on when you’re learning it’s sometimes difficult just to appreciate the view. Scottish Gliding Centre
I made this voyage in Nov/Dec 2019 but I have only now had time to put this short video together to give a flavour of the adventure.
I first came across the Tecla on Facebook when they posted asking for people to declare an interest in joining them in attempting to navigate the North West passage. Unfortunately I could not afford the cost of this leg of the voyage but when I saw they were also sailing from The Galapagos islands to Rapa Nui I signed up immediately, several months before the trip. So it was with a great deal of excitement and anticipation when I finally landed in Baltra airport in The Galapagos on 11th Nov. I checked into my hotel in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz and went straight to sleep after 5 airports, 4 flights and more than 18 hours in the air I was whacked. The next day I walked to the famous Charles Darwin Research Station and was given a very informative tour of their giant tortoise and iguana breeding programmes. After a visit to Playa de los Alemanes and Las Grietas for a swim I walked to the beautiful Tortuga bay. Everyone recommended taking one of the tours on Galapagos so after asking around I booked a snorkelling day trip to Isla Pinzón. After a long, fast boat trip I found myself snorkelling with sea turtles and marine iguana as well as a mother sea lion teaching her cubs to dive for a stick. I felt very comfortable swimming with these amazing creatures but all I could think was wow! this is absolutely fantastic, I couldn’t quite believe it was happening. If that wasn’t enough on our second stop we were swimming with white tipped reef sharks and a sting ray, another surreal experience. A couple of people in the group had underwater cameras so I’m hope they’ll share some footage. On our way back to Santa Cruz we stopped off at this rock to see the blue footed boobies and sea lions, I made a mental note to check the name of the island, which I later discovered is Isla sin Nombre, go figure! I met up with Claudia and a few other crew mates and started to get to know each other. Unfortunately we found out that Tecla had been delayed in Equador due to the bio-security clean up and was not allowed to come to Santa Cruz so now we had to meet the ship in San Cristobal. An extra day in Galapagos, what a bummer 😉 It was a two hour high speed taxi ride to San Cristobal where we met up up with another guest crew for a few beers before finally joining the ship. It was great to get on board to start the next part of the adventure. Unfortunately we had to wait over the weekend for immigration clearance an on Monday we all had to go onshore to have our passports photocopied and then all taxied up to the immigration building which for some reason was on the outskirts of town. We eventually raised anchor under sail in late afternoon heading South into the big blue. We quickly settled into the routine of watches, eating, sleeping. Or at least trying to sleep with the engine running which unfortunately we had to use when we lost the wind to keep to schedule.
I was on white (wit) watch 04:00-08:00 and 16:00-20:00 which was great as we saw the sunrise then breakfast and we saw the sunset then dinner. the days started to merge together as they do on long ocean passages as we headed due South 190o a heading that became etched on the memory of everyone at the helm. To paraphrase Douglas Adams…
The Pacific is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to The Pacific.
South of the Galapagos, but still near the equator the sunset is very early, around 18:00 but as we got further South it became later each day, but still quite fast, you could miss it just going below deck to get your camera. On a couple of occasions when the wind dropped we had a swim stop the first was 06o 12′ South 94o 53′ West and the second was 24o 22′ South 107o 39′ West which I can safely say was the most remote swimming pool I’ve ever been in with the nearest dry land around 2000Km away.
The weather was a bit more variable than expected with a bit of everything really which meant quite a bit of sail setting, reefing and taking down. Although there was very little in the way of wildlife apart from the odd bird now and again there were a lot of flying fish, and during the night and early morning many landed on deck in fact I was hit on the back of the head by one whilst at the helm around 05:00. So this little fellow must have jumped/flown some 15 feet up. Needless to say it came off worse than I did.
After some 14 days at sea we sighted land in the distance on 30th Nov at about 15:30 and eventually dropped anchor in Hanga La Perouse on the Noth of the island. We celebrated our arrival that nigh which unfortunately (for me) given the combination of darkness, rain, a rolling ship and far too much alcohol on my behalf resulted in my head making an accelerated impact with the deck. The next morning I awoke and the damage and memories became clearer. Needless to say I felt rather embarrassed. With two nurses and a doctor on board I was well looked after and my injury was minor, a lump no bruising and a scar to add to my collection. The next day we sailed round the island for our first view of the township of Hanga Roa. Later that day we had to go round to the East of the island to shelter from an incoming NW squall. We anchored in the bay near the end of the airport and within sight of Ahu Vinapu, which would be our base until we left the ship on Wednesday 4th Dec.
When I saw that the Morgenster was taking part in the very first Three Festivals Regatta and was sailing from Liverpool to Dublin on the first leg I didn’t hesitate to sign up. This was the first tall ship I sailed on back in Feb 2017 and I had such a fantastic time it was a no-brainer to join this wonderful ship once again. I’d never sailed in a regatta before so I had no idea of what to expect.
I joined the ship in Liverpool on Sun 27th May and it was great to meet all the crew again, and of course the new guest crew. There was quite a good mix of guests with a group from Dublin with Sail Training Ireland, a group of young company sponsored apprentices and the rest of us. I was on white (wit) watch with our first stint on Mon/Tue 00:00 – 04:00. By Tue we were making good speed but the sea was a bit rough and some of the guest crew were the worse for it with quite a few wee buckets being carried around. By this time we were well ahead of the other class A ships, Lord Nelson, Belem and Belle Poule with only one other ship in the race ahead of us, Maybe. With the wind dying away it was getting more difficult to gain any distance North to follow our planned route around the Isle of Mann, but with a lot of tacking and the skill of our captain Jakob we eventually made headway and rounded the North of the island. When we did eventually catch some wind we overshot our way point so had to backtrack a bit. On Wed night we anchored near Lambay Island just off the Irish coast and watched a beautiful sunset.
It has to be said that this voyage was memorable for many, many reasons, not least of which were our musical entertainment, especially the force of nature that was Seamus, a hard act to follow, belting out such classics as ‘five fresh fish’ as never before.
On Thur 31st May we crossed the finish line in second place behind Maybe but first in our class and anchored just outside Dun Laoghaire harbour. The next morning we headed off to motor up the Liffey into Dublin making a good show as we were the only ship to set our sails. Later that day we had RTE onboard making a film about the Sail Training Ireland crew members, so we had our wee bit of fame on Irish TV. Saturday was the big crew get together and awards ceremony, which were almost late for but we arrived just in time to hear our ship being declared the winner in class A
which involved a very large cup and one hell of a party afterwards. A great voyage to remember for so many reasons, good friends, great sailing, fantastic musical entertainment, beautiful weather and to cap it all “we won”!!!