Good morning –
I received word an hour ago from our agent that the ship and crew have left the dock and were motoring out of the port bound for the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – destined to arrive at Fernando da Noronha on October 31st!
The sail to Fernando will be one of the best of the year – consistent, reliable following tradewinds and currents will push them across the Atlantic toward South America in very warm weather. It is not unheard of for us on this crossing to make distances of 180-200 nautical miles a day and have such consistent winds the sails put up soon will stay in the same configuration for days.
I know the faculty will be speaking to the crew to try and put in perspective for them that they are leaving Africa and in 12 days will arrive in South America by tall ship, and this doesn’t happen by accident. The crew will have worked together, relied on each other, followed through on daily responsibilities and sailed Gulden Leeuw day and night across an ocean – an impressive feat and group of students.
During the sail the crew will also hit the doldrums which is a low pressure system at the equator where prevailing winds are super calm and water often like glass. Not only will there be lazy days poking along in blazing heat waiting for the wind to show up again, very likely they will be able to have a swim call or two. Going for a swim literally in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in water that is a very clear blue and bathtub temperature in approximately 5000 km deep is a pretty exciting and something that a very small percentage of the world will ever experience. Wait for the pictures.
Speaking of the doldrums and the equator, there have been rumors of King Neptune (God of the sea) grumbling from the deep that a crew of Polywogs are approaching his equator, which is not acceptable until he grants them passage after a thorough inspection. I can’t say much more than that, but I hope the Gulden Leeuw crew of Polywogs are respectful of his kingdom and follow the wishes of his court. Good luck! Enough said.
Julie (Port Programs Coordinator) emailed us this write up on the port programs in Dakar which I will pass along for your reading pleasure. Looks like it was a great experience for the crew!
Our time in Dakar has been quite the cultural experience.
Friday, we had shore leave until 18:00. In groups of 6 everyone went out to explore the city. Many people headed over to Goree Island, a beautiful island off the coast of Dakar that was the largest slave trading centre in Africa in the 15th to 19th centuries.
Friday evening, we had a few guests aboard. Eric Dadmun from the Peace Corps came to speak with us about his experiences serving and working in Senegal. He even taught us some of the local language Wolof that we could use with the youth the next day. We also had 4 members from the Canadian Embassy, Catherine, Martin, Caroline and Sandra, come on board and tell us about some of the work the Embassy is doing in Senegal.
Saturday morning we headed out to the SOS International Children’s Village. SOS Villages work with children who either have no parents, or have been removed from their parent’s custody and provide them with a home, house mother, education, healthcare and support. The day started by the children greeting us and sharing a song, we learnt about some of the barriers the village has experienced and about their goals of providing a sense of community and family for the youth. Following the introduction we were taken through a few of the homes, where up to 15 children live with their house mom and care for one another. We then spent some time doing activities with the kids, singing songs, art and playing sports. It was a wonderful morning learning about some of the great work that is being done to support youth in Senegal, and we had a lot of fun playing games and getting to know the children.
After lunch we met up with our home stay families from the Student Youth Travel Organization (SYTO). After a quick get to know you, we headed off in pairs with our hosts for the evening. Everyone had such unique and different experiences with their host families, some went to the beach, others saw local live music, others toured the city and museums. Sunday night we had a lot of new stories and experiences to share with each other.
Our last night in Senegal has been eventful, we all met up with our host families at a Saber Dance party in the suburb of Medina. There were percussionists on the street, who welcomed us as they played and everyone in the area gathered around and danced. We learnt a few new Senegalese dance moves to add to the Class Afloat Dance repertoire.
Next stop, Fernando!
Have a great day.