It was a hectic day, made out of two totally different parts. During the day the crew and her beautiful, saffron-coloured boat were lying in the harbour of Amsterdam. We would only take off after dinner towards Ijmuiden. Frome there the trip will go to Portsmouth in one go. But before leaving, there was a meet and greet with Dutch people with MS and two crewmembers who exchanged their place one the yacht. Mikkel stepped off, Jens came on board and I took Peter’s place. Live on board in a nutshell, making friends and travelling on, you will always have to say goodbye.
The Dutch people with MS were invited to meet the team and to learn about the project then they were brought to a lake nearby to practise their own sailing skills. Meanwhile the crew did grocery shopping and reorganised the kitchen. It was only after all that, that I entered the adventure. My parents and I went to the harbour where I met the Dutch people after their sailing trip and I caught up with the crew who I had met earlier. It is special to feel how quickly we have bonded.
I felt very welcome on board. I'm sharing my cabin with Inia. I emptied my bag and stuffed my goods in the plastic boxes that go for a cupboard. Then there was goodbye. Goodbye to our Dutch guests and a goodbye to my parents. We took one last selfie in front of the boat and I climbed on board.
Everybody seemed to know their tasks. They all know their way around the boat whereas I’m still searching for the light switches, where I can charge my phone and how do the toilets work? But I’ll quickly find my way.
Than we have dinner while skipper Kristian keeps on moving around the boat. Bertram is reorganising his so called 'kingdom'; a small room in the front of the boat stacked with ropes, fenders, little screws, buckets and everything that is needed on a yacht. And I’ll be honest, it looks pretty well organised!
You can feel the tension building up. And then finally we lose the ropes and take off.
It seems like the whole harbour is waving, people on the dock are taking pictures. It must be an impressive sight. We motor our way out while waving and waving.
And then we take a last turn before we finally leave the harbour. Inia tells me to look over there... and there I see my Mum’s radiant pink scarf. They have waited hours to just wave goodbye. So sweet. We wave until they get smaller and smaller and there is finally nothing more to see than a pink dot on the horizon.
We motor our way to Ijmuiden in two hours. Jens is behind the steering wheel while schedules are made. Who will take which shift? And we have our first meeting. The topic is tomorrow’s departure time. Will we start to motor our way out early at six in the morning? Or shall we have a peaceful morning and leave around nine? While we're sitting on the deck with coffee we all get our vote in the discussion.
Then, all of the sudden, there is voice yelling from the land. It is Peter, waving his final goodbye...
And here I am now, lying in my little bed writing this blog. It is 5 o’clock and I actually need my sleep but my head is too full of all the stories of the people I have met today; the nautical dos and don’ts that I have already learned. I can feel the adventure waiting, which makes me more aware that I need my rest but it is just all too new. The sounds of the water; the gentle, dancing movements of Oceans of Hope; the breathing of my roommate. My body is aching, while the adventure still has to start. And then when I finally seem to catch my sleep, I hear the radio yelling: 'This is the Dutch coastguard, this is the Dutch coastguard," followed by a lot of beeps and crackling noises. That happened a couple of times this night. So much for my rest and dreams.
Ah, well, is this whole adventure not already a dream?!