The boat is desolate, lying in Cascais marina with very little crew. I'm writing this blog with strong cold wind blowing on my back. Night is rolling in, as are the clouds. A blanket keeps me warm. (And the glass of Baileys at my side helps as well!) I am surrounded by toolboxes. The pontoon on my portside is covered by ropes, which are waiting for strong muscular arms to coil them. This is evidence of another busy day on board.
Yesterday our Skipper Kristian left his ship and this morning even doctor Pernille waved goodbye. So Oceans of Hope is in the hands of our Bosun, Bertram ‘di Caprio’. And although he is wise and strong, the things that need to be done before crossing the Atlantic might be a bit much for his young shoulders alone.
Lots of things still need to be done: the engine needs to be fully checked; new sails are waiting on the dock; a new toilet has to be installed; ventilation will be hung on the ship; and, lots and lots more. So we all contribute. Josh is back as well as mechanic Austin. Although we are not sailing we were still on deck at 0900 ready to lend a hand.
We got instructions on how to measure the ropes. My mathematics suck but such clever thinking stuff is Anne's speciality. I'm better at running around and carrying the heavy ropes. So we make a good team. Anne sits at the beginning of our 20 meter measuring line while I unfurl all the ropes, carry them 20 meter down and back to Ann again. She writes down the description and condition of the ropes. While I just do the physical work. And I like it.
It feels good to hold the thick heavy ropes. My fingers feel their condition. The marks show their usage and history. With the measuring tape stuck to the pontoon we invent our own measuring method, which may not be professional but in this way we can both contribute. Tough guys would have easily held the ropes in their hands while measuring them. But my hands and arms cannot hold the weight. My legs like to walk on dry land again after being on the ship for so long. So I am happy to go up and down the pontoon, while yelling the measurements to the organised brain of Ann.
On the ship Trine is getting all the mattresses out to let them breathe and get some fresh wind. So they are clean and as fresh as the new crew that will sleep their Atlantic nights on them.
While I'm cooking diner - we have rice, Merguez [spicy sausages] and vegetables that really need to be eaten - we receive company. It is the exotic looking, long haired Louisa Matias. She is one of the new MS crew members who will join Oceans of Hope to cross the Atlantic. She will be the only crew member from another country in a fully Danish crew. It will make a pretty picture – ‘Pocahontas’ between the Danish.
And she will fit in perfectly, being so friendly, funny outgoing and curious. She saw on the internet that we were so close by her home harbour that she and her friend just jumped in the car to drive and meet us.
While eating our left over diner on the deck, between the toolboxes, we got the chance to get to know her. I asked what she was looking forward to in her upcoming Atlantic adventure. She replied that she was really looked forward to “feeling the ship and its adventure - to feel the connection with the crew and sea.” She told me that the project made her look again at her abilities, instead of focusing on the things she cannot do anymore because of MS. She shares her powerful, touching story. Once again, Oceans of Hope stands for new perspectives, new hopes, dreams and faith in a life where you a have to cope with this unpredictable disease...
Are you in for adventure? Ready to experience what you are worth? Do you want to feel your strength, explore new talents? Do not wait, but apply to become a new crew member. The boat can use powerful, adventurous people, who happen to have MS, for this amazing adventure to create awareness all around the world. Louisa 'Pocahontas' is just one of the examples...