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Oceans of Heart - blog by Camilla

OoH Feb 8, 2015, by Camilla Veale in Yacht

Well we are in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, the main commercial part of the Galapagos Islands. It is strange to be around other boats and looking at civilisation on land after six days at sea, hardly seeing another boat at all and getting excited at a bird flying near us.

This will be my last blog as we are all getting off the boat this afternoon and checking into our hotels. It will be so hard to leave our very special world on the gorgeous Oceans of Hope yacht. One of the hardest parts will be saying goodbye to the wonderful professional crew that have enabled us to sail, learn about ourselves and have a laugh along the way.

So this blog is not going to be about the incredible islands and animals that we will be seeing in the next week or so, but about the guys who have gotten us here. When I first came aboard, I really wasn't clear who was who and what their role was when we met our professional crew in Panama City. At our first meal with everyone in a restaurant at the marina in Panama City we had two skippers to lead us! Mikkel was leaving OoH to go back to Denmark after his successful leg from Fort Lauderdale to Panama City, crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean - an amazing achievement.

Our new skipper was introduced to us Jens Als Andersen, who has been a key member of Sailing Sclerosis setting up the whole amazing project. I now know that after a week on a boat with him that he is an Olympic sailor, single handed yacht racer and a fantastic teacher/coach. Oh yes and he is a sailor with a disability too…

I have never been skippered by someone with a visible disability before and Jens is a great role model to have in front of you on a blue water crossing. He doesn't pull any punches, take any excuses and can be a tad pedantic about sail trimming (well he is a racer), but he just wants all the crew members to achieve their full potential if they are prepared to put the work in.

Morten has been our doctor on board and has been unbelievably caring as well as professional. I still cannot believe that he is a neurologist as well as a sailor. In his day glow orange shorts he was unmistakeable and great fun to have on board. My neurologist back in the UK looks and acts nothing like Morten!

Kristian has been the first mate for all of the OoH trip since it left Copenhagen in 2014. Only getting respite from the boat and crew last Christmas. He not only keeps all the technical side of the yacht functioning, engine, rigging, sails and... the toilet, but is also a fantastic sailor who wants to pass on his knowledge to crew as well. Often he is to be found under the floorboards talking to 'Mr Perkins' the boat's engine, for comfort. When all the boat and crew demands get too much it's a great refuge.

Bertram is the bosun on the boat and took a break from his medical training to be part of OoH. He is both a fun guy as well as being very mature and extremely kind to the crew. He has the 'nagging' job of getting crew to take responsibility for both their safety and the running of the boat. In our week aboard he had to repeat himself a lot and by day seven we have become a team! Personally I have learnt an awful lot from him and will remember him getting me to the bow to be sprayed by waves and have a 'titanic' moment.

We have had some problems with crew health, boat repairs, immigration, and such, but the professional crew have found solutions and helped us achieve our goals. They have done so willingly and with much care and kindness. They are certainly not in it for the money.

The one piece of advice I would give any new crew member joining Oceans of Hope, is to remember that you are a guest in the professional crew's home. Things have been stowed away in certain places for good reason. Kristian and Bertram have been on the boat from the start and they know what works on the boat. So unlike myself, try not to rock the boat too much!

It is thanks to the skills, knowledge and passion of all the sailing sclerosis team (including all the land based people) that I got to sail on such a wonderful, sexy yacht will the most talented people. So I thank you all for making it Oceans of Heart as well as Hope.

Report from Bosun Bertram:

We have sailed to the Galapagos! How many people do you know, who've done that? I know nine - my fellow crew members of our latest voyage out into the Pacific, covering the first 950 nautical miles of our crossing. The newly named sailors arriving to the archipelago of natural wonders, having still just been to the city of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz, are already greeted by sea lions dazing on the dock, the beach, the bus stop bench and in the grass, with sea iguanas spread out nearby. Pelicans and differently colored footed boobies everywhere, and even a little reminder of Darwin’s visit, when a couple of finches passed by sitting here and there in the cockpit.

Last night we said goodbye to our departing crew with a smile on the face and a tear hiding right behind. Seldom people are ready to leave, but hey, you're in the Galapagos!

Local time onboard is 08:00 and our current position is 0,57.37S , 90,6.10W.

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