Trying to capture all the adventurous things I have experienced here on Oceans of Hope would be an impossible task, so I will briefly touch some of the highlights of the trip from Colon to Galapagos. Getting on the boat in Shelter Bay Marina, Colon, was like a dream come true. I have worked with skipper/medical doctor/CEO/psychotherapist and adventurer Mikkel on the project almost since the idea of Sailing Sclerosis was conceived. Being on the boat and experiencing the impact it is having on the life of people with MS is impressive. The recent international MS crew sailed from Ft. Lauderdale, USA, via Montego Bay, Jamaica, as a team and challenged the ocean and their condition as persons living with MS. I met people who got their dreams back and their hope for the future, who made plans for what had to be changed when they got back in their daily life, and I met people who were connected through the mindset of Sailing Sclerosis!
The trip from Colon to Panama City was a milestone in Oceans of Hope's voyage circumnavigating the world. The boat was literally lifted from the Atlantic Ocean, via the giant locks of the Panama Canal, to a starry lush night on Lake Gatun and further to the Pacific locks, descending into new adventures. It was impressive to study the brute design and industrial engineering from the beginning of the last century and the construction that has provided passage for millions of tons of cargo during the last 100 years.
In Panama City we said goodbye to skipper Mikkel and his MS crew and hello to skipper Jens and a new MS crew before we set sails with a southwesterly course. First stop was one of my favorite locations of the journey - the Pearl Islands. We anchored up in a beautiful bay with 200 meters to the most gorgeous beach, where some of the crew spent afternoons away from the boat. Night watches were lit up by the moon and the night sky changed to billions of stars when the moon went down followed by an impressive sunrise hours later. Great spot to spend three days, while some of the crew recuperated from fierce gastroenteritis captured in Panama City.
The further trip across the eastern pacific was breathtaking in several ways with good winds and fast sailing, quiet full-moonlit nights, lots of sea-bird spotting (thanks to Dr. Davis) and of course my 5 kg tuna fish catch, providing an excellent meal halfway through the journey. I won’t elaborate too much on the rest of the trip to Galapagos, where I had the misfortune of getting sick with possible Dengue Fever, spending three days in the bunk while Oceans of Hope was cutting its way through the waves. Most importantly, the journey offered an opportunity to meet all people on board the ship, inviting new relationships and friendships and sharing an experience connecting us all.
My impression of Sailing Sclerosis is overwhelmingly positive - Oceans of Hope is not a boat - it is a state of mind that captures the dreams of people with MS, giving life and inspiration in return.