Blog by Bo Echwald
“I need a second Skipper from Cairns to Darwin” my son Kristian Bo said. Before the conversation was over, I had packed my bags, found out if I needed a visa and booked my ticket.
I have in my sailing career never sailed that far, so far away from home and in an environment, which is so different from my daily surroundings. After all pros and cons had been consulted, I started to look forward to going, and the opportunity to share this experience with my son was fantastic.
Onboard Oceans of Hope I have met people who all have MS and who have chosen to overcome their limitations and experience the pleasure of sailing, but also the challenges of discomfort, seasickness and a crowded environment where you follow a shift schedule 24/7.
After plundering the local supermarket we were off. We sailed along the Great Barrier Reef, and some of us were expecting to go swimming daily, but because sharks follow the boats, expecting garbage to be thrown overboard, and “salties” salt water crocodiles were everywhere, it was not advisable. It seems that salties have a taste for humans.
First leg to Thursday islands – the far north tip of Australia, was inside the reef and demanded a lot of navigation. The crew found each other quickly and created cleaning/food/watch teams. With a fine sense of humor and the wind in the back all the time, it was a pleasure.
“No prob”, “yearh mannn”, “no prob” was the harbour captains most used phrases, so very easy conversation. A good night’s sleep, a bath and a beer at the local and a bit of wifi was enough to keep the spirit alive. More provision was bought – and Mikkel came on board. Now we were three to sail the boat, so the long shifts became shorter. Another 700 sm to go and again the same trade wind and now Darwin is in sight. We are discussing which comes first – beer – bath – beer – sightseeing… We have not stopped arguing.
The result: A fantastic trip on a fantastic boat with a super crew who knew how to amuse themselves, keep the spirit up in rough conditions and all kinds of weather and help each other constantly.
So, thanks to all my new friends onboard the ship who turned it into a great experience, thanks to my son who did not kill me ten times before arriving in Darwin and thanks to Mikkel for the project and long conversations.
Complaints? Only that TimTams cookies are to few and too small. :-)
Co, co Skipper