Eltham Hill students participated on the first leg of the Tall Ships voyage, from Greenwich to Sines in Portugal:
We set off on the Santa Maria Manuela heading for Sines, Portugal from Greenwich. We were with a group of people we didn’t really know, but from the moment we arrived on the boat, things began to change, as we were put into our bunks with the other trainees. The first day we settled into our rooms and got to know the ship and meet the crew. On the second day, we started our watches of either: 12-4am, 4-8am or 8-12am. Marina and Hannah had the Starlight watch of 12-4, which despite the unfortunate sleeping hours, meant seeing plenty of dolphins on their watch. Lee and Beatrice were lucky to have the Sunset watch, which contributed to a new appreciation of watching the sun go down over the horizon every night.
We had a variety of tasks to do on our watches,, we would often be helping peel potatoes in the Galley, wash up in the Steward watch, Steering (which Marina became a pro at), checking the temperatures in the Engine Room, pretend to pull ropes in bosun, plot our location on the map in Navigation, or be on lookout for other vessels, aircraft or dolphins. In our free time, we spent time getting to know the other trainees and making friends with the crew.
It was not all plain sailing though, as being on a ship with very few places to have some privacy, it was very emotionally intense but also great that we could be with our new shipmates whenever!
For most of us, we were fortunate to not suffer from any seasickness, however, unfortunately, poor Hannah didn’t find her sea legs for the entire two weeks.
The experience was life changing and has given us a broader horizon on life away from our parents and school. I think we can all say safely that we have been bound together as SMM Family forever and learnt a lot about ourselves!
Land Ahoy or shall we say Terra à Vista!!
Lee, Hannah, Marina and Beatrice