Life at sea
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09.09.07 - Sunday
Today was a super busy day. We woke up for breakfast at 9:00am - this will be our only day to sleep in. Devotions proceeded then straight into town for last minute supplies before we set sail tomorrow morning. 1 hour later we had an upper deck ceremony to dedicate the Next Wave (our sailing vessel) to the work of the Lord. Liverpool city officials were present, as well as a local Chinese church. We worshiped with singing on deck while people passing by stopped to listen. The ship was anointed with oil, etc... Then straight away we went right into sailing training - learning terminology, tying knots, climbing the masts, etc.. then came ambassador training. I am now certified as an ambassador for Liverpool. :) We will be representing the city as we sail throughout the Mediterranean. The rest of the evening consisted of dinner, devotions, and fellowship.
09.10.07 - Monday
I woke up at 6:45am. After breakfast Brian, our skipper, went over some important sailing instructions. We had morning devotions, then mustered to the deck to set sail for France at 11:30am. Everyone was excited and throughout the ship rejoicing abounded. An hour into the journey the sails were raised. What a beautiful sight to see!
Within 30 minutes we hit rough seas. The boat was rocking up and down - it was too much for our stomachs… People immediately became sick - despite the sea sick medicine. No wrist bands, patches, etc.. could help. More than half the crew, staff, and students had vomited overboard within the first hour. I was doing considerably well, just feeling a little squeamish until Simon, our 2nd mate asked me to help with the flying jib (a sail) in the bow of the boat. I had to hold tightly to the side as I was tossed up and down. I immediately felt nauseous. I climbed the stairs rather quickly and ran to the side of the deck. Projectile vomit came flying out of my mouth into the seas. I felt sorry for everyone around who witnessed the occasion. But no one seemed to notice, due to their own pre-disposed position.
I did feel better after having given my lunch to the seas, so I decided to go below and jump into my bunk and try to sleep before my watch. Every student was given a specific time they were to help the crew with sailing the boat. I was surprised that we would be learning so much, and frankly we were sailing the ship and attending to all duties. I didn’t realize how involved we would be. It wasn’t just the crew - we were also doing the work.
Most everyone had to stay on deck - going below only made the sea sickness worse. I was able to sleep, but as soon as I woke up - I immediately felt sick, so I rushed up on deck to get some fresh air - which didn’t seem to help cause within a half hour I was vomiting again, and again. I lost count after 20 times… I believe I threw up about 24 times within an hour and a half.
At that point I was dry-heaving and very dehydrated. I couldn’t take much more. Tears ran down my face as thoughts of jumping overboard and ending my agony came to mind. What did I get myself into? Is this how it’s going to be the entire time at sea? If so, I can’t do it, I thought. I was only an hour into my watch, but couldn’t continue. Cassie, the 1st mate sent me below to the saloon and asked me to lie down. I attempted to, but began to vomit in my mouth. We were told not to vomit inside the ship because the smell would last for weeks. The sinks, toilets, garbage cans, etc.. were off limits. Everything must go “overboard”. Before making it back on deck, I had swallowed my own vomit twice - I know “disgusting” - at this point it was mainly acid and fluid, not food… but none the less, it was foul. At that point I was so weak, I had to go to my bunk. Thankfully I was able to sleep and didn‘t throw up again. Around 1:30am I awoke to calmer seas, but went immediately back to sleep.
09.11.07 - Tuesday
Morning came.. Cassie woke me up. I was already ten minutes late for watch. I was the 8-12 shift… this shift was morning and night. Everyone works for 4 hours, then sleeps for 8 on sails and back to work again…. Basically you eat, sleep, and sail …. Everyone was feeling much better. Thank you Lord for calm seas! The highlight of our day was dolphins … There were tons of them throughout the day jumping and playing in our waves. They really put on a show for us. Also we saw a sea lion - which is a rare sight to see.
Later that afternoon I worked on my photos and journal. Then after dinner, it was back to work. It was a great night. We made hot chocolate, told stories, and watched shooting stars fall from the sky. It was hard to believe that just 24 hours earlier, I was having a totally different sailing experience. Sailing wasn’t so bad after all, I rather liked it actually - just without the rough seas. J
09.12.07 - Wednesday
Today we had our very first fire emergency drill. Everyone grabbed a life jacket and mustered up on deck. Two of our guys, Etienne and Josias got to put on special emersion suits. Everyone enjoyed another day at sea.
09.13.07 - Thursday
Today we arrived in Lorient, France around 6:00pm. We tied up at an old sub-marine base. There were yachts of all shapes and sizes - all expensive ones. They even had a “gated” community and guard shack for all the boats. After dinner we walked into town. Imagine 24 people walking down the road not knowing where they were going. After asking for directions and looking at a map we found our way to the city center - which was a good 40 minute walk. We found a McDonalds with free WiFi - yes! Everything had pretty much closed down for the evening, so we stopped at the grocery, then headed back to the ship. We played a card game I had never heard of before. Then at 11:00pm lights out.
09.14.07 - Friday
Today was frustrating. We had two and a half hours in town, one of which I spent at the bank trying to exchange dollars for Euros. They took $10 as a fee. That stinks! Then I hurried to McDonalds to check email. Time basically ran out and I didn’t get to post my photos, so I was aggravated. Later that night after dinner we watched the movie Ratatouille. We had popcorn too.
09.15.07 - Saturday
Today is my cat Sugar’s B-day. I miss her soo much! I pray she’s adjusting to her new home and happy. This morning we had our very first lecture training. We also prayed and interceded for France. Then we had a few hours free to go back into town one last time before setting sail for Spain. John Paul and I walked to a pay phone so he could call home. I got to take some photos as we strolled along. On the way back to the ship, I told John Paul that what I really wanted to do today was go for a bike ride around the town. Well, God gave me the desire of my heart! We found an old bike that was in the bushes. It was missing a front tire and the brakes were almost gone, but that didn’t stop us from taking it for a spin. It was soo much fun. Around 3:30pm we set sail for Bilbao, Spain. There was sailboats everywhere. The view was incredible!
09.16.07 - Sunday
Today was a day at sea. This time I was on the 12-4 watch. We saw many shooting stars and at night dolphins, waves, and fish glow and sparkle - because of the phosphorus in the water. Wow, I am in awe of God’s beauty! Later that afternoon we had a man overboard emergency exercise. - we used a fender “buoy”. Then we took the opportunity to swim in the cold waters of the Bay of Biscay. The guys climbed like monkeys off the bow and showed off their bravery - doing dives and canon balls from atop of the bridge. It was refreshing being in the middle of the ocean with no land, boats, etc.. within view, just the horizon. We sunbathed on deck, then off to sailing again.
09.17.07 - Monday
Finally was able to do my laundry. Throughout our midnight watch lightening flashed in the distance. The sky was pitch black and not a single star was in sight. It gently sprinkled. The weather changed dramatically. The seas were not as calm, but still not too rough. While I was sleeping, the 8-12 watch saw two whales. I was disappointed that I was not awake to see them. I prepared lunch for the entire group…yes, they let me into the kitchen and surprisingly I didn’t burn anything. J We arrived in Castro Urdiales, Spain around 3:00pm. The mountains and seaside port was breath-taking. Positive energy was everywhere and we were anxious to take a tour into town. A castle and lighthouse was in my backyard. Donna, I thought of you. This is such a lovely place. I hope my photos can capture it’s beauty.
After dinner we went into town. It started to rain. We all were soaking wet but wanted to continue exploring, so we proceeded to walk throughout town in the rain. Most of the people we saw were elderly people walking and sitting in cafes. They were very active and in good health. I thought to myself, “This would be a great place to retire.” We trekked up cobble streets to the castle. The views from below were unbelievable. The rock walls were prefect for rock-climbing. Several of our crew decided to climb about. Then we walked to another part of town and found a swimming hole that led to caverns cut out by the sea. The tide gently went back and forth as the guys chucked rocks across the water. I took photos of cats that were nearby. It was nearly dark, so they didn’t turn out very well. After a long walk throughout town, we stopped in a café and had ice cream and milkshakes. They were delicious! Everyone was happy and making silly faces for the camera. We had to be back on the ship at 10pm. Some of the crew was watching a movie - Brick. It was very weird. I don’t recommend seeing it. Then off to bed for a good nights sleep.