The month began with a six-day sail from Cape Town to Namibia during which the students got back into the normal routines of classes and watch duties. The Sorlandet reached a milestone of sailing in every longitude and passed through the same longitude as Kristiansand, where she began her circumnavigation at the beginning of last school year!
Our stay in Namibia started with a visit to Walvis Bay Private High School where we were able to use the lab facilities for the Science classes while the other students shadowed the local students in their classes. We were also invited to watch guest speaker Gavin Keller’s presentation on the Teenage Brain. For field studies, we explored the diverse landscapes and species that the country is known for and learned about the history of Namibia.
During the sail from Namibia to Saint Helena, the students took on more deck responsibilities and continue to demonstrate noticeable improvements in leadership roles. They have all completed their Jungmann training and are actively working toward their Matros level.
Maritime hours have consisted of running safety drills, refining the students’ abilities to efficiently set and douse sails, and even a session where Bosun Simon answered the students’ anonymous questions.
In classes the students are well into their second term. Many of the topics they are studying are relevant to our Atlantic crossing, such as the English 1 class studying The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, and the World History AP class learning about the Columbian Exchange and the Atlantic slave trade involving ships that took similar routes to our own from Africa to Brazil. In Physics AP, the students are also taking on the challenge of applying their knowledge learned in class to real world applications around the ship, such as calculating the mass of the main royal yard.
We visited the remote island of Saint Helena in the middle of the South Atlantic and took full advantage of our three days of shore leave to discover all the island has to offer! We met the oldest living reptile in the world, Jonathan the Tortoise, and swam with whale sharks. We also climbed the 699 steps of Jacob’s Ladder, took in the spectacular views, and learned about Napoleon’s final years after being exiled to Saint Helena. On our final day we sailed off the anchor to begin our longest sail yet, a journey of 21 days to complete the second half of our South Atlantic crossing!
Watch Wars began the first day of February which the students are enthusiastically participating in! There is an overall sense of friendly competition on the ship which is keeping everyone motivated and engaged.
The current standing for Watch Wars:
Watch 1: 100 – 3rd place
Watch 2: 57
Watch 3: 122 -1st place
Watch 4: 106 -2nd place
Watch 5: 73
Watch 6: 90
“Reunions and Resolutions in Cape Town”: As we approached Cape Town’s Waterfront, we could see the students’ parents, siblings, and other loved ones lined up along the quay anxiously awaiting the ship. The students had the biggest smiles on their faces as they jumped up and down waving back at their families…
“Landscapes and Learning in Namibia”: Our first view of Namibia as we sailed toward Walvis Bay already gave us a sense of the unique landscape of this country. We could see the vast desert transform into the ocean all along the coast.
“Saint Helena- Experiencing the Wonders of a Remote Island”: We spotted land as the sun was rising, reflecting the pink sky on the glossy black cliffs that rise out of the ocean and on the ships sails pulling us toward our destination. Adding to the magic of the moment, a pod of dolphins came to greet us jumping through the ship’s wake.
“Cape Town, SA Departure” Video: Watch this timelapse of the Sorlandet departing from the beautiful Cape Town port as the clouds rolled over Table Mountain, and the parents wished us fairwell!
“Putting Up the Mizzen Royal” Video: Watch the crew put up the final yard making the Sorlandet fully rigged once again!
All the students will be working on Matros level seamanship training for the rest of the sail.
Our planned arrival day in Fortaleza, Brazil will be February 19, where there will be another crew rotation. We will be welcoming a new second and third mate, and a new OS onboard!
End of term 2 is approaching with exams beginning after our Fortaleza departure on the 24th.