Ocean College

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Atlantic crossing: Head south until the butter melts and then turn west

Date: 30.11.18
Author: Robert Jacobs
Position: Atlantic
Geographical position: 15°50,5N; 37°18,9W
Etmal: 160Nm (Total:3580)

I’m back at it, summarising the second month of our journey. It is crazy to think about, but we’ve almost completed 1/3 of our voyage, having left more than 3000 Nm, various countries and an intangible amount of experiences behind us. My good mate Louiz and I have coined a term for a moment, in which one is in a state of euphoria – “Beste Leben” – as there is so many on the Pelican. “Beste Leben” might not make total grammatical sense, but it literally translates to best life.

So let me proceed and outline some beste leben moments from this second month of our journey. Starting from where I left you off in the last month – Morocco.

As I stated in my last entry, the entire crew was extremely anxious to visit Morocco. I can strongly remember the moment where Sinan, Louiz and I were laying on deck, plagued by see sickness and imagining all the amazing things we would experience in Morocco.

However, none of us could have ever imagined how astonishing Morocco would truly be. The seagulls screeched, the fishing vessels brought their daily catch in and young men were fishing along the dock as we were shuttled ashore in the harbour of Essouaira.

After embarking our rib, we headed towards the Medina (old town) of Essouaira, as a group of ten, accompanied by one teacher. Three hours of time allowed us to enjoy plenty of local delicacies, explore the entire city and enjoy a vast lunch along the main road in Essouaira. The next day we got to enjoy Essuaira in smaller groups for the entire day and met some students from a canadian exchange programe on a sailing ship.

After 1.5 days in Essouaira we were lucky enough to be able to visit Marakesh, the highlight of our stay Marocco. Marakesh is a typical example of an oriental town, or so we were told in our geography lessons by our teacher Christin. A big central plaza, an old city wall surrounding the medina, a large mosque, small alleyways and a convoluted Souk were all elements that comprised Marakesh.

Marcel, Louiz, Sinan and I set our day off in Marakesh with a traditional breakfast on a roof top cafe, overlooking the entire Souk, the Jamaal ef-na (the main plaza) and the snowy mountain range in the distance. We continued our day with a stroll through the Medina and a couple of purchases.

Sad to leave Marocco we returned to the Pelican on the same day, happy to visit Tenerife, which would be our next destination. However, Tenerife wasn’t the first Canarian Island we set foot on. As we were ahead of shedule, we got to visit a small island off of the coast of Lanzarote, La Graciosa, unofficially known as Bethlehem, due to its strong resembelence to the biblical town, after four days of sailing.

In Tenerife, an excursion to the Museum of Thor Heyerdahl and obviously the hike up the Teide were part of our land program. In our excursion to the Museum we learnt about the theories of Thor Heyerdahl, who claimed, that cross Atlantic exchange occurred between the two sides of the Atlantic, even before Columbus discovered America. To this day, his theories were widely disputed, despite proofing that an Atlantic crossing is possible with primitive rafts, by crossing the Atlantic with a raft, the Rah 2,  by himself.

With fresh knowledge about Thor Heyerdahl and his Rah 2 raft in mind, we headed up the Teide. The ascent up the Teide was very tideous for many of us, but as we saw the sun rise from the tip of the highest mountain in Spain, all our sorrows were forgotten. We were extremely proud of ourselves, to have managed to ascend the mountain as an entire group, together.

After our stay in Tenerife, that lasted an entire week, we headed southwards, towards the Cape Verdes. A couple of days at sea brought us back into our routine, but that was quickly disrupted again after we arrived in Mindelo. Mindelo was one of two cities we were to visit on the Cape Verdes. Mindelo, in itself is, is a nice small city with a beautiful beach. Our second destination would be Tarafal, a tiny village, situated on the Cap Verdian island of Santo Antao. 

We spent our day in Tarafal with a small hike, plenty of local and fresh food, swimming on the black beaches, watching the hatching of baby turtles and finally a soccer match with the locals, that truly no one of us will ever forget.

The day was indisputably a so called ‚Beste Leben’ moment, and might have been my favourite day of the entire journey so far. From Tarafal, the western-most point of Africa, we started our first Atlantic crossing a couple of days ago, turning west from ‚where the butter melts‘, following the trail of Kolumbus. 

Currently, about 1700 Nm remain ahead of us until we reach the Carribean.

Greetings to my family at home,

Hab euch lieb 

Greetings to all readers,


P.S.: – A pre-amtive, happy 1st advent to my family!

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