“Sailing over the waves, heading for the next generation”
Oceanco is a sponsor of Lilya’s adventure with School at Sea. School at Sea is a talent development program in which youth sails from the Netherlands to the Caribbean and back in six months while developing their leadership skills as well as learning about the environment and foreign cultures. They will experience what “life” is like outside the regular routine of non-stop school, and upon returning home be ready to be the “future generation” they are expected to be, with all the concerns that will inevitably be left to solve. Oceanco encourages this development in youth and therefore is very happy to be able to support Lilya in her journey. We hope she has the experience of a lifetime and will learn a lot. She shares her experiences with us now and then. You can read the first inspiring and fun update below:
December 2021, Santa Cruz, Tenerife
A month on board and I’ve found home on the Thalassa. Sailing over the waves, heading for the next destination.
My name is Lilya and I’m a 15 year old student from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. At least, that’s where I usually live. With my mum and dad, seeing my friends daily. Now I live on a three master with 36 fellow students, 5 teachers and 6 crew members.
We departed from Harlingen over a month ago and at this very moment I’m looking out over the coast of Tenerife. Tenerife! That’s the furthest I’ve ever been away from home.
We cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean and then sail back, with the Dutch talent development program School at Sea. We do our schoolwork independently, learn how to sail the ship and, as time proceeds, manage the ship ourselves more and more. To get on board, I’ve raised the funds for this journey independently, with the help of family, friends and companies which were willing to invest in the future generation, such as Oceanco. Thanks to Oceanco, I was able to set sail, slowly see the Dutch coast disappear and finally move in the direction of promising adventures. Only now I realize, or I’m starting to realize, how incredibly special it is to truly be here. Making homework in the bay of Santa Cruz, afterwards to explore the town in our free time. Only if the ship is completely taken care off though, because that is our responsibility as well. Cleaning the deck, the common room, our huts of course, making sure the garbage is taken care of and cooking for the whole group! In the past month already I have learnt so much. Not only about sailing, but also living in the group of 50 and how every step we take affects every individual on board.
My time here usually consists of two school days and two watch days. On a school day, half of the group has school from 8 till 17h. I spend my time effectively by making summaries, doing assignments, studying for tests and reading through the textbooks of all my subjects. If I don’t understand something, there is no reason to panic since there are 5 teachers on board, ready to help. So far, I have had three tests, and I can say that I enjoy this way of doing schoolwork. I like the independence I have in completing the tasks and planning my day. After 17, the school day comes to an end and there are a few hours for a Spanish class, a practical assignment about sailing or a destination, or to write our SaS story: a piece in which we reflect on time we’ve spent on board.
After two days, the two halves of the group switch and I have two watch days. We have watch groups of around 7 people, with which we hold watch twice a day. Either from 8 to12 am and pm, or from 12 to 4 am and pm, or from 4 to 8 am and pm. Now, I have the 4 to 8 watch, and I’ve been enjoying it deeply. In the morning, we start in the dark, watch the sun rise over the sea, and look how the other people slowly start up their morning. In the afternoon, we keep watch again for 4 hours, seeing the night fall over our Thalassa. During our watch, we do the steering, fill out the log book and note down our location, set different sails, bake bread, cut garbage and do other tasks, depending on our watch time. It is a time in which I learn many new things. If we don’t have watch, we work on school, catch up on some sleep, chat with friends or help around on deck, since there’s always something to do around here.
Once every 12 days, we have a kitchen shift. With a group of 3 you stand in the kitchen from 6.45 until 22, cooking for the whole group and washing the dishes afterwards. These are long days, but I enjoy them, since after all you make the whole group happy with delicious dishes, and the day after it’s someone else’s turn to take on the responsibility of providing food.
A week ago, we arrived to Tenerife, our first official destination. So, here is my first blog for Oceanco! We climbed the Teide, which was challenging, but at the end of the day, or end of the hike, very much fulfilling. It was very spectacular to stand almost on the top of an age-old volcano, watching over the whole island. These idyllic moments make me eternally happy being here.
I’ve learnt so much already, and I can’t even imagine what I will be like when I return. Meanwhile I’m enjoying all spectacular, and sometimes challenging moments. The days are full and tiring, but also incredibly rewarding. I can’t wait to show you more about my life here on board, through blogs, photo’s and vlogs. I’d like to thank Oceanco again for supporting me in this exciting adventure with School at Sea, and will write or film (hopefully) soon.
For now, goodbye from Tenerife!