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Sailing through the Anguilla channel Photo: Isak Okkenhaug

Into the Caribbean Sea with all sails set

about 1 month ago
Written by Ronald Toppe, Ole-Morten Algerøy
Life on board > Into the Caribbean Sea with all sails set

Into the Caribbean Sea with all sails set

about 1 month agoLife on board
Written by Ronald Toppe, Ole-Morten Algerøy
Sailing through the Anguilla channel Photo: Isak Okkenhaug

There is a special twang to the name Caribbean. The name oozes adventure, pirates, palm islands and endless sandy beaches.

Statsraad Lehmkuhl sailed through the Anguilla Canal and into the Caribbean Sea October 27. The day before, the lookout on board could shout out "land in sight" for the first time, three weeks after the ship left Las Palmas, on the other side of the Atlantic.

The route into the Caribbean Sea.
The route into the Caribbean Sea.

West Indies

The first sailing ships to make this trip were the three small ships of Christopher Columbus in 1492. They too set out across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands, but reached land a little further north than Statsraad Lehmkuhl, in the Bahamas.

Columbus was convinced that he had managed to find the sea route to India, and named the islands stretching from Florida to Venezuela the West Indies. The West Indies were in common use well into the 60s, several hundred years after the world knew that India lay a whole continent and a few oceans further west.

We now call the archipelago the Caribbean, and the sea west of the islands and south of the Yucatan Peninsula that juts out from Central America, the Caribbean Sea.

Plenty of time

The trade winds did their job well this time, and the voyage across the Atlantic took less time than planned. So Statsraad Lehmkuhl spends a few extra days at sea before the ship arrives in Willemstad on Curaçao on November 4.

Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a training ship, and captain Seidl made a plan together with people at the Caribbean Sail Training Association, CST.

- It is always nice to see the ship under full sail, and if you can sail past a Caribbean island at the same time, there are not many things that are better, says Seidl.

Captain Marcus Seidl Photo: Isak Okkenhaug
Captain Marcus Seidl Photo: Isak Okkenhaug

Smiled at the photographer

So on October 27, Statsraad Lehmkuhl set all sails, and plotted a course through the channel between the islands of St. Martin and Anguilla. The weather was perfect, butterflies and seagulls filled the air, and the photographer from CST was in place.

Statsraad Lehmkuhl set out a tender with one more photographer, and sent up a drone. Seidl was pleased.

- Sailing through the Anguilla channel was a good opportunity to get some good photos of our old lady, with the channel’s nice wind and weather conditions and the closeness to shore, he smiled.

The Anguilla Channel Photo: Isak Okkenhaug
The Anguilla Channel Photo: Isak Okkenhaug

The canal feels narrow when you have to maneuver a sailing ship through it, in between small boats and personal watercrafts. The smile was a little stiffer on second mate Kamilla Steenvinkel, who stood at the helm.

- Everything went as planned, but we had extra close dialogue with the lookout watch on the forecastle, she said afterwards.

Kamilla Steenvinkel Photo: Ole-Morten Algerøy
Kamilla Steenvinkel Photo: Ole-Morten Algerøy

Swimming in the sea

Well into the Caribbean Sea, she ship was was heaved: The sails are set so that the three masts push it in different directions. The speed slows to a stop, and the ship drifts only slowly sideways.

This is done every time the students are to fire down their instruments to take samples of the water deep down. This time it was time for a real bonus. Swimming in the sea!

Everyone who wanted to could jump into the 30 degree warm and delicious water. Not all at once, ten and ten so that the lookouts were sure that everyone was fine, and got safely back on board.

- It was much safer swimming here than on any beach and you don’t get any sand in your swimming suit, Captain Seidl smiled.

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