Blog: Funchal to Essaouri: The Ultimate Test of Resilience

Funchal to Essaouri

 

Nov 22, 2018

Swell after swell ceaselessly threw the Gulden Leeuw around like a child playing with their rubber duck in a bath tub; the Gulden Leeuw was the duck and mother nature, the child. Towering waves mercilessly crashed against the boat, drenching anyone and anything on deck. Our once peaceful starboard side breezeway instantaneously gushed with water as the wind slammed the sails to the side: a tranquil place once used to escape the bustling mess was now half submerged by the wrathful ocean, transformed into an overflowing rapid. Waves came and went, pounding, one after the other, unaffected by the 70-meter-long hunk of steal standing in their way.

Those few blessed by the absence of seasickness were frantically scuttling around the boat. They stayed distracted by assisting others plagued with sickness and attempting to restore the chaos in which had once been our mess: benches piled up; books, laptops, cups, and even people flung across the room…

Stormy SeasOne would not expect a scenario such as this to end positively. Especially involving sixty previous strangers, many of whom have never been on a sail boat before, let alone one braving five-meter-high swells. But Class Afloat students defy all odds. We are flexible; we can adapt to any situation, regardless of our previous experience. No matter what task or hardship or challenge, however arduous it is, we concurrently collaborate. One day you might be down, slumped by a force deeper than desolation and suddenly someone will reach a hand to pick you right back up. Then, another day you may be the one alleviating a classmate’s paralyzing pain. Everyone struggles, and everyone supports; it may not be simultaneous, but it certainly is collective.

This was our Sunday afternoon as we departed from Funchal, Madeira; I guess one could say that Sunday’s on Class Afloat are mildly atypical, but that is the truth of our reality. We are resilient, and we are irrepressible. We are Floaties.

Jeremy Oestreicher
October 2018
Jeremy Oestreicher, a 19 year old gap year student from Edmonton, is currently completing a full year at sea with Class Afloat on board the Gulden Leeuw.

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