Challenger 4 - La Coruna and back Entry Eight We arrived into Alderney late at night in some challenging conditions. With the tide driving us forward we had to be sharp and alert. At least some of us were sharp and alert as others enjoyed a full night sleep. Dom helmed fantastically navigating the dark shadows and star-like anchorage lights at speed. With the anchor down we could go to sleep feeling accomplished and excited for the day awaiting us in Alderney. We were awoken with the smell of bacon and sausages made by Jack and Saoirse which were devoured in seconds by all of the crew except the unfortunate vegetarian who had to put up with cereal. After another quick clean and tidy we could finally catch the water taxi into town with bags of rubbish that had accumulated. We were relieved by hot showers and we watched two new fishing boats being blessed in a ceremony. Not only this but it was carnival day so we rushed to the shops before they closed to buy more snacks and rent bicycles. We rode the bicycles around the island, exploring lots of old ruins and lighthouses along the coast. We took a break at a sandy beach we body surfed in icy water, some for longer than othersJ. By the time we had circled back the carnival was in full swing so we locked up our bikes to go and have fun and have lunch at a quite local restaurant in which the owner shared many stories about tall ships. Exhausted and satisfied we went back down to the showers once more to wash out the salt and then catch the water taxi back to the boat where we played board games and listened to music whilst Terry, Saoirse and Emile cooked a delicious tai green curry for us to enjoy whilst having lively chats and reflecting with mixed emotions on the fantastic voyage that we all wish would never end. Entry Seven Red watch were on deck between three and six in the morning. Therefore, we only found it appropriate to scare each other with horror and ghost stories as we sailed through the star-filled night, comforted by a good cuppa tea and digestive biscuits. As the sun came up the green watch took over and the red watch collapsed in their bunks for a good couple of hours kip. In this time the sun rose along with the heat, which meant everyone had to lather on the sun cream and after some relaxing sun bathing, we helped clear out the sail locker and flaked multiple sails including the genoa (which was so long it reached from the bow to past the snake pit.) Whilst this was going on on deck, some of the crew had the delightful job of cleaning out the mast and saloon bilges. All this hard work, however, was rewarded with a delicious lunch of hearty sandwiches and Italian made pesto pasta. We then sighted various pods of whales over a short period of time,the best sighting was when we passed two whales, who were only about 10 metres from thde bow! After this amazing experience we got back to work, such as cleaning the boat and doing some stitching in the snakepit, and was greeted with a delicious lemon drizzle cake made by are very own green watch (smug watch). As evening drew in, and as the sun was setting, red watch started their shift of 21:00 – 24:00. Right at the start, in front of the sunset we saw a baby dolphin leaping towards us through the waves. This of course set off a flurry of movement as we tried to race to the bow, whilst holding some hot mugs of tea! The risk was worth it and we were accompanied by at least four dolphins for five to ten minutes at the bow. - We later discovered that these were bottled nose dolphins! As darkness set in, unfortunately the wind dropped and we were left with a flappy and unhappy sail. Therefore, as a team, we put two flakes in shrinking the sail, and reducing the amount of noise the sail was making, helping the troops below sleep. Entry Six This morning started early, with a view of the Spanish coast. At around 4 o’clock we got the boat ready for heading into the harbour and after some blind throwing of the mooring lines, we managed to successfully dock. We managed to get a lie in of 3 hours and finishing cleaning the boat, we raced to the showers which were much needed! 10 o’clock we went into La Coruna, splitting into groups. The skipper, mate and watch leaders did a tad of shopping, followed by tapas and had a great deal on the sail ties which we were short of. Part of the crew went around the town and explored the local side streets filled with Spanish specialties. This was then followed by a trip to the beach which was a nice way to cool-down in the hot temperatures. Hand stand and cartwheel competitions were to follow, let’s just say none of us have the potential to become a future gymnast. Whilst we tried Octopus for the first time and had fun at the beach, Ben, Jack and Enrico made a little trek to the Spanish countryside which included IKEA and the rare sighting of the Española google car! We have finished today off with a delicious curry made by Skipper Terry, and a final tidy up below and above deck before heading off to bed for a solid nights sleep. Entry Five After a long cloudy night that inhibited us from seeing any stars, we finally saw the sun rise and woke the starboard watch with a cuppa and a thick substances that claimed to be porridge. At lunch we were awoken with chicken wraps which went down very quickly due to the flat sea state which also allowed all to keep the chicken wraps down in our bellies. We had fun judging how well everyone had wrapped the wrap out of 10, as they came up to eat, After this jack managed to tactically get deasil spilt on him when fixing the bilge pump so had to have a shower whilst the rest of the watch were taking sails down and putting other sails up. Entry Four after getting back from a well-deserved break in Brest we went to bed ready and excited for the early start tomorrow. The extreme weather had not been seen away overnight, nevertheless we were away and sailing by 07:00. All hands were on deck once we were out of the relatively sheltered port as we were navigating our way through ominous waves and jagged rocks from all faces. The waves were epic; some of which were up to 6m high, crashing against the sides of the boat and soaking the crew who were sheltering in the cockpit. It was force 9! To try and take our minds off the overshadowing waves we played a game of eye spy before the starboard watch were finally relieved to go below and get some rest. The watches seemed to pass quicker than the previous days as spirits were high so conversations were lively. Not only this, the crew were entertained by locals as the dolphins jumped out of the water. In the evening shift, the port crew were even lucky enough to see a whale come up to take a breath. As night came the waves began to simmer down allowing everyone to take a deep breath enjoying the orange glow from the sunset whilst tucking in to a delicious spaghetti bolognese Entry Three Showers. Showers have never been appreciated more by the crew after feeling miserable for two days, the reasonably hot showers brought joy to everyone manning the boat. The boat was cleaned by 10, with the required checks made on-board. The crew visited the town and enjoyed the luxury of sitting inside a café watching the rain. We split into groups with some visiting the shops, whilst others trekked for miles out of Brest to visit the Sea Life Centre, the castle was a sight to behold which overlooked the marina. Entry Two As the first crew were woken, they tried to spend as little as mount of time below deck and soon rushed to action, to the eyesore of the other half of the crew looking green, fully embracing the starboard name for the watch. Following was a majority uneventful first 6 hour shift still getting their sea legs, although the Skipper Terry rightly decided that instead of sailing to La Coruna, we made a detour to Brest (France) and avoided a force 12 storm, forecasted for the Monday. Later on during the day the crew spotted dolphins swimming and jumping alongside the boat, which highly lightened the spirits. By 21:50, all crew were woken and primed to come ashore, the crew shared the work of bringing the sail down, attaching the fenders and preparing the boat for mooring. After mooring we all enjoyed a toilet attached to solid ground. Entry One We started the voyage, setting off around 19:00 hours, after hours of awkward conversation between the crew members, including the usual “what’s your name, where are you from”. However after uniting over sea sickness the crew quickly bonded together. Our first nightshift took off to a flying start alongside the puke, we sailed quite fast, going at 10 knots from Portsmouth. The first shift battled against strong winds but through the harsh conditions persevered and managed to take down the stay sail (smaller sail at the front), however the other half of the crew members managed to fall asleep despite the conditions. During the second shift, the soundly asleep crew members were brutally awoken at 02:00 by a sodden crew member, and their eyes were woken to the world of sea sickness, although Taylor our Volunteer Watch Leader of outstanding quality, helmed for several hours as the rest of shift were looking worse for wear.