Cian's Atlantic Odyssey crossing preparations

Cian on s/v SELKIE writes back to his class periodically as part of SELKIE school.
He sent us his log for the Arrecife Pre Atlantic preparations (Atlantic Odyssey I – Lanzarote-Martinique)

Cian practising climbing the mast

Cian practising climbing the mast

Hi All,

After my cousins went home we had a busy two weeks in Arrecife preparing for the Atlantic Crossing. There were a lot of things to prepare and shopping to do but there were still some fun times too.

One day we were involved in a sea gull rescue. We noticed a sea gull clinging onto a rope in the water in the marina. At first we thought he was caught in the rope. My mum managed to free him but then we saw that he panicked and paddled back to the rope to hold on. We realised then that he was injured and couldn’t fly. My Dad lifted the sea gull out of the water. He had to wear long leather gloves so that his arms didn’t get pecked by the bird. We put him in a safe place on the pontoon and the marina office arranged for the bird to be collected by the bird protection society. I hope he has recovered and is back flying again.

We went to the planetarium in Arrecife. The most interesting thing for me was a look at what astrophysicists think some of the moons of Jupiter look like. One of the moons is called Europe and scientists think there may be water on it and that it may have a chance of supporting life like Earth. I have since learnt that Galileo Galelii was the first person to look at the sky with a telescope and he saw four moons belonging to Jupiter that he named them after the Medici family he was working for at the time. That was four hundred years ago. The man in the planetarium says they are discovering new moons to Jupiter all the time and they still aren’t sure how many there is – but at least 63.

liferaft-kids-thbOne day we attended a safety demonstration given by the Atlantic Odyssey and the Spanish Coast Guard. The first thing we saw was an eight man life raft being inflated on pier. We tested it really an eight man life raft. Eight adults sat in comfortably.

Then they decided to see how many children could fit in. All the children on the pier fitted in – there was about twenty five of us.

Next there were some demonstrations of people climbing into life rafts in the water and being rescued by a lifeboat. Then there was an example of a helicopter rescue. The helicopter men winched a man from a sailing boat. The sound of the helicopter was tremendous. There were some children in Optimist dinghy sail boats having a race in the harbour that day. They were clever and sailed into the slip stream created by the helicopter to go really fast – it looked like they were having great fun.

We went to a talk given by a man called Jimmy Cornell. He is a well-known sailor and has written many books. He sailed around the world with his children when they were my age for six years and has done many other voyages since. He showed many pictures – highlights from his trips. My favourite photos came from a trip to Antarctica. He had many photos of penguins, skuas and being blocked in by ice – a real Shackleton adventure.

Ivan and Doina Cornell

Ivan and Doina Cornell standing on the spreaders of their boat’s mast

Another interesting landfall was somewhere in Polynesia where there were live volcanoes. Jimmy was there for a festival where they celebrated Mother Earth. Part of the celebration included men climbing a tower of sticks 20 metres high, tying a vine to their ankle and diving off the tower. The pictures were amazing and Jimmy said the ritual was quite extraordinary – the original bungie jumping. Jimmy told us he got a prize at another festival on an Indonesian island for being the only foreigner on the island!

There was a photo of Jimmy’s two children standing on the spreaders of their boat’s mast before they jumped into the water – I have been practising climbing the mast since.

There are 16 children taking part in the Atlantic Odyssey. We made friends with two families from New Zealand. We had fun in the days leading up to our departure. We fished, played on a raft in the harbour, visited each other’s boats, went swimming in a sea water swimming pool and had fun at the Odyssey parties. We are looking forward to meeting them in Martinique.

Cian with his little sister and their friends from New Zealand, on s/v SUDOESTE and MOXIE.


Before the start, SELKIE kids point to 'where we're going'

Before the start, SELKIE kids point to ‘where we’re going’

On the morning we left John from the Odyssey team came to wish us well. He had a quiz for me:

  • Where are you going? Martinique
  • What direction is that? West
  • Which way is that? – I pointed

I passed the test and he let us go.

So we have been heading to West to Martinique now for 23 days so far.

We hope to be in in two more I am really looking forward to getting a parrot or a monkey as a pet like the children from Swallows and Amazons did when they did this trip – I don’t know if I will get Mum to agree though!

Bye for now,

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