One year ago I had the fantastic opportunity to join the Delos crew when sailing in the Philippines. For one month there was a mum on the boat (me!), and it all went so well. I experienced fantastic things and had an adventure of a lifetime, so when I got leave from work this year and it was okay for me to come … Hell yes! Of course I will go! Where are you by the way?
I flew into Borneo and met up with the crew in Kudat. This time sailing with Delos is a lot different though. No leisurely, short sails between islands with exploring, diving and snorkeling, like last year. This time we are long distance SAILING! We started right away by rounding the tip of Borneo and sailing south along the west coast to Brunei. After filling the tanks with VERY cheap fuel (27 cents/litre) we crossed the South China Sea to Singapore. A 750 mile, 7day & night sail without seeing any land, that we topped off swimming in the deep blue! Then we continued thru the Malacca Strait to the Malaysian island of Langkawi and finally sailed to Ko Lipe, Thailand. Puh! I clearly broke my 1500 nm of sailing and was only 1 degree north of the Equator. Which I don’t mind after looking at the video of the Delos Equator Crossing Ceremony… J
So what do I do on the boat all day, and night, when we hardly on shore? Well, amazingly enough the days pass so quickly. I thought I would have a hard time “not knowing what to do”, but it only took a day or two to find my balance (and get rid of the sea sickness). To allow yourself to get into the pace of the waves and the winds. Boring? Oh, no! Not for me anyway. And you should know that I’m a person that likes to plan, to have things to do and get things done.
First of all everyone on Delos is so great to hang out with! The crew changes a bit from time to time and different people come to visit when we are ashore, but the Delos vibe remains. We talk, laugh and do crazy things together. I love you all! During the day it’s cooking, cleaning, being on watch, reading, mending things, dolphin watching, changing the sails, doing crosswords, listening to music or just meditate or lay in the sun. During the night you either sleep or stand on watch. We often do 3 hour watches, sometime 4 to 5 hours, depending how many we are and how you feel.
To sit in the cockpit in the dark all by yourself is a must do experience! The stars, the wind and the waves. It all makes me feel so humble and blessed. When I, on my first night watch by myself, was accompanied by the dolphins, swimming beside me when I sat on the side of the cockpit … well, words can’t describe the feeling! It felt they knew I needed the comfort and warmth of their presence, of letting me know they are out there, keeping an eye out. Dolphins are such magnificent creatures! Oh please stay safe from all the fishing boats!
Being on night watch can be very calm and peaceful but it can also be VERY VERY intense. And scary. Squalls passing with heavy rain and hard winds, fishing boats in all shapes and sizes with nets all around you, or sailing into Singapore with the radar totally red with tankers and cargo ships. Help! That is when I am lucky to be able to wake Karin or Brian to help me out!
So I’m being part of the Delos crew for the second time around. A lot is the same, but so much is different. When you only have done something once you think – oh so this is what it’s like to go sailing! I did not realize that sailing can be done in so different ways. Like life in general I guess, that you can live in so contrasting ways. It’s the same with sailing – you can do it in the way you like, the way it suits you. Same same – but different!
2. Look! Dolphins!
3. Nothing beats the feeling you get when sitting on the bow with dolphins swimming under your feet!
4. Contemplating at the rail after days and days and days at sea …
5. Night watch on a calm night. But don’t get surprised if the calm suddenly turns into craziness of squalls, tankers and fishing boats with nets, nets and more nets!
6. Intense sailing in the Malacca Strait, where we got a lot of warnings for pirates. But they have so far not attacked any “white boats” (yachts), as they put it, only bigger boats and tankers.
9. Just arrived into Singapore!