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Everything has a last time. A few months ago I started my last term on board the Clipper Stad Amsterdam and soon it became the last cruise, the last time in the US, last departure, last transatlantic, also the last journey, the last day sail, last time anchoring, last time anchor up and then a tricky one.... the last arrival. This act in itself was not very difficult to someone sailing on the Clipper for the past eleven years and bringing the ship alongside would never cause beads of sweat on this captain’s forehead. No, it is the realization that it is my last time. Never again a cruise, no more USA, never a departure and ... .. at the end of this long list never again in charge of a nautical operation on this ship. This feels really strange.
Although there will be a farewell party and drinks tonight to say goodbye to this captain and my spouse, I feel that I have been offered the best possible farewell gift already.
After an early arrival at the Azores last Friday we dropped anchor in the shelter of Faial. It was the most terrible rainy day of this trip. The incessant drizzle turned Pico and Faial into nothing but a dark gray haze. How melancholically for a captain ending his career on the clipper.
We were supposed to arrive in the port of Horta on Sunday and therefore it was possible to sail and arrive at the Azores on Saturday once more. Only this time the sun was shining.
The sky was as blue as the sea and the lively green hillsides had an enormous intensity which was almost unrecognizable. One more day of sailing, one very last time. Second officer Martin offered me to take over his watch which enabled me to be in charge of setting sails once more as a captain. One last time with topsails, one last tack, heaving one more time and my last anchorage. Yes, this was a far more dignified arrival than the day before and because the motor had not been running since Miami we agreed that we could therefore certainly count this as our day of arrival.
My last command “heave anchor” made me realize that this was the very last time of sailing the City of Amsterdam. And if I did not already have enough to swallow at that moment it was the “chain stopper on" for the bosun which started an ovation by the crew as a surprise for me. What a special day ... ..the best present that a ship, her crew and the gods of weather could possible give to a departing captain.
Saying goodbye to our guests one last time, a final assignment and, indeed, my very last Captain’s Log. My last chance to thank all of my loyal readers and to wish all of those carrying the Clipper in his or her heart:
Captain Clipper Stad Amsterdam (not for long anymore)