Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Daytrip on the Soren Larsen Tall Ship, Auckland, New Zealand

Daytrip on the Soren Larsen - 
Eve Hemming
We’ve been invited to spend a day on the Soren Larsen on Sunday. We wake up to a perfect day, a sense of exhilaration in the air.
We arrive early, excited and determined “not to miss the boat”! This is our first experience on a tallship. All we’ve done to date is mess about in tiny boats like our first Sprog and then a Halcat.
Our first impression is of the welcoming vibe – from both Steve and Rosie, the tallship owners, and from all the crew members. This immediately sets us at ease. There’s a combination of affable, almost casual congeniality, juxtaposed against extreme efficiency.
This leaves one feeling secure in the crew’s capable hands, whilst still feeling relaxed. There’s no booming voice with all the do’s and don’ts, but rather a few easy instructions to adhere to, to ensure the safety and well-being of the ship and all on board.
We’re told that the crew is comprised of folk from 8 different nationalities; a veritable aquatic ‘united nations’!
Being fascinated by relationships, I’m intrigued to learn that two of the crew who met on the ship have recently announced their engagement. I’m told that some folk have had their weddings on the ship, too. ‘How romantic is that?’ I muse.
I notice that there are also passengers from various nations on board. My husband has an absorbing conversation with an elderly American, who proudly announces that he’s 84. I meanwhile chat to a young German woman who is minding her baby girl. She tells me that Aneka, turned 1 last week. It’s great to know that the ship can cater for such a wide age range on its day trips.
Capt Charley

And then there’s Charley. He’s the Beagle who belongs to Steve and Rosie. He must be the most laid back, unfazed dog I’ve ever encountered. I call him the ‘nautical canine.’ Charley cruises around the ship with a nonchalant air, totally at home with passengers and crew alike, and seemingly oblivious that there’s a massive ocean all around and below him.
I spend time on the ship eclipsing moments, my camera capturing angles, vistas and momentary cameos. We’re on the Soren Larsen for several hours and sail around Rangitoto.
The day merges into a mellow blend of shimmering azure; the outline of Auckland diminishing as we depart and then reappearing on our return.
It’s a day in which time loses its pressing presence and daily stressors vaporise.
Far Away
 I watch the crew and some of the passengers enthusiastically working in unison; pulling at ropes
to unfurl massive cream sails which connect to stays and a robust mast, silhouetted against a lazy blue sky with candyfloss clouds.
We move around and merge and part, never bored. We idly talk, doze to soak the sun’s warmth, watch passing yachts and speed boats, feast on stuffed baguettes and seasonal fruits, and sip freshly brewed coffee. In short, we blissfully escape the ‘madding crowd’.
Later it’s time to depart, with us feeling distinctly privileged to have been part of the Soren Larsen for the day. We’ve learnt that the ship, built in 1949, is steeped in history. It’s travelled countless journeys in exotic settings, has braved high seas and has changed hands and crews.
It has a whole lifetime ahead in which to encounter new adventures and to be the vehicle which offers new crew members a chance to ‘learn the ropes’ and passengers the opportunity to imbibe the good will. There are new passions and new explorations to be embraced with the Soren Larsen, and those who become part of it, however momentarily, somehow imbibe something quite unique…

 A Day Sail in pictures - 
Eve's day with Soren Larsen December 09...

My article first published on the Soren Larsen website.


  Tall Ship SOREN LARSEPhone: +649 817 8799 - Email 

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