Heading home – by Karla

schueler.karlaWe, the KUSis, struggled trough the Biscay, were at the Teide, crossed the Atlantic Ocean two times, arrived at the New World, celebrated Christmas at sea, celebrated the beginning of year 2016 in the Caribbean, explored the rainforest, got to know the inhabitants of Panama, went by bikes trough Cuba and sailed back home with stops on the Bermudas, the Acores, Falmouth and Helgoland. We took over the ship, sailed through nights with thousands of stars, stood in the galley for 16 hours, cleaned the ship every day and packed the sails at any time of the day. Our classroom was under sails and it was not easy to study for school and to understand the content. But we loved it. We even loved the bad times, because there were always good friends with whom we could talk about them. And even when we were unmotivated for the watch, cleaning the ship or packing a sail, we knew there would come a time, when we would miss all of this.
Well, this time will start next week and nobody can imagine this fact yet. Three months ago we were around Panama, it was the hottest time of our journey and we were sweating all day long in shorts and tops. A month later we made new friends in Cuba, ate peso-pizzas and drank a lot of “Tucola”. Before there was the Caribbean. We snorkeled in 30 degree hot water, took pictures of places we only knew from postcards, we suffered from sunburn and slept on deck. A fresh coconut whenever we wanted was normal and a pineapple or ten bananas for 50 cents too. Nobody thought about coming home because everybody just arrived there. The Thor with the crew was our second home and cooking for fifty people, cleaning the toilets, being on watch from 2-5 am and studying while dolphins were jumping next to us belonged to our everyday life aboard. Even when we didn’t have any freetime we loved it and would not change being on the Thor for anything else. But now our 190 days are slowly coming to an end and the Captain’s dinner is close. The Captain’s dinner is the last evening of our trip where we’re eating together. To make sure that it will be a great evening there will be a team for the decoration, the music, the program and the food and some of us also planned to sing a song or to give a talk. On one hand everybody is looking forward to this evening with good food and a great atmosphere, but on the other hand the last evening scares us. Generally, everything that has to do with the three words “the last time” scares us. And everybody has noticed since the Acores that home isn’t really far away anymore, that the time runs and runs, that we aren’t able to stop it and that we have to deal with “the last time”. “The last time” sounds weird and sad. “Half a year” always sounded so long, April was so far away and we got used to not seeing our families for a while. We accepted the fact that we would have to decide a lot of things on our own without an opinion from our parents.
It is hard to say goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean, these waves, amazing stars and the freedom we have when we are sailing. We have always loved throwing the skin of our orange over board and we couldn’t stop laughing when somebody missed to check the wind before he gave the organic waste over board. But as difficult as it is to say goodbye to this great part of our life we are thankful to our second home the Thor Heyerdahl and its crew, our KUS-family. We also look forward to the time after our journey when we can tell all the stories to our family at home.