Two 15 year old friends from Den Helder have just arrived in IJmuiden on board Tecla
following their first experience on board a sailing vessel. Chiara Lucas and Michelle de Koning have never sailed before but when they were offered the opportunity through their Youth Club they both jumped at the chance.
Michelle (left in picture) has been thinking of joining the Royal Netherlands Navy and thought this would be the perfect chance to see if had sea legs. "I am so pleased that I now know that I don't get sick and I do have sea legs," claimed Michelle, "now I can go ahead and follow my father into the navy in two years time."
For Chiara, the ten days at sea was the longest time she had ever been away from her family and while she missed them terribly she so enjoyed her time on Tecla that she feels she could stay on board for another week. "I tried to write about my experiences every day but there was so much to do that I just didn't get time and then when I got into bed I just fell asleep immediately," said Chiara.
"The best thing for me was being able to see the stars so brightly and I even saw a shooting star one night when I was lying on deck," said Chiara, adding that seeing the phosphoresant algae was also a great experience.
For Michelle the best thing was having the chance to steer the vessel which she enjoyed very much. "I also loved seeing how blue the North Sea is when you get further north," said Michelle, "I'd always heard about the blue sea but never seen it so that was great."
The two girls say they now feel healthy and strong. "I have now developed some muscles in my arms from pulling the ropes," claims Chiara adding that she also had 21 bruises.
Tomorrow they go home to Den Helder but both girls want to join Tecla again in two years time when The Tall Ships Races visit Spain.
The North Sea Tall Ships Regatta is organised by Sail Training International.