How I accidentally reached the top of Cap d’Oro

Just a little drive

In August 2017 I went for a drive, which was supposed to be just a little drive and a little walk in Calpe in the province of Alicante and ended up with me on the top of the Cape of Gold (Cap d’Oro). I drove through the town and found that the road continued alongside the coast, so I decided to keep going to see what I would find. I arrived in a town called Moreira, where I parked the car and started walking. The water had this beautiful blue color that you just can’t stop looking at.

I continued down towards the beach, from where I saw a tower on the top of a mountain; Cap d’Oro (The Cape of Gold). I quickly googled the tower to find that there was a walk leading up to the tower. I then started walking up the steep, small street of Moraira.

Cap d’Oro

The walk starts from the end of Calle Puerto de Alcudia in Moreira. It is possible to drive more or less all the way up to where the walk starts and park alongside the street.

I walked all the way up from the beach, which wasn’t so bad. Google maps managed to send me on a little detour though – I didn’t really mind, as the streets were cute and the view beautiful (A little tip for future hikes; Check the satellite version of the map, to avoid huge detours).

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At the end of Calle Puerto de Alcudia, where the path starts, you find 2 signs; one leading to the tower, where it states it takes 30min to walk up (It took me roughly 30min including stopping to take a few pictures). The other signs leads to a parking, which I don’t think I passed on my way (or maybe I was just too much in my own world, taking in this new place).

The first 10min of the walk was a bit of a challenge, as it is a small stony path, with very slippery stones. With just a little bit of rain, some of these stones would be super slippery, so make sure to wear non-slippery shoes. The rest of the path was small, stony and more comfortable to walk on.

Half way up the path, it splits into two, with another set of signs. One sign leading back to the parking. Another one leading up to the tower on the top of the mountain. And a third sign leading down to some caves. I decided to only do the path leading up to the tower that day, but some day I will do the caves as well 😉

The top of the mountain

I did the walk on a Saturday afternoon in August. I didn’t meet heaps of people on the way up – only 4 I think. On the way down I passed about 10 people, so it wasn’t busy at all. It was great as the second half of the path, makes you stop to enjoy the view ( and take pictures) several times. And the best part was, that I got the top of the mountain completely to myself. Meaning I only had the sound of the ocean and the wind 🙂

The view from the top of the mountain was absolutely stunning! You have a complete 360 view from the top!

The beautiful coastal line leading north towards Valencia.

You can see all the way to Calpe and you can even see part of Benidorm in the background.

A few facts about the tower of Cap d’Oro

  • a defensive watch tower built in the 16th century in the Renaissance style.
  • Built to guard the coast against pirates
  • Built on the highest point on the Cape of Gold (Cap d’oro).
  • 11 meters high
  • Only way to enter the tower, is by a rope ladder

A few tips

  • Wear non-slippery, comfy shoes
  • Don’t do the hike on a rainy day
  • Bring sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Remember to bring a camera (or a phone)
  • Bring lunch or a snack to enjoy on the top
  • Follow the white and green marks

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Happy memories from a sailing voyage

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In July 2016 I did a 9 day voyage onboard the Windeward Bound as a second deckhand.  The voyage was with 19 boys in the age of 14-15years and 2 teachers. These are a few of my happy memories from the sailing voyage.

Storm Bay

One of my absolute favorite moments from the voyage was when we sailed through Storm Bay. Storm Bay is located in the southern part of Tasmania and is basically part of the Sea. It was in the early hours of the day, shortly before the sunrise, when we sailed into Storm Bay. Entering the big waves and seeing the big waves crashing onto the cliffs was amazing. The sunrise was absolutely stunning – It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen in my life. The skies and the sea turned golden and just got more and more beautiful for every moment. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the sunrise, but it is one of those moments in life that I will never forget.

Later that morning, we got company by a group of dolphins – it just got better and better. And to top up things, I was super lucky and didn’t get seasick – yeah! 🙂

Port Arthur

happinessonthebrainWe anchored at Port Arthur, where I was one of the lucky ones to go ashore – and boy am I happy I got to see that place. Port Arthur is an old convicts jail and is absolutely beautiful. We got a guided tour as well as time to walk around on our own.

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When we arrived we each got a playing card, which was connected to a historical person, who you would then follow through the museum – you are basically following the story of the person, which is quit interesting – it is a really good way of doing it.

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If you go to Tassie for a vacation, I would definitely recommend that you take some time to go to Port Arthur – not only because the history is interesting, but also because the place is very beautiful.

Debrief

After the voyage, when all the kids had left, all the permanent crew had a debrief. Basically it was a sort of feedback meeting, where everyone got to share their thoughts about the whole voyage.

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I was really surprised that the debrief was so positive and that everyone complimented each other as well as the voyage crew. It was really nice to hear everyones thoughts as well as their view of the voyage. To sum up – Everyone had a great voyage 🙂

Sea shanties

One of my happiest memories from the voyage, was a day, when James the cook took out his ukulele and started playing. When he started playing we gathered around and everyone was singing sea shanties. We had so much fun 🙂

One of my favorite sea shanties is a classic – “What shall we do with the drunken sailor”.

Learning

During the voyage I learned heaps and got to do a lot of different things – these are just a few of my happiest learnings (I wonder if that is a word – well, now it is) :

happinessonthebrain-2Before the voyage had even started, we had to row Trim (the little boat) away from the ship, as we wouldn’t be able to bring it on voyage. This was a very interesting and fun experience;

1. This was my first time rowing, so it took a little while to get used to – Its hard exercise, but super fun

2. We sang songs, trying to go with the rhythm of the strokes.

3. We passed a huge cargo ship – like seriously HUGE cargo ship. We were right next to it and we felt soo small.

One of my happy moments during the voyage, was when Sarah (the Captain) taught me a different (and easier) way to tie a bowline. It took me 24 hours, but after that I could tie a bowline as well as a bowline on a bite – and better yet, I can also do it behind my bag – pretty cool, right? 😉

When on voyage, we would anchor several times in different locations. One time I got to fish the anchor, which involved me sitting on the anchor, while we were moving – and it was AMAZING! I had soo much fun – I hope to get to do it again 🙂

Sunrises and Sunsets

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In general, Im a sucker for sunrises and sunsets, so you can imagine my excitement every time I managed to watch a sunrise or a sunset onboard the ship. There is just something absolutely stunning about it – especially when at sea.

Sailing in Tasmania

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Seeing Tasmania from the sea is absolutely awesome. Its a completely different way of seeing new places and the fact that you are sailling and dependent on the weather, often means that you get to go and see places that you normally wouldn’t go to. Sailing is amazing, but so much better, when you go to new places and explore.

Red Watch

On this particular voyage I was in Red Watch (when on voyage, everyone on the ship is put into 3 watches). It was a great watch and we shared a lot of fun and happy memories, thou these are my favorites:

1. We won the Rope Race – Yeah! 🙂

2. Teamwork – at the end of the voyage everyone was really good at working together, which was great to see.

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3. “Sharing is caring” – I remember a day, when James served Pizza for dinner – yummy! We had one piece left, and we ended up sharing that piece between the whole watch – the whole thing was hilarious 🙂 

4. “Onions and apples” – During the voyage we would get some minor tasks to do – one of these were the game called “Oranges (onions) and apples”. The game goes like this; You sit in a circle and you need to give everyone in the circle an onion and an apple. An onion being something that the person can improve on and the apple being something positive about the person. The reason it was oranges instead of onions in red watch, was that no one actually had anything bad to say about each other – everyone were so positive.

5. Morning song – Every morning each watch would have to do a wakeup call – All of them were great, but I must say that Red Watch did a great song, which was my favorite 🙂

9 things I learned from sailling on a tall ship

Apart from learning how to sail a ship, I have learned a lot about myself and my boundaries. As a reminder to myself, but also to give an insight, I have put together a list of things that Ive learned from sailing on a tall ship.

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#1 – Trust in myself and others

Part of being crew and sailing on a tall ship is to go aloft, either to overhaul, ungasket or furl sails. Maintenance from time to time, will also include going aloft. The first time aloft for me was a challenge, I must admit. One thing is to be many meters over the ground/sea another thing is that it requires muscles in your body. It took me a while to get used to it as well as getting comfy up there. Im still not a 110% comfy up there, but each time I get up there it gets better.

Being aloft has a lot to do with trusting yourself as well as the people you are up there with. I have been very lucky, as I have been up there with Alex, who is very good at being calm, sharing tricks as well as pushing me to expand my comfy zone, when aloft. Also, it is very nice to have someone, who is good at telling stories and making you think about other things – So thanks, Alex – I appreciate your help a LOT 🙂

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#2 – Working as a team, when sailing on a tall ship

If you are not working together as a team, the ship will not go anywhere… You will not be able to set a sail or leave the wharf on your own – you need to work together. Teamwork isn’t something that just happens from one day to another – it takes time and effort. Time and effort from everyone, not just one person. Teamwork requieres to care about each other and help one another, as the team is only as strong as its weakest link.

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#3 – Simplicity

Life onboard a ship is about simplicity. When at sea, phone and internet are not used, as there is no connection. It makes the whole experience so much better.

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#4 – Dont take life to seriously – have fun!

If we take life too seriously, it is no longer fun to live. There are times to be serious and times to have fun, when sailling on a tall ship…

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#5 – Learn from your mistakes

Im a “learning-by-doing”-kinda person, meaning that I learn best, by actually doing the things, as I am learning. This ofcourse means that mistakes will happen, but it’s okay. We are only humans and no one expects for us to be perfect. In fact, if we were all perfect, life would be boring. Learning from mistakes is probably one of the best ways to learn – that way you see what can actually go wrong and you tend to remember the mistakes and they will almost certainly make sure that you dont make that mistake again.

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#6 – Every day is a new opportunity to learn

Every day is a new opportunity to learn. Ever since I joined the Windeward Bound I feel like, I have learned something new every single day. Not only about sailing on a tall ship, but also about the people that surround me, about Australia, about the English language, about myself and about life itself. Every day is a new day, with new possibilities and opportunities.

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#7 – Pushing myself – physically and mentally

Since arriving on the ship, I have pushed myself, not only physically, but also mentally. It has been in different degrees and for different reasons, but I must say that when all comes to all, I am happy to have pushed myself as I keep growing as a person – also, who doesn’t like to have some extra muscles 😉

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#8 – Growing as a person

Being on the other side of the world, speaking and thinking in a different language as well as living on a ship is def. Something that helps me grow as a person. Pushing myself to try new things, explore new continents and improving my skills is something I consider to be amazing!

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#9 – Im having the adventure of a lifetime

I really do feel like I am currently on the adventure of a lifetime – I mean like, it’s pretty awesome to be able to say that you have been sailing on a tall ship 😉

My second week onboard STV Windeward Bound

I have now been onboard the Windeward Bound for 2 weeks – on one side it feels like I have always been a part of the ship and on the other side it feels like just yesterday, when I left Malaga to come to the other side of the world.

 

I have finally settled in on the ship and the ship has now become my home 🙂 For every day that goes by, I learn more and I feel more home, which is really nice 🙂

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The week normally starts on a Wednesday, as we have Monday and Tuesday off. Wednesday is normally Maintenance day, where we clean and fix the ship as well as Trim.

 

During my second week, I have been very lucky to get to help with bringing Trim back and forward every day that we have had a daysail. I really like doing that and I am having a lot of fun doing it. One of the days, the Captain actually told us (it normally takes 2 people to bring Trim back and forward) that we showed great seamanship and that it was a joy to look at, as we were both very calm, concentrated and there was no shouting or anything like that.

 

Wednesday was my first duty-day on my own – a very scary feeling! I was convinced that I would either sink or burn down the ship (which did not happen – Thank God!). Wednesday was also the day where I had to cook my first dinner for the rest of the crew. I made Tortilla de patatas with salad, which went fairly well (I did not have time to take pictures, so use your imagination our google “Tortilla de patatas” 😉 )

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During this week I also got a new best friend – Philip. Every crew onboard WindeWard Bound have got a best friend, which is a piece of rope. The rope is for one to practice knots and splicing. I am also starting to get to know the sails on the ship. In general, I learn something new every day and more and more things are making sense.

 

Sunday we didn’t go sailing as we had no passengers and it was also raining the whole day. That meant plenty of time for training 🙂 First we learned how to sharpen our knives and afterwards we learned a lot about safety onboard a tall ship, both from the Captain but also from watching a 2 part documentary about the First Fleets trip from England to Australia.

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Every day is different – I learn new things, I get better with the ship, I feel more like home and I keep on being happy 🙂

 

Everyday life as a volunteer on a tall ship

Many people have asked me, what it actually is that I do on the ship, so I figured it might not be a stupid idea to do a post about a typical day as a volunteer on a tall ship. So here goes.

0740 – Rise and shine 🙂

My day normally starts around 0740, which is when my alarm goes off. I get out of my cosy and warm sleeping bag, to put on my uniform. I then normally go up to the galley to make myself breakfast (normally toasted bread with peanutbutter and jelly or a bowl of cereal). I then check my mail, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

Once done with my breakfast I brush my teeth and I am then ready for a new day. If Im fresh enough in the morning, I do tend to take some pictures before we start working.

0830 – Happy Hour

They day officially starts. The day normally starts with happy hour, which is cleaning the ship – both inside and outside. Everyone gets assigned a station/place on the ship, where one needs to clean. Once done, you check to see if anyone needs help. The last part of happy hour consists of the deck scrub or deck wash. Once done with the deck scrub/wash, it’s brasso time 🙂 Brasso time basically means polish all brass on the ship.

1000ish – Smoko

Around 10ish it’s smoko time. That means time for a hot drink and a fruit, if one pleases.

After smoko someone needs to go on the wharf to sell tickets to passengers, who wanna come onboard for a daysail.

1015 – Preparing the ship for daysail

After smoko, we normally start preparing the ship for daysail. That means taking gaskets of the sails, taking trim to the other side and make her fast, till we are back in port again as well as prepare for tea, coffee and milo for the passengers.

1130/1200 – Lunch time

Lunch normally consist of bread, ham, cheese and whatever you can find in the fridge that goes on top of bread as well as leftovers.

1230 – Daysail

Passengers come on board, safety instructions are gone through with the passengers, everyone stands by on their assigned positions on the ship. At the moment I have been assigned the stern line, which belongs on the aft deck (the back of the ship). That means that when the Captain tells me to, I take in the line and coil it, so that the deck is cleared.

 

A daysail on STV Windeward Bound normally lasts for about 3 hours and we kinda go where the wind takes us. We motor out of the harbour and a bit and then turn the ship and set the sails. Once we leave the wharf, a person is assigned to be lookout (the eyes of the ship) and another person, normally the person on duty that day, will be in the galley to prepare a light lunch as well as the Tasmanian cheese and fruit platter for the passengers.

 

Once back in port, all sails needs to be tucked away and Trim needs to be brought back alongside the ship. The last couple of times I have been bringing Trim to the other side as well as back to the ship, which has been really fun and I keep on learning something new every time.

1700 – Time off

At 1700 we are normally done with tucking away the sails and bringing Trim back alongside the ship. Once done, we are off, so to say. If you are on duty, you cannot leave the ship, meaning that you have to stay on the ship during the evening.

If you are not on duty, you normally take the opportunity to get off the ship, go out and get a drink, do some shopping or whatever you feel like. Sometimes one chooses to stay on the ship during the evening to do ones washing, read a book or just relax. It varies from day to day.

The person on duty cooks dinner for the rest of the crew and this is normally done somewhere between 1730 and 1900.

 

I have only been on the ship for 2 weeks, but this is more or less how most days have been looking for me. We normally have Monday and Tuesday off (unless on duty) and we have maintenance days as well. More on this later on.
If you think this sounds like fun and you would be interested in volunteering on a tall ship like STV Windeward Bound, you can contact STV Windeward Bound directly here or contact me here.