Ross Waters El Galeon Experience

I first learned of El Galeon Andalucia when I saw a post on Instagram that said she was due to dock in Cardiff, Wales, the capital city of my country where I visit often. When she was docked I visited with my family on a very busy but thankfully sunny and warm day. I was taken with the ship and saw that the upcoming voyages in terms of tall ship experiences, were very affordable. Within a night or two of visiting the ship I was booked on to join from Plymouth, UK to Oostende, Belgium.

On the morning of my embarkation day I received a phone call from the ship letting me know that they wanted to leave an hour or so earlier than what had previously been stated, I told them it would not be a problem as my train was due to arrive early anyway so naturally my train was delayed and I had to wait an hour for the next train which was cutting it fine to say the least. When I arrived in Plymouth, a fortress harbor with the ship docked, it can only be described as the opening scene in pirates of the Caribbean. Luckily, as I took a photo of the ship I noticed they were getting ready to raise the gangway, so I then had to run down the dock to the ship, all a very fun experience.

I was greeted by a confused but very friendly crew before preparations to get underway really began. It was amazing to see the crew working in as traditional way as you can get with ropes and block and tackle. The relatively quiet evening was then shattered by the firework charges that were set off in the cannons and I knew that this was the experience I had been keeping an eye out for. As we got underway, sailing away from a fortress in the setting sun into light mist with the moon hanging above the horizon visible through the rigging on a Galleon.

The watches when navigating are a highlight of the experience, being at sea. Equally interesting are the maneuvers when entering and leaving port. Manning the tables hanging over the side of the ship to position the fenders is quite the experience. Oostende at Anker, having never experienced a maritime festival before, was incredible, really made special by sharing it with an incredibly friendly and lively mixed nationality, but mainly Spanish crew. The only thing I can say is that the experience is exactly as you imagine it would be from the movies, a mix of experiences that I honestly can´t quite unbelievable I am a part of. An incredible honor to have the opportunity to sail on this ship with this crew. All I can say to really make your experience as good as possible is to attempt to learn the important Spanish, I didn’t speak any Spanish before joining the ship. A Pirates Life for Me.