Aqua First-years activity

Hello Aquanauts! On the 17th of November, the first years organized their first activity and revealed their name (more on that later). The evening started with maintenance. The Aegir got her first good scrub of the winter break and was released of all that nasty rust. In the meantime, other Aquanauts made sure that the hard-working people could expect a good and delicious dinner: stamppot! Which is a traditional Dutch dish which was related to the theme that the first years came up with for the activity.

The theme of the evening was cold, which was enhanced by the beautiful Titanic Soundtrack music. The evening was divided into two areas. In the main building of the Water Scouting, origami boat folding was held. With the prize for who folded the best boat of course being eternal glory. In the warehouse, a nearly Olympic sport was being played. It was the sport of ice hockey with an ice cube and wooden skewers on aluminum foil. The games got quite intense at moments with the field being destroyed and the aluminum foil having to be replaced. The game and evening as a whole were very successful. To keep us warm there was lovely choccy milk and glühwein.

And now for the moment you have all been waiting for, *insert drumroll* The first years will from now on be called: The Rhine-o’s! We have chosen this name because Rhinos are alive, Wageningen is the city of life sciences, Aqua is in Wageningen and we sail with Aqua on the Rhine.  

It all began on Friday night. While a lot of us had train delay in Utrecht, we did lots of games before we went to sleep in our cosy cabins.

On Saturday morning we woke up at 8, had breakfast and headed to the boats for a sailing trip to an island in the Gaastmeer to have lunch. After some dancing workouts and covered in bird poo we sailed back to camping De Bearshoeke. While some of us learned how to sail without the rudder to intuitively learn how the sails work, Jesse thought it would be smart to learn to sail wíth the rudder first 😉. Also some of us took on the adventure to illegally go to idyllical places to stick Aqua stickers where they were already placed years before. To keep the subtropic autumn temperatures (~19°C) of these weekend days going, we had a tropical themed party in the evening. We dressed up and played games again. Things got heated and at least the games got horny. After drinking some white whine with soy milk, we were content and went to bed, because on Sunday we went dew sailing! Although we didn’t have to wake up as early, because lifehack: go dew sailing on the Sunday just after the switch from summer to winter time so you also have to get up at 8 mentally, whilst it is actually 7 on the clock! Afterwards we had breakfast and did a few sailing matches where the skippers were not allowed to sail. Some rules were harmed, like starting to paddle or wrongly taking of precedence, but all boats and participants survived. We also played tag with some balls where we had to throw in other boats main sails. Sadly the wind was going down a lot in the afternoon so a lot of us had to stop early. It was such nice weather though! Lots of sun and it was warm, so we could strip off our sailing pants early to dry our itching butts in the sun.

We enjoyed some very welcome soup and finalized the weekend by making the annual group picture on the camping playground, where we would ‘play at own risk’, as the camping explicitly put on a sign. Then we all went home, by train (another adventure where you could get stranded because the busses you call to come get you are too small to take everyone in one go) or by comfy car.

Last Saturday, Aqua was invited to a special event of the waterscouting: the official opening of the sailing season! The entire association (which includes Aqua) came together for a whole day of nautical fun and games. With everyone, we played a smuggling game where the kids had to get floofy balls from the harbour to the drop-off post. In the meantime, Gaos to stop them by throwing footballs into their sails. We acted as 'neutral' pirates, meaning that everyone was our enemy! When we boarded a boat, they had to return to their own starting post and try again.

The wind was pretty severe, with gusts reaching 5 or even 6 beaufort, which meant some intense sailing. We thought it very brave that the WS let the kids sail with this wind, but everything went okay! That is, no one got hurt. There were some serious damages after the game had finished. A few broken lines, a tiller broken off and worst of all: the mainsail of the Aegir ripper clean through from back to front! Fortunately, no one was hurt and we managed to get the sail down quickly. With the jib still up, we scrambled back to the harbour to pack up and assess the damage. Even though we could not find a fault in the sail, it was still way beyond repair at this point. Thanks to the Waterscouting, we could replace the sail right away with a backup sail they had stored somewhere, so we can still head out on the Rhine!

We spend the rest of the day hanging out on one of the tugboats of the WS, taking pictures and even driving it for a bit (go, Merel!). Despite our adventures and heart-breaking damages, the weather was great and the mood greater, so overall we had a pretty great day!