Coming from a landlocked country, this was the first time ten of us students from Nepal had seen the sea. That is why we were grinning from ear to ear as we boarded the Etta Von Dangast for a cruise on the Jade Bay off Germany’s North Sea coast.
Here we were embarking on an adventure that we had never imagined in our wildest dreams. All thanks to the Media School Nepal Germany Program 2017 for which we had come to Wilhelmshaven from Kathmandu.
My first reaction at the sight of our boat was “Wow, that is big!” I was more used to the tiny boats on Phewa Lake. The size of this boat caught me by surprise. It wasn’t exactly as big as some of the warships we saw later at the naval base, but it was much bigger than anything we had seen. What surprised us even more was that the unique double-triangle flag of Nepal was fluttering on the mast together with the flags of Japan, China, Thailand and Brazil.
Captain Anton Tapken said he had a tough time finding a Nepal flag and had to order it from a flag shop in Hamburg. And them sitting in the water in all their glory filled my heart with pride and got me to wonder what it would be like to some day see Nepali colours sailing with their magnificence on full display.
The mesmerizing scenery certainly helped in making this one of the more memorable experiences of my life.
The trip’s crowning moment was the sailing into the naval area of the bay where we saw frigates and guided missile ships. These ships of the Germany Navy had just arrived from anti-pirate patrols along the Somali coast, and also rescue mission to pick up refugees off Sicily.
But before long, the typically untypical north German weather kicked in and it literally started to rain on our parade. What started as a light drizzle quickly turned into cats and dogs and of course, the colder than icy wind also joined in. But that didn’t stop us from having fun. If anything, that magnified it.
I grabbed a blanket and a bottle of beer to keep us warm and off I was to the upper deck. We danced to Nepali and Hindi songs put on by the boat crew and nobody cared about the rain in the tiniest bit. And you know the saying that there’s a rainbow at the end of every storm? Well, there it was a double rainbow arcing across the fray sky as the setting sun peeked from behind clouds to the west. The was a clear and sharp rainbow with the seven colours clearly visible. The rainbow starting from the dark clouds
up in the sky and ending into the deep blue sea was nothing like I’d ever seen before. No camera on earth could do justice to the sight.
So, after all that dancing and getting wet, it was only natural that we were hungry and went below deck for the buffet. There were plump, juicy and beautifully brown sausages that melted in our mouths and wrapped your tongue with all the porky goodness that is sure to make my mouth water for weeks if not months to come. It was definitely worth the €2.
Our German friends from Jade had also prepared a variety of vegetarian foods that looked and tasted really healthy. We had three different types of pasta, couscous salad, cheese and grapes but what was most delicious for me as a spice loving Nepali girl was the Jalapeno peppers. It was just the right amount of spicy, tangy and sour perfectly catered for my Nepali tongue.
But, all good things must come to an end and so did this boat ride. After three hours of fun, the boat sailed back to Dangast along shallow channels amidst low tide. This was a unique experience of the sea for all of us from the mountains of Nepal, and the memories will stay with us forever.