Mission to Africa – Pit stop in Portugal

The Mohawk approaches Funchal, Portugal, for a logistics stop before heading to West Africa. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk

Week three, we have reached our first port call! Funchal, Portugal. It is a town located on the island of Madeira just off the coast of West Africa. We stopped here for logistics before we make our way to Africa. The crew was granted liberty while we were here to take in the sights. Most of the crew took tours of the island and its many breathtaking views. Some went on hikes and some rode the traditional toboggans down the mountain, but now it is back to work.

“There was breathtaking views from the cable cars and amazing ocean views from my hotel balcony. Portugal is one place I hope to return to again,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Eckery, a storekeeper aboard the Mohawk. “This visit to Portugal was a once in a lifetime opportunity and to be there when Portugal played Spain in the world cup was an amazing experience.”

“The local cuisine was similar to food in America but without all the spices and fatty ingredients. The locals were very accepting and social with us during our visit,” said Seaman Ronald Craven, a crewmember aboard the Mohawk. “Even though on game day Portugal lost, we still had a blast representing them in their home country.”

A cadet aboard Mohawk mans the bridge during a special sea detail. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk

We got underway again Wednesday. Now we are headed to Africa to accomplish our mission to work with our African partners to help them build the capacities and capabilities necessary to make their borders stronger and less porous against drugs and other contraband.

Everyone on the crew has much to do before we arrive in Africa; the ship is up early and is very busy for the next few days. Every department is “turning-to.”

As this week wrapped up we have started to work on and accomplish some of our goals for this trip. We saw a place we have never seen before and may never see again and we took in a new culture and experiences we may not have ever encountered before all while growing personally and professionally.

Keeping checking the Coast Guard Blog for more Mohawk updates and photos. Mohawk photos can also be found in this Flickr set.

PA3 Victoria Bonk, CGC Mohawk