A fight for what is right, and we’re always right!
When I say “Boat,” you say “Afloat!” Whether we’re sailing the high seas or roaming old cities and remote islands, we’re always working as a team aboard the S/V Gulden Leeuw. Of course, everyone immediately jumps up and joins sail maneuvers when idle hands or all hands calls are made. Yes, we’ve also got each others’ backs when it comes to our safety and daily endeavors. We’re all one big, happy family. Or so it seems…
On one special week, however, this wasn’t the case. “What do you mean? you may ask. Well, there are times when our tight crew splits into six core teams, called watches. When this happens, every watch fights for themselves and a competitive nature immediately builds up on deck. Screams can be heard, sweats are broken, tears are shed, and balances on deck are lost every day as everyone works strong and hard to protect their watch’s pride and honour. Still confused? Well, in order to understand this frantic dynamic, we must go ahead and ask the most infamous, dreaded question: which watch is the best?
The unbiased solution… Watch Wars! Duh duh duh!
On the week of April 11th, all six watches were put to the test and faced each other to prove their strength, brain, wit and enthusiasm in efforts to help sort out, once and for all, who could call themselves “the best of the best,” “the strongest watch,” “the winner,” and also, the one who could get a pretty sweet prize at one of our next ports: an extra hour of shore leave. Tempting, huh?
A verdict had to be made. We needed an answer, and we were all willing to do whatever it took to be placed as first. Sue, the mastermind behind this tricky ordeal, took that last part very seriously. Her crew of creative co-organizers, Emily A., Mya B., Will M., Chloé M. and Sam W., took it one step further and really thought outside of the box when it came to determining how this decision would be made up. Everyone, ready to compete, also wore their watch colours and got face paint designs as an effort to score bonus points for overall participation and spirit during the week.
Looking back at Amanda, Watch Six’s Watch Dog, wearing all grey to support her team as they cheered “G. R. E. Y., G. R. A. Y., No matter how you spell it, this is how you yell it… GREY!”
I wish that I could have opted out of the “I’ll do whatever it takes!” mindset. Why? Well, you won’t be confused for long once I get going as to what we had to do to fight for the name of our watches and leave the rest in the swell behind.
The Watch Wars consisted of five days of challenges, for which each watch had to pre-select a member they thought would perform best to compete against the other watches. This had to be done solely by judging the obscure and misleading names of the games. Depending on their standings, the best-performing group in a challenge would be accorded the most points, and the worst-performing group would, therefore, earn the least.
Watch out, everyone, Watch Two is here! Dallin, of Watch Two, supports his watch with white face paint designs and a white shirt. Team spirit could be seen all day, every day!
Each point had the potential to make a difference in the final score. Every action counted. Every point counted. Every move was carefully calculated. The games were on, in the middle of the sea, 700 nautical miles away from the closest land.
Pretty intense… am I right?
We participated in more than twenty challenges to determine the strongest and greatest watch, so let’s look at the top five events that the floaties enjoyed the most during the week.
“Two… six! Two… six!” could be heard from both sides as they hauled as hard and strong as they could during this Tug of War Match. This was a great opportunity to put our line-hauling muscles to the test and see which Watch could pull the hardest!
Banana Ball (Day 1)
Us Canadians were very happy to hear that one of our first ways to gain points was to play a round of deck hockey. That sense of relief quickly disappeared when we found out that instead of sticks, we’ll be playing with bananas on a rope and with a plate as a puck. Pretty straightforward, don’t you think?
With two players per team, we all clumped up and tried to shoot the bowl into the same pinrail net without getting the bananas tangled up. Although we all played our best, Easton L. and Levi R. were the real MVPs of the game, as they both earned their watch, Watch One, the full ten points with a pretty sweet score right through everyone’s legs. Let’s just say that after that, banana ropes were tangled, points were earned and lots of fun was made. The first challenge was done… success!
Watch One scores! Levi R. basking in the glory of his awesome shot during the “Banana Ball” challenge as everyone cheers for, and congratulates him and Easton L. for their successful goal!
Ice Cream Cone (Day 2)
Would you also miss having a perfectly round, sweet and refreshing scoop of ice cream if you were at sea for this long? We definitely do. Or, well, did. We were all shocked in joy at the discovery that the next challenge involved creating the prettiest ice cream cone, but that joy was quickly replaced with horror as we were told that this team-of-two game involved one scooper, and one support. I mean, it makes sense… right? The ship was rolling around quite a lot that day, and one watch member needed to make sure the cone didn’t fall. But here’s the catch, they had to do it with their mouths.
At the end of this challenge, not only did we all get to enjoy a sweet scoop of ice cream victory, but we also shared a very silly laugh at those supporting watch members who caught all of the dripping chocolate sauce and whipped cream with their cheeks and noses.
Can you see how happy the “Ice Cream Cone” challenge made us? Johan, of Watch 3, and his huge smile right after the challenge, right before he got to enjoy his watch’s beautiful creation. Yum!
Cheeto Head (Day 3)
Living on a ship out at sea means being treated to the most beautiful sunrises in the morning, but what better way to wake up in the morning and start the day than to have one’s head covered in shaving cream? We started off the third day of Watch Wars by covering one watch member’s head with shaving cream, and seeing which watch can throw the most Cheetos on their head in one minute. Yup.
Chocolate pudding… yum! These contestants would beg to differ, though, as they had to eat up all of the pudding, but leave the hidden sardines in it behind. Sardine chocolate pudding? Not so yum.
Egg Drop (Day 4)
This challenge was, by far, the most intricate and looked-forward to event in the week. With only 24 hours to prepare, each watch had to come up with their version of a capsule that will hold an egg, and hopefully protect it, as it was dropped from the Spreaders of the Foremast onto the Foredeck. Sounds simple, right? Wrong! You mustn’t forget that this egg drop took place on a ship! Our contraptions had to be fully biodegradable, and we were limited to using only what was on board. Working even harder because of these restrictions was worth it, because points were awarded for the capsules that protected the eggs, but also to the ones that landed on a target on deck.
To do this, one member from each watch had to find a way to carry their creation as they climbed aloft onto the Spreaders. By the end of the event, the foredeck was covered in rice, flour, cracked eggs, popcorn, food slops and lots of toilet paper. On the bright side, only one of the packages fell into the water! Although only three watches managed to protect their eggs from breaking, everyone considered this game a great success!
Behold our creations! Each watch’s shroud-climber and egg champions presents their group’s intricate egg-protecting contraptions to the whole crew right before drop-time.
Go Watch Six! Megan B., of Watch Six, prepares for a busy day of challenges and contests by painting her face with artistic designs in Watch Six’s colour, grey.
Peanut Butter Sandwich (Day 5)
Lastly, this challenge’s misleading name shocked us all when we found out what we had to do. Each watch had to choose one member to cover in peanut butter, while the rest threw slices of bread at them to get them to stick. This event was especially funny, because who wouldn’t laugh at the sight of six shirtless boys covered in peanut butter trying to catch loaves of bread with their chests and backs? This sticky challenge will surely stick with us for a really long time.
“You can do it!” was shouted and yelled at these Wall Sit Challenge contestants as they pushed past the ten minutes mark. Although it may not be easy to see, these athletic champions withstood the heavy roll of the dropper ship during the game!
Who Won the Class Afloat Watch Wars?
Then, it was time for the moment of truth. The winner was to be announced. We were finally going to find out which watch will forever have the bragging rights to call themselves the best. Although everyone had their suspicions as to which watch Sue would proclaim as winner, we were hoping that, in some way or another, our watch would magically gain fifty more points to get to first place. It didn’t happen, sadly, but it would have been pretty great.
Limbo time! Mya B., of Watch One, successfully passes on to the next step in the Limbo Challenge as Amanda G., Chloé M., and everyone around them cheer her on. It’s not easy to keep your balance under the stick when the ship rolls from side to side!
To answer this controversial question and to put it to rest, once and for all, Sue got everyone’s attention and announced that Watch One took first place, followed by Watches Three, Four, Six, Five and Two. During the week, we all worked very hard, stepped out of our comfort zone, and worked really, really hard to fight for our watch and for its pride. Although only Watch One was genuinely happy with the results, everyone was content with the outcomes of the week. Every watch demonstrated their best strengths while team bonds were built, strengthened and put to the test. The week was a real success.
Now that the Watch Wars are over, it’s time to get back to working as a team. The action-packed week ended with a banquet, during which we enjoyed a delicious Sunday dinner served by the faculty. To top it all off, we enjoyed some ice cream that Tia F.’s parents gave us when we visited them in Bermuda. Thank you!
It’s time to get back to working as a team. Here’s a fine example of Nic Q. and Evan D., of Watch Five, as they work well with Will M., of Watch Six, the best watch, during a sail maneuver after Watch Wars.
Written By: Class Afloat student, Yoad Vered