Ship Life: Life On-Board the Gulden Leeuw
I wondered for a long time what to write about to tell you about what our lives are like in this program and I’ve decided to show you what a normal day on the ship is like. I will talk you through an average day from the time we wake up (well hardly wake up!) to the best moment of our day: BED TIME. Okay let’s start.
Depending on what time our night watch is, we will be woken up softly by our peers throughout various hours of the night. For example, I’ll give you my watch time, which is from two to four. At one thirty in the morning a student from the previous watch will quietly and respectfully try to wake me up. Usually this person will ask me a question to make sure that I actually really am awake. "What is three times eleven girl?" I will gracefully mutter the answer, "thirty-three". At this point I have thirty minutes to get my heavy and weak body out of my comfortable and warm bed. I will put on some clothes (my crazy flashy Adventure Time pants, usually), will brush my teeth, and make sure to get to the bathroom too. I will grab a snack and my Class Afloat gear and only then am I ready to go check in at the bridge to start my watch. I navigate. I look at the stars. I get so cold and then I pull some ropes. Two hours later, after being released, I go back to my dreams until breakfast.
Breakfast is from seven to eight and the big wake-up is at seven thirty. So I put on clothes again, and have breakfast and then we get prepared for Colours at eight. Colours is a kind of gathering where we talk about the weather, the plan for the day and some other important things that Drew, the Maritime Crew or the students feel like sharing. Right after Colours we go eagerly to our cleaning stations. Our cleaning stations change every three weeks (as do our watch times). Once the toilets, the dorms and whatever other cleaning station you are responsible for is perfectly clean and shiny, we can get prepared for our classes. If we don’t have class at nine then we need to go check in at the bridge deck to help the Maritime Crew with various jobs, always with a big and exaggerated smile on our faces. Depending on our schedule, we may be in class or on the bridge throughout the day. At twelve we have lunch, which is always a delicious and healthy meal prepared by our lovely cooks. We line up and wait patiently (or as patiently as we can) for our meal. We all get together in the mess and talk about our day. While we finish the food on our plates, seconds is called. Seconds…how can I describe seconds? A bunch of still-hungry people that can’t wait to ingest a second plate of the super delicious meal. More and more food, forever and always. If at one point in the day students don’t have any tasks or classes, we can go take a shower or just write a bit in our journal; what we choose to do in our free time is up to us. Talking to someone is always a popular choice as we always have an ear next to us ready to listen to our crazy ship stories or home sick problems.
Classes are well-organized on the ship. We can have classes in the salon, at the bar or at the forward section (which is at the front of the boat). When the weather is great, teachers often propose that we have classes outside, which is simply amazing. Have you ever had the chance to say that your class was interrupted because of a dolphin or whale alert? It is really crazy. When all the classes are finished for the day we put all our stuff away in our bunks, because if not, Grant (our boatswain) will be very pleased to take it and put it away for you … in a secret room … for an indeterminate amount of time. But no matter, we learn quickly how to be well-ordered and organized. Thank you for your rough but effective methods Grant!
At six we have evening muster, which is a little bit like Colours. This is another gathering where we do a big summary of our day and where some important information is given to us. Good day or bad, during muster we always have shout-outs and moments of awesome to share with the group. It is pretty cool to be a highlight in someone’s day. After about fifteen minutes of muster we wait for dinner. Dinner is served at six thirty and it is the same process at lunch with the main difference being that the seconds are much more savage. Oh my God, I almost forgot to tell you about the best part of the day: SNACKS! The moment of the day that everybody waits for with drool around their mouths. Fresh and crunchy fruits wait for us at three in the afternoon. We can literally hear the fruit calling us: Come and eat me please, I know you are hungry you little, impatient teenager. At the end of the day, after dinner, we have one hour of study hall. We can study silently and complete our homework and if we don’t have anything to work on then we can just do whatever we want, respectfully and without disturbing our peers. Then we can finally go to bed and get some rest. This is an ordinary day on our lovely ship. We are enjoying life in Southern Spain and can’t wait to be reunited with our Golden Lion again!
This is on the foredeck after our first Sunday dinner.
This is our first swimming call, just outside Lisbon in Cascais.
We are on the foredeck.