5:00pm: After completing a trigonometry problem Mariam asks me in a low tone. “Do you think we are going to have a swim call?”
“I don’t know, but if not do you want to take a bucket shower with me?”
“Yeah, lets do it. Right after class?”
“Sounds good to me.” I look to the next problem on my screen and continue translating radians to degrees.
5:10pm: “Doris, Doris, honestly do you think we are going to have a swim call?”
“Charlie, I expect the worst that way I am pleasantly surprised by the good”
He nods, “Can I go fill my water bottle?”
5:20pm: Everyone’s last class of the day had ended, students are packing up their binders, closing computers, and putting the textbooks away in the benches. The P.A. comes on, “This is Captain Roberts, we will be mustering at 5:30 on the foredeck”. A pause, students look at each other pensively, “I suggest you wear your swim suits.” Students pack up their binders, close computers, and put textbooks away faster than they have ever before. Exclamations of joy, jumps of delight, and 60 kids, 120 feet, running down the stairs to put on their swim suits blend together in a cacophony of cheerful chatter.
5:30pm: Students with towels fill the foredeck, all excited for their first swim call. We are informed that we will be entering the Mediterranean water we had been looking at longingly for the last few days with our day watch groups for 10 minutes each. On top of that we will be provided with a hose that is hooked up to freshwater to rinse off with afterwards.
5:31pm: Everyone watches as Frank, our astounding cook, leaps from the bowsprit breaking the calm, rolling waves.
5:31 to 6:30pm: Following this entrance, the students in watch A start to fill the water. The rest of the student body cheer as each person take the plunge, waiting, more or less, patiently for their turn.
The water is a comfortable temperature, its salty waves splash against our faces, it carries our bodies towards the latter. Many of us climb up and jump again, addicted to the adrenaline rush.
When your day watch group is told 10 minutes is up, time to leave the water, there is an understanding between everyone in the water that at that moment no one wants to leave. Those ten minutes went by in what feels like is 30 seconds. We submerge ourselves one last time then pry ourselves out of the water, climbing the latter one last time before we go to rinse ourselves. We don’t know the next time that we will get to climb up that latter again but we were all definitely pleasantly surprised by our first swim call.