Just as most people do chores at home, Class Afloat is no exception. Here on the boat there never ceases to be a shortage of cleaning that needs to get done. But just because there’s an endless supply of dirty undies and deck scrubbing doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.
A typical morning on the Gulden Leeuw starts with a good morning wakeup of questionable music, courtesy of the six to nine watch. After quite literally rolling out of bed, everyone heads up to morning muster, known as Colours. Once things like salsa Saturday and other upcoming actives are announced, the Watches break off to do Happy Hour, also known as cleaning stations. There are six main stations that get cleaned every morning: bridge deck, main deck, foreword heads (bathrooms), aft heads, dorms and the mess which is our common area. Currently my watch, watch four, is cleaning the mess. We chose to divide the tasks by day and rotate through the normal week schedule.
Tasks, such as sweeping the hardwood floor, wiping surfaces like tables and benches, cleaning the coffee and tea pots, organizing the fridge/saving the fridge from leftover stinky, slimy Horta port cheese and scrubbing the slippery stairs are just a few of the jobs that need to be done in the mess.
There are many unique ways to make happy hour amusing and creative. One example would be while cleaning the main or bridge deck, to have light-saber battle with the scrubbing brooms. Sadly, we have lost many brooms to the great light saber battles. Another great example would be to have an impromptu flash mob/dance battle while blasting music in the mess (because that’s where George’s big speaker is). An alternative to crazy dance battles would be to have a karaoke party while cleaning. Finally, one of my favourite ways to improve cleaning is to do poorly choreographed dance routines to songs like the Macarena or Cotton-Eyed Joe while cleaning counters.
Throughout the day, we clean dishes, if in galley, make sure laundry gets pushed through, ship’s laundry before crews always, and make sure to keep our beloved ship overall clean and tidy. On the days that we have a harsh heal it gets more difficult to clean. For example, when serving lunch that just so happens to be soup, when healing at a 15-degree angle, it gets chaotic. As you can imagine the soup ends up more in our hair and on the walls, than in our mouths. There is an extra cleaning task that comes with stormy days, yes, puke parties! Whether being the one puking or an unfortunate bystander, everyone gets to take part in supporting one another during these eventful days.
The aftermath of a strong heal leaning starboard-side. Gravity tends to hate the fridge door. Many lives of jam jars and applesauce were lost to the roughness of the unforgiving rouge waves. Captain wasn’t too happy about the sea stowing job on this one.
This last sail and the biggest cleaning trial was the battle of the cheesy broken-down fridge. Unfortunately, during the sail from Horta to London, one night the most aft fridge stopped working. Nobody noticed that it had broken. The fridge was filled from top to bottom with the inexpensive, delicious and fresh Portuguese cheese. Slowly as the night watches went by, the unpasteurized cheese inside started to rot and collapse into piles of sweaty, dirty sock smelling, puddle-like, lumps of slime. In the morning, Watch Four were the poor souls who got the burden of cleaning the mess, which included throwing out leftovers and tidying the fridge. As they opened the fridge expecting last nights pulled pork and previous dinner leftovers, they were welcomed with a cheesy nightmare.
Picture of the delicious Horta cheese before it all melted away. Luckily, we managed to get in some cheesy photos before the disaster. Most if them turned out pretty gouda.
After all this time and only a bit over a month left to go, we’ve all gotten pretty good at keeping it neat. Even though cleaning our beloved boat is a mandatory daily job that at times can be tough, the satisfaction of having a clean and tidy home never ceases to put a smile on everyone’s faces.