After the swim, I would get dressed as quickly as possible and make my way to the aft cabin for breakfast. Breakfast was usually something on toast with the side option of porridge. I'd have whatever was going, knowing I'd need the carbs to survive the coming day. Then I would eat my morning peanut butter and jam sandwich.
The sandwich wasn’t as unnecessary as it sounds.
Usually, I eat vegetarian and as plant-based as I can convince my family to put up with. But on the ship, I went into survival mode. Which I’m proud of my body for being able to do. I’d eat whatever was being served, while trying to stay away from foods I know make me feel a little sick, such as potatoes and lots of sugary things for dessert.
But in the mornings, I knew that after the rope ladder if I could make it to the aft cabin I could get a P&J. A sugar-kick reward.
I swear it’s what subconsciously helped me through the ordeal of getting changed every morning.
After breakfast, we would make our way to the aft deck where we held colors. At colors, we would all line up in our groups and someone would raise the flag and ring the ball eight times. Then someone would read us the weather forecast for the day. After that, we would have ‘commercials’. Anyone who had lost anything would sheepishly raise their hand and state their cause.
When we had gotten that out of the way Steve the second mate would explain the weather forecast that had just been read. Steve was every ‘boating dad’ ever with those snazzy sunglasses and a casual but self-assured approach to teaching.
I don’t think he ever said anything mildly grumpy at all throughout the entire voyage. Which, believe me, when you’re dealing with nearly forty teenagers who have no idea what they are doing, is quite an achievement.
After Steve had explained the weather Pat would come forward with a ‘Pat Fact’. Thinking back on it I can’t decide if these were actual facts downloaded off Facebook or if he was just making random stuff up and enjoying the fact we had so much respect for him we would all just nod and agree no matter what he told us.
Pat was the engineer and I didn’t see much of him but he had a blue sky tye-dye sweater, a little earring in one ear that always glinted in the sun and I think he was a fireman or ex-fireman.
After Pat's Fact, someone would step forward and read a thought for the day. These were quotes you would see on a teenage girls Pinterest board, but I found them very comforting and they tended to stick with me throughout the day.
After that Tamati, the third mate, would step forward and tell us the “plan’.
Tamati was the person charged with dealing with us the most. He was the one who planned the day's activities and usually accompanied us when we went off to do them. He had black curly hair and I don't think I ever saw him wear shoes except for the day we went hiking.
The first activity in the plan would always be cleaning.
As soon as colors ended we would all jump into action, scrubbing down whatever part of the ship our watch group was currently assigned. Cleaning actually became one of my favorite daily experiences, because of the familiarity of it. I knew how to clean toilets and I knew how to scrub floors. And when I was cleaning I felt like I was giving back to the ship that was protecting me from the sea.
Then after cleaning the day would kick into action. Usually there would be some more sail putting up. It was always hectic because every day we would go be at a new sail station. And have to relearn the process entirely for that sail. But, there’s nothing more satisfying than gazing up at the billowing white sail that you and your team put up, nearly on our own.
It must have been the second or so day that the spectacular things started happening. The entire voyage was a phenomenal experience but there are a few events that stood out to me and hopefully always will.
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More coming soon, thanks for reading..!