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Denise’s Birthday

By apprentice Denise Knudsen

So it became the 19th of January, my 20th birthday. It started with my night watch 10 minutes before midnight (I’m on the 12-4). It was a typically windy and cold night. We (the watch) took over the deck and at midnight sharp, two of my shipmates Beamy and Mark started singing happy birthday and shortly after our watch officer John came with a birthday message from my Dad back home in Denmark. I’m glad it was a dark night because I must have looked silly smiling from ear to ear.

The rest of the night watch went as usual for me at least – the rest of my watch went sneaking into the galley, while I did lookout and helm. Eventually four hours passed and we were stood down. At 8:05am I got a lovely birthday breakfast wake-up by Hannah saying, “Good morning Dennis, happy birthday, the Danes have baked some special Danish bread this morning if you want to get up for it.” Even though I was tired, I couldn’t resist the good breakfast. Maria and Gustav had made muffins, oatmeal, porridge, bacon and rundstykker (the Danish bread). Everyone wished me a happy birthday and I got birthday presents from both Maria and Mark: Maria gave me a beautiful home braided bracelet, made from organic rope nibs and Mark’s
was very creative; he gave me a homemade puzzle made from twisted wire, a bit of candy, and a ticket to the “Picton Castle Theatre”. After breakfast and finally solving the puzzle, I went to bed again before day watch.

We got up for watch at 12 noon, as per usual. John tells us the tasks of the day and normally Sunday means no extra work besides keeping the ship sailing, which turned out to be work enough, since we previously snapped a fore t’gallant buntline and a main t’gallant sheet that needed replacing. Beamy was sent up the foremast for the buntline, Meg (our lead seaman) and I went up to replace the sheet, while Mark on deck was slushing the wire. Even though it was work on a Sunday I quite enjoyed it – you learn a lot about the lines and what they do when you have to put them up and lead them through every fair lead under the guidance of a good lead seaman. When we were done with the sheet there was only 30 minutes left of the watch and because it was Sunday I got to read my book until the end of the watch.

Sunday is ship’s cook Donald’s day off duty which meant our watch had to do dinner, a task that Beamy and Meg took on and they did so good: Sunday roast beef; roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, potatoes, veggies and gravy. Afterwards we held “Gentleman’s Club” which basically means that you wear your nice clothes, play cards and socialize with your watch. So we were all sitting there looking very pretty and clean when Beamy and Meg brought down a big birthday cake shaped as the ace of spades. It was a chocolate fudge cake, very delicious. Vai came down with a present for me – a homemade sailor handbag with little grommets and everything. So awesome! And Meg gave me a box of chocolate. We talk and had fun for a couple of hours before bed. So all in all I had an awesome birthday with awesome shipmates!

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