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Maria at Sea

By apprentice Maria Andersen from Denmark

The sun has already started to rise in the horizon, it is four o’clock in the morning and our watch has started. In the beginning I was really tired at this point, but now that I am getting used to sleeping in my bunk (that is, by the way, not as steady as my bed at home) I am more rested and ready for the day. The long passage between New Zealand and Pitcairn is almost over and I have set a personal record of being at sea for nearly a month.

We are four Danes coming straight from the Danish training ship Danmark, and out in “the real life” so to say; before it was more about learning how to sail, now we do it, and it is great fun and different from what we are used to, for example: free time. We have 16 hours where nothing is planned if there is not a workshop in the afternoon, and what do you do with those hours? Well, sleeping is not a bad thing, otherwise you could enjoy the sunsets and sunrises, feel the antigravity, or go for a cup of tea on the aloha deck while some of the guys are heaving a big tuna inboards. There is a lot of things to do and before you realize it, you have to go on watch again.

I didn’t know what to expect when I sent my application to the Picton Castle. After thirty-three hours of travelling Denise and I arrived in New Zealand, then we came to the ship in the evening when it was raining, jet lag was definitely a factor, and we popped our heads down into the “batcave”, where the girls were already getting ready to go to sleep. Little did we know that all these people we just met in the skiff, in the rain, and in the bunks next to us were going to be our family for the next couple of months.

We have had some tough weather, and the raingear is earning its money back. Rain gear is a great thing to have. But one thing I have discovered is that rain gear is no use out in the head rig when it goes under water or higher on the deck when a big wave decides to attack you with no further notice. At some point you just don’t care anymore – you empty your boots, and keep on working. Luckily the water is not that cold and most of the time laughter is the best cure, especially when you are wet through five layers.

The weather has also been in our favour, and on Christmas Eve we all gathered on the hatch and watched a movie together, which is not how I usually celebrate Christmas, but fun to try. Sometimes you miss your family more than others, and it is hard when you realize that you can’t just call them whenever you feel like it, but the longest journey is coming to its end, and soon I will be able to talk with my loved ones at home. So much to tell, and a big phone bill is waiting dead ahead.

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