Internships – by Clara

clara50 persons on one ship. 34 of them have no idea how to sail this big ship. However, one of our aims is to be able to bring the ‚Thor Heyerdahl‘ to the Caribbean islands without any help from the crew or the captain. We have to overtake many positions and that is why we have our internships. One of their benefits is to help us to decide which position we want to overtake.

There are three internships and each of them lasts two to three days. We have boatswain with Simon, provisions with Hanna and engineer with Willi.
Luckily I had a boatswain internship with Simon. This is what I had to do: my day began at half past seven. First we wanted to build and paint some stairs of the starboard companionway because the old ones were broken. After that the stairs had to dry and we had a new job: bending on the sky sails which we took out of the cargo hold in the morning. We took the things we needed out of the cargo hold, for example rope and a knife, and climbed up the rigging. It is such a great feeling standing 30 meters up in the air in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and working while having the most beautiful view. Water up to the horizon. Of course we had to take care of our sails so we climbed higher and higher until we reached the top. I’ve never bended on sails before, but that didn’t matter because Simon showed me how to do it right on top of the topgallant yard. The schooner mast has normally three sails bended on it. The topgallant sail, the topsail and the fore course. Above these three square sails there is some space for the sky sails. Back on the main deck, we painted our stairs twice to make them water resistant. Now they had to dry in the sun again.

On my second day we greased the leather which covers the shrouds. Unfortunately, the stairs needed so much painting that we couldn’t finish them on that day. As a boatswain you have always things to do so it never gets boring.
Nevertheless, if you are more interested in food, you can do a provisions internship. That means that you help Hanna to stow the food into the dry store, cold store or into the freezer room. You also help the mess stewards to get their food. It is really interesting to see how empty space is used in it’s best way. It’s a little bit like playing Tetris. You may not believe it, but it is really hard work. You have to keep working for about 16 hours and you always find things to do. You have to be talented at organizing things because the work is not easy and everybody needs your help. On the other hand it is also much fun and you are so happy if something works the way you want it to work.

The third internship is engineering. Willi teaches us how our main engine works. We have to repair, grease and exchange parts of it. Sometimes we also have to do some safety checks, for example the bilge alarm. When water gets into a bilge, there is a little thing called ‚Schwimmer‘, which sends an alarm to our chartroom and we know what’s up. One day Willi opened the engine and explained how it works and it is really fascinating. But we also have to manage to turn on and off the generator.

I think we really have great internships because you can’t do these kind of internships at home. In addition, we really need all the things we learn every day and this journey wouldn’t be possible without the work of the boatswain, the provisions master and and engineer. And since we want to bring the ship to St. Vincent and the Grenadines on our own, we are really happy to have these internships.