At the wharf – written by Markus

schueler-markusMy ‚wharf time‘ began at Monday in Munich. Why at Monday and why in Munich and not in Kiel? I had decided that I wanted to travel to Kiel by bus with the other KUSis on Tuesday, but you have to know that the bus left at 6 o´clock in the morning, so we had to be at the central bus station in Munich at 5:45 am. Because of that, I had to travel to my grandpa’s place near Munich the day before, so I was able to sleep a little bit longer. A few words regarding the bus trip: funny, nice, but we were all tired.
In Kiel we met the rest of the KUSis, the teachers and of course the crew. The first nights we did not sleep on the Thor, instead we slept in a hostel.
On Wednesday we saw our dream: The Thor Heyerdahl, an old traditional sailing ship, at the wharf. It was a magnificent sight. If you see the Thor Heyerdahl the first time in your life, and you really have to see it, you will get carried away by the sight of it. The feelings were incredible. It was a mix of fascination, fear, happiness and amazement. I thought: ‚This ship will be our home. It is the most beautiful sailing ship I ever saw. It is unbelievable.‘
But I was also a little bit scared, because that wonderful ship should take us over the ocean and back again. I thought it is a nutshell in the ocean. But there was no way back any more and I wanted to sail with that fascinating ship. ‚Nice‘ was the first thought of Josef, when he saw the Thor for the first time. ‚Amazing‘ (Joe), ’sail‘ (Paul), ‚home‘ (Laura), ‚ocean‘ (Teresa), ‚big‘ (Yannic) are just a few more first reactions.
So you see we were all fascinated and we all wanted even more to take part in this unique adventure.
At this point I have to say to all people reading this and thinking of taking part in the next sailing trip: Do it! By now I have only been here for a few days, but I know my decision was right. Each day will be a new experience.
But before sailing with that ship to the ‚New World‘ and back home, we first had to prepare the Thor Heyerdahl for our big adventure. That includes making the cabins livable and putting our luggage in our rooms. We all did this hand in hand together, but there was so much work left that we started on the other jobs in groups of two, three or four. One group carried food, bikes or cleaning material to the ship and stowed it there. Believe me it was a lot. After three days, all the food was somewhere in the ship, but it wasn’t as tidy as our chief galley stewards Yvonne and Doro want. So there will be a lot of work during the first days at sea. But there were also many other things to do like painting the ship. Preparing the dinghy and the rescue boat was interesting, because most of us never had had anything to do with something like that. Climbing into the rigging and checking all the ropes wasn’t work for everybody, because the mast is very high. If you want to go into the rigging you have to be sure that you want it.
But we didn’t just work at our ship at the wharf. For our adventure we also had to check our passports, that means writing names, passport numbers, birthplaces and birthdays in a crew list. Vaccination records also had to be checked, because if you go to some places you have to be vaccinated. Believe me, that is a lot of demanding work, but it was fun, too. Counting the students‘ money was also an important job. Everyone should have the same sum of pocket money for our land excursions. Four of us prepared the bikes for our Cuba bike tour to put them into the ship. Because of the little space, they took off the pedals and other things to stow the 37 bikes into the cargo hold.
These were only a few jobs we had to do, there were many other things to do to prepare our new home for the trip. Fortunately, we had help: old KUSis and other volunteers from all over Germany. They did all the jobs we didn’t have time for and gave us instructions for our work.
We all did that with a lot of enthusiasm, because the Thor will be our home for the next six and a half months or 191 days, and we all want to have a wonderful, beautiful and homely home. The last day before we depart, we will proudly present our new home to our parents and families.
In the evening, we all were very hungry and also tired of the work. Thursday was our first night on the ship, but we just had our self-made dinner, went to bed and just wanted to sleep. But sleep was not so easy for ‚last‘ good-bye, with the knowledge that we wouldn’t see our families and friends for the next half year. Maybe some of us sad, maybe others do not want to think about it, but saying farewell is another story.