Our Daily Life in a Nutshell – by Matthias


The Thor Heyerdahl, our home for the next 6 months, is under control of the KuSis 24 hours and 7 days per week. Like you can possibly imagine, it would be a big danger to leave a ship without anybody awake, so that is why our daily life has to be well structured.

The day is split into 4 sentry duties twice a day, which means that every pupil has to take care of the ship for 6 hours in total per day. The first duty is from 11am to 2pm and from 11pm to 2am.The second duty starts at 2am and ends at 5am and of course from 2pm to 5am.The third one takes over from 5am to 8am and from 5pm to 8pm. The last one starts right after the third one (8am/8pm) and is going to end at the beginning of the first one (11am/11pm).

But actually there are two kinds of duties:

1) The sentry duty at sea: All the crew members and all the KuSis, except the people working in the galley in order to prepare our meals, have to wake up and look after the ship for 3 hours at night and other 3 hours during daytime. They have one person at the helm to keep the ship in the right direction and two lookouts. These are people who have to look out for other ships, special signs or unusal things and other dangers at sea. They also allow the others, who have their free time, to climb into the rigging during the day. They are the responsible people for hoisting the sails and at every full hour they have to mark the ship‘s position on the seamap by hand and put it into the bellbook. That is very useful if you want to see how far one has already sailed in the past few hours and whether you need to change your direction. If the engine is working and helping us to move faster, the current sentry duty has to check on it every hour, so they need to oil parts of it and keep an eye on it.

2) The „anchor duty“ and „port duty“: They are almost the same, with the small difference that the anchor duty has to do two more things: The first one is checking if the anchor is slipping and to make sure the Thor is still in the same position. To ensure that, you need to take three bearing points on land (e.g. lighthouses) every full hour and compare their coordinates to the past ones. The port duty has to make sure that nobody comes on board who does not belong there.

But still, there are some things every duty has to do: First, a safety check: They have to check whether there is water in the ship or if there is fire somewhere. At sea, it is also crucial to ensure that every bulleye is cloed properly, so that there is nearly no possibility for water coming into the ship, and to check for nothing to slide or fall around and hurt other people. Second, the weather: The sentry-duty has to write down the air pressure, air as well as water temperatur, strength and direction of the wind and how cloudy, rainy or sunny it is in our weatherbook. The best of all things, which nearly everyone loves to do is third: Waking up the members of the next duties, as everyone knows that only 30 minutes are left until one is allowed to go to sleep in o e‘s warm and cozy bed again.

In conclusion one could say, that it is actually really important to fulfill these jobs with caution to ensure everyone‘s safety on board.

I‘m greeting the dolphins which were happily jumping out of the water right in front of Porto Santo.