Thor Heyerdahl – Our New Home – by Katie


Home. It’s a place that you know, a place where you feel safe, a place you always come back to. I think that we haven’t come to that stage yet. We are still discovering and learning about this amazing ship which we now are honoured to call “home”.
Though for the most of us, it is very different to live here, there are lots of changes.
The beds, it’s one of the first things that you notice when you walk around the ship. The cabins (= rooms on a ship) are really small and so are the bunks (= beds on a ship). We each were given bunks to sleep in which we will now have until Tenerife when the cabins are changed. This bunk is our only private space along with our shelves. It contains all that we have with us with some things in shelves or in the storage under the bed.  The change is stark to what we probably experience at home; large rooms, ample space, peace and quite, etc.
Having very little space can be good and bad. One advantage of this is that nothing is ever really lost, we really weren’t allowed to take very much with us and we should all know what we have but also if anything does disappear it is normally in the lost and found box. This is also a great source of pleasure because every Saturday after we have cleaned the ship we have an auction of all of the items remaining in the box. You get first claim if its yours but if no one claims it is free for all and some things end up going for a really high price. 
Hygiene has been emphasised as important so every day we clean the ship. We also have to do a larger scale clean on Saturdays which also includes a cabin control to see if everything is ready for the expected waves. Some people see it as quite a chore, it is quite a lot of work. As well as cleaning the rooms, each watch has their own cleaning station which changes every week. These include the toilets and showers, deck, salon, cargo hold and the mess room (our communal eating and chill area) and companionways (= stairs on a ship). This is to get us into the routine of keeping things clean and tidy so that when we get to hotter areas we do get pests on board.
We are split into 4 different watches, this means that every 12 hours we have a 3 hour watch. This has lead to us being very close with the people in our watch, but the people who have to opposite watch have a completely different schedule. We all have to get used to getting up and going to bed at different times from the others. The question is always; to sleep or not to sleep?
Finally the rules; there are lots of rules on board that are hard to get used to. Get up at ridiculous times in the night. Always walk down the stairs backwards. You can only listen to your music on your MP3 player in your bed. Don’t stand on the decks house when the wind is too strong. These all have reasons behind them but are difficult to make into a habit.
This is our new normal, this is what is home for us, the small rooms with pictures of family and friends plastered on the walls, the omnipresent damp that comes with living on a ship and the new friends that I’m sure will become family through this amazing journey.