School lessons aboard the Thor Heyerdahl


By Jandrik

School is very important for young people so that they have a basic knowledge, learn something for their life, discuss interesting and current topics so they are well prepared for the life as adult and later find a job. Something as important as school can’t be ignored even though we are sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. For every student on the Thor the last school lesson has been more than one month ago so it is necessary to start learning again.

Until Tenerife everyone was taught in nautical things like working with a chart, how to pull up all 14 sails of the Thor and other things that are important to sail over the Atlantic. We, the students, got split up in two groups and now we have a group that does the sentry duty an entire day and the second group that has school. This changes every day. School here is very interesting because the lessons fit to our route. For example, in the last geography lesson, we spoke about Safi and that it is the “Trashcan of Morocco” because of all the industry and the phosphate that is everywhere, just like we saw when we were there.

Every time we have to keep in mind that we are still on a sailing ship and not in a normal classroom so the most important thing is that the sailing works. Because of this we have to stop the lessons sometimes abruptly and can’t even finish the sentence to work with the sails or to drive a gybe. Also, it is a very different atmosphere here than in my school back home, because we have a lot of contact with our teachers, go watch together with them and speak about personal things since there are only a few people on board that you can talk with. On the other hand, it is a very special atmosphere because of the place where our lessons take place. There is the blue sky above our heads and the sea under our feet because of the waves that come on board. Also, we have the pleasant wind around us that forces us to watch out for our papers so that they don’t fly away and animals like dolphins and whales in the water that sometimes interrupt our lessons because everyone wants to see them so nobody listens to the teacher.

In the days where we only go watch and have no school lessons we have to work one and a half hours for school because the time we have is short and there is a lot that we want to learn. For this period of time there is a special folder on board where the teachers put exercises in so we have something to do. It is a bit like homework in our school back home. But there are not only exercises that prepare us for the next lesson or that repeat the things we learned in the last lesson in this folder there are also exercises about topics we don’t mention in the lessons on board but that are important in our school back home. The only difference to homework is that we do it in a group of eight people that work together and help each other or if nobody knows the answer ask the teacher who supervises the free working phase.