Saturday, September 18, 2010

Spirit of NZ

My home for 10 days!

At the beginning of September, I spent 10 days sailing on a huge sailing ship with 40 other 'trainees' my age. I thought the program was going to be mainly a learn to sail program, but it was so much more than that. Not only did we learn to sail, but we also did team bonding activities, cleaned up a beach, watched dolphins and went from a 5 hour tramp (hike). One night, we paddled to shore for a BBQ and campfire. Someone brought a guitar and we talked until dark. Paddling back to the ship in the dark was a little creepy (think the first Harry Potter movie) but that was definitely my favourite night!

My Voyage, number 586

Although the ship was huge, the living conditions were rather, well, cramped. Bunks were stacked in threes and folded away in the morning. Not that it mattered, the only thing we did there was sleep. When I first arrived I was worried that people would become snappy with each other after 10 days at sea in such a confined space, but everyone got along swimmingly!

The 5-star accommodations

Speaking of swimming, every morning at 6:30 we were woken up and made to jump into the ocean. Keep in mind, it is still winter in NZ! The first couple of days, jumping in was torture, but by day 4, it was just a lovely wake up. Other duties on the boat included cleaning the ship every morning (this was done in groups called 'watches'), helping with food prep, manning the sails, keeping the log book and performing night watch. Whenever we were on night watch, the crew would say to us, "Now remember, there are 51 lives on board and this is a 17 million dollar ship!" I'll have to check my insurance policy again, but I'm pretty sure it would not have covered that...

Keeping warm and dry in 'yellows'

The weather was pretty good, it only rained well... every day, but only a little. The 2nd day the ocean was rather choppy and I saw my lunch twice, but never got sea sick after that!

Getting pumped to climb the rigging!

We had the opportunity to climb the rigging of the main mast right to the top! Although I look super excited in the above photo, I was actually so scared! Singing loudly and very out of tune with the other trainees was the key to overcoming my fears.

Ecstatic I've made it to the top!

On the last day, the trainees took over the ship, running everything from our course to the time table. (We still woke up at 6:30 though!). We elected the Captain, 1st Mate etc. from amongst the group. Obviously my sailing skills were not up to snuff as I was elected Cook! With my friend Heidi, we cooked all the meals for 50 people in the tiniest galley, but it was so much fun!

What a good house wife... boat wife?

By the end, we were all ready for a shower and a sleep in a real bed. But everyone agreed, if we could have had some fresh clothes, we would have done another 10 days no problem!

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