by Clare Johnson
It’s been fairly lively today as the wind picked up overnight. The first clue was the forecast pinned to the board showing strong wind speeds (coloured red – never a good sign) in our bit of ocean. The second was the galley (kitchen) staff tying down all the chairs in the mess (eating area) and putting signs on the two fridges reminding us to use the catches to hold them shut.
Everything on a ship is designed to cope with the motion: from catches on all the drawers in your bedroom so they can’t open and close as the ship rolls, to tables being attached to the floor so they can’t ‘fly’ across the room if the ship gives a particularly violent roll. There are tennis balls on the legs of the dining chairs to give them better grip and help them (and you!) not to slide across the floor whilst eating, and all tables and benches have lips and sticky mats. It also helps to remember not to fill your soup bowl or mug too full! However, even with adaptions life on a moving ship is more difficult. There’s a saying: ‘one hand for you and one for the ship’. You have to lean against something to work at a bench, computer mice have a mind of their own, and it’s a bit too high risk to have a cuppa anywhere near anything you don’t want to get wet!!
Having said that we managed to carry on some work today thanks to the skill of the crew and officers and turning ourselves into the waves to get a more stable position whilst on a sampling station. We are also all aware that the weather here can be a LOT worse than this, and are thankful that we’re not seeing the record breaking waves that Penny and others saw in 2000 in this area – 96 foot I am told by a scientist who was also on board that day! Eek! I’m also very grateful that life didn’t get too lively until after I’d got my sea legs. We’ll all be pleased to wake up to calmer seas tomorrow though!