When I started writing this blog I thought that the day would be very typical with no extraordinary events, and so I started to write this text about how a typical day on Gunilla looks like as a 4 to 8 crew member. It was only later on that I found out that this day would not be “completely normal”, and that is why this blog presents to you what an ordinary day looks like for a crew member who is working shifts from four to eight o’clock. However, this day happened to be far more special than I ever would know.
Our day starts at three thirty in the morning which gives us half an hour to wake up and put on all of our necessary clothes before the shift starts at four o’clock. Besides that we have to wear extra clothes in the night, as well as a lifejacket with a built-in AIS tracker that turns on if one of us goes overboard. For those who do not know what an AIS is, it is an emergency radio that sends out your position yourself to the ship, which is realistically your only hope for rescue if you fall into the sea in the dark.
Our first fika was served as per usual, after our first hour of work, granting new energy reserves to keep us going. During this shift, it is dark up until seven o’clock which makes it impossible for us to work with anything maintenance-related. The only thing that is obligatory during this period is to scrub the deck, which only takes about half an hour, giving us plenty of time left to sing songs, climb in the mast, and play games.
Directly after the shift, we have breakfast, and once it’s finished most of us go to sleep for the second time, only getting up at eleven thirty when lunch is served. For many including myself, this is the time of the day when it truly begins because it is at this time our lessons start. After three hours of different studies and a fika break the clock is nearly four, which is the time our next watch starts.
During this four-hour work period, besides working with the sails we often have to do jobs related to the maintenance of the ship. When it is good weather outside we are often busy with things on deck such as greasing different parts of the mast as well as using different methods to remove or prevent rust on the ship. If you have been on a ship you will sooner or later notice that there is always an ongoing war between the rust and the metal, a war we are always trying to win. As always we also get a 25-minute break during the shift to have dinner.
When the bell has ringed eight times, it means four hours have passed and it is time for the 8 to 12 crew to work. For us others that are free, we often choose to watch a film in the big mess before we call it the day and go to sleep for a few hours before the day starts all over again.