On board Gunilla everything is about time. Our twenty-four hours a day are well counted so we can fit all things we need to do every day. All things that happen on board happen on a specific time. That is why all of us constantly asking what time it is. Further down you can read about a normal day on board Gunilla – when everything depends on the time.
Every morning at 03.30 am the starboard watch wakes up for their morning watch that starts at 04.00. That means we need to be ready up on deck at five to four. If we are late we need to muster earlier next time – what keeps us motivated to be there at five to four. Between five to four and 04-08 am our watch leader checks that we are here, and then the mate talks about the past four hours for a minute or so. At 04.00 the bell rings eight times and we take over the watch on deck. The next time to care about is the coffee break time, it is at 05.00 am. The coffee break is always fifteen minutes. At 07.00 we always (if nothing special is going on) wash the deck and flush things on board (such as blocks, ropes and deckhouses) with fresh water. At 07.55 we muster together with the next watch, midships that is on between 08.00 and 12.00 in the morning. It is the same procedure as we always do when it is a watch change. After our hand over we have time for breakfast. Then we sleep until lunch. Lunch is always at ten to eleven and we always get waken up ten minutes before. If we are not there in time, we get less time to eat. It works like that because the galley cooks food all day for all the crew and if a meal gets late, the whole day is going to be delayed for the galley. And if people do not get their food in time, they are going to be late for watch, and if they are late to watch they have to muster earlier next time and – you get it.
You might think that it must be hard for us to care about the time so much, and it actually is. But now after these weeks we know the times so well, we know exactly when to wake another watch up, when we are working we can feel that it must be coffee break soon and we are all now quite good at it as well. Because of everything is about time here we also got to learn how to appreciate time, especially minutes. Five minutes at home are for most of us nothing worth doing anything for. Here on board five minutes can save your day. We all know quite well how to wake up, put our clothes on, have a cup of coffee AND be in time for watch. We all know how to have a shower (even when it is queue), with shampoo and conditioner and get dressed in five minutes. Those five minutes are a long time for people on board. Especially if you are lookout when it is watch change, then it feels like an eternity those five minutes when you are waiting to be relieved.
Time is complicated, but necessary I think. All moms and dads, please do not get mad if all of us eats as quick as possible, snoozes as long as possible and maybe, maybe are having an extra long shower when we get home.
See you in two weeks,
Amanda Perols, starboard.