The sense of time at sea is peculiar on the Gunilla. Today I woke up and during the routine speech of the person assigned to wake the ongoing watch, I got confused. Because when I heard what time it was (eleven thirty) I interpreted it as eleven thirty in the morning, not eleven thirty in the evening, which was the actual time. Because in my head, waking up at eleven thirty pm. is not something you do on your usual thursday.
You’d think that by this time my mind would’ve adjusted to the routines onboard, and in many ways it has. But I still get these moments of confusion and I'm not alone in it. The routines are the same, day in and day out. You wake up, you go on watch, you sleep, you eat, you study, you eat again, you sleep and then repeat. This constant pattern of events would for many people be portrayed as tiresome and boring. But not for us. Well, maybe for some of us. But I believe the routines bring a sense of security in the sense that you don’t have to plan or even wonder what you’re going to do the next day. The usual stress and anxiety about school assignments drastically reduces while being onboard. The only time of the day when you can do what you like is between the watches, but as I mentioned earlier you have to fit in studying and sleep in that time span as well. The activities to do during your spare time are very limited. You can play video games, music and board games or, if you want to spend some time to yourself, watch a film or series.
Another example of how time is portrayed differently on the Gunilla is the fact that it feels like we never left. It has been over a year and a half since we were last onboard, but that time is not really noticed. It’s like time stopped when we last left and continues now when we’re back. There are of course evidence to claim the opposite, like the renovation of the big mess and the new floors in the pupils' cabins. But the feeling of stepping right back in where we left covers the evidence and left is that feeling of timelessness. Furthemore, while we’re talking about time, we don’t have much left here on the Gunilla. There are merely two weeks left of our trip and my feelings about it ending are split. Because I won’t miss the different countries and places we go to. No, I’ll miss the simple things. I’ll miss standing with the rest of my watch watching the sun set to The Circle of Life on speaker. I’ll miss the relieving of the watches where we sing half original songs of all different qualities (some of them are actually pretty good). I’ll miss watching the dolphins play in the sea sparkle at night. The list of things I’ll miss is much longer than that. But who knows, maybe one day I’ll come back here as a crewmember. And maybe I’ll once again feel like I never left or perhaps I’ll discover that the Gunilla isn’t timeless.