The THOR HEYERDAHL – our new home

Date: 3rd of November
Position: Position: 54° 10,5’ N, 007° 53,6’ E

We entered the Thor about two weeks ago, but it feels like we have already lived here for two years. That should not mean that everything is similar like home, but the general spirit makes us feel welcome. I think it should be clear what I’m talking about. Right, about our lovely sailing ship, the Thor Heyerdahl. My blog is about different aspects of living on and with our new home. You will learn things about the architecture, everyday life and the general vibes on board. Enjoy reading!!!

The Thor is basically divided in three separated parts: the back, the middle and the front part. You can only get from one to another by going over deck. The back part is called quarter deck. Here you can find the chart room, the salon, the medical centre and some private cabins. It’s the place of Detlef, Ruth, our teachers Andy and Jo as well as our doctor Markus and Michael (our mate). Personally, I like the flair at the back part. Most of the time it isn’t crowded and because of the fact that it is the Capitan’s private room, the back part belowdecks got something mysterious. The walls of the salon are covered with wood and you’ll see many little ship models on the shelves, so it’s very cosy. However, the salon isn’t used that much by students. That’s true for the whole back part but the chart room, mostly called nav room. We often go there during our watches to enter the weather and safety information in the right books. All in all, the nav room is a really busy place. All the important books, navigation systems and maps are stored there.

Another important place in the back part is the engine room. This is the place where the main engine of our ship is placed. The engine fills nearly half of the room and is placed in the middle. The engine isn’t covered, so you can see it working, when it’s running. While the engine is working, you have to wear ear muffs because of the deafening sounds. This room smells like oil and diesel fuel. It is the kingdom of Willi, the engineer. Students only go there to do the safety check and to oil the engine, when it’s running. The celling is very low, so it isn’t the place where you want to spend your spare time. The engine room isn’t really dangerous, but there are some things you need to look for, when you want to go there. Some pipes are hot, and there are wheels that control the power or the fuel of the engine. It won’t immediately crush the engine if you turn those wheels, but it’s really annoying if the ship stops because of a wrong placed hand. The deck of the back part is called quarterdeck. Here you can find the helm (the wheel with which you can steer the ship). The quarterdeck is placed higher than the rest of the ship, so the person in the lookout can see everything. Two people look for obstacles to help the helmsman. The mizzen is also placed on the quarterdeck, so there are many ropes.

The biggest of the three main parts is the middle part. It even has its own little house! It’s called the deckhouse and it keeps the galley, one of the companionways and the sanitary facilities (heads). The main mast goes straight through the deckhouse. On the roof of the deckhouse is so much space that it is a separated deck, called deckhouse deck. Here you can find a spot called mast-garden, where many ropes are cleated. Behind the deckhouse is an area, where the crew can meet and eat when the weather is good. On this area, you’ll find the second companionway. When you go down the stairs, you’ll find yourself in the middle of our Livingroom, called messroom. This is the place where we are most of the time. It’s like the heart of the Thor. We eat here, we meet here and we just hang out here, when we have time for it.

The school and theoretical sailing lessons are also in the messroom. A corridor goes to the companionway at the deckhouse. The corridor is always crowded and the fact that our offshore equipment hangs on both sides, doesn’t makes it better. On both sides of this corridor are the students’ chambers. Also, two teachers got their chambers here. The rooms only differ in size. Some have two bunks, others four or six. For sure, they all are perfectly clean. The corridor ends in a room, called cargohold. On your right-hand side, you can see the cold storage and on your left-hand side the freezer room. During our watches, we have to check the temperatures and enter them in the list. A work bank is placed next to the cold storage. This is the place of our bosun, Simon. He often sits here and fixes things. Simon describes the cargohold as the cosiest place off the whole ship. He likes it because of the friendly vibes of the wood and the working tools. I can understand him. The cargohold is a little bit similar to a Garage. It is very enjoyable just to watch Simon fixing some stuff and talk trivial things. The room has two watertight doors. One of them leads you to the generator-room, where electricity is produced. The other door ends in our dry storage. Before a journey starts, we have to store a lot of things. Luckily, it is possible to lift one part of the roof, so you don’t have to carry all the things through the whole ship. When the hatch is closed, it is the home of our rescue boat.

The front part is the smallest of the three parts. At the very front you can find the anchor windlass. Belowdecks, the chambers of some more sailing crew members called foc’s’le. The wooden stick at the front of the Thor is named jibtree. Sometimes, we have to go there to store sails or put the rubbish at his place. Personally, I really like the fore deck, because my watch is responsible for the fore sails. There isn’t that much space on the fore deck, but it’s one of the rare places where you can be alone for some minutes.

All in all, I think it is a good start that we all feel comfortable and welcome. Everything on the ship sends vibes of freedom and adventure. The rough paint and the sounds of the ropes make us feel quite excited about upcoming adventures. After these two weeks, it already feels like we belong here and I can’t wait to see how it will be in 6 month.