Cabin life – quite a challenge

Date: 10th of November
Position: 44° 40.479’ N   007° 40.049’ W

For most people it may sound really hard to live in a nine-square meter cabin with five other people. But if you just get used to it, it is really cool.

When you enter in a student cabin for the first time, you see a little room with two, four or even six beds (so-called bunks). Every bunk is decorated in a different way. Pictures, letters from families and friends, nautical maps, light tracks or whatever you think is nice to have. Everyone has no more than two little shelves for their own stuff, where we must store all our things. But most of our clothes are lying around somewhere in our bunks. If you think this is much space, I can say it’s not!

One shelf is for your clothes and one for all other stuff like toiletry bag, flashlights, thermos flask. If you wonder why I wrote “was” – it’s because this was the order when we first moved in and after we have clear ship (we have to clean our cabin and make sure that everything is stored properly). Now it doesn’t have a real order anymore and we only stuff anything in there like gloves, scarfs and skiing underwear. Especially after the night watches – when we are just too tired to pay attention to order it in a clean way.

Every Saturday is clear ship. On the Thor, that means we have to clean every corner of our cabin to reach the ‘D-Norm’ – our Captain Detlef’s ambitions of a tidied room. Our cabin is supposed to look like a five-star hotel room. All our stuff lies on our bunks as we have to order it back in our shelves in a new way and every time, we really hope that it will fit better. That is quite hard and after a few days, our shelfs don’t have any kind of order anymore.

We are always happy when we somehow manage to get all the things we need for our night watch. That’s another challenge on board: Getting in your clothes – like oilskin, skiing underwear and rubber bullet – in the middle of the night without waking up anyone else.

Following problems seem to appear the most:

First problem: Getting up without falling asleep again.

Second problem: Finding your clothes in your shelves or under your bunk like skiing underwear, gloves and flashlight for the night watch – without waking someone up.

Third problem: Getting into your clothes- without falling about something and waking someone up.

These three problems just need experience and after some time you know exactly how to deal with them. And I think we are getting better and better by the time.

Even though the life in such a small space can be very challenging sometimes, there are many advantages. We can share things like clothes or sweets. Actually, we have to. Better don’t open your chocolate in front of the others, if you want to keep anything for yourself. But it is a good feeling anyways. Because we know we always have someone to talk to, somebody to laugh and somebody to wake you up when you are late for breakfast. And especially there will be people taking care of you at any time. No matter if you are seasick, sad, hungry or just tired.

Therefore, I think that cabin life on the Thor Heyerdahl is not only a big challenge but also a blessing. You never feel lonely!