In 29 Meters height
Date: 20th of December
Position: 28° 02,9’ N 016° 43,3’ W
It was a typical day in the galley (well not typical because I made 40 steaks on my own but yeah) and I had my first free time hour at about 4pm. We were motoring through the English- channel and had a great view on the English coast. I know that this was about a month ago or even more but it’s a good introduction to the topic of this Blog. My first idea to fill the free time was to climb up into the rig to have a nice view and a little bit of time for my own, so I walked to Jakob because he was the watchleader in this time to ask him if it’s ok. He said that there was nothing against it but when I had interest in packing the topgallant it would be perfect if I searched one to three people who entered up with me. It was a nice evening and the sun was shining so I thought: Why not?
I asked a few persons if they were interested in packing the topgallant with me and Lennart said yes, so we climbed into the rig and packed the sail for half an hour. Then I had to return to the galley.
Ok that was a little story for my introduction to today’s topic: My favourite place on the Thor Heyerdahl. I think it´s not hard to find out that my favourite place is the rig. That is the reason why I was climbing up on the topgallant yard in my free time. In this blog post I will explain why it´s so special and why it´s my favourite place on our beautiful ship.
First of all I want to say that the rig is not a place for everybody. It is…special. I mean it’s clear that if you have a fear of heights you won’t like it that much. It’s the same for people with claustrophobia I would say. For me it is a place of peace and beauty.
There are not many things who can mess with the feeling of standing at the highest place of a ship with a great overview. But for me there is also one weakness: Seasickness. I can’t imagine something that makes me more seasick than climbing in the rig while we are in heavy seas.
One time I was packing the main topmast stay sail with Andi (Andreas, our Biology and English teacher) and Markus (our latest board doctor) while we had a swell of about 3 meters. For one and a half an hour I was sitting on the top of the foremast, at the place where he splits into the second part who’s going further skywards. After that action I felt not that good I would say but that would be an understatement. For 5 days I had no problems with seasickness but that action brooked my streak. Back to the beautiful characteristics of the rig. I think the main reason why I love it so much is the feeling of peace it gives me. I just feel free. Probably because you are in about 20 meters height. Another reason could be that there’s not much to stand on. Like most of the time the only thing where you can put your foot on is a thin but strong foot rope. And below that foot rope is nothing than about 25 meters of sea air. It’s kind of a kick.
For example today I climbed up the mainmast with a GoPro to make a video of our crew packing the square sails. For the first time I climbed to the top and it was absolutely beautiful up there. I had a great view on the beach and the whole ship. I was so high that I could free the flag of Schleswig-Holstein at the top of the mainmast because she was tangled up. But although we had like no swell because we were anchoring in a swell save bay I got a little bit seasick, like the beginning of getting seasick. It´s logical that the ship has harder movements at higher points because the angel is much wider than on the deck for example. It’s interesting to feel that with your own body.
Another very important plus point for the rig is that the rig is one of the only places on the ship where you can be alone. That is something that you have to get used to on our ship: Places where you can be really alone are very rare!
But I got used to it after a few days, although I am a person who loves to be alone sometimes.
You have to search and take your time for your own. In my opinion it’s very important to have at least a few minutes a day for your own. Just because we are doing so many things every day that it’s important to come down and reflect everything. And what’s a good place for doing that? You’re right – the rig! I mean just enjoying the view is relaxing. You can sit down if you like or stand on the ratlines and hold yourself tight on the shrouds. Standing there and watching philosophical in the distance is a timeless moment for me. Everything stands still and there is only you and the beauty of your view.
Sometimes I was so deep in my thoughts that I got a shock when the sound of a commando from the deck reached me. But also working in the rig is often times very enjoyable. Based on the reason that everything you do in the rig is interesting and special for it’s one way. So all in all I would say that the rig is definitely my favorite place on the Thor Heyerdahl. Especially the shrouds on the top of the mainmast. I hope that I will have as beautiful moments in the rig as they were in the first month. I just recommend you: try it out if you have the chance to!