A different Christmas

Date: 24.12.2020
Position: 25° 09.9’ N 013°23,2’ W

When I woke up, I first had to think about what was the special thing about this day… Oh- right! It’s Christmas. I’m honest: It didn’t feel like Christmas at all. Usually, on Christmas it is cold and there is snow – or cold rain at least. But this year, everything is different. When I went to my watch at 8 am it was 21° Celsius warm (I was still happy that I brought my jacket with me because the wind was cold) and instead of snow, we could find something else on the surfaces on deck. It was brown and looked like dust… sahara sand! It was hard to imagine that this dust, which I had on my fingers in that moment, came right from the sahara, 400 miles away across the sea from the African continent. Instead of a white Christmas we had a brown Christmas today.

To get more into Christmas-mood, my watch and I started singing Christmas carols on the quarterdeck. But for me, it finally felt like Christmas when I helped making biscuits/cookies while some of my friends were decorating the messroom with fairylights and stars. Moreover, two of us prepared our Christmas tree for the big evening.

At 5pm there was a holy service in the messroom and after that we all met at the quarterdeck to listen to a speech by our captain Detlef. We officially started the evening with a cocktail. Everybody was hugging each other and I felt that there was a special atmosphere in the air- for the most of us it was the first Christmas at sea- far away from home and family, but with our new home – the Thor Heyerdahl – and 47 other bord-members, who already feel like family to me. Two months are already gone since we said goodbye to our families and began this adventure.

We started to move into the messroom, where we got served the first meal of overall four. Between these four tasty meals we handed out our self-made gifts to each other. It was very nice to see all those different things like bracelets, sewed bags, decorated towels or even models of our sailing ship. Our engineer. For example, had gotten a new pair of trousers. It was all self-made- of course. Moreover, we had a spontaneous performance from Freddie where he showed his juggling skills with his new received juggling balls. Moreover, there were some cultural highlights like for example the Christmas story or a performance with the violin.

Just as Ole finished his play, our captain came back down in the messroom (he had been called one minute before to come to deck). He informed us that the wind had turned and that we needed to come on deck right now for an all-hand action on the sails. We all jumped up and in less than a minute all members were on deck- ready to come about. This manoeuvre was not new for us. But the thing that was special was the clothes we wore. We all had our best clothes on and were not really prepared for that wet, cold and windy moment- but we managed it quite well! I doubt that I will make a manoeuvre while wearing a dress in the next time again. That was a very funny experience – in one second, we all sat in our messroom celebrating and feasting, eating our main, risotto with zucchini or steak, and one minute later the messroom was completely empty and you could hear voices and steps on deck, where all the action started. People were shouting commands against the wind and the upcoming rain and we all were concentrated, knowing what we have to do – acting like real sailors.

After 30 minutes, the messroom was slowly getting filled with people again and from one minute to another it was like nothing special had happened. The only thing that had changed was the position of our sails and our hair, which became a little bit tousled by the wind and the rain.

For dessert our wonderful galley-team made Mousse au Chocolate. This was, paired with our personal Christmas letters from our family which we got handed out, a good ending for this evening. With full belly, new impressions, feelings and of course a little bit of exhaustion we fell in our beds.

I thought about this day and about what happened again the next morning. This Christmas will be a day I will talk about for a long time. What a (different) Christmas!