Cleaning the ship – annoying but necessary

We´ve been living on the Thor Heyerdahl for almost a month, it´s our new home now. Our home, the place we eat, sleep, play, laugh, learn and live in. Being with KUS is a big privilege, but now we have to do everything by ourselves, there are no parents anymore, who keep house for us. A home is a beautiful, comforting and safe place that takes care of you, but here on the Thor everybody quickly realised that you also have to take care of your home. Apart from other necessary tasks, one of the most important jobs is `Reinschiff´, the moment when we clean the whole ship.

For the cleaning procedure, we split the ship into four territories, so every watch is responsible for one of these parts for one week. Every day, except Sundays, the watch spends more or less an hour to clean their sector.

In one station, named `Reinschiff Sanitär´, we clean inside of the deckhouse, the walls, the floor and the drains, but also the whole restrooms. This station doesn´t take much time, but cleaning the drains for example is very exhausting and not the most popular job.

Another area, `Reinschiff Last´, is the whole cargo hold with the cold storage, the freezer room and the dry storage, the workshop and the bilges. Bilges are little places under the floor where we store things like food, water or any other substitute material, e. g. cloth and cleaner or technical ship equipment.  Two times a week this watch also makes sure that the saloon and the chartroom are clean. In this station you´re never doing the same thing, so there is a nice variety of tasks.

The companionway, the floors and the messroom, which is the place we eat, play, learn and chill in, are part of the third cleaning station called `Messe und Niedergänge´. This station is rather easy to clean, as there are no disgusting corners or hidden places, but to me it´s a little bit boring.

The last area that has to be cleaned is the fore, main and quarter deck of course, in `Reinschiff Deck´. We also polish the compass and other nautical instruments. Cleaning this place is like a Sisyphus work as you can’t see any change and after three hours it seems to be as dirty as before, but a benefit is that it´s outside in the fresh air.

Once a week, mostly on Saturdays, there is a `Großreinschiff´, which is like a special, bigger `Reinschiff´.  Then we clean, besides our usual stations, our rooms and a bit more in our stations, and in the end a group of adults and students control everything. Especially when we´re in a harbour and people from land, which are interested in our project or helped us to organize a place on the pier for example, come to visit the Thor, everything has to be perfectly clean.

But cleanliness isn´t only important regarding hygiene, cleaning the whole ship also means that you have an eye on everything, so if there should be a problem, like rotting vegetables or water getting inside the ship, it will be seen soon. Cleaning the ship is annoying but very important. Imagine if nobody cleaned, everything would be very disgusting within a short period of time. If the Thor became more and more dirty, nobody would feel comfortable in here, and our beautiful ship wouldn’t feel like home it has become to us.