Sleeping under stars

We have just finished our really nice crossing of the Atlantic. Since we left Santa Cruz de Tenerife, we have had good winds and most of the time we have had basically every sail set. Unfortunately, in the last one and a half weeks the wind has been very instable. So, whenever there is some wind we set the sails and when the wind wears off we douse them again a few hours later. And since the wind changes very often, we do that two or three times a day.

While one half of us is on watch, the other half has school lessons, but I think you already know that. What you don’t know is that today we wrote our first test on the Atlantic: physics. The first group had to write it before the second group in the messroom. After or before the class test we were on watch, had lessons or the people who have Spanish at school had an extra Spanish lesson. Although many of us had revised the most important things the last two days before the test together, most of us, including me, struggled with not having enough time to complete all tasks.

At night, many of us, like me and my friends, sleep outside. In our cabins it’s very hot and because of our swimsuits and towels also very damp, so it’s a bit like in the tropical rainforest. During the first stage we all slept in our hammock on deck, but now there is no place anymore as there’s the pool on the fore deck (which is also very nice!). We built it with pallets, a tarpaulin and filled it with seawater. On the main deck there are the tables for lunch, dinner or our school lessons. Because of this we had to search for new places to sleep. Now everyone wants to sleep on the cargo loft. It’s like a big platform that you can open and put in things like our bikes for Cuba or the dinghy, and it offers enough space for six people if you want to have a lot of room for yourself, but we’ve already managed to sleep there with nine people. However, if you want to get a sleeping spot on the loft, you have to be very fast because most of the time there are a lot more people who want to sleep there than there is space for.

When you’re lying there it’s very nice, because you can see the stars and the sails. You can also hear the sound of the waves and the wind (if there is wind). Additionally, when the watch has some sailing action going on, the loft is a good position to watch them. Normally they try to be very silent and only give hand signals, which is always very funny. Plus, in the morning you can always see beautiful sunrises.

On the other hand, there are some things that aren’t the best: after the sunrise, it doesn’t take long until it is too hot to sleep there. This can be a disadvantage, but I think it’s also nice because then you have already been very productive in the morning. Sometimes a flying fish lands next to you and you have to put it back into the water. The other point is that when there is a bigger wave, and therefore more ship movement, you slide down because the cargo loft is a bit sloping. So sometimes the people next to me suddenly lie half a meter further down, which is very amusing. Then sometimes your sleeping bag gets soaked with the sea water on the floor of the ship – not very nice. That’s why there are always many sleeping bags on our washing line.

In the last few nights it has started to rain. So, when the rain begins, everyone sleeping outside comes in very fast with all their sleeping equipment like their sleeping bag and their mattress. Often, they are a bit angry because they only want to sleep. That’s why they directly go into their bunk. My friends and I just wait until it stops raining, which often doesn’t take very long. When the rain stops, we just return to the loft and continue sleeping.

So, crossing the Atlantic was completely different from our first stage, but it was very nice as well. Sleeping outside with my friends every night has become one of my favourite things on the Thor Heyerdahl. I’m so grateful to be able to fall asleep under the stars and wake up to the rising sun and every time, the natural beauty of it all surprises me again.