Our little moments

“This was my highlight of the watch, of the day, of the week, of the month, maybe even of the whole journey!” At some point I stopped counting. I stopped counting all the times I said that this was my highlight, even though I knew that tomorrow could be the next time I’d say exactly the same words. Because one of the first things I learned here is that aboard the Thor Heyerdahl every hour can become the best hour of the day, every day can become the best day of the week and every week can become the best week of our six months travelling around the world.

I know that many people will ask me about my highlights of the journey when I return to Germany and if I’m honest, I’m already overflowing with ideas of what to say then. I’ll probably start with the easiest special moments, the memories that sound almost as cool as they were when you try to tell them to others. One of those moments was when we saw dolphins for the first time, when everyone came outside to watch them jump out of the water right next to us. We were all so excited that we shouted and cheered so loudly that everybody that had still been sleeping by then woke up with the great news that there were about 10 dolphins on starboard. Or the party we celebrated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with great music, dance and sweets and no other ship in sight. Maybe I’ll tell them about my first sunrise at sea, when I stayed awake after my watch to see the morning rise in a thousand different shapes of orange and yellow that even bathed the ocean and the waves in golden light. Or maybe I’ll rave about the islands in the Caribbean, where we lit a campfire and sang songs with the guitar and the ukulele under a beautiful sky full of stars. That night most of us stayed on the island and slept in our hammocks under the palm trees.

But then there are even more highlights that are harder to explain to others. Little moments that we may have had almost every day. Special times that became normal over the time although these moments made our journey what it was: Unforgettable, a story worth telling that created this big, loving family we’ll have for the rest of our lives. Like the evenings in the messroom where we actually wanted to write diary but then we got stuck in little conversations about unimportant things I’ve already forgotten about. But back then it was important, often funny and sometimes just nice because here conversations flow so easily. Or the late-night talks when the whole watch stayed awake at 2 am to eat cold potatoes with ketchup from the day before and we suddenly weren’t tired anymore. I’ll never forget that one watch the day we arrived in Panama when it rained so much, that all of us, even Christian, wore swimming glasses to be able to see at least 10 meters in the dust and rain. The nights on the quarterdeck when we listened to the stories about a little ship’s kobold that Christian read to us while the wind was freezing, but we had each other and our sleeping bags, and sometimes somebody brought chocolate or some muesli to share with everyone. The weirdest and funniest conversations at the steering wheel at 4 am when everybody was tired, so tired that every bad joke seemed super funny to us, or the evenings when a smile or a goodnight hug made you feel at home. And of course the many times we sang shanties and children’s songs on deck or in the messroom after a day full of highlights.

However, I don’t think that anybody who was not there at that time will understand how special these little memories were and how unique it felt in that moment, no matter how hard I try to explain. How can you describe so many different feelings if there isn’t even a word for a single one of them? I’m afraid that I’ll try to explain these little moments, and then people won’t understand that these were the most important moments for me, but instead ask for the real highlights, those memories that sound almost as cool as they were when you try to tell them to others. And probably, that’s what I’ll do. Maybe our little moments will stay just our little moments, just for us and for nobody else. And that’s okay.