Galley duty

The last few days have been quite challenging, since we encountered pretty big waves and still had to keep the daily business on the ship going. Some people got seasick and got to meet their food again. Unfortunately, I felt sick too, but eventually was able to enjoy the beautiful weather and the movements of the ship. In addition, I found it tough to get up early in the morning because of the lack of sleep due to the night watches. Under these circumstances, another task turned out to be even more challenging: Cooking for 50 people.

But how do you feed 50 people?

Well, there is a team of three students and one crew member on galley duty every day! They cook breakfast, lunch, prepare teatime and dinner, clean dishes, kitchen utensils, floors and sometimes walls, polish cutlery, cut bread, bake cakes and a lot more. Galley duty is also highly important for the mood of the crew because a tasty meal makes a happy and relaxed crew.

In the morning, students on gally duty have to stand up an hour before breakfast time. That can be really early sometimes, especially if you did not get a lot of sleep. The typical breakfast on the Thor Heyerdahl consists of bread with butter, jam, honey, cheese or ham. Every morning we also get a helping of fruit salad with some cereals. Finally, and most importantly, there is coffee and black tea for all the tired people and other types of tea for everyone else. On Sunday, breakfast is more special: In addition to the normal breakfast there is always something unique like warm bread rolls, pancakes, overnight oats, boiled eggs, peanut butter and Nutella. And since seven days can feel very long on board, there is another “Sunday breakfast” happening on Thursdays, which breaks down the long wait and is called “Seemannssonntag” in German.

After each meal, the real work starts: Dishwashing without a dishwasher. We have to clean 50 sets of cutlery and plates by hand three times a day. However, this gets much easier because of one important exception: We are allowed to listen to music using the speakers in the galley. It is always so much fun to sing and dance to music whilst cleaning and cooking.

Once we are done with cleaning, preparations for lunch and dinners start. How frustrating! Right after cleaning everything, you prepare for it to get dirty again! And of course, you have to clean it again. One of the three meals is hot and freshly cooked. Since we started our trip, we have had delicious dishes like soup, spaghetti with vegetarian Bolognese, curry and couscous. For dinner we usually have bread with cheese, ham and sometimes salad.

Between lunch and dinner, there is one more special meal: teatime. Personally, I think it is one of the best meals of the day. Every person gets at least one cookie or a piece of cake and a lot of coffee or tea. Last Sunday we got the chance to try a traditional cake from the island of Borkum, where we stayed for almost three days. The “East Friesland-cake” was actually made by a cousin of Lukas, one of our heads of watch. To get the full experience, Iris, one of our teachers, gave us an introduction on how to drink traditional tea from East Friesland.

Galley duty for me is always fun. It would not be the same without music and dancing though. Moreover, if you turn up the volume and listen to some of our favourite songs, such as “Partybus” a lot of people come to the main deck and dance together. However, galley duty is a lot of work and at the end of the day, you are very tired and the only thing you want is to take a shower and go to bed. Therefore, it is a wonderful task, but not an easy one.