From Tonga onwards there was a change in my role on the ship. After three months in the galley I made the transition to deckhand. As time has past, I've found myself drawn more and more onto deck and when a opportunity came for me to join the deck crew, I jumped at it. Working as a cook did have its benefits, but I reached a point where I was learning very little and not enjoying myself the way I used to.
My daily routine has certainly changed. At sea, instead of working all day, you join the watch system. This is either 12-4, 4-8 or 8-12, a.m and p.m. On watch you organise voyage crew, do baw watch and take the helm, do safety rounds, sail adjustments and whatever else the officer on watch wants you to do. Along with standing your watch, deckhands must do a minimum of two hours maintenance or cleaning on the ship. Oh, and there are the calls for 'all hands on deck.' that can be fun at 3am in the morning!
My sea sickness has improved since leaving the confined space of the galley and using sea sickness pills that work for me. I also believe that I'm better at controlling the nausea and overcoming it in quicker time.
When the Soren is anchoring between sails, the Deckies are still kept busy working throughout the day and then taking an anchor watch at night. Day work can be anything from sailing, running errands, cleaning to even more maintenance.
Yet I loving the fact I'm learning new skills everyday. At times I can get frustrated. it can feel like I'm not learning fast enough, why haven't I remembered that knot I was shown a few days ago and how do I prepare that two part epoxy paint? I hear myself asking so many questions and I just want to be sure I'm not going to f**k up. I especially get angry when I can't physically do something and need to get a man's help. weighing around 8st and reaching 5.3", there are some things I cannot lift or get tight enough. one of the most annoying things about my role is on occasion coming face to face with my weaknesses. But as time goes on, my muscles are improving and maybe one day I won't need no stupid boy's help.
Climbing aloft is also a big part of the job, and although I've never had a problem with heights, it has taught me to trust myself a lot more. There are times when you have to be confident to do what's needed, from driving a tender in rough weather to overseeing the windlass engine when others are flaking in the locker.
At the moment, learning new skills in maintenance has been one of my favourite parts of being a Deckie. from wood to metal work, getting involved and revamping the ship has felt very rewarding.
Farewell full nights of sleep, goodbye to the responsibility and respect you receive in the galley - hello to deckie life.