Ocean College

Reiseblog 19/20

The ceremony of the dead horse

Date: 14th November 2019
Author: Angelina
Position: On our way to the Cape Verdes
Geographical Position: 21°42.2N/ 021°22.0W
Etmal: 159 nm

It all started around 300 years ago; in the days of the old sailormen: if the sailors were in port for a long time, they had no money left because they would spend it all at once. So they had to look for work again on another sailing ship on which the captain gave 30 days advance of pay. That´s called taking the dead horse. The reason why it´s called like that is lost in time.

Those 30 days for which the sailors already got paid were very hard and the Captain, the Bosun and all the other people in command made the crew work very hard; they were hazing the crew. 

(One month a hell-bent life we´ve led, but ye’ve laid in a nice warm bed)

After that month the debt was payed back though and the captain had to start paying wages again. The crew that was hazed before did a ceremony then, which became a tradition.

(After hard hard work an´sore abuse, we´ll salt ye down for a sailors use)

Burying the horse

They made a model of a horse with whatever they had got on board, such as old sailor’s cloths, paraded around the deck three times with that horse while singing the Shanty ´The dead horse´. Then they hoist him up to the yard and the youngest member of the crew would climb up the mast and cut the rope so that the horse would fall into the sea. This is called burying the horse; the horse is dead so the debt is payed.

(They say, ´Ol´ Man, yer horse will die, an´we sa so, an´ we hope so!)

Building the Horse

You´ve probably already asked yourself what all of this has to do with us? Well, it´s 30 days ago since we started sailing on the Pelican of London, which is probably the only ship that keeps the tradition of the ceremony of the dead horse up.

So each watch built their own horse out of everything they could find on board the last few days and put a lot of effort but also laughter in it. We gave the horses names and today, finally, the youngest member of each watch cut the rope on the yard to which the horses were hoisted up after we walked around the deck three times, singing the Shanty.

The horses fell into the sea, but of course we pulled them back on board with another rope so we won´t pollute the ocean.

(They say, ´Ol´ Man, yer horse will die, oh, poor ´ol´man!)

P.S:  Alles, alles gute zum Geburtstag Samira. Vermisse dich 

~Marlene M.

”Good morning, it’s another day in paradise on a good ship Pelican!“~ Bosun Pete

Datum: 13. November 2019
Autorin: Jacqueline
Position: Auf dem Weg zu den Cap Verden
Nautical Position: 23°37 N/ 019°47 W
Etmal: 164 Nm

Es war vor langer langer Zeit…

…als die See noch rau, das Wasser salzig und der Beruf des Bosuns noch in aller Munde war, als ein alter Rahsegler in See stach. 

Auf der alten Lady wurde von morgens bis abends gelacht, gesungen, Rum getrunken und gegessen. Es wurde hart gearbeitet, Clews, Bunts und Leechlines zum Segelsetzen gefiert und Sheets eingeholt, Segel repariert und Wanten erneuert. Doch eines Tages ging der Rum zur Neige, die letzten Kartoffeln trieben schon aus und geduscht hatte seit Wochen keiner mehr. 

Da wurde das letzte Fass Rum hochgeholt, um noch einmal richtig zu feiern, alle Sorgen zu vergessen und die Kälte, die durch den eisigen Wind, der achterlich in die Segel blies, auszublenden. Doch wie sie das Fass öffneten, fanden sie keine goldbraune Flüssigkeit vor, sondern einen Jungen; nicht älter als 25 und nicht jünger als 18, der sich in seinem Versteck zusammenkauerte und erschrocken in die Gesichter von bärtigen Seemännern schaute. 

Aufregung an Bord

Es wurde heftig debattiert und diskutiert, wie er das Essen abarbeiten kann, welches er seit Wochen heimlich aus der Vorratskammer gestohlen hatte.

Die schlechtgelaunten Seemänner kamen zum Entschluss, dass er als Bosun´s Mate und Deckhand ideal geeignet ist und gleich mit der harten Arbeit anfangen musste. Er schrubbte das Deck, bis es funkelte, er takelte Seile, bis ihm das Garn die Finger wund rieb, er kletterte den Mast hoch und runter, bis seine Füße ihn nicht mehr tragen konnten und flickte Segel, bis er überall Blasen hatte. 

Dem Jungen war kalt, er hatte Hunger und der ganze Körper tat ihm weh.

Doch der Bosun, wessen Aufgabe und Verantwortung das Equipment, das laufende und stehende Gut des Riggs, Segel zu reparieren und Tee trinken ist, lässt den Jungen nicht schlafen. Die Sonne ging auf und unter. Der Mond tauchte das Schiff in silber und die Sonne löste den Mond ab und ließ das Boot golden leuchten.

Der Junge hatte immer noch nichts zu essen bekommen und schlief immer nur 10 Minuten am Stück. Doch nach einer Woche wurde es besser. Das ganze Boot glänzte, die Wände waren alle neu gestrichen, alles wurde repariert, was in den letzten Monaten angefallen war und auch der Hafen kam in Sicht. 

Der Junge war überglücklich, als er an seinem Ziel, einem neuen unbekanntem Land angekommen war und die Crew freute sich schon auf die Pubs und Bars. 

Die Aufgabe des Bosuns

Bis heute haben sich die Aufgaben des Bosuns auf der Pelican of London nicht wirklich geändert. Die Crew ist etwas kleiner geworden. Die Mentoren haben gerade die Chance, eine Woche bei einem Crewmitglied über die Schulter zu schauen und ich habe das Glück, bis zu den Cap Verden, die wir in Kürze erreichen werden, als Bosun‘s Mate und Deckhand an Bord zu helfen. Meine Aufgabe unterscheidet sich nicht von denen, die der Junge vor langer langer Zeit hatte, aber ich bekomme regelmäßig wunderbares Essen und genügend Schlaf. 

Es ist eine wunderbare Chance den Beruf des Bosuns wieder etwas mehr ins Rampenlicht zu stellen und selber an so einem traditionellen Beruf teilhaben zu können.

People out of Plastic

Date: 12 November 2019
Author: Marco
Position: 140 miles SSW from the coast of Tenerife
Geographical Position: 26°51.1 N / 17°49.0 W
Etmal: 175 nortical miles 

1907. A new resource conquered the market, which should play an important role about dismantling the environment. First hailed to heaven, then made responsible for million of deaths. A very powerful, water resistant, cheap to create, elastic material, a present from heaven. It changed the way of transport, food, medicine, clothes and journeys deeply.

Plastic- a miracle?

It could be a miracle or our death, depending on how we are handling it. Replacing some heavy metal parts from cars with plastic saved many tons of diesel. Making out of it a one-time-usable bottle, which couldn’t even get recycled, lead us in climatic catastrophes. Today there is no region left in the world, where no plastic can be found. The results from such a pollution can only be suspected. 

Because of the long durability, plastic stays for years in the environment. A normal PET plastic bottle, which is used in every supermarket, needs 450 years to get dismantled into small parts. But even then its damage to the environment doesn’t stop. Bacteria are able to travel onto these minimal plastics by ocean currents to new areas, which they couldn’t reach before. This way, diseases can spread much more effectively and faster over the whole world.

Microplastic

Another deadly pollution takes part in our bodies. Microplastic gets eaten by plankton which gets eaten by fish. Maybe you knew plastic enters our body this way. But not only by eating fish plastic comes into our organism. In nearly every product which contains water, one can find microplastic. We have reached a critical point now. A person with a normal diet consumes as much plastic in a year as a credit card is big. 

The smallest plastic parts are used as building materials by our body. Scientists found them in cells. Experts are doing research about this topic. But until now no results could be found. Do you think doesn’t cause any problems? Use your mind.

Microplastic also takes toxins and pesticides with them. They are responsible for cell mutations. Experts think that they cause problems with hormons and some kinds of cancer. Only to count some of the possible results. 

Washing

However, thirty percent of all the microplastic pollution takes part in washing machines. Yes, also in yours! Because of the resistivity which considers from rubbing clothes together, mini synthetic fibers break apart. With the waste water they flow straight into the next river and end up in the sea. Even the refreshing stations which should clean up the water before getting into rivers are not able to filter micro fibers. Because of the UV radiation in sunlight, micro fibers break down to microplastics.

But how can we stop this pollution? When we do our laundry on board, we use special made wash bags from Stop!MicroWaste. They are a great invention: Because they are made with a special weaving technique they filter the small fibers. After the washing you can simply gather the fibers in the bag and throw it into the next garbage can. This way we are able to treat the environment a little bit better.