Ocean College

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My last day in a hand over position

Date: 10. April 2019
Author: Elisa
Position: On the way to Brest
Nautical Position: 45° 28.3 N; 14° 32.8 W
Etmal: (total) 12815 nm

I was woken up by Kira R. with the words: “There is chocolate cereals.” I was not the only person to hear that news and so for the first time in a while everyone of our room got up for breakfast. It was a very civilised breakfast. No milk was poured over the tables, no forks were flying all over the place such that you had to be scared of getting stabbed, no cups were falling out of the cupboard and no water was coming into the mess room.

We were very busy to decorate the mess room with the party flags and write a beautiful: „Happy Birthday Robi, sweet 16“ on to the white board. After the messmen had cleaned the mess room, Nele and I sat in the corner and were very productive. We wrote our diaries, wrote some more letters (I only have 18 more to go) and studied for our sailing booklets.

Now as the mess room is not used for official school lessons any more, it is more like a living room, a chilling and gathering area for all crew. From the galley we heard crazy music and singing, it was the galley duty of Kira R. and Marcel. I joined them for some time, also because I could steal some carrots.

We then talked about our arrival in Brest and practised with each other how we are going to say hello to each other’s parents and siblings. It is strange to have such close and good friends and never have met their families. I am looking forward to meeting everyone very soon.

For the group meeting at 10:00 am we all went into the saloon. As a start everyone chose one of the „feeling cards“. These are cards with small monsters on it, that all represent a different feeling. The last time we used them I had to chose the monster which was sick but today I am perfectly fine. I really gained my sea-legs over the last couple of days.

This is another reason why I don‘t want to go off board and would like to keep going instead. For me it would be the perfect compromise if my family could just jump on board and we would be heading off together straight away. 

The feeling cards that were chosen showed a big variety of feelings. There were some crying ones, some confused ones (because we can‘t yet really imagine that the voyage will be over soon), of course there were happy, excited feelings as well. Other cards showed exhaustion and tiredness due to the handover and the long to do lists most of us have.

We then talked about all the things we experienced as a group. We shared some of these memories that made this trip so special and that can’’t be understood by anyone else. Tears came and a lot of us cried. I can’t imagine how the final farewell is going to be.

Before lunch we looked at some photos from Dublin, the start of our voyage, and it was hilarious to see how some of us have changed outwardly. Also we often discuss whether we ourselves have changed and if yes, by which means. We will probably only be able to realise this when we step back into our old and „normal“ (for not saying boring) lives. 

The most exciting part of the day started after the navigation class about tides. We had an emergency fire drill, led by my handover team. Everyone had to take their positions. Bosun and Bosun’s mates got dressed in fire suits and headed towards the fire, accompanied by the chief officer who was in charge of the fire fighting party.

As the 3rd Officer I was on the bridge together with the 2nd Officer and the Captain. My task was to call distress and to pretend to communicate with the CMDSS shore side. Anoush was answering us pretending to be ashore.

We needed a helicopter and immediate medical assistance for our casuality, who was acting very well. It was very interesting how every one acted in that situation of stress, even if it was just for practise.

Our Captain Nils, for example, had an adrenalin flash at some point and ran into the happening to cool the deck with buckets. The power was out so we had no fire pump and we didn‘t want the fire to come through the deck. 

But it wasn‘’t during the drill when I had my shock of the day. It was later, just after the debrief meeting. I sat in the mess room and worked on my daily report. Marcel came to annoy me and had his finger „flying“ above the delete button and then pressed it! We were both under shock and could only laugh but I was actually freaking out. Luckily, Johannes found the folder with recently deleted notes and was able to save this report. Marcel now needs to prepare for my revenge.

After a chocolate birthday cake I went on watch. It has cooled down quite a bit so I was very glad that I was allowed to stay in the wheelhouse as an officer whenever I wanted. Sammo then asked me questions for the Watch Leader Award and gave me a lot of his cool signatures.

We also had to brace with only a small group of people but we did a great job. To continue the tradition we brushed our teeth during the watch. We even had the luxury of listening to one of Ben’s unbelievable stories while brushing. After my handover to White Watch I finished my job as an officer. From tomorrow on I am back in my role as a watch leader.

One last message to my family:
I am really, really looking forward to hug you so soon! 
Julian, please be careful with driving up to Brest 🙂
And could you please bring one empty bag for all the stuff that won‘’t fit into my bags? See you soon, lots of love, Elisa

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