How to survive North Atlantic on the Pelican

Date: 19.03.2024
Nautical Position: 30° 30’4 N 069*06’3
Etmal: 150nm
Total: 8891 nm
Ship: Pelican of London

Bad weather after the caribbean summer

We are on the way to Bermuda and the weather has been pretty rough. So I thought I’d write about how we survive in these conditions. Shortly after we got on our way to Bermuda we all noticed how the weather got worse and the temperature dropped. The wind started to speed up and many of us had biscaya-flashbacks.

At the beginning it was really unusual to see everyone in their wet weather gear because we spent the last months in T-shirts and shorts on watch and now everyone wears at least five layers of clothing. It was a little reminder how the rest of the journey is going to look like on the North Atlantic.


Today we reached the point where we were leaning 35 degrees to our starboard side. First it was really funny but with the time it got pretty exhausting to do our jobs under these conditions. Especially the galley duty had a hard time cooking and serving while being thrown around by the swell.

To cope with the risks of the moving ship a lot of safety lines were put up. We weren’t allowed to go outside without wearing our harnesses and being clipped on. The safety lines are there for protecting us from falling over board but we were still slipping and falling on board. Especially with that much swell the whole deck was floated.

It wasn’t unusual to be catched by a wave while for example wanting to hand a sail. That is why some of us decided to take a “swim” on the well deck. They put on their bathing suits, snorkels and of course their harness. It was really funny to watch especially as it’s only round about 18 degrees outside. While they had a really good time, Gonzo (the watch officer at that time) did not enjoy the swimming idea as much.

Strategies to survive

We as students found out some of the best tips and tricks for living under these special circumstances. Here are our top five tips:

1.) If you want to go somewhere you have to time your steps. You have to stand when the wave hits and go when the ship is leaning to the right side. It looks really funny because everyone stops in the middle of the alley and continues walking after a few seconds and so on…

2.) It can be very hard to sleep in your bunk when the ship is moving a lot. A common thing to do is to turn around in your bed so your feet are where your head was. That way it feels like you are standing in your bed when a wave comes instead of banging your head against the wall.

3.) In the beds that face the other way you either lean against the wall or your “Leichenfänger”. That is a white sheet to prevent you from falling out of your bed on the side where there is no wall. It makes climbing into your bed harder but it is very helpful for having calmer nights.

4.) Some of us didn’t make the way to their beds because they were too seasick and/ or exhausted to get out their Leichenfänger. Those just got their pillow and their blanket and took a quick nap on the floor :))

5.) In general it is very funny to watch people for example wanting so grab something but sliding back because of the swell. You can also make a game out of it like some of us did: put on extra slippery socks and slide through your cabin.

About the day

Another event today was that we had school in the green mile because the messroom was used otherwise. That was a hilarious experience: 16 students and Tobi, our history teacher, squeezed into the small space between our cabins and did a text analyses.

Schüler:innen beim Unterricht in der Greenmile

The people who were seasick didn’t enjoy it as much because when you are down in the accommodation you get sick easier. But it still was a really really funny situation :))

The rest of the day we followed the normal school and watch routine, just with the special challenges I mentioned.

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