Ocean College

From the Blog

The engineer’s tale

Date: 29.12.2018
Author: The engineer‘s crew
Position: On the way to Costa Rica 
Geographical Position: 10.40,5N, 078.27,3W
Etmal: 160 NM (total 6485 NM)

This is a tragic story, dear reader. A tale of solitude, misery and anguish. Prepare for tears!

Once upon a time there was a ship. It was a beautiful ship, a square-rigger like in days of old, a proper pirate ship. The ship was sailing on an ocean. Oh, such a tiny ship on such a vast dark ocean, where winds and waves would throw it from side to side and back and forth and back again.

Let us take a closer look, dear reader. Let us go on board and look around.
Do you hear this, too? The screeching and howling at this nightly hour? This wailing sound that chills you to the bones? Is it the engine, groaning from a day’s hard work? Or the toilets that have been clogged again, and just can’t take it anymore?

It is neither, dear reader. It is, in fact, a man, crying himself to sleep. You’ll find him in cabin 5, where he is sobbing on his pillow, tears streaming down his cheeks in utter despair. “I hate boats!”, he’ll mutter in between sobs. “I hate sailing! We would all be better off on land!”
Why, you wonder now, dear reader, for you are a kind and sympathetic soul, why is this man so sad and desperate?

 Well, let me tell you about the hardships he must endure. But keep in mind: This is a tragic story. The man shares his home with 30 teenagers. You heard me right, dear reader! 30 teenagers – thirty! Most people can’t even bear to have one of them around!

And, as if this wasn’t bad enough, his home is a horror in itself. Imagine your house, the one you are in right now while you are reading this, was moving around constantly, the floor dropping from beneath you, walls crashing into you (or is it the other way around?), books and knives flying through mid-air and your dinner sliding from its plate. Trust me, you would feel miserable, too. 

There is a ghost on board this ship as well. A ghost, you ask, dear reader, do they not only exist in fairy tales and fantastic stories? Well, so the man, whose tale I’m telling you, had always thought. But how else would you explain the toilets clogging up every night between the hours of 2 and 4, when every soul on this mighty ship – except for the fearless creatures of the night we call the white watch – is fast asleep? There must be a ghost haunting this place and it is out to get our poor, good man.

Sometimes the man tries to get away from it all – from the noise and the ghost and the unbearable heat of the engine room – to the only place you can run away to on a tall ship. But just when he has put on his harness and is ready to go aloft, a voice sounds through the loudspeakers – a voice that haunts our poor man in his darkest nightmares: “Thierry, Thierry! Generator 2 alarm. Thierry, please report to the bridge!” 

And this may be the worst of it all, dear reader. The man would put up with clogged toilets and dropping floors. He would not complain about the fact that he always gets the smallest portion at dinner. If only he’d get some appreciation in return.

But on this ship, dear reader, gratitude is rare, and nobody cares about what the poor man needs. Most of them don’t even know he exists, let alone his name. We are a sailing ship, they say. We sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. What would we need an engineer for?

So, could there be a happy ending to this story? Would you even expect one, dear reader? After all, you have been warned that this tale is a tragic one. Well, dear reader, let me surprise you with a plot twist you did not see coming. The ship is bound to reach the shore of a new continent soon.

They say a beautiful country awaits the crew, full of lush forests and other places that are not salt water. And there are airports as well, they say. And so our poor man will be released from his suffering. He will leave the ship and return to a home he has only been dreaming about for the past three months. 

Is this the end of his tale? Dear reader, I do not know that myself. For the sake of this good man I can only hope so. But you never know! Maybe deep down in this grieve-struck heart of his, he does love sailing after all. And one day he might return to this ship – it is a beautiful ship after all – and save the day once more. 

Dear Thierry,
thank you for unclogging the heads countless times, for setting the iron topsail in the middle of the night, for all your funny moans and grumpy jokes, and for saving the day again and again! We do appreciate you so and we will miss you dearly! We hope you’ll enjoy being back on steady ground!

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