Travel blog 23/24 Pelican of London

A day in the life of a messman at Sea

Date: 4th November 2023
Position: Bristol Channel, 31 nautical miles west of Hartland Point
Nautical Position: 51° 02.6’ N, 005° 20.3’ W
Etmal: 127.1 nautical miles
Ship: Pelican of London

Preparing Breakfast


At 06:40, all three of today’s messmen (Philipp, Karoline and I) were awakened by the duty watch. We had to report to the cook at 07:00 and first ate some toast ourselves. Then we started preparing breakfast for everyone else. You could choose between porridge or toasted bread that the new cook baked this morning (very delicious). Everyone told us what they wanted and we served it to them directly from the galley (kitchen) because the ship was moving too much to actually set the tables. Not everyone was able to eat something, though, because of seasickness, so it wasn’t that stressful for us. After everyone was done eating, we started washing up, which was a bit harder (one plate sadly didn’t survive). Now we can rest until it’s time for lunch.



Most of us are seasick at the moment. There is nearly nobody who hasn’t thrown up yet. The galley and the toilets are the worst places to stay while being seasick. Yesterday I felt very well, but after being in the galley today in the morning, I’m now also feeling bad. But a good thing is that messmen don’t have to be on watch, so we are lying around in the mess now with some other seasick people and the teachers who are also seasick.

Lunch and Dinner


At lunchtime, the cook told us messmen to get some sleep because we all weren’t feeling well. Most people didn’t eat lunch anyway, so we weren’t needed. In the afternoon, we started washing up and preparing for dinner. I grated some cheese and Karoline prepared the salad while Philipp was cleaning. At 18:00 dinner was served for everyone and we could eat too. Luckily, Connor (Engineer) and Jacob (Bosun’s Mate) are helping with washing up, so the galley will close soon and we’ll go to bed.

Highlight of the Day


The highlight of the day was definitely that we saw dolphins! They followed us for a very long time and everyone was happy to see them. It was a big group and there was also a mother with a baby dolphin. We all agree that dolphins are the best medicine for seasickness. Another highlight of today was that we finally set some sails, the Foregaff and the Trysail.

Liane: Ganz liebe Grüße an meine ganze Familie, Erik, ich vermisse dich voll, wehe du vermisst mich nicht. An alle anderen: Hab’ euch ganz doll lieb <3

Karoline: An meine Familie und an die Schüpbsen, ich hab’ euch alle ganz dolle lieb und vermisse euch!

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Taking Care

Date: 29.10.2023
Position: Sharpness Dry Docks
Nautische Position: 51°71.671 N, 2°47.314W
Etmal: 0
Ship: Pelican of London

Teilnehmer:innen von Ocean College umarmen sich


Taking care is a significant aspect on the ship. Not only does the professional crew have to take care of us to ensure a pleasant journey, but we also have to take care of them and, most importantly, each other. Since day one of this journey, this has been the rule we’ve been living by. We believe that in one week of getting to know everybody, we have taken good care of everyone.

To emphasize the importance of this task: If one person isn’t cared for and feels lonely, it will affect the mood and concerns of everyone else on the ship. This is extremely important right now because we are all waiting for the weather to change so we can finally start our sailing journey. The delay is affecting our energy and patience.

Happy Hour

For the past week, one of the important tasks has been keeping the ship clean and tidy. This applies not only to our own bunks but also to the entire ship. In the words of the crew, “We take care of the ship, and the ship takes care of us.” As we have been doing heads & showers for the past couple of days, we had a so-called Happy Hour today.

During Happy Hour, every watch is assigned a specific task to accomplish. We cleaned the entire ship, including every floor, every wall, every door, everything we touched, the entire deck, the galley, and, of course, heads & showers as usual. Cleaning everything was exhausting, but it was also quite enjoyable. Now, we have to clean the messroom floor and the lower alleyway every day during the watch from 20:00 to 22:00 and during the watch from 06:00 to 08:00, we need to clean the points of contact, which means everything we touch.


While we are responsible for taking care of everyone around us, it’s essential to look after ourselves as well. For our self-care, the crew always suggests that we eat and sleep enough to avoid feeling unwell or getting sick. Our teachers also aim to provide a program that allows us to move and spend time outdoors.

We went on an excursion to Berkeley Castle. It took us about 2 hours to get there, and on our way, we passed through fields, mud, and the village of Berkeley. At the castle, we had a guided tour, and it was interesting. Afterward, we walked back, and this time it only took us 1.5 hours to return home. We are all quite tired now and won’t stay up for long so that we can get enough sleep and be fit for the following day.

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A Trip to the Capital of Wales

Date: 27th of October 2023
Location: Sharpness Dry Docks
Nautical Position: 51°71.671 N, 2°47.314 W
Etmal: 0 nautical miles
Schiff: Pelican of London

Starting the Day with Games

Our day started at 07:30 with a typical English breakfast, consisting of hashbrowns, eggs and beans in addition to our regular breakfast. At 09:00, our trip began with an hour and a half-long bus ride to Cardiff, today’s planned excursion and the capital of Wales.

Near the city, in a beautiful park, we played some fun games with the entire group, which the watch leaders and teachers had prepared for us.

Schüler*innen spielen im Park Spiele.

Paperclip Trade

In groups of four, we were allowed to explore the city. Gregor set up a challenge for us to try to trade a paperclip for something else that people would give us. The goal was to have the most iconic or fun item by the end. He gave us three hours to complete the task so that we could meet again at 15:00.

English Weather

While walking through the shopping mall and the breathtaking streets of Cardiff, heavy rain surprised us. We took shelter under a phone cell and waited for it to end. Fortunately, it didn’t last very long and we were able to continue our trip through the city shortly after.

Arrival at the Pelican

Our arrival was delayed by about an hour and a half due to multiple traffic jams on the road. When we finally arrived at the Pelican, we presented each other with the items we had traded. The watch leader received a fancy purse, while another group received a self-made tealight in the shape of a pumpkin from a little girl. We were all touched by this cute gesture. Others received a lucky sticker for our ship with a Buddha on it to protect us when we are out at sea.

Kleines Mädchen tauscht ein Kürbis-Teelicht gegen eine Büroklammer.

Relaxed Evening

Shortly after we went aboard our new gangway and it was time to eat dinner. We had rice and curry. Our wonderful cook, Shell, served ice cream for us. Later that evening, some of us played games in the mess, relaxed or had conversations

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Exploring Bristol

Date: 25th of October 2023
Position: Sharpness Dry Docks
Nautical Position: 51°71.671 N, 2°47.314 W
Etmal: 0 nautical miles covered
Ship: Pelican of London

Nightly Harbor Watches

After getting to know the principles of the harbor watches in the last few days, we all realize the importance of sleep on board.
Harbor watches are required during the night when we are not at sea. Therefore, the night is split into six watches, each lasting two hours, starting from 8 pm and ending at 8 am. For example, the students are responsible for checking the gangway, the mooring lines and whether the rib is still alongside the vessel. As you may have realized, people feel quite tired after doing night watches.

Preparation for Our First Shore Leave

Nevertheless, everyone got ready and had breakfast with a lot of energy, and we assembled on the well deck for the trip planned today. Having already spent three days on the Pelican, everyone was eager to explore the region near the dry dock. Luckily, everyone was quite punctual, and we arrived in Bristol via bus at 10 am.

Trip to Bristol

To start off, our teachers organized a surprisingly funny boat trip on the River Savon, which divides the city into two parts. Especially our guide enjoyed our company. In addition to explaining the most important sights and the nightlife of Bristol, he allowed us to play some of our music, and we ended up dancing to the beats.

Two of the students were interested in the guide’s life. So we asked them some questions about him. The boat guide, called Archie, is 20 years old and one of the biggest Techno fans in Bristol. That’s why he gave us lots of advice on where to go to party, but, of course, only when we’re older. As far as we understood, his main job is to guide sightseeing tours on the river. Personally, we think he loves his job and tries his best every day. That’s why we enjoyed his relaxed vibe.

Banksy Rally

After having such a good time on the boat, everyone split up into groups of four people to search for some of Banksy’s most important art pieces in Bristol. Banksy is a street artist born in Bristol who is well known for his ability to criticize societal problems by expressing himself with minimalistic graffiti all over the world.

The fastest group to discover four of his art pieces in the city won a small prize in the form of some biscuits. Luckily, they were generous enough to share the biscuits with the whole group.

On our way back to the bus station, we were happy to see our boat guide again while crossing one of the many Bristolian bridges.

Relaxed Evening

Before dinner, our Captain Chris informed us that the start of our voyage has to be postponed for some days due to bad weather conditions. For better understanding, Gonzo, our second mate, showed us some weather graphics that illustrate the movement of the wind speed during the next week.

In the evening, the spirit stayed high, we had a lot of fun dancing on the poop deck, others were playing games in the mess room and getting to know each other. Michelle had a surprise for all of us: she made homemade cookies! We are all very grateful for her great cooking, and we are sure it is much more stressful work than any of us can imagine. Therefore, we gave her a big round of applause.
With the cookies, a great day ended for us.

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briefing, briefing, briefing

Datum: 24. Oktober 2023
Position: Sharpness Dry Docks
Nautische Position: 51°71.671 N, 2°47.314W
Etmal: 0 zurückgelegte Seemeilen
Schiff: Pelican of London

Erstes Mal heads & showers

Heute ging es nachdem Frühstück direkt zur laundry area, um von da aus eine sehr motivierte erste Putzschicht der Royal watch zu beginnen. Alle Bäder haben einen ordentlichen sweep und wipe bekommen, natürlich mit bunten farbkodierten Tüchern. Denn wer möchte gerne mit einem Toilettenlappen seine Tasse spülen. Hygiene spielt auf einem Schiff, auf dem fast 50 Menschen auf engstem Raum leben, eben eine wichtige Rolle.

Briefing: Living on board, safety & emergency

Als wir gegen 09:40 Uhr alle im messroom versammelt waren, erklärte Tasmin, unsere 1st Mate, den SuS alles über das Leben auf der Pelican: Wie wird richtig geweckt? Was sind points of contact? Was ist wichtig im Umgang mit Waschmaschine und Trockner? Wie wird hier der Müll getrennt? Was ist mess duty?

Nach diesem ersten Briefing ging es auch gleich weiter mit input. Im safety & emergency Briefing erklärte Tamsin zum Beispiel was der Unterschied zwischen einer „ladder“ und „stairs“ ist. Außerdem erklärte sie das Prozedere für die emergency situations „fire“, „abandoned ship“, „knock down“ und „man over board“.

Vier Stationen

Nach der langen Zeit des Sitzens, waren wir alle froh darüber uns etwas bewegen zu können. Dies sollte in Form von vier verschiedenen Stationen geschehen, die von jeder Watch im Laufe des Tages durchlaufen wurden: Tamsin machte mit uns eine Tour durch und über das gesamte Segelschiff, in der sie alle vorhandenen Sicherheitseinrichtungen erklärte.

Mit Connor, unserem Bosun, stellten wir unsere Harnesse (Sicherheitsgurte) passend ein.
Tobi teilte uns alles zu den Tagesberichten mit. Wann werden Berichte auf Deutsch, wann auf Englisch geschrieben? Welche formalen Vorgaben müssen erfüllt sein? Welche kreativen Freiheiten werden uns gelassen?
Gonzo, unser 2nd Mate, zeigte uns die grundlegendsten Instrumente, die für das Steuern relevant sind. Außerdem erklärte er, was beim Lookout besonders zu beachten ist und wie wir entsprechend reagieren sollen.

MCA check

Der Tagesplan geriet etwas in Verzug, da der obligatorische MCA check durchgeführt werden musste. Eine Person einer offiziellen Einrichtung für Schifffahrt kam an Board der T.S. Pelican of London und überprüfte, wie die professionelle Crew in einer Notfallsituation agiert. Dafür wurde ein Brandfall in einer der cabins mit einer verletzten Person simuliert und der general alarm ausgelöst. Alle Schüler kamen schnell auf das poop deck und sammelten sich in ihren Watches. Schwimmwesten wurden angelegt und die fire party (zwei Personen der professionellen Crew, ausgestattet mit Feuerwehrausrüstung) machte sich auf den Weg, um die imaginär verletzte Person zu retten und das imaginäre Feuer zu löschen.
Der Check verlief insgesamt sehr gut. Alle wussten, was sie zu tun hatten und der MCA war zufrieden.

Letztes Briefing

Nach dem Abendessen fanden alle Laptops und iPads ihren Weg in eine große Kiste bei den Lehrern. Auch wurden alle eReaders und mp3-Player kontrolliert. Alle Schüler und Watchleader bekamen ein Armband mit der Projektleiter- Handynummer. Die erste harbour watch ging auf ihren Posten und alle anderen in ihre cabin, um nach diesem anstrengenden Tag so viel Schlaf wie möglich zu bekommen.

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