Being on a ship really restricts me from posting regular blogs due to very limited connectivity with the world and all of you. But whenever I get a chance, I make sure to post a piece of my writing. It’s almost been two months onboard and so far it’s been an incredible experience. And I am definitely looking forward to more. Well, while I am onboard, most of my friends keep asking me about how I spend my days here? What do I do? How does it feel to be on a ship for days? And so on. So, I thought why not write a blog and let you all know about how my life here, at sea is. I am sure everyone who comes onboard has a special experience, and something different from what I feel. But this blog is all about what I feel, and everyone is welcome to share his or her thoughts. It’s always a good idea to share experiences and learn from them.
So to begin with, I would say that the life on ship is very different and outlandish. It takes some time to settle down, gel with people, get acquainted with routines, rules and procedures, but once you are all comfortable, you start enjoying your days here. It feels a bit strange and boring initially, as there is no family around, no friends, no relatives, no neighbors, and neither the access to things like unlimited internet, TV, Netflix, online shopping, malls, clubs, restaurants etc. It’s hard to come in terms with the fact that my mobile phone will now only be an alarm clock for at least sometime. It feels quite unusual to wake up on a massive ship moving in an infinite ocean, and all I could see through my window is a blue sky, clouds, and never ending waters. With time, however, I get used to all of it and start adoring this tranquility around me. I always feel how cool it is to be on a ship for days in the ocean, with no one around, no traffic, no signals, no horns and no busy roads. I always think of how life will be under this water. I wonder if there are any whales and sharks under my ship, swimming along! If there are any mermaids in the water watching me! If there is any volcano or a trench underneath! Huh, ceaseless string of thoughts and imaginations.
Well, coming back to real world, everybody living on the vessel forms a little family, as they work together, eat together and travel together for days and months. From the time you alight here, you keep meeting various people and soon everyone knows you. That undeniably feels a lot better. Now, you could talk to people, have discussions, explore the vessel, go to bridge, spend time watching horizon at bridge wing, visit engine room for tea breaks and night rounds, see various machineries and so on. One thing, which is really advantageous being here is, that you can actually see what it takes to run a ship. An experience that you won’t get even on some of the finest cruises in the world. No ship authorities allow you to enter these areas, as they are highly restricted and filtered.
Then there are movie nights, games and parties, while latter being my favourite time on ship. Dance, drinks and lots of fun. Everyone enjoys and have a good time. They let go of all their worries and work load. There are discussions about normal stuff and finally that alien feeling inside you takes a backseat. Such gatherings revitalise everyone and it’s good to see the other side of these officers.
But then, there are days when everyone is on their toes. You could hardly spot a difference between day and night. Every other officer you meet will be lost in some of his task that of course you can’t even understand. Mostly this happens, when we come ashore and the work keeps pouring in. This is the time when I get really bored, but then I might be lucky to go on a shore leave and explore the place. My hubby might not accompany me every time, as he has a long to-do list for his jobs to be done at port. But that doesn’t fetter my spirit. I go alone or if someone else is going, I tag along. Why waste my shore leave!!!
While onboard I really love meal times when everyone is around and the room is buzzing with discussions and dialogues. Although most of the time, discussion is about things I have never even heard of. Initially it feels like they are talking about some goddamn extra-terrestrial stuff, but slowly you get habitual and might understand something too. However, on the contrary, there is something I equally hate about meals here, and that is ‘specific timings.’ No matter how sleepy I am, I have to wake up by 7 and eat my breakfast before 8, else only cereals can help me. Then I have to bathe and be ready for lunch by 12 and for dinner by 6. I can’t have meals according to my timings or leisure. I miss getting cozy on my bed, with my favourite pizza, glass of red wine and Netflix. And this is the time; I wish I would return soon to my place. Well, everyone misses being home and so do I.
There are certain rules and regulations onboard, which I am supposed to observe, no matter what. They are must and no violation will be tolerated. I need to be alert and attentive to any announcements or alarms, which means I can’t just plug in my earphones and doze off. If I am told not to go out in the deck, there is no way I can ignore it. I need to be a part of regular drills, keep clear of any machineries and working areas, and most of all shouldn’t do anything that jeopardize safety of anyone onboard. But at the same time, there are few things that I get to relish, being on a vessel. I can appreciate some of the most wonderful sunrises and sunsets right from my window. The bluest and blackest of skies. Stars so bright, sparkling and vibrant, that I can literally sit and stare at them whole night. The only sound I can hear is the ocean around and all I can feel is the wind in my hair. It’s exceptionally peaceful and serene, like meditation, and a long awaited detoxification my body, mind and soul needed. It’s something incredible and undreamed-of.
Apart from this, I am a wild soul here with no labeled jobs and worries. I don’t have to worry about refilling groceries, buying fruits and veggies, deciding menu for lunch and dinner, watering my plants, and so on. I can just lie around whole day, watch movies, read books, sleep to my heart’s content, listen to music, write or simply do nothing. I don’t have to care about being in the best version of myself. My pyjamas are perfect for anytime of the day, as hardly anyone knocks or steps inside our room. I don’t even have to bother locking my room unlike home where I have to carry a bunch of keys every time I go out. The best part is I get to pamper myself with truckloads of beauty sleep, variety of cuisines and desserts, unpolluted air and pure oxygen. What else I can wish for!!
All in all, life here is a combination of everything from exploring the vessel to exploring the world, being bored to busy, being happy to sad, being lazy to active, being free to restricted and being a supernumerary to a wife. Just like a coin has two faces, there are two aspects of being onboard as well. Some days are happy, cheerful and bright, while some are grey and gloomy, and all you want to do is fly back home. It gets bit dull when there are long sails, he has continuous watches, no parties, no movie nights, heavy weather, seasickness, and what not. Sometimes we might not even get shore leaves. Though my hubby has specific timings for his job, it won’t be too much to say that there are days when he is busy round the clock. Unlimited work, alarms, watches, drills, meetings and what not. The way and speed with which my hubby jumps off the bed on hearing alarm during his watch, he won’t do that at home even if I say I am running away with someone else. Funny but true!! But amidst all this work and unusual stuff, the feeling when he comes back to room after work and you can just hug him and hold tight is unexplainable. When he feels all good and strong to find you beside him on hard days. When your smile makes him forget all his worries. When you don’t have to wait for his messages or mails or calls. When you realize that no matter how long the day is, at the end, you both will be together. This is the best feeling in the world and no boredom can ever conquer it.
Being onboard is an experience in life that teaches you a lot. Every individual here is committed to his work, no matter how good or bad conditions are. Patience, passion, endurance, teamwork, dedication and hard work are some of the qualities I learn every time I am onboard. And by the time I return back to be with my lovelies, the only thing I know is that I will miss being here. I will miss my little family. I will miss the energy and positivity people have here, the strength and courage they have and the determination and will, that helps them sail their lady safe and sound across blue waters. That helps them to be what they are.
But most of all, I will miss the undying voyage. I will miss the infinite nature. I will miss the ocean, the salt, and the sun.