Some weird things happen when you put 30 something people in a small place with almost no connection to the outside world for several weeks. One thing that tends to happen is the book clubs sprout almost immediately. Suddenly everyone wants to know what everyone is reading, and then soon enough half the boat has read a book or is in a waiting list to get their hands on it. These books can be wonderful, or extremely bad. I think I would find it difficult to convince my friends back home to all read a book because of how terrible it is and then talk about it for hours.
Another weird phenomenon is boat dreams. Something about crawling into your bunk after standing a long watch or working tiresome hours and falling asleep to the sound of various strange noises and the rocking of the boat elicits some strange dreams. I shall respect the privacy of my shipmates’ unconscious thoughts, but trust me when I tell you they are strange.
Lastly I will discuss the ways language is transformed while living with the same people in very close quarters. Ironic uses of words quickly become unironic. Something someone says once will be echoed for the rest of their days aboard. Knowing that we all speak in our own weird language now, I thought I would clarify a few words and sayings so that any parents reading might have hope to understand what their kids are talking about when they speak of their time aboard our good ship.
I will start generally with typical boat terms that are useful to know.
Heads = bathrooms, soles = floors, galley = kitchen, reefer = fridge, companionways = hallways, etc. Now onto the more confusing bit. When your kid comes home and says “Slay, bestie!” they really mean “hello.” When your kid comes home and says “I was in my helm era, purr” they really mean “I was steering the boat.” When your kid comes home and says “COWARD” they really mean “how are you?” When your kid comes home and says “we sail handled up the wazoo” they really mean “we set or struck a lot of sails in a short period of time.” When your kid comes home and said “can I have some light attenuating spheroids” they really mean “I want some m&ms.” There are plenty more where that came from, but I will end the list here for now.
On a more serious note I would love to take a second to shout out all the students on board who have been so much fun to work with the past 4 weeks. It’s one thing for the crew to come and join these voyages (we know what we’re getting into), but to see all the students jump into this experience headfirst is one of the coolest parts of my job. Seeing them all embrace these weird parts of ship-life is so fun to watch, and it’s been a joy to spend time with them all.
Hi mom! I love you and miss you so much, hope you see this! Can’t wait to hang out soon.