Typical meal in the Main Salon, thanks galley (Aleea and Brier all smiles)
Hello readers! My name is Will Lounsbery-Scaife, and I am one of the stewards, or cooks, for this program. As second steward, my job is to work with Shelby Mann, our steward, to feed the crew and students three meals and three snacks every day. Shelby and I started preparing for this trip several weeks before students arrived, discussing over the phone what food we wanted to order for our time aboard the Cramer. We needed to put together two large orders—one of dried, canned, and frozen foods, and one of produce and dairy. There were many factors to consider when crafting our orders: dietary restrictions of crew and students; what food was already on the boat; how much of various ingredients Shelby and I like to use in our cooking; how long fresh food lasts before going bad; and perhaps most importantly, storage space.
Another treat from the galley
Our two orders came two days apart from each other, several days before students arrived. The entire crew worked together to get everything properly stowed for our journey. Before our fresh produce could be put in the refrigerator, it needed to be completely dried and wrapped in butcher paper so that it would last longer in storage. We laid out all our produce on cardboard boxes on the dock to let it dry in the sun before taking it on
board. Shelby and I put lots of thought into how we stored our food in the refrigerator and freezer. We put things that go bad quickly—like fresh spinach, salad mix, and berries—towards the front of the fridge. Longer-lasting foods like carrots and romaine lettuce were tucked away towards the back of the fridge. This way we don’t have to spend as much time taking things out of the front of the fridge to get to items in the back.
Rather than planning out a menu for days or weeks in advance, Shelby and I tend to plan out meals and snacks a day or two beforehand. Some things we consider when planning what to make include: what foods we have eaten recently (variety is nice), which ingredients are easy to access in the fridge/freezer, which ingredients will go bad next, and what our student assistant for that day wants to make with us.
I have written the schedule for a typical day in the life of a steward below. Shelby and I typically alternate who makes breakfast so the other can sleep in. Of course, while meal and snack times remain constant every day, the times at which we prepare them change slightly each day depending on what we are making.
Student Camilla Salwen (left) and stewards Will Lounsbery-Scaife (middle) and Shelby Mann (right) prepare bagels in the galley
0430: whoever is doing breakfast wakes up and starts breakfast
0545: student assistant joins us in the galley
0620: first seating of breakfast
0700: second seating of breakfast
0800-0945: prepare morning snack and midnight snack
1000: put out morning snack
1015: start making lunch
1220: first seating of lunch
1300: second seating of lunch
1430: crew and students attend class
1500: prepare afternoon snack
1600: put out afternoon snack
1615: start making dinner
1820: first seating of dinner
1900: second seating of dinner
1930: put out midnight snack
1945: meet with the student assistant for the following day to plan meals
And then the next day, we do it all again!
I completed a trip with SEA as a student during my senior year of college, in the spring of 2018. When I finished, I knew two things right away. I desperately wanted to return to work for SEA, and I wanted to work in the galley. The atmosphere of the galley and the food made by the stewards were two major highlights for me during my student trip (shout-out to Lauren and Natalie for inspiring me to pursue this position). I am incredibly grateful that I have been able come back to SEA as a steward. The experience is certainly very tiring, and at times quite stressful, but it is also extremely rewarding.
Stewards even help out on deck, Will and Shelby haul on the main sheet while Chief Mate Rocky smiles with approval (Anne and Matt in the background)
Putting out meals and snacks that improve the morale of students and crew as they work so hard to get us to St. Croix is something I look forward to every day. Seeing students try new foods is always exciting, especially when they end up loving it. But to me, the best part of the experience is watching a community form on board our ship. As students learn and gain confidence in their ability as sailors and scientists, they are also forming meaningful relationships with one another and with crew members. Many students will walk away from this experience having formed friendships that may last for years. Every person on this ship is sharing a unique and challenging experience with each other, and when we reach our destination in St. Croix, we will all be able to share the same sense of accomplishment.
A few quick shout-outs to folks back home:
Shout-out to my mom and dad, and to my brother George. I miss you all! Shout-out to my dog, Biggie. Who’s a good boy? And of course, shout-out to Zoë. I miss you loads, and I can’t wait to see you when I return. Keep checking your spam folder!