The Galley on the Rainbow Warrior
The Galley on the Rainbow Warrior
I arrived in Lyttelton two days ago and it's taken me that long to get a berth on board. There's been a gaggle of volunteers here, helping with open days and generally getting a bit of ship time, but things have quietened down a little now so I'm on!

I arrived in time to help give Babu the cook a night off by cooking dinner for the crew and remaining volunteers.

Three of us mucked in and fashioned a passable meal for 25. Babu doesn't give up his duties lightly though. Over the course of our rather messy culinary adventure he made several appearances to stand watch at the door, offer advice, fetch ingredients and smile knowingly.

The protocol on the ship (there are many and they are intricate) for mealtimes is that you must have your name on the 'list' if you want to eat. Simple enough and reasonable too. It's hard enough cooking for a large bunch of people, in a small misshapen galley with a sloping floor, without having an extra 10 people making a surprise appearance. Which is exactly what did happen of course. There's so many landlubbers like myself on board the rules are not always known let alone stuck to.

We pulled through though. Our oversized pot of pumpkin risotto shored up with some reheated leftovers went the distance in the end - and wasn't half bad if I may say so myself.

Back to the rules and protocol of shiplife, we newbies had got a 'life on board' briefing from Pep today as well.

It's a small ship and there can be a lot of people on board so it's important that things run smoothly. He covered such things as noise levels - (there is always someone asleep due to the 24 hour watch that is kept), when to shower and when not - (there's only two showers), when to use the laundry and when not, and what to do with your plate after eating. This last one is one of Pep's personal bug bears I suspect. He gave a very, very detailed presentation that included diagrams on a white board and several props. It's not as simple as you might think.

When you've finished eating you first need to clean your plate of scraps. And that doesn't mean you can just tip them off - they need to be scraped off with the spatula hanging on a string above the organic waste bin. There's a good reason for everything. If we don't clean our plates properly we risk clogging the waste system on the ship - apparently a dangerously mucky eventuality that, I for one, do not wish to risk. Then you wash your plate and cutlery in the plastic bin with soapy hot waster, rinse it in the one with the clean hot water and put it in the correct rack to dry. The cutlery has its place and the plates have their place. Everything has its place because life must go on at sea, in almost any weather. Three meals a day. A shower every other day.

You can't just go doing things any old how now can you.