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Tammy, You Bitch

by Guest Blogger

October 7, 2005

By noon Wednesday, everyone (that wasn’t sea sick) was having a few laughs at the state of affairs. The ship was rolling and pitching, and people were stumbling down the alleyways like they were drunk (not that we know what that feels like…). It was deemed too dangerous for the cook to prepare lunch, so we all took turns with ramen noodles in the microwave.

Artic Sunrise Rolling

It was impossible to get any work done in the afternoon, so some retired to their cabins for a rare nap and others of us gathered in the lounge for a movie. We all agreed it would be cool to watch The Perfect Storm, thinking that the ship’s movement would provide an added effect to the film – which it did (fun fact: the bar that the fishermen and their families gather in was actually shot in an old Greenpeace office we had in Gloucester).

For dinner, the cook still wasn’t able to cook so he reheated and laid out a buffet of leftovers including spaghetti, mashed potatoes, fruit and ice cream. The first two crewmembers got their dinner without incident, and third and fourth in line were Mathew (assistant cook) and Olivier (second mate). A wave came as the two were preparing their plates, so they held onto a slate of wood on the countertop until it passed. But instead of keeping the pair steady, the wood broke free and sent Matt and Olivier sailing across the messroom floor. Not far behind them was the entire buffet the cook had set out. That’s when things took a turn for the worse.

The messroom was officially declared a disaster area. At the height of the cleaning, there were probably eight of us trying to throw away the food and mop up the remains. Another particularly big wave hit and Barbara (deckhand) was slammed into a table. I then slammed into Barbara and the wave began to swing back the other way. I saw Eric (explorer/deckhand) coming for us at high speed, but I wasn’t able to get out of the way in time. He knocked our legs out from under us and the three of tumbled to the ground. Spectators said it was like Eric was a bowling ball and Barbara and I the pins.

Tammy is a tropical storm that formed just off Florida’s east coast early Wednesday, dropping rain into north Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. We changed our course to avoid going straight through it and have been dancing around the outskirts of it for a few days now. I don’t know many specifics of the storm, but we’ve been feeling windspeeds of about 60 knots and our ship has rolled more than 60 degrees a few times. The maximum number the ship can register is 70 degrees.

A Smelly, Hungry, Bruised Crew

Showers are off limits, and are needed more than ever since most crewmembers have been rolling around in food. Everytime we finish mopping up an area, someone else wipes out and spills the bucket of mop water all over and we start again. Chris (campaigner) was trying to help in the galley and had a collision with the dishwasher. Rumor has it you can see the brand name of the dishwasher imprinted on his leg.

I’ve lost count of the number of people I have seen bounce off walls, ejected from chairs or tossed off couches. The only people onboard without black and blue marks are the ones that have been holed up in their rooms with sea sickness. Every time someone falls down someone else chirps “looks like you forgot to pay your gravity bill” and for some reason, even after 100 times, we find it funny.

The one comforting thing onboard is a visit to the bridge. It’s the scariest view, and because it’s at the top of the ship, it rolls more than anywhere else. But whether it’s the captain, first mate or second mate at the helm, it’s comforting to see how at ease they are in the midst of the drama. They chuckle at your suggestions that the situation is anything anyone should be worried about and tell stories about “real” storms they’ve seen over the years.

I don’t think I would mind if this is the worst weather I ever experience while at sea, and my guess is most people onboard feel the same way. We’re all looking forward to arriving in Miami, but everyone is trying to keep each other’s spirits up and we can’t wait to tell our friends about our skirmish with the Atlantic Ocean.

-Maureen

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