Shift work

We’re still under way, unsurprisingly. We’re north of Bergen now and I’ve noticed that the weather is significantly colder than it was in Ardfern, so that we put the stove on yesterday and it works ridiculously well. It’s basically an oil tray that you set on fire inside a drum. So it’s warm.

You know that a couple of days ago we were going through an oil field. Well today we’ve come past a couple of drilling platforms, which look like a cross between the Disney castle and the Warhammer Citadel logo. They’re like cities!

Something that I’ve noticed recently is that we don’t get dolphins anymore! Awww! Oh, Barbara just told me that she saw a whale this morning, cool. In the meantime though we have been getting a wide selection of seabirds, well, gulls at least. I think they’re here because of the rotting vegetable matter we throw over the side. Actually, oddly, once you’re twelve nautical miles from land, it’s legal to throw paper over the side too!

There’s a book I’ve heard of, a true story, by Redmond O’Hanlon, who went on a fishing trawler to find out what the fishermen’s life is like in a hurricane. According to him, as their time at sea goes on, they change, to the extent that when they return to land they are completely insane for a few days. He developed a theory that when people are in situations that are out of their control, they develop superstitions as a way of feeling in control of their lives. In fact he observed this in himself. There was a wooden handled gutting knife on board when all the others were plastic, and he got so that he felt that if he had that knife he was safe. As long as he had that knife he would be fine. This got me thinking, because I have heard of other stories about people who have been changed by long periods at sea. I have noticed a change in myself. Before now I always thought of day and night as different, during the day you are awake and during night you are asleep, they were different. 

That’s stopped. Instead of thinking of life in terms of, day, night, lunchtime, breakfast and so on, it’s whether you have to do something now or not: work, not work, sleep, eat, more like that. It’s difficult to explain.

We have finally tested the on-boat film idea, and it works. You can watch a film while the vessel is rocking about without much trouble, yay!

Today Magnus managed to throw an omelette at a door. He was cooking an omelette and had gone to do something else, I can’t remember what. The boat rolled to one side and the omelette leapt out of the pan and into the door. Luckily it wasn’t too hard to clean up.

We’ve now gone through almost all of Maureen’s biscuits, cake and scones, and the lamb she gave us is finished. We are going to miss them when they’re gone. I have decided that Top Gear was wrong, Polar exploration can be both easy and comfortable. The main problem with the shifts is that they’re boring.

We will be in Tromso by Tuesday I think, where there is apparently a very good restaurant which Barbara and Constance are making us visit. I’ll probably write again tomorrow when Magnus has attacked another door with a soufflé.


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