Friday, November 11, 2011

What is life on board a ship like?

Life on board a ship is a unique experience. First of all, there is no weekend; every single day is like the previous one and like the following one in terms of rhythm.
On board the RRS James Cook, breakfast is from 7:20 to 8:30, then lunch from 11:20 to 12:30 and dinner from 17:30 to 18:30. There are two cooks on board. 

7290 meals (including breakfast) will be served during this expedition, using not less than 500 kg of potatoes, 10 kg of aubergines …

On board a ship, work is generally scheduled on watches. The crew runs a 4-hour watch, which means that they work for example from 8 am to 12 am and then 8 pm to 12 pm. This system allows the ship to run 24/24. Work never stops on board.
The scientists organize their work in watches too, in order to take the most from the ship time allocated. On this cruise, we are working from 4 am to 4 pm or 4 pm to 4 am, a 12-hour watch divided in 6 hours on stand-by (working freely at different tasks) and 6 hours on duty (in charge of surveying parameters, sorting samples, etc).