Friday, August 15, 2014

Shore Leave - Arendal & Kristiansand

The last week of this voyage was spent in Arendal, Norway also known as the setting for the movie "Frozen". While we were there we got a copy of the dvd and watched it in the banjer (second movie night in a week - crazy!). It's a beautiful place and easy to see why Disney chose it as the set for a movie although the film version looks quite different from the real Aredal. One of the nicest things about our docking location was the ice cream stand just off the bow. There were several visits there during our stay!

During the week we hosted a number of events from press conferences to receptions to open ship every day. We had the mayor of Kristiansand stay on board as well!  The week was some sort of politcal event but I never really understood what it was all about. In town different organizations had tents set up and if I understood Norwegian I think it would have made a lot more sense. 

One evening there was a "daysail" and it was the perfect night for it. The weather was clear and we did a slow motor out to some lighthouses and back passing an old fishing village on the way. The group who had booked the ship brought a jazz band with them and that was a pleasant addition. 

It was a good mix of busy days and quiet ones, I had time on a couple of occasions to iron tablecloths, not a bad job considering it's staionary, clean, warm and dry! You can't say that about many jobs on board! One morning I was able to get out to try wakeboarding for the second time. Happily I got up on the first try and did a few short runs before passing the board off to someone else. 

At the end of the week we returned to Kristiansand and I spent my last two nights out with crew mates exploring the play structures by the water (how many people fit on this giant swing?) and playing more beach/sand volleyball then I have ever done (which isn't saying a whole lot). My last day on board we had a shorter work day with a 10:00 brunch and 17:00 dinner. In between I packed and cleaned my cabin. Taking down the pictures from the walls always makes it feel like the end, more so then packing somehow. Anyways another journey done and a 19 hour transit back to Canada in progress as I write. 

Shore Leave - Kristiansand

After the last voyage we had a couple days in Kristiansand before heading off to Arendal. It was a chance for us to catch our breaths, catch up on some sleep and say good-bye to a number of crew. Sadly this is where the galley girls parted ways, with Nadia heading off to England for a bit of fun before heading home. 

On arrival day the whole crew went out for dinner on the ship's "welfare fund". Because Kristiansand is her home port we were able to lock the doors, hoist the gangway (drawbridge style) and enjoy a meal in a restaurant. We came back to continue the fun with dancing on deck (this was not the catch up on your sleep day!). 

The following day we were supposed to be having a daysail but a storm caused by the tail end of a hurricane cancelled those plans! We had a late breakfast/brunch and spent a pretty relaxed day doing some clean up and keeping the ship properly attached to the dock (even in the sheltered harbour you could feel the waves from the storm!). That night we rigged up a projector in the banjer and watched SS Martha, a 1960's Danish comedy about a crew on a cargo ship. I think it's the second most "required viewing" on board, topped only by Around Cape Horn. 

And that was Kristiansand for this go around. The next morning there was a break in the weather and we were gone by 6:30 in the morning. 

Sailing Along - Denmark to Norway

Quite the opposite of the last sail - this one was a gentleman's sail. Less then 10 voyage crew, nice weather and calm seas. 

Due to some crew changes Nadia moved into my cabin and we shared it the rest of her time on board. Still not sick of each other after a summer of working and playing together! 

The last night before coming in we spent at anchor, in the same location to our anhorage before grad in May. A pleasant place to spend a day.  Galley girls went for a swim on our break and though it was cold at first it soon felt refreshing rather than freezing and we had a nice time in the water. 

That night we had a BBQ on deck followed by breakfast on deck the next morning. We were motoring through a very narrow and picturesque channel and it was great to eat breakfast outside with amazing scenery!

Shore leave - Esbjerg, Denmark

Last festival port! Getting in a day early was great as it was a bonus day without any arrangements on board. During our stay we had a few including lunch for a 50 person shanty choir and a reception that a prince of Denmark attended!

There was fun to be had as well as work. Danish ice cream is just as good as I remembered and getting a cone was an almost daily occurrence. At every festival there is a crew party and in Esbjerg we decided to host the crews from the other Nordic ships for a small after party. Another of the ships, Raddich, hosted a pre-party so it was a pretty social night!

The festival kindly provided wifi which was great especially as the signal reached my cabin! It's so much easier to stay in touch when you don't have to go out and seek wifi. They also collected mail for us and I was happy to have a new batch of notes and letters to read. 

One afternoon on my break I rented a bike and cycled out to the Four White Men, a sculpture near the water. After taking the requisite pictures I waded out into the water, it was low tide, and enjoyed the sea from a different perspective. A quick stop at the maritime museum and for an ice cream and then time to return the bike and get back to work. This was one of the few excursions the galley girls didn't do together. How strange to come back and have to ask "how was your afternoon?"

I finally got the chance to see a bit of the other Norwegian ships, Raddich and Lehmkuhl. Raddich I was able to see a bit of during the party and I had a 10 minute tour of Lehmkuhl before their evening deck party started. Both are bigger, but not necessarily nicer, than Sorlandet. Of course I was particularly interested in the galleys and enjoyed seeing different set ups. 

Sailing Along - Norway to Denmark

On this voyage my goal was to survive. We had 50+ voyage crew and providing food for an extra 20 people definitely stretched the galley department. I think Nadia and I worked overtime every day and we counted down the days til port. In addition to the increase in crew we were also participating in a race which meant going as fast as we could, often close hauled into the wind. One day the wind picked up in the half hours before breakfast and lunch causing us to heel over quite a bit. The galley girls were not impressed but since we got up over 10 knots we let it pass. 

Thankfully all the going fast meant we got in early. In addition to coming alongside a day early we also had a night at anchor. The other Norwegian sailing ships, Christian Raddich and Straastad Lehmkuhl were anchored along with us and it was pretty amazing to have the three Norwegian ships 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Shore Leave - Bergen, Norway

This festival offered a prize for Best Arrival and the Sorlandet crew took the challenge seriously. We had a wakeboarder with a Sorlandet pennant attached to her ankle and shoulder, a tender shooting water with a fire pump, shanties being sung, cannons being fired and a captain with a parrot on his shoulder!  We were hard to miss for sure. As our contribution to an awesome arrival the Galley Girls made ice cream sandwiches for snack to be enjoyed once the ship was safely alongside. As we discovered in Harlingen, ice cream sandwiches are just about the perfect arrival day snack. And this time we sneakily made them while most others ate lunch so they were a surprise!

Bergen was a mail port and I was super excited when the captain handed over a bunch of mail from my "fan club". Thanks for writing!

We hosted 3 deck parties during this port. Only one we had to cater for and only for 15 people which was nice. Lots of little finger foods arranged on trays to be rather fancy. 

That deck party was the same day as the crew parade (much better attended then the one in Fredrikstad, perhaps because it wasn't raining?) and party. The party was good, we ate off real plates and there was a good band who did lots of popular dance songs as well as some of their originals. 

The weather in Bergen was strangely sunny and warm! A bunch of us went for a swim between the parade and party and cooling off in the water was exactly what we needed.  

Bergen is a gorgeous place, on the water (obviously), there are lots of old wooden buildings and mountains surrounding the city. On our time off Nadia and I took the funicular up one of the mountains to enjoy the view, eat an ice cream, sit by a mountain pond and then hiked back down to make dinner. 

Sailing Along - Norway to Norway via Scotland

This leg of the Tall Ships festival was the "Cruise in Company", no racing, just sailing for fun. There were 9 days between festivals and most ships made a stop or two. We were supposed to stop in Aberdeen and Fair Isle but ended up canceling the Fair Isle stop as it meant more sailing and less motoring. 

Leaving Fredrikstad we were down an officer but luckily Johannes, who has been on the ship on and off for a few years was able to join us in Aberdeen. 

I had the cabin to myself this sail and had both bunks made up so I could sleep in whichever one made sense with the way the ship was moving (one bunk is crosswise to the ship, the other goes fore and aft). It was a fun luxury no one else on board had! Oh the little things that can make your day!

Nadia celebrated her birthday during this sail. There was cake (carrot cake), presents and singing. The best surprise was the large pod of dolphins swimming alongside the ship all evening. Everyone was out on deck taking pictures and enjoying the awesomeness of it all. 

The Galley Girls enjoyed breaking into this 11 pound bar of chocolate to bake brownies! They weren't our best so we'll just have to try again. Sigh. 

We were in Aberdeen for less then 5 hours but I had some time off and made it to the Maritime Museum (where Nadia spotted these great mugs) and Marks and Spencer to stock up on some favourite foods. I also had a nice talk with my family as they were able to call me on my phone/UK SIM card I have from earlier this year.

Our last night before arrival in Bergen we spent at a beautiful anchorage in a fjord. The water was calm, the scenery was spectacular and I wasn't the only one who wished we could've stayed longer but the festival started the next day and to that madness we had to go. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sailing Along – the Netherlands to Norway

This voyage was the first of two tall ships races Sorlandet is taking part in this summer.  The race started at noon the day after we left Harlingen.  It was supposed to cover 350 nautical miles but got cut short as the winds weren’t very good and the race organizers wanted to make sure the fleet had enough time to get into the next festival port (which would have to happen under motor which is illegal during the race).  When the race started we could look out in any direction and see tall ships under sail – amazing!

During the race we had to tack a few times which involved the whole crew.  Galley department was assigned the fore course sheets as they are the lines closest to the galley doors. After our assigned line was set Nadia and I helped out hauling on other lines before going back to the galley.  Being part of a sail manoeuver like that is a great feeling, everyone is working together and when it’s done well it’s got a really rhythm and beauty to it.

Our voyage crew for this leg was heavy on the U25’s as for races there is a rule that a certain percentage of your crew needs to be between 15 and 25.  We also had quite an international crew, 13 countries represented, which led to our winning the International Friendship Award for this race leg!

(and if anyone is paying attention to the itinerary I e-mailed out before I left you'll notice I'm a bit behind on the blog.  Sorry!)

Festival Ports - Harlingen, Netherlands and Fredrikstad, Norway

In Harlingen we moored next to this ship. We had to cross their deck to get ashore.
Four of our ports this summer are Tall Ships Festival ports.  Similar to the Tall Ships Festivals I attended last summer on the Great Lakes; besides the ships there are vendors selling merchandise, cheesy nautical things, food, etc.  There are also crew parties, receptions, activities and facilities available for us to use.  The biggest difference between these European Tall Ships Festivals and the ones on the Great Lakes is that here there are around 70 tall ships instead of 12-15!  And Sorlandet is not the biggest ship at the festival, one of the bigger ones but not the star attraction like she was on the Lakes.  The nicest difference is that we don’t have open ship every day of the festival.  There is still a fair amount of activity on board with different officials, organizers, friends, sponsors, etc. coming on throughout the day but not 2000+ random strangers shuffling around deck asking the same questions.

Harlingen.  Ferris wheel + ships
During the festivals I haven’t had too much time off, a few hours here and there, but that’s OK.  Generally the first thing we do when we get off (speaking for Nadia and myself, not the whole crew), is look for wifi, probably at a coffee shop.  Other standard stops include buying postcards and stamps and probably a grocery store for personal or ship provisions.  We’ve also been running in most ports.  Lerwick has been our favourite run so far and it will be pretty hard to beat – the scenery was incredible.

#galleygirls get milkshakes and wifi
Part of fun of the festivals is meeting or catching up with crew from other ships.  There’s also the opportunity to tour around the other ships but I haven’t made that happen yet.  I’ve met some of the cooks from other ships and given a galley tour or two.  There’s one ship that has a bread room so I hope to see that one day!

en route to crew party in Fredrikstad

In Fredrikstad Carsten (department head), Nadia and myself went out for dinner one night.  We cooked for the crew who would be eating on board (about 10) and headed out.  It was great to have some time to spend together in a relaxed setting and enjoy great food that we didn’t have to prepare!

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Day in the Life – Tuesday July 8. 2014

0600 – Knock on the door, it’s my wake-up call from Morten. Today he’s brought me a cup of Earl Grey tea (we agree Twinning’s is the best) which is a great start to the day!

0615 – I’m ready to go and out on deck with my tea enjoying the morning for a bit before work begins.

0630 – Down to the walk-in to get the bread that’s been rising overnight.  Nadia meets me there and we get the bread into the oven to bake before going to set the tables in the aft ship.

0707 – The tables are set and I’m back in the galley to take the bread out of the oven.  I have a few more things to get from down in dry stores and start some water boiling for oatmeal.

0725 – We don’t have a hot breakfast every day but today we do.  Giving the oatmeal a last stir before dishing it up.

0736 - The breakfast food is out and I’ve done a quick wipe down in the galley.  Time to eat!

0757 – Enjoying a bit more deck time before breakfast break is over.

0805 – Cleaning in the galley, the tilt skillet from the oatmeal needs washing and dirty dishes get taken down to the pantry.

0811 – Time to start baking cake!  It won’t be served till 1500 but we need time to let it cool before icing and this is a good window of time to get a head start.  There’s a birthday today and chocolate cake has been specially requested.

0830 – Realize I should have made more cake batter and mix up another couple batches to fill the pans.

0845 – Cakes are in the oven.

0850 – Carsten, Nadia and I have a quick meeting in the galley to discuss our plans for the day; what we’ll be cooking, extra jobs to be done, what we want our galley team to accomplish.

0902 – Meeting over, time to work on lunch prep; I begin by making egg salad and pasta salad from yesterday’s leftovers.

0926 – Several people have stopped by the galley to comment on the chocolatey scent!

0955 – Cakes are out, salads are made, I’m starting to cut vegetables for lunch.

1000 – Coffee time break of the aft deck!

1015 – Back to work.  Lunch is cold today but there’s lots to do, mostly slicing and chopping and bowling things up.

1046 – All hands are on deck to tack the ship.  The first time this summer we’ve had an all hands call that has included everyone on board.  We have a quick muster and go to our various stations ready to turn the ship through the wind.  The galley department is taking care of the fore coarse sheets (they’re right outside the galley doors so traditionally this is the cook’s job).

1120 – Tacking is done and we’re rushing to get the last bits of lunch prep done.  Everyone else is still working on deck and I know they won’t be done right at 1130 when lunch begins.

1200 – After getting a bit of the mess in the galley under control it’s time to eat.

1230 – Work with Nadia on getting leftovers put away.  Some of this is delayed as the crew are eating a bit later than usual due to the sail manoeuvers.

1300 – Muster on deck to get a race update and other announcements for the day.

1315 – Finish getting leftovers to the right places.  Nadia is working on filling up some of the many bowls of lunch items (sometimes we have 35 things on the table!) and I go up to the galley to work on icing for the cake.

1340 – Sifting icing sugar for the icing.  Almost done?

1400 – Begin icing cakes.

1420 – Nadia finishes icing the cakes while I get the bread dough ready.  We are 58 on board so I’m going to do 12 loaves.

1445 – Take the bread dough down to the walk-in and all the dishes down to the pantry.

1455 – Get the cake out on deck for coffee time.

1500 – Break time! I spend a bit of time out on deck with the crew enjoying cake and listening to a Danish (?) Happy Birthday song.

1515 – In my cabin to upload pictures to my computer and do a little blogging.

1630 – Go out on deck but don’t stay long as it’s raining a fair bit.

1650 – Visit Nadia in her cabin before we have to start work.

1700 – Time to peel potatoes for dinner.  We’re heeled over and rocking quite a bit so everything is taking longer than usual.  I’m bracing a foot against the garbage can to keep my spot at the sink while I peel. Every time I go down to dry stores I end up sea stowing something, from a cupboard that’s come undone or something that’s fallen off a shelf.  Wonder briefly why I thought working in the galley of a tall ship was a good idea.

1755 – Done potatoes and go to the aft ship to check on things there, end up sea stowing some items.

1825 – Help Carsten dish up the food for dinner.

1838 – Carry the last dish of food out to be served.

1905 – Sit down to eat.

1925 – Another couple minutes on deck before clean up begins.  It’s still raining and cold and I am amazed that I was wearing shorts just a day ago!

1950 – All the leftovers are put away.

2035 – Clean up is done and I’m taking food waste out.

2040 – Go by the crew mess to read an e-mail and find the deck crew there celebrating a great day of sailing with Cokes.

2050 – Put my name down on the “wake me if you need help setting sail/taking in sail/bracing” list.

2105 – Going to bed, have clothes out and ready for night watch if I’m woken.

Sailing Along – Edinburgh to the Netherlands

As I was typing this title I realize this summer’s journey is back tracking the end of last semester.  My last few Sailing Along entries were the Netherlands to Scotland, Scotland to Norway. This summer it’s Norway to Scotland, Scotland to the Netherlands! Confused yet?

Canada Day happened during this sail and to celebrate Nadia and I made banana bread with maple icing.  There are 7 Canadians on board and (with the captain’s permission) we hoisted a Canadian flag and sang O Canada at afternoon coffee.

I made pad Thai for dinner one night, it wasn’t my best but the crew appreciated a break from Scandinavian food (at least the North American ones did). Hopefully I will be able to make it again with better results.

Fourth of July was also arrival day in Harlingen and after having made a special Canadian snack Nadia and I felt we needed to do one for the Americans too.  After vetoing their suggestions (barbecque, burgers, pulled pork) we decided to make ice cream sandwiches.  This turned out to be a perfect snack, it was a hot day and coffee time was delayed as the crew brought the ship in and got her safely alongside. 

Hmm… this entry seems to be mostly food oriented, perhaps not surprising since I’m the cook!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shore Leave – Edinburgh, Scotland – Take Two

Another one night port so not much time to sight see.  The evening we got in we had a fancy (ish) dinner in the banjer as a goodbye to the voyage crew who were getting off at this port.  The whole crew ate together and the galley team worked hard after to be cleaned up by 20:10. It’s hard to explain how amazing that is but rest assured we were quite impressed with ourselves!  Nadia and I decided our first stop would be the mall by our docking spot for a quick wifi session.  We both Skyped home and checked a couple things before heading into town.  We walked around for a bit just excited to be in Edinburgh and taking pictures of the views around town.  Our only stop was at The Last Drop, an atmospheric little pub in Grassmarket to have a Pooh Bear (steamed milk with honey and nutmeg).

The next day we had several hours off and headed into town for a day much like the one I spent in Edinburgh this spring.  We walked through New Town, down the Royal Mile and through Old Town.  Holyrood Palace was closed due to the Queen arriving later that afternoon!  We bought sandwiches from Pret a Manger (a favourite UK sandwich shop of mine) and stopped for tea at a little tea room on the Royal Mile.  It was a lovely break, having a proper tea with scones and jam and cream while we wrote postcards.  We had to make a quick stop at Tesco before getting back to work at 1500. As well as getting the necessary provisions for the ship we did a little personal shopping, keeping in mind we had to carry it all back on foot.

I’ve now been to Edinburgh twice and would still like to go back.  Maybe next time I’ll get to a museum.  Or on a hike.  Or out to the highlands!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sailing Along - Norway to Scotland

Just over a week in and already we are at our third port! Our first port was Stavanger, Norway. We were supposed to be there just for the afternoon but less then ideal winds kept us there overnight. I had a couple hours off to walk around town. The historic district is full of white wooden houses, cobblestone streets and steep hills. 

After leaving Stavanger we spent a day sailing through fjords which was beautiful!  With the long late nights many of us spent the evening on deck watching the magnificent scenery go by. 

Another day or two of sail and we arrived in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland. Amazingly beautiful! And full of wool and knitting so just my type of place. 

And now Edinburgh for the second time this year! We will be in the same location and it's nice to be going to a port where I am familiar with the lay of the land. 

It's been a good start to the season. Nadia and I have our galley routines worked out. The two of us do breakfast alone and then it's clean up and into lunch prep. Lunch is mainly cold with maybe some warmed up leftovers but that's not necessarily less work - one day I counted 35 items on the table, not including beverages! In the afternoons we bake. Prep the bread for baking the next morning and bake "cakes" (the Danish word for anything sweet and baked: muffins, cookies, cinnamon buns) for 15:00 coffee time. We then take a break and come back for dinner and are done shortly after 20:00 each night.