A Travellerspoint blog

Dominicaaaaaaaaaa

The Arrival

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Hey everyone!
We arrived in Dominica today! But I had kitchen shift which was not so very ideal. We saw land at around 9 in the morning and at around 12 we arrived and anchored. It was so extremely warm that day but we still had to wash the dishes before we could swim. Everyone was swimming while we were doing the dishes. But as soon as the dishes were done we all went swimming. As snack we had a home-made slush-puppy which was quite delicious and very refreshing. Also, the water-maker was still broken so after the swim I had an outside shower.
That evening we went for a barbeque in a bar/restaurant/hotel. The captain knows the owner of that bar/restaurant/hotel. From the boat we went to the beach with our rubber boat. Then from the beach we were picked up with a pick-up truck. I sat in the back which was pretty cool. But all the locals did look weirdly at you. The barbeque was a lot of fun and there was definitely enough to eat. We got so much chicken! Yum yum yum. As desert we got brownies that were also very yummy. But moreover, we had internet! This meant contacting friends, checking Facebook, checking emails, and checking school work. Then realizing so much has happened in school, I thought I was pretty much caught up, turns out I am still far and far behind. However, it was really nice to talk to my friends again and also to call with my family. I don’t really miss them when we are at sea, but I do long to know what is happening at home.
Other than that we didn’t do much today, but it was amazing to have a chill day.
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 13:09 Archived in Dominica Comments (0)

Neptunes

sunny

Hey everyone!
It was Sunday once again, this time though I didn’t have free. I had ‘wacht’ but I missed the last half hour of my ‘wacht’ because ‘Neptunes’ came. Neptunes usually comes to shave your hair when you cross the equator per boat. However, for the fun the crew and teachers decided to ‘celebrate’ it now, even though we are never crossing the equator. Anyway, it wasn’t exactly very hygienic.
First, they brought you outside one for one. I was somewhere in the middle. You were brought outside and had to lie on a bench. Then the captain took out the shaving machine and started ‘shaving’ your hair. Some people actually panicked that some hair was shaved off. However, I saw no hair fell on the ground so I knew they faked it. This was not the worst part though. After the teachers sprayed you with water and then smeared you in with a ketchup/majonaise/corn mix. Very refreshing. Ha, not really. It was kind of really gross. After this you had to drink sea water. But I had to laugh so hard, I spit it all out. Then you got a shot of cola from a water gun after which you had to kiss the foot of one of the teachers or as he called himself the ‘water princess’. Now you were doped and got a name. Mine was zeester which is sea star or a starfish. It was quite funny, but was less funny was when the shizzle they smeared on you dried and turned crusty. That was REALLY disgusting.
When everybody went, the captain said as a joke “the water maker isn’t working anymore!” We were like yeah, yeah very funny. Anyway, after we tried to wash it all off. The whole time we asked if we could swim, but they were like nah, not this time. So, I decided to take a shower and I was washing my hair when somebody said. WE’RE ALLOWED TO SWIM! They took down all the sails and they put the boat still and we swam! Who can say they swam in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? Not many. The water was really warm as well. It was really fun and definitely refreshing.
However, when we got out of the water there was bad news. The water-maker was truly broken, again. I am so happy I still got to wash my hair before. Anyway, it’s not a disaster. You can wash your hair in the sink and wash yourself with a wet towel.
Well two guys won’t have to wash their hair. They thought decided to actually shave off their hair. So now we have two guys with really short hair. One of them has it really short, almost bald on the sides, and longer on the top. The other one has it longer all over. It looks really funny.
Today (Monday) we had a ship take-over. Everybody could try out for a job. You had to write a letter. The jobs you could try from were cook, machinery person, boat’s man, steering man, or captain. I didn’t try out for anything because I didn’t feel I was qualified enough for any of the positions. Anyway, today the boat is in control of us and it is pretty fun. The ‘wacht’ is also bigger since we don’t have school. It is really warm today though. Not a nice type of warm, more like the sweaty type of warm. 29 degrees! Also, there is not much wind so we are moving forward on the motor again. Not ideal, but we are supposed to be in Dominica by tomorrow! Nice, land! Haven’t seen that in a while.
Hopefully it cools down a bit. In this weather I can’t sleep properly without constantly waking up.
Anyways, bye for now!
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 08:33 Comments (0)

Sinterklaas, kluivernet, water-maker

sunny

Hey everybody,
December the fifth is Sinterklaas in Holland. Basically Sinterklaas is a very old man on a white/grey horse who gives presents to children on December 5th, which happens to be his birthday. Just like Santa Claus has help from elves, Sinterklaas has help from Zwarte Pieten. Even though we live in Poland, we celebrate it every year. It’s really something I look forward to. However, this is the first year I celebrated Sinterklaas not at home. I really hadn’t expected anything but it was really quite fun. The night started off with Sinterklaas who gave presents to a couple of people. The captain dressed up as Sinterklaas and most of the crew and teachers dressed up as Zwarte Pieten. The Zwarte Pieten threw the candy you always have for Sinterklaas, pepernoten, which are small round spiced cookies. After that some got presents, a couple from their parents, and a couple as a joke. For example, a guy and a girl who both are always hungry got a cheese sandwich. Also, everybody got a chocolate letter (yay!) and a keychain made from rope. After this we played a game. Everybody had to give in one present; it could be anything, from candy to sunglasses to a packet of ketchup. One guy even packed a dead fish as a present. Then you had a roll with a dice, when you threw six for example you had to switch tables, or when you threw four you had to give the present the amount you threw after that to the right. So essentially what you wanted to do is get the best present there was. At the very end of the game I had a packet of gum, which I was quite content with. Then a guy comes and switches the gum for the ketchup packets from the McDonalds which was the gift from the biology teacher. We also had delicious chocolate milk made by Merwin Zeegers and two others. He totally didn’t tell me to write that. No, but the chocolate milk was very yummy and it gave a little bit of a winter feeling, even though it was 25 degrees outside. Anyways, it was definitely a Sinterklaas to remember.
These last few days there still have problems with the water-maker. I think there have been three days where we weren’t allowed to shower. Usually around 11 o’clock the water-maker would break and then at around 8 at night or the next day it would work again, or the captain would find a way to fix it. However, now it has been working for the past two days. One however, it seemed as though it was unfixable. The chemicals used to usually fix it were all used, and somebody did something which caused it to go become salty again. If the water-maker was truly broken it would mean no showering for two weeks. It’s one week till Dominica, but there is no harbor for our type of boat in Dominica and the broken part, the membrane, would only be sent to the next island, which would be Aruba, Bonaire, or Curacao. I am REALLY happy the water-maker is working.
On the 7th of December I had to go into the ‘kluivernet’ with Merwin, to switch sails because they accidentally put the wrong sail up. The ‘kluivernet’ is the net at the front of the boat. To go in this net you have to wear one of those sexy hiking gears so you can clip yourself on to the boat. Anyway, this wasn’t the exciting part. What was really cool was when we suddenly heard a splash in the water. At first I was in complete shock, I thought something fell into the water. However, it turned out to be a dolphin! There were about twenty, and even two baby dolphins. So cute! We definitely had the best view of the boat. The dolphins were jumping under us. Definitely the highlight of the day! Sadly, after we had to sit in the ‘kluivernet’ for another hour or longer, to take down the one sail and put up the other.
Only a couple more days at sea! Then land, finally, people. Every time we see a boat or an airplane it’s like “oh people!” This only happens once every three days.
Hopefully I will have internet soon, so that I can post everything and find out more what I have to do for school.
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 08:31 Comments (0)

water-maker and flying fish

Hey everybody,
Again almost a week has passed. Today is Sunday, and it is my first day completely off. I don’t have ‘wacht’ or school. Last week I had ‘wacht’ on Sunday, which also wasn’t that bad, but it was nice to have a day just to do nothing except for a little bit of cleaning.
A couple of days ago I dissected a flying fish. It was pretty cool. We had the bigger version of the flying fish. We found the gills, looked at the inside, and at his eyeball. I think our fish just ate something because when I tried to take out a gill, I squeezed a little too hard in the stomach and the contents came out of the fish. That was kind of gross. Also, our fish had relatively a lot of blood which wasn’t so nice when we tried to get to his heart, kidney, and the rest of his digestive system.
More about flying fish: you know how I said I was really afraid a fish would land on deck and hit me in the face or something? Well, I was opening a window with someone else and something flew on my foot. I kind of yelled and we ran inside. Then we went to get a flashlight, we shined the light on what fell. It turned out to be a rope, not a flying fish.
Other than flying fish, I have done quite some school. But I didn’t realize it was already December! Time seriously flies. Today I chilled in the sun and its 4 December. That’s crazy!
We haven’t seen any other boats for quite awhile. In the middle of the ocean, airplanes are rarer than shooting stars. The sky is covered in shooting stars. Our joke is ‘Can we pretend that shooting stars in the night sky are airplanes’.
Yesterday I had my kitchen shift again. We made the most delicious food. In my shift there were three girls, this of course was really amusing. As lunch we made tortellinis in a pesto cream sauce with a salad of tomato and a dressing. For dinner we had our own made sort of hamburger breads with chicken, paprika, onions, and a garlic sauce. In between lunch and dinner we made a strawberry, orange smoothie. This was quite delicious.
The kitchen shift would have been a lot of fun, if the water-maker wouldn’t have destroyed it. I had to get a hammer out of the machinery room (to get the meat out of the freezer), so while I was down there I was supposed to check the numbers on the water-maker. One of them read 3800 when it was supposed to be around the 2000. At first nobody believed me, so I checked it once again and it turned out to be true. However, we all thought ‘nothing serious’. Nevertheless, an hour or two later the captain told us “you aren’t allowed to shower”. We were all in shock. It was my turn to shower that day! The whole day I had been looking forward to taking a shower in the evening. It wasn’t that there wasn’t going to be a shower for a day or a couple of hours, it was supposed to last till Dominica. Apparently the membrane (checks the amount of salt in the water) or something was broken. The membrane cost 16,000 euro. Not exactly cheap. There is no way of repairing it, on Dominica we were supposed to buy a new one, till then there was to be no showering and no using the wash machine. That meant ten days without a shower. They said we could wash ourselves in salt water and then rinse of quickly in sweet water, but that isn’t the ideal shower for me. When I woke up this morning I heard somebody scream something about the shower. Our door is always open (otherwise it’s too warm) when one of the guys comes running into the room. THE SHOWERS ARE WORKING! He jumped so high his head hit the ceiling. I was so happy! Everybody immediately took a shower. Me too! My day was instantly improved.
Today we also got out sail mail. This is definitely always nice to get.
Other than what I have written about, not much has happened. One day school, one day ‘wacht’. It’s really fun and you learn a lot. But nothing immense has happened to write about.
Greetings from the middle of the ocean,
Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 08:28 Comments (0)

Sea, sea, sea


View School at Sea on meimeilin's travel map.

Hey readers,
Tomorrow it’s a week since we left Tenerife! It feels like a couple of days. My feeling of time is completely gone.
We have had quite a few school days; I am getting quite caught up. This is a relief because it was getting quite stressful and it is also a relief that the Sail Mail is working again because then we can contact my teachers. Tomorrow I am going to do my math test, which the rest of my class kind of did a week or four ago. The fact that they already started a whole new topic kind of stresses my out, but I want to get the test over with.
Since Tenerife we haven’t seen any dolphins, but we have seen flying fish. A couple of them have landed on deck. The bio teacher is going dissect them, so we can study the anatomy; not very refreshing, but probably quite interesting, so I will probably do it as well. Maybe I can use it for bio later on. The flying fish, by the way, are quite cool. They can fly up to three meters. You see them jumping out of the water, flapping their fins, and then crashing back in to the water. I actually have no idea why they do that but I never knew something like that existed. However, at the same time it is kind of scary. Yesterday at night a fish flew through the kitchen door into the kitchen and landed on the kitchen floor. Now I worry that when I am casually walking around on deck at night that a fish will fly against my head, that wouldn’t be so cool.
Yesterday we got our Sail Mail. It was really nice to hear something from home. I actually don’t really miss home very much, or at least I don’t think about home very much. Sometimes when I am our room, I think “oh a little more room would be nice” or “oh it would be quite nice if I didn’t fall over while dressing up because of the movement of the boot” or “I miss not having to clean the toilets every other day”. But it’s not something that constantly bothers me.
Right now we are near Cape Verdi. After this we are starting the big crossing over the ocean. Quite exciting.
Well off to dinner. We’re having bread with salad, cucumbers, tomatoes, prosciutto ham, cheese, and mayonnaise. Omnomnom.
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 08:26 Comments (0)

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