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!