The smelly boys’ cabin

Genevieve asked me about some of the basics of ship life, and I had intended to talk about that kind of stuff here, but then just sit down and let whatever’s on my mind spill out. So here goes:

Some people have awesome sleeping quarters, with only two folks in their cabin and a desk to work at. I, however, am in what has been dubbed “the smelly boys’ cabin” — so named long before I came along, I swear.

The view from the doorway into the smelly boys’ cabin.

It’s a four-man cabin. I share it with Ron, a deckhand from Fiji; Wooly, our Australian videographer; and Ginam, our Korean translator. Ginam speaks very little English, so he pretty much doesn’t follow any of the routines of the ship (he was also very sick until about yesterday). Ron is a good guy, he was one of the first people I met back in Vanuatu because he and I were hanging with the head of the campaign, Lagi, who I met up with when I first got there (Lagi is also Fijian, so Ron was staying in his hotel room, hence I got to know Ron).

Here are the smelly boys’ bunks, I’m on the top right, Ron is below me, Wooly has hung that black towel in front of his bunk on the upper left, and Ginam is below Wooly:

David Woolford, aka “Wooly,” is an absolute rip. He’s a professional videographer who has been on over 20 Greenpeace ship expeditions, though this is his first time on the Espy. He also works as a cameraman for Australian news and TV. Wooly’s a super funny and personable guy. He never lets being a grown-up get in the way of a good joke, but he’s also extremely professional, very good at his job (the media officer onboard the ship told me that Wooly has a very good reputation), and a pleasure to work with. I’ve been working on a lot of videos, so I’ve been working with Wooly a lot. He’s definitely one of the people I get along with the best on the ship.

We’re woken up every day at 7:30, breakfast is continental style, and then from 8:00 to 9:00 we do chores. You have to sign up for the chores, and there aren’t enough to go around, actually, so if I haven’t signed up for one that day I either try to help someone else or go sit outside and drink my tea. Here’s where I like to sit and do that:

I have signed up to do the toilets a couple times, as my colleagues back on shore told me that was the best way to earn the respect of the crew (it did seem to work). Other chores include laundry, cleaning the hallways, cleaning the mess, etc.

After chores I usually go up to the campaign office and check my email (I’m still at least responding to my regular email, even if I’m not doing much work for GPUSA), write blogs, post blogs, etc. I actually spend most of the day doing this, hence I spend most of my days indoors. Which is a shame. So I get outside as often as I can, just take a stroll around the deck outside. I could sit and watch the ocean forever.

Lunch is at 12:00. At 5:00, which is almost religiously referred to as Beer o’clock on the ship, we knock off for the day and head down to the lounge. Then at 6:00 it’s dinner time. After that, we all just kind of lounge around, watch movies on the LCD screen in the mess, or on a projection screen in the lounge. I spend a lot of timing reading, too, of course. So far I’ve read A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge and 2010: Oddyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke.

I’ve only got one book left, but thankfully there is a small library onboard. I haven’t looked around it too extensively cuz that’s also where the computer for general crew access is, meaning there’s almost always someone in there and I like to give them privacy.

I’m hoping they have some philosophy books in the library. Being in the middle of the ocean is making me philosophical. That, and Johnson, who I mentioned in a previous blog post, is a philosophy and theology student, and he and I have had some nice philosophical discussions, mostly about Kierkegaard and Sartre.

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