Our first proper day at sea and I awoke with the rather pleasant sensation of the ship rolling gently which is a marvelous and comforting feeling when lying cosy in your bunk, but today was not a day for a long rest because we had already been told that at 10:30 this morning they would be our first lifeboat drill, an essential part of the safety of any major seagoing vessel.
I managed to grab a cup of tea and make a piece of toast before splitting sirens started to resonate to every corner of the ship so that whether you are up in the laboratories or asleep in your bunk there was no escaping the fact that something important was going on. We had to grab our life vests, goggles and hardhat and head out onto the bridge deck to our assigned lifeboat where our names were checked off. Under normal circumstances this is a weekly event and thankfully not anymore often. To educate us “new” people the crew kept the scientists behind and showed us the workings of the lifeboats and in particular the type of stores they would be available in the event that we had to abandon ship. Naturally water, basic food and flares to signal for help. They told us we should wear high-quality closed toed shoes because of the fact that there is no way really to go to the bathroom in a lifeboat (except in a bucket) and that things would not be very pleasant for us if we were stuck in there with sandals! Apparently seasickness is a big problem in small lifeboats in heavy seas. An interesting thought to contemplate over the next few weeks. We are now planning to arrive at our first drill site in the morning tomorrow.