Reality Check


Misty mornings in Tracy Arm, Alaska

I write to you tonight as Steward 2, clearer of plates and changer of linens. I assure you I have not fallen overboard and am happy to report no seasickness. Yet. On the other hand, I have dropped 5 glasses. I blame this on sea legs.

But generally, I am learning the ropes of sailorhood. I know that the horridly loud metal ax grinding symphony next to my bunk is just the bow thruster. I even know how to say things like “forward aft” and “Take her to sea, Mr. Murdoch.” I have grown accustomed to the lull and gentle rock of my claustrophobic bed and the dreaded 5:30am daily alarm.

And I have certainly started appreciating my moments of respite. Now for example – I’m writing this entry as the sea breeze messes my pretending-to-be-coiffed hair. The stars are out and I’m sipping my jasmine green tea as I hide amidst the life rafts on the lido deck. Everything is quiet except for the propellers and the waves. Now and then a search light makes the nightly rounds, bathing the deckhands’ tools in a warm glow. And even though the Alaskan night air is frigid and crisp, it is well worth the extra layers and goose-bumps to revel in some few and far in between lone-wolf moments.

So even though I will write later entries about what I’m doing and where I’ll be, I’m going to stick to the basics for now: reality checks facing boat newbies:

  1. Lack of privacy – No need to be modest about anything. Everyone is up in your business 24/7 and intimate crew quarters warrant a surrender of normal habits and closed doors.
  2. Concussions and head bruises are likely from low hanging everything. Wake up…ow. Down stairs…owww. Under lifeboats…GAH THIS IS THE WORST.
  3. Boats (more specifically crew quarters) are loud – As mentioned before, bow thrusters rival a 21st century horror movie soundtrack when they are located right next to your bed. Then there’s the rattling and the constant lapping of waves rocking the boat back and forth, side to side.
  4. Wifi and internet will be extremely minimal. No such thing as ‘cellular’ or ‘connection’ in fjord land. No Facebook. No email. No googling random stuff. Just good ‘ole books. It will probably be several more days before I can upload this post.
  5. Reading will become your new best friend. Pretty much every crew member on this boat seems to be an avid reader. People mull over the news at breakfast, read their books at lunch, and spend their breaks in their own corners with coffee and a book. Did I mention the reference library and crew lounge full of books?
  6. Also the chef’s cookies will become your new best friend.

So there you have it. Reality check in order. I shall end tonight’s post with several photos from earlier this week. Not bad at all for an office view.


The humpbacks of Takatz Bay wave hello.


Tracy Arm, Alaska


5 thoughts on “Reality Check

  1. Despite all the head bruises, lack of privacy, and the noise from the thrusters, you time as steward 2 still sounds quite interesting. The cookies add to the adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

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