Saturday, 26 April 2014

An English experience

A post by Lola Pérez Hernández

RRS James Cook alongside in Port of Spain
After a week I’ve begun to think in English. It might sound strange but I’m the only Spanish speaker on board and soon I won’t know whether I’m speaking English or Spanish. This is an English vessel, a female, not a male as with Spanish ships. Probably English ships complain more, who knows…  It is not my first time at sea but it is my first time on an English boat.  Thus this is the first dining room with a queen instead of a king hanging on the wall, there is no movie/siesta time if you are out of shift, but instead tea at 5, we have eggy breakfasts instead of toast with olive oil or Sunday “chocolate con churros”, an individual cabin instead of sharing (umm I’ll can get used to that), board games indoors instead of yoga or table tennis in the helicopter landing area (yes we’ve lost many balls),…

Cabin on the James Cook

Cabin on the Cornide de Saavedra
There are some things in common though. In every boat I’ve been on, good food is always served. Let me explain “good”: abundant, tasty, the kind that makes you leave the boat gaining some weight.  In all of them there are three main groups of people: the crew, the technicians and us the scientist, although the boundaries between groups are clearer in English vessels. All boats have their TV-DVD room with an amazing collection of movies, a library, a conference room and a peculiarly small gym. This boat has a bar, Spanish boats serve a bottle of wine at lunch and dinner. Here we have free biscuits while the Spanish military boat had a leg of “jamon Serrano” every two weeks. 

Jamón Serrano on the Hespérides
Being in an English boat full of English speakers makes me realize how many English accents there are. The first days I’ve probably looked like an idiot, all those accents were a hard job to follow! There are British from London, Southampton and Yorkshire, American, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, foreign English and a bunch I haven’t identified yet!

So how is being in James Cook as a student? It is a huge boat, I believe bigger than our newest Spanish ship Sarmiento de Gamboa or even Hespérides. There aren´t too many people and everybody knows each other (it’s been ten years of RAPID, you know?). So I wake up, have breakfast, work, coffee, learn, eat, learn, work, eat, eat, tea, work, learn, eat, watch a movie or play board games (did I say I’ve eaten?) and go to bed. I’m exhausted and willing for more, so sorry guys I’m already falling asleep.
BO Sarmiento de Gamboa 
BO Hespérides

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