What day of the week is it?

12th January 2013

 I’m writing this on a Saturday.  Or am I? 

 The days of the week have lost all meaning recently.  Apart from a one hour delay in the wake up whistle on Sundays, from our perspective every day is run the same on ship, so the traditional boundary between working week and weekend was the first thing to disappear.  Having that familiar feeling of building up to 5pm on a Friday before letting loose for the weekend would be like looking out of our porthole and seeing a palm-fringed beach.  It ain’t gonna happen.  And whereas at home you associate certain days with certain things (like swimming on Mondays and Thursdays for me), here, each day will be very much like the previous and probably much like tomorrow too (until we reach our fieldwork sites).  Essentially, every day consists of trying your best to fill the spaces between visits to the canteen (except that actually “canteen” over the tannoy is the signal that the shop is open) with work, reading, writing and hanging out on deck soaking up the incredible scenery.  The ship is tasked with supporting our science project as well as the work of an international team updating site management plans for tourist sites, all on top of their own surveying work and drills.  At the moment, as we journey gradually southwards, the ship’s focus is on the latter two taskings; our site on Green Island is further south so our time will come in just over a week.  Until then life is largely a waiting game.

 On top of this general blurring of daily boundaries we also need to get our heads around the confusing (to us, not to the Navy I’m sure!) habit of the crew of swapping days around.  For example, last Wednesday was declared a Saturday and last Thursday was a Sunday, so breakfast was at 8am.  You’ll be reassured to learn that Friday remained a Friday.  So even though tomorrow will be a real Sunday it will also be a normal working day (i.e. not a Sunday!), so breakfast will be at 7, with a Sunday roast for (weekday) lunch!  Add to all of the above the fact that Saturdays can be reversed so that sometimes Saturday mornings are actually Saturday afternoons and vice versa and it quickly becomes much easier to simply forget that days of the week ever existed.  We’re on board for a total of 31 days, so I think I might just call this day 5 (or is it 6 (or 12 for Ash?!)) and count up from there…

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