Written 17 January 2014, at sea
That’s what I was, apparently. It has nothing to with being a good mother, or otherwise.
Mother watch is Clipper’s term for the 24-hour period where you are responsible for feeding the entire crew – their breakfast, lunch, dinner, bread and snacks. You also get a full night’s sleep barring “all hands on deck” calls.
The way the crew is set up, under normal circumstances, is that it is divided into two teams, or watches, port and starboard in our case. The 24 hours of a day are also divided up into an odd number of periods, or watches. In our case these are four hours long except for the period between 4pm and 8pm which are further subdivided into two periods of 2 hours each. The teams then take it in turns to be on duty for one watch and sleep for the other. This gives rotation over 48 hours so that the poor souls who are landed with the much-desired midnight to 4am watch, the ‘graveyard shift’ or middle watch to give it its proper name, do not have to suffer it every day. You might have guessed I do not like this watch. Others dislike the 4am to 8am morning watch. Usually at least though you get to see the sunrise!
So for mother watch one person per day is taken from each team and together they look after the crew’s needs. For me this was yesterday. I had not been on duty when it started, and now it has finished, will not be on duty till midday. So this is ‘good’ mother. My partner Sarah had been on watch and she is on watch now. ‘Bad’ mother!
We copped Dutch day, serving, as I was introduced to it, white baby food for lunch and green baby food for dinner. Or rather crushed potato with bacon and asparagus for lunch and split pea and bacon soup (with asparagus, it was a big tin!) for dinner. Just the kind of warming comfort food you need when heading into the tropics and it is getting hotter by the minute! And I don’t like split peas!
In between we made bread, cleaned the galley, refilled numerous water bottles, made coffee and iced coffee for the skipper and I washed my shorts and feet in a bucket at the back of the boat.
When you’re used to being up for a maximum of 5 hours at a time, my temper was fraying a little when serving soup I don’t like with soya bread that I couldn’t eat after being up for 11 hours. I snapped at the lovely Ryan who says he doesn’t remember and forgives me anyway.
So I didn’t feel much like a ‘good’ anything by bedtime at 8pm!
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