Life Aboard the Langseth

Sunset over Santorini

Sunset over Santorini

Ours is the best shift one could ask for out of the three. That’s not blind optimism; rather it’s the feeling that comes from the rising and setting of the sun. On my watch, my teammates and I get to witness the coming of day and night. Here, they are spectacles to behold—like no others I’ve experienced. It’s amazing how such wonders become routine in daily life and go unnoticed. This cruise, and this shift in particular, have reinvigorated my excitement for such daily occurrences. Another daily occurrence I’ve come to appreciate on this cruise is sleep. Oh, blissful sleep.

I didn’t think the four hours on, eight hours off schedule would cause a significant disturbance to my sleep schedule given that I’m naturally an early riser. Oh, was I wrong. I find myself sleeping as much as possible from 8 in the evening to 3:30 in the morning; I generally get about 6 to 7 hours. Then, my morning shift is promptly followed by another 2-4 hours of sleep. This is all made possible by the constant swaying of the ship that serves to rock one to sleep. This, combined with the darkness of the rooms, makes it possible to fall asleep quite easily. Regardless of the shift—12-4, 4-8, or 8-12—napping is a must.

When I’m not sleeping or on shift, daily life has a relatively constant routine, divided into five primary activities: reading, exercising, movies, games, and research.

Reading has probably occupied the majority of my off-shift time thus far; I just finished reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula and also World War Z. I’m now down to my last novel, one recommended to me by a dear friend: The Name of the Wind. Thankfully, the library has quite a few books to choose from—I’m currently eyeing The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes as a potential time sink. All in all, I still have a lot of reading to occupy my time.

As you might imagine, there is a lot of sitting around on the ship. Fortunately, the Langseth has a gym that hosts a treadmill, elliptical, bench press, free weights, and some homemade equipment. It also has a window that provides a view that is ever-changing. As we walk or run miles in place, we see the islands of the Cyclades slowly pass by. It’s really quite astounding.

Movies are also an option and one I’m beginning to take more advantage of. The Langseth boasts a dedicated theatre, with a 46” (I think) Samsung SmartTV, a media drive with 100s of movies, and enough seating to comfortably fit ~17 people. My shift mates and I have gotten into the routine of watching an animated film after our morning shift every other day or so. We’ve also had a couple showings dedicated to informing the crew about Santorini, which is believed to be the lost city of Atlantis.

In addition to the cribbage board the Langseth has, Dan and I brought a few games to occupy the time. While we haven’t had many opportunities to play given the lot of us are on different schedules, those games we have played have been a blast! We’ve had a couple of intense games of Love Letter that have ended with surprise victories. We even managed to rope Doug into giving it a shot. Unfortunately, we don’t have a photo to prove it…

Lastly, I come to research. As a graduate student, there is always something to work on, be it reading scientific articles, analyzing data, debugging code, etc. While we always have stuff to do, that doesn’t mean we always want to do it… Take yesterday for example. Melissa, Maria, and I sat in our common area before our shift. Each of us had something we needed to do pertaining to research. Yet, we sat there chatting amongst ourselves, and as Ben walked past, we heckled him to dance for our entertainment. This devolved into starting blankly at the wall. Cabin fever is real.

Also, the weather has been amazing! We’ve only had one day of choppy weather with 3 meter-high waves. Aside from that, the weather has been picturesque. The next few days are expected to bring glassy seas, perfect for those panoramas so many of us are fond of taking.


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