As promised, I (Nikki) will now tell you something more about the preparations for the cruise! These preparations involved a lot of packing. It’s like going on a huge vacation WITHOUT the ability to buy something abroad in a local store in case you forgot something. This involves packing lists of 12 pages and 13 crates of approximately 0.75 * 0.55 * 0.60 m. These crates were already picked up 1 month ago as at that time the Pelagia already sailed towards Istanbul.
Besides preparing our equipment, we also needed to prepare ourselves. This involved a medical test at the Medical Centre for Seamen in Amsterdam where my ears, eyes, weight and reflexes were checked. After approval, I did a one-day Survival at Sea training at DHTC Den Helder, together with Matthias. In the morning, the other participants (male, strong, mainly working off-shore) and me learned about hypothermia, lights signals, the danger of sea survival and the safety suits.
In the afternoon, the program included our swimming session in the North Sea. The sea temperature was only 4 degrees! We got a rescue suit but this suit had no hand protection. We sailed towards the North Sea in a rescue boat, jumped into the literally ice-cold water and performed exercises to improve visibility for helicopters, learned how to swim in a group and embraced each other to minimize heat losses. We ended the session outside with some fireworks!
After this cold session we could finally jump inside the warm indoor swimming pool. Here, we learned how to jump correctly from 4-5 meters, to climb down via ropes and how to access a life raft. This was also the last part of the program for me and Matthias. After some evaluation, we could finally go home and have some rest.