My sleeping pattern is slowly drifting into the "normal" range. I know what some of the equipment does, and where to find information about what I don't know. I can remember all of the officers' names, and where everything is kept. I think I'm doing OK.
Today was the most fun day so far, not in terms of jobs but because of the fact that I'm starting to feel more comfortable with it all. I understand the routines and I'm enjoying learning the things that the officers have to teach me. It feels almost like a kind of relief - the start of the trip was so nervewracking. Can I learn all of this stuff? Will they be annoyed if I forget something? Where on earth is my cabin again? But now I'm fine with it all, and I'm fine with not knowing stuff. I've started to memorise COLREGs (collision regulations - the "rules of the road") and today, helped the 3rd officer with coming up with a passage plan for the next part of our voyage, from Port Louis to Durban. Now *that* was fun, doing the actual navigation stuff that is supposed to be the main part of the job! As all good cadets will know, passage planning has four parts - appraisal, planning, execution and monitoring. It was great seeing it being put to use - there are two routes you can go down as a cadet, HND or Foundation Degree. I'm doing the HND which is a lot more general information about the shipping industry etc (better for those who don't have experience of it). What we don't get until our next phase, though, are lessons in proper chartwork, so I'm seeing a lot of this for the first time. It's so much fun and now I know exactly what I need to learn when I get back to college.
Life elsewhere on board is great too. The food is yum (such a relief considering some horror stories we get told by older cadets - as well as Nautilus, the seafarers' union, regaling us with a tale of one cadet who lost so much weight that he had to be sent home because he couldn't face eating any of the food he was given...). I'm in no danger of losing any weight! Although I'm drinking less coffee than I would at home, which is definitely a good thing.
Off to dress for dinner now - we wear uniform every dinnertime apart from Sundays. Just as well I sewed up my falling-apart epaulets before I left!