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5th March, 2019


As a second phase deck cadet I am placed with different members of each team on board the ship to learn about their duties and responsibilities. Since my arrival on the Saga Sapphire three weeks ago I have been working with the safety department following the Safety Carpenter, Tom, and the Safety Quartermaster, Joey.

My duty started at 0800 this morning with Tom showing me how to do some routine checks and basic maintenance to the pneumatic system that controls the fire doors throughout the ship – I found this interesting as I had previously wondered how the system worked. By 0900 the ships company had been called to stations, parlance for the crew getting to the location they need to be in for arrival or departure. Today I was working with the team that lands the gangway when the ship is alongside – I particularly enjoy working on the gangway as you get to watch the manoeuvre from the shell door.

After getting alongside in Tromsø the ships company completed a fire drill, known colloquially as a ‘code bravo’ – though today we mustered inside rather than in -8oC on the boat deck. Once the fire drill was complete myself and the other two cadets, Christy and Lawrence, got permission to go ashore. Our plan was to head up the mountain using the Fjellheisen (cable car) but due to the strong winds it was shut, though considering visibility was less than 300m we probably wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the view that much anyway. Instead we walked into town where there was plenty to do instead. We decided to look around the museum of Tromsø and take a tour of the Cathedral, both of which were interesting but learning how ancient civilisations survived in Arctic conditions was particularly fascinating. According to the museum guide survival skills were learnt from wildlife that thrived in cold conditions and adapting them anthropogenically to aid human existence. For example seals roll in snow when the exit the icy water as it removes moisture from their skin, reducing wind chill and thus keeping them warmer – ancient Norwegians mimicked these actions to survive if they ever fell into icy water.

At 1500 we returned to the ship and by 1715 we had been called to stations ready for a slightly early departure. Unlike arrival for departure I was not on the gangway but instead on the forward mooring deck, though luckily the wind had dropped significantly, and the snow had almost ceased. I found it truly impressive how the adverse weather did not detrimentally effect the succinct and diligent work of the deck crew who after completing the departure cleared the deck of snow.

Hopefully I will get to return to Tromsø in the summer and I will get an opportunity to explore up the mountains however the museum was really interesting and I would recommend it to anyone who has the chance to go.

Deck Cadet Rosie Staples

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.