The price of safety is eternal vigilance. This is a phrase we heard often. It should be noted, however, that there also exists an unstated sister to this maritime maxim: the price of cleanliness is eternal diligence.
It’s hard to know where to begin narrating my experiences at sea, so I’ll begin with the mundane: cleaning. I have gained a new appreciation for the word “shipshape.” You might guess that there isn’t a ton of dirt on a ship 300 miles offshore, but you would be guessing wrong. Never before have I spent so much time armed with bleach, toothbrush, squeegee, or sponge. The ship is cleaned every single day. Each morning at dawn, the soles (floors) and heads (bathrooms) get a thorough sponging and squeegeeing. Each evening after dinner, the galley (kitchen) gets scrubbed. With every Saturday comes “Field Day,” during which the ship is torn apart in a three-hour cleaning bonanza, so that neither nook nor cranny will escape with grime.
This all sounds tedious, but it’s indicative of how incredibly meticulous you must be to keep a ship clean and safe. And aside from a few grumpy moments spent scraping frozen food goo from the sole of the enormous refrigerator, I felt a genuine sense of fulfillment and responsibility while cleaning the boat. I was proud to keep the boat shipshape. Perhaps only those of you who have seen my disaster of a bedroom may grasp the full significance of this statement.