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.