Preparing for the worst….

… hoping for the best!

So yesterday morning us day-shifters were rudely awakened at the ungodly hour of 10.30 am for our weekly lifeboat drill. Even though the JR is a very safe and stable ship, it’s still possible that we might run into trouble if we get hit by a very severe storm or a big fire breaks out, so we need to be prepared to abandon ship should the captain give the word.

So the general drill is this:

1. The general alarm sounds throughout the ship, followed by an announcement by the captain that either “this is a drill” (good) or “no really, this isn’t a drill, abandon ship!” (not so good). So far we’ve only heard the first one. Phew.

2. Grab your life jacket, you hardhat, and your safety glasses (I’m not sure why we need the latter, but sure, why not), and make sure you have sturdy shoes on – e.g. not my habitual shlompy flipflops. Full outfit beautifully modeled by Katie here:

Katie lifeboat

3. Make your way to your muster stations, which are located next to your lifeboats on the Bridge (top) deck. There are four lifeboats on the JR, two on each side, and each can hold 70 people at a push (but man would that be a squeeze!) –so more than enough to handle the 140-strong crew we have on board.

Here is a view of Lifeboat 3 on the starboard (right) side of the ship:

lifeboat2

4. If it’s just a drill, you can probably get your name ticked off and go and eat some ice cream for breakfast or something (we have an ice cream machine on board… fatness is constant threat…), but if it’s for real you’re gonna have to get in the boat!

Here’s Steve and Kau looking very happy about being in a lifeboat despite the cramped conditions and perilous nature of the situation (photo by Marci Robinson):

Boys in the lifeboat

There are a whole bunch of complex instructions about how to release the lifeboats from the ship, and how to start the engine etc., which I tried very hard to pay attention to, but suspect if it actually came down to it I’d probably just panic and pull all the switches and levers at once, no doubt plunging us all into a premature watery grave. So, I plan on leaving it to the professionals if at all possible.

I think the best part is that the captain, the doctor and the photographer are all assigned to my lifeboat, so if anyone is gonna get rescued, it’s us! And we’ll have some nice photos of our time to-boot.

Next post: what are we actually doing with all this mud we’re drilling from under the sea…?

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