WRITTEN BY ERICA CIRANO
ON LEG TWO FROM AZORES TO ANTIGUA WITH COPERNICUS MARINE SERVICE
At 10 minutes to 12am, I’m roused from a deep slumber by the typical clamour of a changing shift on deck—murmuring voices, laughter, just-emptied mugs clanking with each wave in the galley sink.
I’m slightly annoyed to be woken until I realize the noise is also accompanied by a delicious scent entering my nostrils: toasting bread. I follow the aroma, which is wafting down to my bunk deep in our ship’s sweaty hull. I find our skipper Anna in the galley; she’s hovering over a cutting board topped with cheese and boat-baked bread and a soft pat of butter. I feel my stomach contract, recognizing a wild hunger generated by a long day of cranking winches, sweating over pots of food, pulling ropes, and sitting in the sun and salt air that’s not yet been satiated.
I nod at Anna, step into the galley and in seconds, still half-asleep, I am cutting myself a hearty slab of the crusty loaf. I slip the bread into the toaster and when it’s done crisping I apply a generous layer of the melting butter, bright red strawberry jam and a few slices of what Anna is explaining to me is ‘good local cheese.’ I half-register what she’s saying and nod and give her an ‘ooooh’ of acknowledgement, wondering—very briefly–where exactly it’s local to; certainly not the Atlantic Ocean, right? Whatever. I think for a bit and then forget completely about my thoughts on the provenance of the soft cheese.
I sink my teeth into the toast and smile.
It’s the absolute best midnight snack I have ever eaten. I no longer feel hungry and tired but instead am filled with extreme satisfaction. I clean the galley as an act of goodwill in exchange for my good fortune. I leave the kitchen hoping someone else in the world will be as lucky as I’ve been to snack on such a wonderful thing when they find themselves hungry on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of the night.
Did you know that baking onboard from bulk-bags of raw ingredients is a great way to reduce plastic in your gally, offshore and at home?! …For more tips, check out the SHiFT Toolkit created by our Co-founder Emily Penn