A new leisure activity on board

Leisure activity on board

Time is passing faster on board if you choose to spend it doing the things you like best. I am talking about the free time, because working hours are just for working and they pass very hard, no matter what you are doing – keeping the navigational watch, working on deck, in the galley or in the engine – regardless of the weather, the outside scenery, the latitude or the date in the calendar.

Nowadays, with cargo operations going on at high speed and very short berthing periods, less and less seafarers can enjoy the luxury of actually going out of the port and into the cities for a short visit. Most of them prefer to spend their free time speaking with their families and, for this reason, they are using the internet, whenever and where ever it is available – on board, in the Seamen’s Clubs or inside the Malls.

During sea passages, seafarers are free to choose the way in which to spend their spare time in the Recreation Rooms and these choices include watching movies, listening to music, playing different games (cards, backgammon, chess, mahjong), playing ping pong, reading or surfing the internet (if they are lucky enough to sail close to the coast and have internet access).

I have seen different kinds of leisure activities on board the vessels I travelled with and I am always happy when I discover people doing anything which is a little out of the ordinary (in a good way).

Last year, on HS Bruckner, our bosun (boatswain) used to spend his free time making beautiful frames with knots and ropes for the vessel and for everybody else who was interested.

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He made one for us as well, but we couldn’t take it home because of its dimensions and weight and we offered it to our deck cadet who was very happy to accept it, as the vessel was calling his home port and transportation wasn’t a problem for him.

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I’ve heard that some seafarers are very skillful with their hands and they can make beautiful objects using materials like wood, ropes or canvas. I haven’t met any of them yet, but I have seen some proof of their works – adorning the shelves from the Recreation Rooms, put up on display on the walls or inside the captain’s cabin.

I even saw a beautiful rose made from steel plates by one of the vessel’s fitters and hung on the wall in the engine room workshop, but I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting the author.

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These kinds of decorative objects will remain on the vessel for many years and will be admired by hundreds of people who will or will not remember the name of their authors. Sometimes, the skillful people choose to make the same objects on all the vessels they join and they soon become famous and recognizable through their creations, as they are like trails or footprints left on an unspoiled beach. As soon as you see an object like this, you will know that a certain person has been on board and you can admire his work, although you will never meet him.

When I joined HS Beethoven and I first visited the Crew Recreation Room, I discovered some interesting objects made of paper and displayed on the shelves and tables like in an exhibition.

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At the beginning, the collection was not very big –including only some vases of different shapes and dimensions – but it soon became richer with two more vases and a few swans, one of which was really beautiful and entirely colored in orange.

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After a few days I discovered the people ‘guilty’ of making these strange decorative objects and I was very happy to find out that one of our oilers – Rodell – had been introduced to the art of folding paper by his little daughter and he became very skillful himself, taking his time to teach others, improving his techniques and searching for new models all the time.

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After 4 months on board the collection is bigger now and it includes some interesting animals and birds – a frog, a snake a beautiful flamingo and a peacock. I am sure that more are on the way.

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People normally use a special kind of paper for this folding, but on board you have to keep the costs low and improvise. For this reason, any used paper will do the same work and old calendars, magazines or printed news can be transformed in interesting and funny objects meant to bright up the room and bring a smile on people’s faces. You can even paint the paper yourself (before or after the object is made) and save a lot of money – instead of buying the special Origami paper which is way too expensive everywhere and sometimes difficult to find.

Modular Origami is an old traditional Japanese art which has become popular worldwide, especially in schools, as it develops and improves artistic skills in children.

On board, it is just another leisure activity which helps people pass their time in a very agreeable way, keeping their minds away from problems and stress and relaxing after a hard day of work.

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