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Apologies for the late posts – there was some confusion with regards to who is writing when. Given that with our perpetually cycling shifts, the five of us are rarely ever in the same place at the same time, any form of coordination is a truly magical, and slightly telekinetic, accomplishment.
Dearest little Andy, the oldest of us five undergraduates, turned a whopping 26 yesterday. To mark the occasion, the three girls – Kelly, Celia and myself – went to great lengths to secretly concoct an enormous Oreo ice cream cake. This requires far more coordination than is immediately obvious. For one, we are all on different shifts. Kelly and Andy switched time slots to allow her to join me in the kitchen from 12-6 pm, under the guise of an early birthday present to Andy – the much coveted privilege of sleeping in. Second, this cake, unlike other baked goodies, will very quickly disintegrate into a soupy goo if left in the open too long. Finally, the kitchen is visible to anyone passing through the galley, which Andy was guaranteed to do at some point during this whole affair. Thus, to cover our tracks, we made a second dessert – chocolate chip bread pudding. You must realize that onboard many research vessels, there is a serious disease that eventually is contracted by all crew members, particularly females, and is both highly contagious and incredibly debilitating – Chocolate Deprivation Disorder. Second only to scurvy, it is a cruel, crippling disorder that we bravely set out to reverse. The utterly fabulous bread pudding was trumped only by yesterday’s epic finale of a birthday cake which was, to quote the ship’s main chef, “the dessert of the year.” Two helpings later with many pats on the back, Kelly and I reluctantly traipsed off to the gym.
I also wanted to quickly respond to Andy’s post about the workouts on board. In case there was any confusion, Andy and Kelly are veteran athletes, both very strong with excellent endurance. Then there is me, the casual long distance runner, with no residual muscle to speak of. After a couple attempts to keep up with these two, I am suddenly appreciating just how many staircases there are on this ship. I have decided never to use my quads unless absolutely necessary, and so I end up running around on locked knees like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. Yet, with only a little over a week left in our cruise, spending quality time with my fellow shipmates overrides any form of pain the treadmill dares to dish out.