Not only scientists are on board of research vessel Polarstern on an expedition to Antarctica, but there is also a group of people on board that takes care of another essential part of ship life.
Photo: Group picture of the supporting staff of Polarstern ANT-29-07, 2013: standing: Laundry Master Kwok Yueng Yu, Cook Frank Silinsky, Stewardess Bärbel Czyborra, Steward Yong Sheng Sun, Steward Hans-Jürgen Gaude, Stewardess Carmen Silinsky, steward (Mölli) Wolfgang Möller, steward René Arendt, Cook Ralf Müller; kneeled: cook Mike Fröhlich, Nurse and Stewardess Tina Wöckener
Eating, drinking, living, cleaning, nursing and providing a shop, which supplies our most important luxury items. The research vessel Polarstern carries an often forgotten group of people, who take care of us in this one of the coldest parts of the world.
Ship and crew
On the Polarstern there are many responsibilities. Most of the time, such a large ship is associated with the Captain and his officers on the bridge, the crew on deck and technicians in the engine room. But when it comes to taking care of those on-board, including the ship’s guests – in this case scientists with their technicians and assistants - you need a special group of people to take care of another essential part of ship life.
Food and drinks
We begin with the kitchen. Chief Cook Ralf Müller-Homburg, works together with his colleagues Mike Fröhlich and Frank Silinski taking care of the food and drinks for the crew and their guests. Every morning we have fresh bread, a variety of cereals, eggs and a lot more. Throughout the voyage we are spoilt with a great variety of food. Receiving a high quality hot meal twice a day is no simple task with meal plans having to be made eleven weeks in advance of the cruise. These plans have to take in to account the fact that not all products are still usable after several weeks of storage. The quality of our food for the whole voyage is on a high level and we would never know that we are in the last three weeks of our cruise.
Serving Food?, cleaning, washing dishes, washing laundry, etc. etc.
Okay, but preparing the food is not enough of course. We, as guests, are taken care of by a team of Stewardesses and Stewards: Bärbel Czyborra, Martina Wöckener (Tina), Hans-Jürgen Gaude, Wolfgang Möller (Mölli), René Arendt, Carmen Silinski and our Laundry-man Kwok Yuen Yo (Alias Wäsche Max). In the evening, Bärbel also opens the shop, five times a week and Tina is also the ships nurse.
Day and night
This group of people constantly takes care of us, from early in the morning until late in the evening and provide for us in many ways. They help us to fill our plates with the food we choose and even when someone is late for lunch or dinner, due to important business, they keep something aside and keep it warm. Dishes are washed for us. The cabins, bathrooms, living rooms and the corridors are kept clean. Even if our cabins are messy with tobacco pieces and chalk powder they look after us with a smile!
Thanks for the hospitality!
Michiel van Dorssen