Eendracht is more than just a word

Eendracht is more than just a word

Every person wants to be different. Although the story of growing up for most Kazakh teenagers are fairly similar, there are some exceptions. Applying for the maritime studies seemed so romantic and unusual for the people from the country that does not have direct connection with an ocean. As the academic process goes on, you take pride in what you are studying about. The idea of becoming a seafarer becomes more and more prominent in your mind. It can even get to the point when you are proud for the experiences you haven’t gone through yet. That is why KMA offers apprenticeship already during the second semester. All the talk ends as soon as we get on board.

All of a sudden you are put in the situation that could only been read in fiction books. Crossing an entire ocean on board of the sailing vessel at such a young age – something that would seem ridiculous for our Kazakh ancestors.
First days on board of Eendracht are like a perfect vacation. All the myths about the life at sea, about it being so hard and demanding could not be further from the truth. It feels like you have been born to do this, as everything comes so natural. Yet, there is always the day of departure.

As soon as the anchor is risen, dream vacation tragically comes to an end with the start of the everyday routine. Seasickness is not a myth anymore. It makes you helpless as you can only crawl into your cabin in order to get some rest. Rolling of the ship disturbs from the normal rhythm of life and forces you to vomit your heart and soul out. The only relief is to focus on the work.

Hoisting and lowering the sails, furling and trimming, give slack and belay – these are some of the ordinary words during the watch. During the watch we work with sails, do cleaning tasks, serve meals, wash the dishes, become helmsmen for 30 minutes and of course, make tosties. The watch is simply a four-hour-long period during which you forget about everything and focus on the work that has to be done, not only during the daytime but at night as well. Sailing on board of the vessel means dumping the normal life rhythm and sleeping schedule. There is no more “mornings”, “afternoons” or “evenings”. There are only “watch” and “non-watch” periods. Somehow it is also possible to place the study time in these breaks. So if you are not used to waking up at 3:30 AM.. well, you will be.

As tough as all of this may sound, sailing on Eendracht is the opportunity of a lifetime. First of all, because you meet so many wonderful people. The crew helps you when you are feeling low or sick, teach you a lot of new things and simply make your time on board more comfortable and interesting. There no such words to describe how thankful we are for it. We truly love you. (And if you are lucky enough, they make you hoist all the sails and come half an hour later telling that we have to lower all of them again.)

Even though our trip is coming to an end, it will always hold a special place in our hearts. Crossing the Atlantic ocean is not a feat in itself. The true feat is how much we improved as human beings. We are not lazy children that we were before. The fact that this process of growing up took place in the middle of the ocean makes it even more special for us as Kazakh people.
Thank you, Eendracht.
For us, “Eendracht” is more than just a word. It is all the heart-warming memories shared with the truly amazing people.

Sincerely, Red Watch.
( There are only two types of watches – wrist watch and Red watch).