The Arctic Circle: Inside the Antigua

You might be wondering what it was like to live inside a ship for two weeks as we explored western Spitsbergen. For a sense of our day-to-day inside lives, here are some pictures from inside the Antigua. Please keep in mind that it was HARD to take these particular shots, because all the spaces are small and strangely-shaped, no space on a ship is designed for easy photographing, and also, the ship is never, ever still. It’s tricky to take in-focus pictures when the floor is moving!

See the door in the middle of this picture, with the circular window? Let’s step inside.

First thing you encounter is the Very Narrow Corridor With Too Many Boots. In the picture below, it is way more tidy than normal. We didn’t wear our outside shoes inside the Antigua, so every time you stepped in or out, you did the awkward and time-consuming boot-transition thing.

To the right are teeny bathrooms and the door to the engine room; to the left is the entrance to the kitchen, shown below. I didn’t want to go in there and take pictures, because people were working hard in there, making our delicious meals. So I took this weird snap from the doorway.

Now let’s walk straight ahead. To the left is the stairway down to our living quarters, but we’re going straight on into what was the heart of the ship for me — the lounge.

This is where we ate our meals and had social time. (The ship was fully heated inside.) Some people tried to work here sometimes, but in reality there was no practical work space for artists on the ship. We made do.

The lounge had a left table, a right table, and a higher, back table. The booth seats are so comfy, and were the scenes of many naps :o). Especially when the ship was moving so much that it was hard to keep upright.

The lounge includes this teeny, beautiful bar, with a service window into the kitchen.

The pole below is in fact one of the masts…

but we knew it as our notice board :o).

This is Janine climbing into a hole in the floor of the lounge, under some of the seats, to retrieve some of the food. Everything under your feet in a ship is a storage space, an outlet to the water system, or something!

Our food was delicious, warm, and plentiful at every single meal. Good thing, because we were spending hours outside every day — sometimes 8-10 hours — in below-freezing temperatures, so we were burning a lot of calories and needed a LOT of fuel. Here’s some birthday cake.

Our chef, Piet, was a genius, and the kitchen staff beyond wonderful. No meal was ever repeated. We ate stews, pastas, foods of many cuisines, delectable desserts. Sometimes our guides would tell us to eat a good dinner, but not too much, because it would likely be rough later, and I would stuff myself full anyway, because it was too delicious not to :o).
Here are the beautiful people who kept us so well fed.

And now, ready to go downstairs?

The stairs were really narrow, and in a moving ship, you quickly learned to cling to the banister.

Welcome to our corridor, which I always found to be a little redrum, if you know what I mean.

Sometimes you’d arrive in the corridor and the rug would be up, the floor open and a man sticking out. I think there were water pipes down there or something. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture!
My cabin, which I shared with my lovely roommate Dawn Jackson, was HUGE. Others had bunk beds in a veritable closet. We lucked out.
We kept it very tidy, as you can see. My bed is on the left.

In our defense re: the clutter, we were on the run practically every moment of every day (more about that in a later post). We did what we could :o).

In the picture, below, the head is behind the wall with the blue coat. I didn’t take a picture of it. It was a tiny room with a toilet and shower.

Dawn could peek out through her porthole from her bed :o).

The picture below was from a day when we were full sailing (no engine, just sails) and the water was sloshing all the way up to our portholes. This was NOT an easy picture to take — the floor was moving so much and it was hard not to fall over! I tried to wait until we were in the very trough of a wave, then snap the picture in that instant of lull, before the ship jumped up again.

So, that’s pretty much our living space inside the ship. There are other interior spaces in the Antigua — like the wheelhouse, for example, shown here from the outside…

But that was the space of the crew, staff, and guides, in addition to the ship’s most important passenger, Nemo…

So I didn’t take pictures in there. But I’ll be telling you more about our crew and guides, and more about life on and off the Antigua…

very soon!