"Life on board was challenging, but it was also wonderful and inclusive."
After joining Fugro in 2008, I spent six years working on board vessels in the role of Geologist/Geophysicist. Those years were the hardest and most absurd I’ve experienced. Life on board was challenging, but it was also wonderful and inclusive, and the strong relationships we built back then endure today, despite the geographic distances between us.
Living on a working vessel is not easy for anyone. But believe me it’s even harder if you’re the only female. When I first arrived alongside, my Fugro colleagues, the master and the vessel crew were all waiting for me. I felt embarrassed and observed. However, through the years I came to recognise that they had actually been experiencing mixed emotions about me living and working on the vessel – a combination of excitement, nervousness and concern.
That’s because they felt a sense of responsibility for me and wanted me to feel at home, despite the lack of ‘comforts’ available. In fact, at the first technical briefing, the master instructed everyone to give me “the red carpet treatment”!
They needn’t have worried, though, because their thoughtful little gestures made me feel welcome from the start. The cooks asked me about my favourite dishes, so that they could prepare them for me. They even made me a cake – complete with candles – for my 26th birthday, when we were out in the Caspian Sea. Thank you to each and every one of the seamen I’ve worked with, wherever you are. I have always felt at home on board.