Although every day is different, deck cadet Malin Gåsvær Haugen’s typical morning begins with her waking up and getting to work at around 08.00. Depending on what's going on, she alternates between starting her day on the bridge and the deck, but she usually splits her time 50-50. Malin’s gung-ho attitude and enthusiasm for the work, on the other hand, remain constant. “I always go to the chief officer to just ask, ‘What is going on today?’ so I know that I don't miss anything,” she says.
As a learning engine cadet, Sofie Brasetvik participates in daily operations such as pump maintenance or main and auxiliary engine maintenance, learning skills to work on the interiors of the machinery and equipment on board, such as boilers and other components.
Sofie's day begins around 08.00, with a morning briefing on the day's work delegated by the first engineer. They take a lunch break at midday and end the workday at 17.00, when Sofie may resume solo work for a couple of hours to finish her cadetship. Following that, there is usually some socializing, such as watching a movie with the other crew members.
Sofie admits that life on board can be hectic, but balancing with a friendly crew who makes life on and off the job enjoyable isn't tricky. She also enjoys working out at the onboard gym in her spare time.
Malin was quick to point out that delicious food isn't just served on special occasions like Christmas, as she mentioned in part I: "I think the food is too good on board." Every time I return home, I gain a few too many pounds. I wouldn’t mind if it would be less good, but I think it's very important because everybody sees that it does something with the vibe onboard for everybody when they are looking forward to dinner or lunch. It's very important that the food is good.”
Favorite memories and travel opportunities
When asked to name a memorable moment from her brief experience, Malin says it's difficult to choose just one. “It's everything from just sitting and laughing in the coffee room to just sailing through the Panama Canal for the first time and just looking at everything, the culture, the places. It's the people and the environment and the places you see. It's a mix of everything. Then you create new memories all the time.”
Sofie, like Malin, is excited about the job's travel opportunities. Next week she’s looking forward to boarding from Durban, South Africa, where she’s never been before.
Sofie's favorite aspect of her job is "the different things we do every day, the maintenance, and just learning about the different processes." But Sofie's varied career is both a boon and a challenge: with variety comes the need to be agile with the way you think – they must constantly think outside the box.
"You don't know what will happen next, so you also have to find new solutions to problems,” says Sofie. “That's also very exciting.”
Favorite part of the ship
The upper regions of the ship are both women’s favorite parts of the ship, but for different reasons. Malin prefers the bridge and deck, where she finds the most learning opportunities, and Sofie enjoys the deck, where she can relax in the sun and watch the ocean.
Sofie's parting advice to prospective recruits is straightforward:
"Talk with people who work at sea and just talk with companies and try to search about what ships that you could be working on because there's a lot of different ships."
This is the final installment in a series about the Odfjell cadet experience. To learn more, see parts I and II.
Crewing officer Eva Storeide can be reached at email@example.com for applications or questions. To apply for cadet positions in Norway, send your resumé, application letter, grades/courses, and a photograph by March 1.
Written by Zayana Zulkiflee