Teale Phelps Bondaroff
Deckhand, Bob Barker
Spending a birthday thousands of miles away from home in Antarctica, while struggling to stop illegal whaling, can make you miss your family and loved ones. I celebrated turning a quarter of a century, and the crew proved that not only do they show profound compassion risking their lives to protect cetaceans, but that they are also incredibly caring towards one another. Over the past few months we have all become very close, growing into one large surrogate family. The crew conspired to give me a wonderful birthday! For breakfast, our amazing galley team whipped up my favorite breakfast - pancakes, which we ate with the last of the real Canadian maple syrup, which I learned had been secretly stashed away especially for today.
I spent the morning tidying the rope locker and foc’sle, and the afternoon working on my research journal in the lounge and mess. The galley treated me to a special birthday dinner of vegan macaroni and no cheese, vegan hotdogs, and garlic bread. I was just settling back in the lounge to write some e-mails to home, when I got called into the mess for what I thought was a crew meeting, but instead they dimmed the lights and brought in not one, but three birthday cakes. Well actually, the galley had made me two strawberry rhubarb and apple pies, one with my name in puff pastry emblazoned on top, and the second with a puff pastry snail. The third was a blueberry cake, with a marzipan lattice topped with a marzipan snail! A positively delicious birthday desert! I was presented with a brilliant handmade card, signed by the rest of the crew, and a fantastic carving and wood burning of a fin whale, which my fellow deckies had spent a great deal of time making.
It was a fantastic birthday and I couldn’t possibly have asked for anything more, except perhaps our catching up with the Nisshin Maru.