One time on the Straitsman ferry there was a hideous stormy night. My workmate friend, also called Kendal and I were working on the night run where there were no passengers and there was a freak 18m trough. As we went through it, we just held each other for dear life like Jack and Rose – so scared. Then I heard the till make a sound and thought the coins had fallen out, so I ran to check it just as we hit the wave. I went flying through the room while Kendall watched in slow motion. Neither of us stood for the rest of the night. Later we joked about it – two Kendals holding each other like Jack and Rose!
I’ve been working at NIWA for 18 months now. Before that I was doing café work. As the steward I’m basically a housemaid at sea. I find the job physical and long but rewarding.
My favourite thing about the job is the time off. We get a month on – month off roster. My favourite voyage was the ice in Antarctica in 2019. It was really inspiring, and it doesn’t happen often. Seeing penguins was probably the highlight!
For anyone who’s considering a career at sea, make sure your relationship is strong before coming in! It is a tough life if you’re in a relationship because of all the time away.