Recreation is a very important part of life on board the Shackleton. Whilst at sea there is no escape from the ship and the recreational facilities on board are one of the best ways to keep fit, let off steam and kill some time. On the Shackleton there are the following facilities:
A gym area, zoned out from a storage space in the main hold. As a result it picks up a bit of dust and debris, but I don’t think anyone is complaining. In it there is a multi-gym, bench, a few dumbell weights and an old and slightly rusty concept II indoor rower. My favourite is the rower because I know this machine and am used to it. I thought I was. Rowing on the CII in the Shackleton feels just like rowing on water. As the ship pitches and moves about the rower moves about too. Sometimes you are rowing up hill, sometimes down, or leaning to the left or right. It’s a really active twist on a familiar machine. It is most uncanny when it loses its frictional grip of the deck and starts sliding around on the floor of the main hold.
As we are carrying only a small amount of cargo, the deck to the main hold has been adapted into a badminton court, for wonky badminton. We’ve played doubles with some of the crew. With a lop-sided net and bent badminton racquets we played a one sided game for about 45 minutes on a few occasions. The crew seemed experts and always kept their feet. Whenever we went to make a shot, depending upon which way the ship was moving at the time, we would either spring gracefully into the air, or crumple straight into the deck. Add to this the low level halogen lights shining in your eyes and blurred vision from the sea sickness drugs, it makes for a very interesting game. This will take some getting used to and as we only have about a week left on the ship, I really don’t think we will master it, but will persevere.