Cabin Fever

mimi typing 2

If someone had asked my long-ago teenage self where I expected to be living in my 30’s, it’s unlikely I would have said I was aiming for a bunk-bed situation. (On the bright side, I’m fairly sure the word ‘superyacht’ wouldn’t have figured in my plans either.)

Living in a share house can throw up its share of challenges. Living in a yacht cabin is something else again. 

In short, sometimes you are so sick of the sight of your cabin-mate that you pretend to be asleep when they come in rather than say hello to them, and then gnash your teeth into the pillow in some weird fit of rage while listening to them bash about in the bathroom.

Don’t they know I’m pretending to be asleep? your angry self growls quietly under the hot glare of the halogen bulbs that Annoying Cabin Mate has left on. 

As the season wears on, the tension rises, and the mood in the cabin can quickly morph from this:

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 To this:








And even, to this:







So, in an almost certainly vain attempt to prevent everybody turning into a bunch of grumpy gargoyles in 2014, I’ve put together a list of the most common (and uncommon) behaviours to avoid. 


  1. If you sleep in the top bunk, the bottom bunk is not a shelf for all your things.    Nor is the person sleeping in it a step.  If it’s squishy, don’t stand on it.   

  2. Be aware of the laws of physics:  Again, if you sleep in the top bunk, your cabin-mate is unlikely to appreciate being smacked in the head by your computer charger/book/ phone in the middle of the night when it falls off your bed.

  3. Your duvet has a mind of its own, and would for some reason much prefer to be sleeping with the person on the bottom bunk.  (More attractive, less Dutch ovens.) Tuck it in at the wall side to stop it from sliding off and landing on your cabin mate during the night.

  4. Just because you are wearing earplugs, doesn’t mean the other person is, and that they therefore can’t hear you bashing about the cabin like a baby elephant looking for a stray peanut. 

  5. 45 minute in the bathroom is an intolerably long time. If you spend that amount of time in there, just know that your cabin mate is spending that exact same amount of time lying in their bunk, plotting your painful demise as their bladder takes on distended, exploding proportions. 

  6. On that note, bathrooms have doors for a reason. I don’t care if you’re claustrophobic. 

  7. Girls: (and it is only ever girls that do this) Yes, you are going to the toilet. I know this, because I can hear you.  It’s natural, I don’t mind.  I also go to the toilet on occasion.  You don’t need to run the tap for the entire 5 minutes you are in the bathroom, just to try and disguise the sound of you going to the toilet. Bizarrely, it makes my ears listen out more, I don’t know why that is.

  8. If you share your cabin with a stewardess, don’t just assume that she will be the one to do the cleaning.  Very few (sane) people enjoy cleaning in their spare time when they already do it 8-14 hours a day, 11 months of the year. 

  9. Cleaning hair out of a shower drain must be one of the grossest, slimiest, and sometimes smelliest jobs on earth.  Sharing it is the only way to a harmonious cabin-share (although if one person has long hair and the other, none, the schedule should reflect this lack of relative hirsuteness.)

  10. Seniority and longevity don’t give you the right to take up more than your fair share of the cabin space, leaving the new girl or guy with 3 broken coathangers and a drawer the size of a matchbox.  When someone joins a boat they are entitled to certain things, a fair proportion of storage space being one of them.

  11. Guys: (and it only ever guys that do this) If you are obscenely drunk, please don’t mistake the drawer/cupboard/bin/corridor/ lower bunk for a toilet when you come home from the bar. It will not end well.

  12. Don’t slam the door, don’t shout down the corridor, don’t empty the stainless bathroom bin at 6am. Don’t turn the lights on and off repeatedly when other people are sleeping.  In short, don’t be a giant prat.

  13. Know that you are annoying at times. Everybody is.  There’s no need to get all sulky just because someone noticed. 

  14. If you are on charter, put your uniform in the bathroom the night before, rather than rummaging around in the dark trying to find a runaway epaulet under a life jacket and a set of weights that you never, ever use-so why are they still in the bottom of our bloody cupboard? (The weights, not the lifejacket; I have no objection to them not seeing much use.)

  15. Don’t steal your cabin-mate’s epaulets because you can’t find your own. (Stealing socks, however, is just normal, and there can be no rule about that. Stealing just ONE of someone else’s socks though: punishable by death.)

  16. Let your cabin-mate play possum sometimes. Yes, they’re pretending to sleep, and yes, they’re doing an extremely bad job of it, what with all the pillow gnashing and the whites of their eyes glaring at you in the dark. Just play along.

  17. If you can, get privacy curtains installed on the bunks.  From experience, this piece of thin material somehow makes you feel like you have a little part of the world to call your own.  No-one can see you, and behind the curtain possums- and people-can live happily ever after. 

Next week:  Crew Mess Etiquette: The Tupperware Wars 

*Images courtesy of  Angie sweet girl, Howard Dickens and Dennis Carr, via Flickr (CC license 2.0)


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