Song, laughter and noodles keep the crew shipshape

Updated: 2012-03-19 07:51

By Wang Qian in East China Sea (China Daily)

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Cook shows how to stomach the hardships of long ocean patrols

For most sailors, life at sea is fairly dull, with nowhere to go and nothing to see except water. But for ship's cook Zhang Chunhui, the outlook is mostly one of fun.

While others watch the clock, counting time as they rest, or idle about on deck missing their families, the 53-year-old cook will be singing in the galley, jogging on the aft deck or giving a colleague a haircut.

Zhang is cook on the patrol ship China Marine Surveillance No 66 and he not only makes delicious meals but also serves up some beautiful songs.

He has been working on ships for almost 30 years and as a cook since 1992. Each year he spends more than 100 days at sea.

"My galley is called 'music kitchen', because I love singing," Zhang said. The galley, or ship's kitchen, is the most popular place on board the vessel, ringing with constant laughter and music.

He likes to sing while cooking and he believes "music can make people happy and even cure seasickness".

As ship's cook, Zhang has a routine - getting up at about 5 am, exercising for half an hour, preparing breakfast until 8, starting lunch preparation at 9, and then at 3 pm, preparing dinner.

The lunch and dinner menu, usually for 30, is a vegetable dish, a meat dish and a mixed dish, plus soup. Zhang can finish the cooking within two hours.

When seas are rough or there is a heavy swell, and the ship pitches and rolls, he will make noodles especially for crew members who are prone to seasickness. Noodles are easier to digest than rice.

Feeling queasy or "under the weather", however, is the least of the perils at sea. Along with the rough and tumble of the seamen's daily labors are the constant hazards of seafaring.

Song, laughter and noodles keep the crew shipshape 

Protecting national waters, China Marine Surveillance No 66 undertakes a routine patrol in the East China Sea on Feb 19. Provided to China Daily

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