To sail onboard M/V Logos Hope we traded our house in Texas for a cozy 200 sq ft cabin. Moving our young family of 4 onto a ship is not quite as glamorous as it sounds, but at the end of the day, our fulfillment in the work the ship is doing outweighs these challenges we face.

Logos Hope is home to 300 people from over 50 different nations with a wide range of perspectives. I’ve learned how to view things from different angles and not assume I know what someone is thinking but to ask questions and listen. One of the biggest challenges we faced was how to parent our children while everyone else was watching since the only place we could be alone was in our tiny cabin. Also, since I’m currently our children’s primary caregiver, I’ve had to balance my professional ambitions with the demands of my husband’s position as 2nd officer. Over the last 18 months, I’ve learned that I am only responsible for my children and not for what others think about our family structure. This was a hard adjustment for the first year as I tend to be a people pleaser.

The ship is surrounded by nature, but living on one long term can become a bit confining. Spending 5 months in West Africa was challenging since the ports were quite industrial, and it was hard to take the children off the ship or to exercise.

COVID added another complication as many seafarers were unable to leave their ships for over a year at a time. While we never experienced this level of restriction on Logos Hope, we did suffer through a few lockdowns and ended up spending a total of 30 days in our cabin as a family. For each lockdown, we had little to no warning as to when it would start or how long it would last. Our first lockdown was 10 days long, and the second lockdown was 20 days.

As we never tested positive through these lockdowns, we were still allowed out of the cabin with masks to get our food, and we would have scheduled outside time on the decks. With my husband being an essential crewmember he was allowed to do essential work. The first time was extremely difficult to navigate how to fill our days. We learned that creating a schedule and consistency provided structure for the uncertainty. We would make sure we would exercise each day and set a goal of one thing to accomplish each day. Having small, attainable goals gave us a sense of accomplishment each day. We were fortunate as this forced us to slow down and spend family time together in our cabin as our schedules on board tend to fill up fast.

Our empathy for seafarers and their mental health has grown through our time onboard. In our current port, I had the opportunity to talk with a cruise ship crew member that talked about how hard life onboard can be and even at times, faced suicidal thoughts. Port Chaplaincy meets a great need and is available in a number of ports worldwide, but only a fraction of seafarers have access to these services. We’ve found that Logos Hope is a unique platform to provide for the mental and spiritual needs of seafarers and others which is what keeps us going when times get hard.

Part 2/5

Martha Music

About The Author: Martha Music

Martha Music is passionate about supporting women who work on the water and an avid boater. She is an experienced treasurer for nonprofits, and serves as the treasurer of the Women Offshore Foundation.

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