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Picture 1: The jungle of hammocks hanging in the aft banjer. (Foto: Natacha Fabregas)

A (good) night's sleep

Natacha Fabregas talks about the challenges faced for sleeping onboard Statraad Lehmkuhl


On Statsraad Lehmkuhl, up to 150 trainees can be on board at the same time. Two main sleeping areas, also called banjer, are available for the members of the three watches. That’s a lot of hammocks to hang from the ceiling, in a very limited space!

Upon boarding, you’re given the hammock you will use for the rest of the trip. You have to hang it from some hooks above your head. Then you can add a small sleeping mat, so that the hammock doesn’t close over your face at night. You add your sleeping bag, a pillow if you want, and you’re all set. 

The tricky parts 

The hammock is hanging at about 1.50 m above the floor. How do you get in? Maybe you’re lucky and your hammock is above a table or a bench, in which case you can scramble in. If it’s hanging above the ground, you’ll need serious gymnastics skills to get in (just joking). Still, you will need to hang from the hooks on the ceiling and slide your legs one by one into the hammock, then slide the rest of your body in it, get into your sleeping bag, and you are ready to sleep! Wait, no, the lights are still on, where is your face mask? Found it, now you can sleep!

Picture 2: View from my hammock in the aft banjer. (Natacha Fabregas)
View from my hammock in the aft banjer. (Photo: Natacha Fabregas)

Oh no, someone nearby is snoring, it’s not your neighbour, who is it? What an annoying sound, you can’t fall asleep and need to find your earplugs (if you remembered to pack them). Finally, some peace and quiet, and the beginning of a good night's sleep. Loud sound in the middle of the night. Who STILL doesn’t know how to operate the doors and is waking you up while going to the bathroom? Back to sleep.

Someone walking past underneath the hammocks didn’t assess the height properly and bumped into you on the way, again, so you wake up, again. Back to sleep. Now your neighbour is turning in their hammock, it’s so packed that you can feel it and it wakes you up (again). Back to sleep.

Someone is turning on the lights now, why? Oh, it’s the wake-up call to get up for your watch. Glad we’re all well rested and ready for another busy day!